Military Odyssey 2010: Detling Showground: RT Montana 1970
Eldest Son/Italian Green booby-trapped ammunition Insertion Mission Laos
One of the commanders of MACV-SOG General Jack Singlaub, created a plan to sabotage the significant
number of ammunition cashes that SOG's reconnaissance teams were locating along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
Singlaub wished to instill fear and mistrust in the enemy, so that they would question the reliability
of their equipment. Using different code names like "Project Eldest Son," "Italian Green" or "Pole Bean",
SOG recon teams would insert special rounds filled with PETN, a highly explosive compound. When the
unsuspecting VC or NVA would use the rounds; the resulting explosions would cause the bolt and receiver
of the weapon to blow back through the enemy’s head. Both AK-47 rounds and 82mm mortar ammo were
contaminated. The effectiveness of this operation was difficult to assess, because the victims' of this
ploy could hardly attest to how effective it was. Rumors that whole US and ARVN Ranger teams were
"wiped out" due to contaminated AK-47 ammo persisted, so much so that a directive had to be issued
to use only "cleared AK-47" in captured weapons. The Joint Chiefs of Staff abruptly cancelled this operation
in 1970, with no explanation.