Tales From The Ho Chi Minh Trail-Fuel Tanks Raining Down

Air Craft Fuel Drop Tanks.


Location: Khammouane Province Ban Thabak-N18° 14.027′ E104° 39.742′


Fuel tanks fashioned into boats.
The raw materials for the boat.
Looks sad. Wonder what the art work said?
Sign to follow for boat ride.

As a way of extending the flight duration, exterior fuel tanks were fitted on the wings or the main fuselage. Some Tanks were 600 gallons, some 2500 liters extending range considerably. Once empty the tanks were jettisoned and would fall to the ground and be collected up by the locals..

Boats moored on the Namkading river.
Boats moored.
Out board Fuel tank on the F4 held 370 gallons. Pic Credit Cliff Bossie.

Mostly seen In Xiangkhoung & Khammouane.

Seems such a waste of material, war isn’t cheap. Once on the ground here in Laos, the locals would go to work turning them into boats. Riding around Laos you can often see them in Hotels, front gardens, but mainly you’ll see them shaped as boats sitting in the water.

Boat out of the water in Ban Saenphan Khammoaune.

There is one place in particular in Khammouane Province, Ban Thabak, as you cross the bridge over the Namkading River you can stop and walk down to the bank to view them. Location is noted above, you can also take them for a spin if the boat driver is about, just give him some money and away you go.

Lak So Fuel Station
Boat under cover, looks a bit tired, also what’s’ that aluminum piece in it?
Used to be on display in Phonsavan Market.
Fuel tank look like the one above.
Fixing points on the fuel cell.
Fixing points on the wing of an F4 Phantom. Pic credit Cliff Bossie.
Centre fuel tank on the F4 could hold 600 Gallons. Pic credit Cliff Bossie.

The people of Laos have been making these boats since they fell from the sky, most of them are still in excellent condition, which is a testament to how well they were built, for one mission only.

Huge tank came of a F105, I still has the Pylon fixing point attached.
F 105 Showing center tank. Pic Credit Greg Goebel.
Nice ornament.
Its now been hung, January 2022. It’s final resting place.
Earlier B52 had 1000 gallon tanks increased to 3000 gallon capacity on the later B52. Pic credit Cliff Bossie.
This Tank is of a MIG  Su 17-600 gallone.outside a Hotel in Xiangkhoung. The Mig could hold three extra tanks, one on each wing and one on the belly.
Mig 17 on the left with its tanks.
Long way from Hanoi to Xiangkhoung, large tank.
Lots of these in Xiangkhoung, this was at the old tourist information center.

It’s good the locals have made use of the what was thrown away, same for much of the metal that came from the sky, 30 % of the bombs dropped failed to explode, so the locals made use of that as well. You can see war scarp everywhere in Laos.

Fuel drop tanks from F105
F105 tank, a little worse for wear.
Huge drop tank from a B52
Assembly date 19th Nov 1966
They should last forever.
A smaller boat moored at Xe Bangfai river.
This is now a bird bath. The Ho Chi Minh Trail Laos

More as we find it…

Enjoy this post? Find the rest of our Ho Chi Minh Trail Tales here. Interested in riding in Laos, but looking for  more adventure and in different areas of Laos, Check out our Laos ADV Tours page.


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