Early Cluster Bomb: Molotov’s Bread Basket (Jul, 1940)
Big Russian Bomb Holds Sixty Little Ones
Whirling down from the sky, a gigantic aerial bomb employed by Russian aircraft breaks open before it strikes the ground, to release and spread a deadly cargo of small incendiary bombs over a wide area. Nicknamed “Molotov’s bread basket,” after Viacheslav M. Molotov, Russian Commissar for Foreign Affairs, the mammoth bomb is seven and a half feet long and over two feet in diameter. Vanes at its tail cause it to whirl when released from the rack of a bombing plane. This action ultimately opens the steel sides, allowing sixty small incendiary bombs within it to hurtle outward in all directions and plummet earthward to set fire to any inflammable object on the ground within a broad circle. First used in actual warfare against Finland, the bomb was employed to set fire to towns whose houses were constructed of wood.