No Front Line: Explosives Ordnance Disposal on the Battlefield
The multiple-headed Hydra that is the improvised explosive device (IED) has long been theweapon of choice of the terrorist and insurgent, not only against civilians but as a prime obstacle for advancing troops on the battlefield. In the Vietnam War – the first major example of asymmetric warfare in our time – IEDs caused a third of all US casualties. Large mines such as the ‘Bouncing Betty’ were placed by Viet Cong insurgents who dug into the side of the supporting berm to prevent the disruption of the road from being seen from approaching vehicles. They were exploded by remote control and blew up armoured and civilian vehicles. Mines dug into trains were set off by booby-trap trip wires.
In this century, Afghanistan and Iraq became ‘template’ battlefields. In Afghanistan, thousands of pressure-plate IEDs were deployed by the Taliban, killing and injuring hundreds of Coalition troops, and are now resurgent. Specialist units and regular troops carrying out explosives ordnance disposal (EOD) have had to adapt to the multiple forms of the IED used as an area denial weapon – the ‘artillery of the 21st century’ – and the highly adaptable enemy’s multiple M.O.
Iraq: template battlefield
Iraq has seen an invasion, insurgency and subsequent rule by terror group Daesh, making it a template battlefield – which in modern conflicts is fought out in beleaguered city streets. Daesh has buried bombs to stall operations by Iraqi and Kurdish forces to push into occupied cities, where the battle rages from house to house. IEDs found outside Mosul had containers made from oil pipeline with thick metal cylinders cut and welded with precision and tightly packed explosives. Many have machined firing pins and commercially derived fuses, based on purloined Iraqi insurgency designs. Project Manager UN Mine Action …read more
From:: CBRNe (CBRN)