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    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Roadside Bombs & IEDs (catch all)

    3 Nov. LAT - Pentagon Sets Its Sights on Roadside Bombs. Excerpt follows:

    "With Iraqi insurgents building ever-more powerful homemade bombs, the Pentagon is finalizing plans to put a high-level general in charge of a new task force that will try to harness the expertise of the CIA, FBI, businesses and academics to combat the guerrillas' most lethal weapon."

    "The Pentagon has devoted two years to finding ways to combat the makeshift bombs, known as improvised explosive devices, or IEDs. Yet in the view of some senior generals, the IED problem remains a low priority in Washington. The field commanders are saying: This country can put a man on the moon. Why can't it solve this problem?' said one senior Defense official, who requested anonymity."
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 12-11-2017 at 01:26 PM. Reason: Small 15k thread closed in 2013 merged into main thread

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    Council Member aktarian's Avatar
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    I wonder how much is US military looking in past experiences with such devices. Israel in Lebanon most notably. Why invent hot water when you can use past lesson learned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aktarian
    I wonder how much is US military looking in past experiences with such devices. Israel in Lebanon most notably. Why invent hot water when you can use past lesson learned.
    There are a lot of potential COIN observations of value to gleaned from the IDF experience in South Lebanon. There is always much to be learned from another's failure.

    One excellent paper on the intel side of the topic is A Reach Greater than the Grasp: Israeli Intelligence and the Conflict in South Lebanon 1990-2000, published in the Autumn 2001 issue of Intelligence and National Security.

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    Default Bombs in Iraq Getting More Sophisticated

    Moderator's Note

    Thread closed as there is new, main thread 'IEDs: the home-made bombs that changed modern war': http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=16303

    Associated Press: Bombs in Iraq Getting More Sophisticated. Excerpt follows:

    "U.S. and British troops are being killed in Iraq by increasingly sophisticated insurgent bombs, including a new type triggered when a vehicle crosses an infrared beam and is blasted by armor-piercing projectiles."

    "The technology, which emerged during guerrilla wars in Lebanon and Northern Ireland, has been used in recent roadside bombings that have killed dozens of Americans and at least eight British soldiers."
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-10-2012 at 03:59 PM. Reason: Add note

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    We've seen a spate of articles this year about the "newness" and "sophistication" of certain classes of IEDs in Iraq, along with the continual frustrated opining about external sources of expertise in their construction.

    Too many people who should really know better seem to have forgotten that Saddam's Mukhabarat and others in the former regime had plenty of training and experience with explosives and IEDs. This ain't something new, and they don't need external assistance or imported trainers to execute.

    Back in the early '90s working up in Northern Iraq, I regularly saw examples of simple to sophisticated IEDs built into radios, hairdryers, cigarette cartons, etc. ad nauseum, and infiltrated into the Kurdish region by the Mukhabarat in a targeted destabilization effort. My first personal experience with a VBIED was a non-suicide device that initiated in the money-changers market in Zakho, Iraq in Feb 95. Over 100 killed and a similar number wounded. Of course, those incidents weren't happening on the scale of what is occurring now, but it gives a clear historical perspective on their use by the bad guys. The IED didn't suddenly appear as a weapon in Iraq after our invasion - Saddam's intel and security services had used and studied the potential of improvised explosive devices for a long time.

    As regards the articles that have been appearing in the press for the past several months regarding the "newness" of IEDs capable of taking out armor - it just ain't true. Neither are IR triggers a "new" innovation. There was an increased use of improvised launchers for HEAT rounds, as well as crude platter and shaped charges specifically targeting armored vehicles well over a year ago. The threat continues to evolve naturally, as evidenced by new methods - and swapping back to older methods - of targeting and initiation in response to our countermeasures. It's a deadly learning curve for both sides. They may be getting better at their targeting, but they've had the basic elements of building IEDs capable of penetrating armor for quite a while.

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Smile IEDs and Jedburg's comments

    Agree that IEDs are not new. I lost one friend and had another severley wounded in southern Lebanon in early 1988. Car bombs, roadside bombs, remote fired RPGs etc were all in the tool kit for the factional fighting there.

    What I particularly like about your comments above was the point that old TTPs remain in the tool kit. New TTPs do not mean emptying the toolkit. But that is a hard lesson that many have to learn the hard way.

    Reference your screen name, a close friend of mine Dr. SJ Lewis, and I were roomies for a couple of years in the mid-80s. Sam was working on a special study on the Jedburgs and a number of them (I should say a handful given their life expectancy as Jedburgs and their ages by the mid-80s) came by for interviews and chat. Let's just say they had large cojones.

    Sam's study is at http://www-cgsc.army.mil/carl/resour...ewis/Lewis.asp if you have not seen it.

    Best,
    Tom

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom
    What I particularly like about your comments above was the point that old TTPs remain in the tool kit. New TTPs do not mean emptying the toolkit. But that is a hard lesson that many have to learn the hard way.
    Yup. Yet again, it is something that too many who should know better fail to comprehend until it hits them in the face. Effective trend analysis requires that you maintain the full picture of the historical pattern - it is dangerous to discard anything in the mistaken belief that a "trend" is a linear development. As I stated earlier, threat TTPs evolve in the pressures of the the combat environment to meet our countermeasures. But it ain't a linear process - there are a variety of feedback loops involved.

    Keeping to open sources, there was an article last month (in USA Today, of all places) that spoke to this topic. Titled Pressure-triggered bombs worry U.S. forces, it discussed the bad guys' return to pressure initiated systems when our countermeasures began to significantly impact their use of wireless initiation systems.

    The quote by the MI officer at the end of the article says it all: There's a tendency to think of the insurgency as a bunch of guys running around the desert with Kalashnikovs. These are a group of dedicated professionals trying to improve their craft.

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    Published on-line by the Congressional Research Service:

    IEDs in Iraq: Effects & Countermeasures
    Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are responsible for many of the more than 2,000 deaths and numerous casualties suffered by U.S. and coalition forces since the invasion of Iraq.1 The bombs have been hidden behind signs and guardrails, under roadside debris, or inside animal carcasses, and encounters with IEDs are becoming more numerous and deadly. The threat has expanded to include vehicle-borne IEDs, where insurgents drive cars laden with explosives directly into a targeted group of service members. DOD efforts to counter IEDs have proven only marginally effective, and U.S. forces continue to be exposed to the threat at military checkpoints, or whenever riding in vehicles in Iraq. DOD reportedly expects that mines and IEDs will continue to be weapons of choice for insurgents for the near term in Iraq, and is also concerned that they might eventually become more widely used by other insurgents and terrorists worldwide. This report will be updated as events warrant.

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    Default The Ebb and Flow of IED Warfare

    By Herschel Smith at his The Captain's Journal blog - The Ebb and Flow of IED Warfare: U.S. Lives are at Stake.

    Due in part to a failure to listen adequately to Eric Shinseki and Anthony Zinni regarding Iraq war planning, along with premature cessation of conventional operations (bypassing large urban areas leading to costly MOUT later in the war) and halting invocation or implementation of counterinsurgency TTPs, the Iraq campaign has been problematic. In Concerning the Failure of Counterinsurgency in Iraq, I said “we were utterly unprepared for the toll that IEDs would take on U.S. troops, and even after it became obvious that this was a leading tactic of the enemy, we reacted with lethargy.” IEDs became one of the two most effective weapons of the insurgents, specifically because of two reasons: their cheap and ready availability, and the fact that they are a stand-off weapon, something unthinkable for the insurgents 40 or 50 years ago...

    For a period of time the U.S. has enjoyed some degree of success in countering the effect of IEDs by jamming the signals from the insurgents to detonate them (sometimes from cell phones). Electronics has been put to good use in Iraq, but in case the reader hasn’t noticed, this enjoyment has diminished recently, and there is an increasing trend again in successful IED attacks apparently because the insurgents are employing electronics against us...

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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default Al Qaeda Wages Electronic War against US Forces in Iraq

    An interesting opinion or view, but little back-up at this final link

    Anyone with a $200 oscilloscope can measure 'visible wave forms' or fluctuating electrical 'quantity'. Any good EOD or LE can figure out what's going on with limited equipment. CI elements should be 'searching' for this 'signal'.

    The first and easiest method:

    Once the signal strength and 'wave form' are obtained, it's just a question of more power along the same freqs. Most EOD jamming devices run well over 100 grand, and need a lot of power and cooling. This system will unlikely work with camels So, we're looking for vehicles within 500 meters, an antenna or two on the roof, etc. The trouble with this (for both us and them) is, using such high tech jamming equipment requires a huge power source soaking up a lot of juice in order to perform. Worse (for them), they need to be real close, even with 10,000 watts of power.

    What does all this Bravo Sierra mean ?
    The signal cannot make contact, and when it can’t make contact, it doesn’t detonate...much like a cellular phone call that does not connect. No connection, but the enemy thinks the call went through.

    The second method, although a more expensive approach is our current Warlock system, available almost anywhere except K-mart.

    It doesn't do anything dramatic, it basically works by intercepting the signal sent from a remote location to the IED instructing it to detonate. Again, override the source and ....boom.

    Find it and delete it.
    Last edited by Stan; 04-28-2007 at 02:05 PM.

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    Default SWJ Mag vol 8 - Viral Targeting of the IED Social Network System

    Viral Targeting of the IED Social Network System
    by Scott Swanson

    Open thread....

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    Default "Deadly New Weapon In Iraq" (CBS)

    CBS report on (what they call) "Deadly New Weapon In Iraq", on LiveLeak... I heaved that sucker in my hand. Always made me laugh that can be used in modern war theater. Seams, I was wrong.
    "Armor-piercing hand grenades have become a favorite al Qeueda weapon in Iraq. There's virtually no defense against them. Lara Logan reports."
    link:
    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=ada_1189106198

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Old news, new report?

    Some of this footage has appeared before and was subject of a thread months ago.

    Incidentally similar grenades, drogue grenades I think we called them, appeared in Northern Ireland, used by the Provisional IRA in an urban setting. Used against police and army vehicles.

    davidbfpo

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    Danger Room, 17 Sep 07: CSI vs IEDs: Inside Baghdad's Forensic Bomb Squad
    They can dig up all the roadside bombs they want, and jam every radio-controlled killer out there. To get ahead of insurgents, coalition forces have to figure out who's really building and planting the bombs.

    That's why tens of thousands of improvised explosive devices and their components wind up every month at this nondescript collection of trailers, in the middle of a U.S. military base near Baghdad. Here, troops and geeks from England, Australia and America pore over the weapons 24 hours a day, piecing together forensic evidence about the bombs -- and the bombers. It's CSI meets IEDs. And it's called "Sexy."

    Captain Scottie Morris, a lanky, black-haired Aussie, takes me for a tour around the Combined Explosive Exploitation Cell -- CEXC, or "Sexy," for short. To the best of my knowledge, I'm the first journalist they've allowed inside....

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    Fires Bulletin, Jul-Aug 07: A Different Approach to the Counter-IED Fight in Iraq
    Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) are the preferred weapons employed by insurgent forces in Iraq today. This form of warfare is not easy to counter. Often techniques for countering IEDs are passive in nature, thus allowing the insurgents to have the upper hand. However, as the old saying goes, “There is more than one way ‘to skin a cat.’”

    Tasked with the maneuver enhancement mission for the 101st Airborne Division’s area of operations (AO), the 555th Combat Support Brigade (CSB) aggressively attacked the counter-IED fight in Iraq by applying combined arms techniques to the mission. By combining engineer patrols to clear routes with brigade combat team (BCT) intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and division-level lethal assets, the 555th CSB took a proactive approach to countering IEDs and forced the insurgents to react to Coalition efforts, denying the insurgents freedom of action.....

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    Council Member Van's Avatar
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    Default Oldest Vehicle borne IED?

    Moderator's Note

    Thread closed as there is new, main thread 'IEDs: the home-made bombs that changed modern war': http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=16303

    Can anyone cite the use of a VBIED prior to 7 August 1588?

    The oldest VBIED I've been able to track down is the "hell burners", the massive charges of gunpowder loaded on ships and pointed at the Spanish fleet by English Lord Admiral Charles Howard (and an effective weapon they were).

    If someone's got an older example, I'd like to push this date further back. Candidly, I'm frustrated and annoyed by the folks who talk as if IEDs are innovative and new.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-10-2012 at 03:38 PM. Reason: Add Note & close thread.

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    Council Member AmericanPride's Avatar
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    Van,

    A possible candidate:

    - 1363: Battle of Lake Poyang; Chinese used a similar technique to the one you described.

    The main action of that day (31 August) would involve the creation and launching of fire ships by the Ming. Small rafts and fishing boats were loaded up with bales of straw and gunpowder, set aflame, and launched toward the enemy fleet. Dummies with armor and weapons were placed on the fireships as well, to aid in confusing and tricking the enemy. Due to a favorable wind, and the tight formation of the Han fleet, the fire ships were very successful, and many Han ships were either destroyed or suffered extensive damage.
    There might be an earlier Chinese example because the Chinese introduced gunpowder to the battlefield in the 10th century. And though not 'explosive', there are of course many historical examples of setting fire to some kind of vehicle (wheels, wagons, ships, animals, etc) and employing them against the enemy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van View Post
    Can anyone cite the use of a VBIED prior to 7 August 1588?

    The oldest VBIED I've been able to track down is the "hell burners", the massive charges of gunpowder loaded on ships and pointed at the Spanish fleet by English Lord Admiral Charles Howard (and an effective weapon they were).

    If someone's got an older example, I'd like to push this date further back. Candidly, I'm frustrated and annoyed by the folks who talk as if IEDs are innovative and new.

    Thanks!
    I'm almost sure you've seen it, but on the off chance you haven't, I've got a book called Buda's Wagon: A Brief History of the Car Bomb that came out about a year ago. Think he starts in the 19th century though, haven't gotten around to it yet.

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    AP - 1363? Sweet! That's another two centuries older!

    Granite - Thanks for the book recommendation, I've heard of Buda's Wagon, and was in the process of checking it out.

    I've looked at some of the old Roman and Chinese flame throwers and Greek fire, but despite the DoD definition I'm passing on incendiaries. Gunpowder, however, makes the cut.

    [The DoD definition: Improvised Explosive Device. A device placed or fabricated in an improvised manner incorporating destructive, lethal, noxious, pyrotechnic, or incendiary chemicals and designed to destroy, incapacitate, harass, or distract. It may incorporate military stores, but is normally devised from nonmilitary components.
    (Department of Defense DIRECTIVE; NUMBER 2000.19E February 14, 2006, SUBJECT: Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO))
    I usually interpret this as any weapon not professionally purpose built as a weapon or any weapon used by someone other than a professional soldier, an insanely broad definition.]

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    Quote Originally Posted by Van
    If someone's got an older example, I'd like to push this date further back. Candidly, I'm frustrated and annoyed by the folks who talk as if IEDs are innovative and new.
    No offense, Van, but I think you're just letting your frustration with simpletons set you off on a tangent. The tactic of one Navy sending flaming ships into their opponents certainly predates what you'll find in the historical record. The same goes for armies sending flaming carts into the wooden gates of fortresses. But both bear limited resemblence to the various permutations of the tactical use of IEDs today.

    For educating the idiots who believe that the IED is a new innovation that arose post-9/11, I feel its best to keep rooted in relatively modern warfare. An easy example is simply to state how elements of various allied special operations units during WWII trained and advised partisan forces on the use of IEDs against the axis - both purely military and civil infrastructure targets. There is a tremendous amount of material from that period that is directly applicable to the COE. And, of course, during the Cold War there is a broad spectrum of conflicts to draw upon where IEDs of all types were used against a dazzling array of target sets.

    (As an aside, its also usually surprising to some when they are informed that much of Hezbollah's skill in using roadside bombs was not gained from Iran, but from South Africa. For members of the ANC with a great depth of experience in IED tactics against the apartheid-era South African army, sharing that knowledge with Hezbollah was getting a little payback against Israel, which was heavily engaged in military collaboration with South Africa in the '70s & '80s.)

    Dealing more specifically with VBIEDs, and just looking at post-WWII, the Stern Gang really was the first to use a VBIED - targeting a Brit police station in Haifa on 12 Jan 47. But despite occasional usage after that - including a few particularly nasty examples - VBIEDs didn't really gain traction among terrorists until March '72, when the PIRA initiated two ANFO VBIEDs in Belfast. From that point on, the history is pretty damn clear, and anyone who still believes that it is a unique development of the GWOT is an idiot, plain and simple.

    Ultimately, I think you'd make your point better when you demonstrate what little understanding they have of relatively recent military history rather than catching them out on obscure historical examples.

    ....just another retiree's biased opinion...

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