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bom ba cang (bom ba cāng)

Vietnamese. ‘Three-pins bomb’. Name of an anti-tank weapon designed by the Vietnamese Army and used as a suicide bomb against the invading Japanese Imperial Army during WW II. The concept of this type of suicide bomb was similar to that of a landmine, yet the explosive part was mounted on a long handle and needed to be activated by pushing it onto a tank by a foot soldier thrusting forward. The mine, usually made from explosives captured from the enemy, had three pins sticking out at the top, that would activate the mine and make it blast as it was smashed into the tank, eliminating the enemy tank but also killing the friendly foot soldier in the explosion. Though the Vietnamese government in normal circumstances did not encourage suicide missions, it did so for a while by allowing this weapon, due to the lack of any other effective weapon against enemy tanks, until 1947, when recoilless anti-tank guns were introduced and the use of the handheld bom ba cang was abolished. Though the device no longer exist, today many war statues across Vietnam, especially in the area of Hanoi, honour these war heroes that gave their lives to help liberate the country.