(Short-short) History of Car Bombs
Upon reading a comment giving 'credit' to the invention of the 'car bomb' to Jolly ole England, (unrelated comment in the Self Defense Tactics section), I began to question where the exact occurrence first might have happened. My first guess would have been somewhere in Ireland, as the 'bold' IRA seemed esp. adept in that cowardly means of wrecking havoc upon non-combatants. However, it seems that our 'melting pot', the good old USA, has foisted yet again another dubious 'first' upon the world:
The Poor Man's Air Force
A History of the Car Bomb (Part 1)
By Mike Davis
Buda's Wagon (1920)
"You have shown no pity to us! We will do likewise. We will dynamite you!
-- Anarchist warning (1919)
On a warm September day in 1920, a few months after the arrest of his comrades Sacco and Vanzetti, a vengeful Italian anarchist named Mario Buda parked his horse-drawn wagon near the corner of Wall and Broad Streets, directly across from J. P. Morgan Company. He nonchalantly climbed down and disappeared, unnoticed, into the lunchtime crowd. A few blocks away, a startled postal worker found strange leaflets warning: "Free the Political Prisoners or it will be Sure Death for All of You!" They were signed: "American Anarchist Fighters." The bells of nearby Trinity Church began to toll at noon. When they stopped, the wagon -- packed with dynamite and iron slugs -- exploded in a fireball of shrapnel.
"The horse and wagon were blown to bits," writes Paul Avrich, the celebrated historian of American anarchism who uncovered the true story. "Glass showered down from office windows, and awnings twelve stories above the street burst into flames. People fled in terror as a great cloud of dust enveloped the area. In Morgan's offices, Thomas Joyce of the securities department fell dead on his desk amid a rubble of plaster and walls. Outside scores of bodies littered the streets."
Buda was undoubtedly disappointed when he learned that J.P. Morgan himself was not among the 40 dead and more than 200 wounded -- the great robber baron was away in Scotland at his hunting lodge. Nonetheless, a poor immigrant with some stolen dynamite, a pile of scrap metal, and an old horse had managed to bring unprecedented terror to the inner sanctum of American capitalism.
Buda's wagon was, in essence, the prototype car bomb: the first use of an inconspicuous vehicle, anonymous in almost any urban setting, to transport large quantities of high explosive into precise range of a high-value target. It was not replicated, as far as I have been able to determine, until January 12, 1947 when the Stern Gang drove a truckload of explosives into a British police station in Haifa, Palestine, killing 4 and injuring 140.
I don't know if dogs have a heaven, but there will be dogs in mine.