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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

January 2, 1961: Rebels Advance in Laos, US Shows Off New Portable A-bomb

"Rebels Advancing in Laos; US Urges SEATO Session on Intervention by Reds," was the lead headline in today's New York Times. The story reported that Communist forces had captured Phongsaly and the Central Plain, including a airstrip.

In other news reported today, the UN set a hearing on Cuba's charge that the US planned to attack the island nation imminently. The White House has recently denied similar reports.

Papers also reported today that President-elect Kennedy sent a message of hope to the Soviet Union. The note expressed his hope that "in the coming months relations between our tow great countries will be marked by goodwill and a common desire for peace."

There was also a report today that the Army had a new, portable A-bomb rocket: "the Army made public today details of the Davy Crockett rocket, designed to provide the foot soldier with a highly mobile weapon equal in fire-power to massed heavy artillery.

"It can be fired from a launcher on a Jeep. A smaller version of the Davy Crockett can be carried by one man.

"The army also released the first picture of the rocket, which can hurl nuclear or conventional warheads across battle lines at ranges no greater than those of conventional artillery.

"The picture disclosed a gun barrel roughly five or six feet long topped by a blunt-headed bomb about thrity inches long and equipped with aerodynamic fins.

"The barrel is used as a recoilless rifle. Two explosions are set off simultaneously in the barrel to fire the warhead in one direction and offset the effects of recoil in the other

"Wilber M. Brucker, Secretary of the Army, said that the weapon 'dwarfs in firepower anything we have ever known in the immediate are of the battle line."

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