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Salient: Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32, No. 6. 1969.

'Smoke Bombs' for U.S

'Smoke Bombs' for U.S.

Vietnam war contract?

A Substantial contract has been let to a Christchurch-based foundry for the manufacture of "smoke bombs" for the United States.

A news item in the Press near the end of March alleged that Anderson's were manufacturing 1,500,000 iron bomb casings to be used for "practice purposes" by the American Air Force.

This is only part of a 5,000,000 casing order, the balance of which has been let to an unknown firm or firms elsewhere, according to Canta, the Canterbury University Students' newspaper.

Two special core blasting machines have been imported to facilitate the manufacture of these items, and 10,000 a week are being produced by 30 men working around the clock.

The completed casings about the size of a tennis ball (see photo) have a screw-in detonator cap and weigh about a pound each.

Spokesmen for the firm concerned told Canta that the casings will contain a non-toxic, non-harmful gas.

The Canta article asks however; "why has such an apparently innocuous contract been let so far from home."

Apart from the transportation costs which, an editorial argues, must be arbsorbed by the American military, they "must incur a higher individual cost for each bomb manufactured."

The alternative, Canta suggests, is that this contract is a "sharing around of the good things of life to be accrued from the Vietnam war and military alliances generally."

A stop press item in the paper quotes the U.S. weekly newspaper Guardian as describing one of the armaments being manufactured by American firms as a "guava bomb".

"It is a variety of cluster bomb that has been responsible for over 80% of civilian casualties in Vietnam.

"The bomb is 'about the size of a baseball and about a pound in weight'.

"The casing is annealled to prevent it fracturing upon impact.

"It has a detonator cap and is packed with high explosive and small spiked metal balls.

"It will effectively destroy life up to one hundred yards from point of detonation."

• The "smoke bomb" at present being produced at Anderson's foundry.

The "smoke bomb" at present being produced at Anderson's foundry.