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"Cu Chi Tunnel" Land Mine Detonator - Rigged .223 in Cast Body Souvenir? Fantasy? Relic?

Started by Jayhawker353 , Oct 11 2017 01:48 PM

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#1 Jayhawker353

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 01:48 PM

This is an interesting little relic.  I don't know if it's a fantasy piece, a post war souvenir sold in trinket shops outside of the old tunnels, or an authentic GI bring-back or instructional example.  Came out of a 30 year ordnance collection; one full of gems and duds.  The little copper plunger slides up and down against a light spring.  An insert at the end of the .223 round retains the spring.  Headstamps on the cartridge are long gone and illegible, if there were any, only hammer or impression marks remain.

 

Has anyone seen another of these?  Anyone aware of this type of item being stamped like this to identify it as an instructional trainer for EOD troops?

 

 

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#2 Jayhawker353

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 01:49 PM

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#3 Jayhawker353

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 01:50 PM

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#4 Jayhawker353

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 01:50 PM

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#5 Jayhawker353

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 01:51 PM

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#6 Jayhawker353

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 01:54 PM

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#7 EODsmity

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 10:30 AM

I have not seen one before. I am confused on what it is exactly. Is it a possible mine or grenade? The .223 cartridge is the initiator? I will dig through some of my Vietnam era ordnance pubs and see if I can find something.

Smitty

#8 USCapturephotos

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 10:43 AM

Wow. I wish I had something informative to add. Will be curious to see what comes out about this.

Paul



#9 ordnance

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 06:21 PM

I think it's an oil lamp produced from scrap remnants and sold as souvenirs to tourists.  I've seen several made from fire 40mm grenade cartridge cases.  Certainly no reason for the VC to stamp "Chu Chi Tunnel" on a real piece of ordnance but makes sense as a souvenir item.



#10 EODsmity

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 09:42 PM

So in one of my old manuals, i found a tactic used by the VC. They would take old cartridge casings (Artillery type) and similar items and fill them with black powder and bits of metal for fragmentation. The would use a bullet as the initiator upside down so to cause the primer to ignite the black powder. They would bury the device and it would function like a pipe bomb of sorts. This piece doesn't quite fit this design per se. Not saying it is or isn't but if you look at the top of the item, you can see the lathe marks. This indicates mass production as apposed to improvised casing. The cap makes me think that it is a lamp as "Ordnance" said. There is a possibility that it was a souvenir sold at one of the Chu Chi tunnels in Vietnam. If you Google Chu Chi Tunnel, you see that they are an extensive systems of tunnels all through Vietnam and you can take guided tours. The .223 casing could be a positive block to stop the lamp fuel from evaporating. No matter what, its still cool!!!

Hope this helps,

Smitty

#11 canteenman

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 11:24 AM

I served in and around Cu Chi throughout the III Corps area and never heard the term "Cu Chi Tunnel" until well after the war. We had plenty of other names for them though. I think it is a souvenir made for the tourist trade sometime after the early 90's. 




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