Viewers Think They've Solved Iraq Weapons Mysteries

While viewers were trying to identify Mystery Weapon No. 2 — a softball-szed green metal ball with a fuse hole — a military Web site thinks it's solved the mystery of Weapon No. 1.

Editors at say the snub-nosed weapon shown on last month is "appears to be something that began in Chechnya (where the local Islamic terrorists built improvised weapons firing 55mm rockets), and evolved into a new design for firing RPG rockets."

The site goes on to say that "the U.S. Army has come to call the mystery weapon the C5K, and it sports a scope. The C5K is a misnomer, and refers to another improvised weapon (a launcher for an unguided aircraft rocket, the S-5K, a 8.8 pound, 55mm projectile).

"These mystery weapons are made in small quantities, in workshops set up for that purpose. Things like this are intended to provide an easier-to-handle launcher for RPG rockets. The Chechens began the current round of warfare with the Russians in the 1990s, and many of their innovations spread to other Islamic terrorist groups...

"Saddams secret police were known to have links with the Chechens, and apparently exchanged ideas. The improvised weapons are often more impressive in terms of appearance than in performance. But that is a common failing of Islamic terrorists.

Meanwhile, readers chimed in on Mystery Weapon No. 2. With nearly 1,000 e-mail responses, more than half said it was part of a cluster bomb. The second most popular guess was a chemical or biological bomb.

Here's a sampling from viewers:

— "Similar to a standard civil war era cannonball, you simply fill with powder or some explosive, put an igniter in the “fuse plug” or some form of blasting cap and you have a BOMB. Why that style I have no clue but in a stone age country that is just now coming into knowledge of modern weaponry."

— "My suspicion is the orb is a shell containing some kind of chemical or biological weapon."

— "It's an Alpha 1 bomblet from a South African Cluster Bomb."

— It's a CB-470 Cluster Bomb."

— "The Alpha Mk II bouncing bomb, which is a football size round bomb, 300 of which would be carried by a Canberra and when dropped would devastate an area of one hundred metres wide and a 1 000 metres long. The Alpha bomb had a double casing with 250 hard rubber balls between the inner and outer casings."

— "Looks like it might be an old Rhodesian "Alpha" bomb to me."

— "Mystery Weapon No. 2 is a cluster submunition."

— "This looks like it is homemade of parts from a Claymore mine."

— "Looks like a gas grenade."

— "It appears to be a "dug" Civil War battlefield projectile; the green patina shows it was likely dug from a sandy area., the top appears to be the fuse as the ones used in cannon balls of the Civil War."

— "Depending on its weight, if fairly heavy my guess would be an old fashioned mortar round like the ones used prior to the War between the States."

— "This item is most certainly a “Thermal Detonator,” though it has become discolored through an apparently long storage in an unsafe manner."

Then there's this long, but interesting explanation:

— "During Desert Storm I was an aerial gunner on MH-53J Pave Low Helicopters. As one of the first coalition aircraft to land at the Kuwait International airport, we had quite a bit of time to kill while waiting for Army engineers to clear the area of mines and such. We explored a number of bunkers in the area around the airport and we discovered several boxes of the "Mysterious Weapon 2" in a building with a number of Soviet grenades and the primers for the grenades. The round "cannon ball" weapons, we assumed were some sort of large grenade to be used for either demolition of equipment to prevent capture or booby traps of some type. None of them appeared to have any type of fuse, although they did have a well for inserting some type of fuse or detonator. The boxes they were in came from Jordan... We assumed that they were from Russia or other Eastern European country. The grenades and "mystery weapons" were all laid out for the engineers to dispose of.

" Also found in another bunker was a small caliber, very short, breech loaded, single shot rifle about 24 inches in length. The weapon had a large diameter barrel (almost 2') and very oddly was fitted with a scope. In the same box was a very similar weapon as your "Mystery Weapon 1" only that this one seemed to be made of the same phenolic material as an AK-47 bayonet or stock. It was about the same color as that material, a brownish orange color. It did not have a scope on it like your weapon that was found. In the same bunker we found more grenades, pipe vises, clothing, several AK-47 rifles, a box of pistols wrapped in kind of cosmoleen and cheesecloth with The engraving "Made in Iraq by Tariq" on the slide. Farsi writing also Indicated "The Elite Republican Guard." The Republican Guard emblem or seal was on the handgrip. We also found what appeared to be aerial flares that looked to be the same caliber or size of the "mystery weapon 1" I hope that this helps you out in some way."

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