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Old 02-03-2010   #241
Firn
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Originally Posted by reed11b View Post
That is called a LRS team, and the Army has tried to neuter and eliminate us since our creation. Now we are in BfSBs were we do what? Who knows, not I, and I am in one.
Reed
Two generations ago pretty much every countryboy here was able to construct traps to poach rabbits and other small animals. Even deers were caught rather easily (and cruelly) by using a certain type of wire tied to a noose and a bit of knowledge about their tracks. Trapping is certainly one of the oldest and yet most efficient ways to capture animals that mankind has created. Given all that creative booby trapping in the last centruy I'm not surprised at all that it is used in ever shifting shapes in the current conflicts.

Large parts of Afghanistan should be almost ideal country for LRS. A good location and good spotting scopes should enable you to detect a human from as far as 20+ km. This is just to show the capability of a good glas. Some Israeli units use excellent Swarovski.

@Rex Brynen: An interesting article. Nothing new under the sun, but it reinforces the need to reach or observe the objective without raising the alarm. This topic has been already adressed both at the strategic and the tactical level.

@Cole: Without knowing the specific instances of the use of such dragging devices I highly suspect that they use it to create an additonal layer of defense along their patrol routes. IIRC similar ideas were used along the German-German border. I doubt that they are as useful on the roads in Afghanistan which are used by quite some people.


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Old 02-03-2010   #242
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Default Cole, while interesting...

"It's not related to aviation and IEDs but the Israelis used to drag fences behind their patrolling jeeps to leave a unique pattern in the ground so anyone crossing it would leave footprints. "

the Russians found that the Afghan fighters would bury mines in the road and then 're-print' the tracks of the vehicles that had previously passed, completely disguising the location of the mine.

Following in the tracks of the previous vehicle, if not immediately afterward, is not a sound technique. There are even mines that wait for the second vehicle to pass before exploding, IOT defeat overpressure mine clearing.

Unless we had a troop and sensor density that would preclude people from emplacing IEDs in anything other than a very hasty manner, we can always expect to find more of these weapons. And it still does nothing to defeat the individual from wanting to employ them.

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Old 02-03-2010   #243
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Default Heh. You're neither a scout or a cavalryman...

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Originally Posted by reed11b View Post
That is called a LRS team, and the Army has tried to neuter and eliminate us since our creation. Now we are in BfSBs were we do what?
You're absolutely right and so is Firn:
Quote:
Large parts of Afghanistan should be almost ideal country for LRS. A good location and good spotting scopes should enable you to detect a human from as far as 20+ km...
Unfortunately, both your points are moot due to a combination of turf battles (Branch vs branch for the BfSB + USSF vs Big Army for the LRS mission), mediocre to poor training and extreme risk aversion.

Use of LRS has been severely constrained in the current operating environment by all three. There have been some notable successes but few Cdrs seem willing to take the nominal risk...
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Old 02-03-2010   #244
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Suprised this novice started such a long thread. Im an armchair historian and I cant help but think that in 10-20 years, people are going to be studying the question of losses due to the IED and mistakes overzealous, hardcharging glory hounds ran their men into bombs instead of methodical painstaking recon and more ways to lower the body count.

Booby traps in vietnam caused a ton of casualties but I see that in a different light of the jungle vs more open terrain. Instead of trying more soldiering skills and intelligence, it seems that America just tries to build bigger more expensive vehicles. Like I said, it just aches to hear of another casualty due to IED. Didnt even get a chance to fire at the enemy. I know its a painful reality of controlling the AO to be mobile and presence on the ground but There has to be an answer.
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Old 02-04-2010   #245
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the Russians found that the Afghan fighters would bury mines in the road and then 're-print' the tracks of the vehicles that had previously passed, completely disguising the location of the mine.

Following in the tracks of the previous vehicle, if not immediately afterward, is not a sound technique. There are even mines that wait for the second vehicle to pass before exploding, IOT defeat overpressure mine clearing.

Unless we had a troop and sensor density that would preclude people from emplacing IEDs in anything other than a very hasty manner, we can always expect to find more of these weapons. And it still does nothing to defeat the individual from wanting to employ them.
TankerSteve, hear you on your last sentence, but while foreign fighters planting bombs in Iraq are no longer welcome, that isn’t true in Afghanistan. COIN techniques might persuade homegrown Taliban not to plant IEDs, but do little to deter non-local Taliban from Pakistan madrassas or the Chechnyan with a big bag of fertilizer.

As you point out, unpaved roads in Afghanistan simplify IED emplacement. But recalling the paved road leading from Barstow to Fort Irwin, just can’t imagine the need for many high ground OPs or COPs to watch the main road and prevent someone from setting up IEDs in the daytime. Night of course, is a different matter. And roads next to towns/compounds/trees/crops along the Helmand River valley and other flat areas make it hard to maintain constant surveillance of existing dirt roads, day or night.

Does that create opportunities for off-roading it away from civilians and chokepoints to safeguard both the populous and ourselves? It may not be the shortest route, but remote dirt roads observed from a few high terrain COPs/OPs, and easily targeted without collateral damage could reduce IEDs. Because primarily coalition supply vehicles would use these routes, anyone else on/near them on foot or in a vehicle is suspect and subject to search.

Engineers and the new Marine line-charge vehicle could clear or blow holes through suspected minefield areas, then cover it in clay or gravel and drag some sort of pattern producer (Firn it was near the border) behind the trail vehicle on the last patrol of the night. Shouldn’t be too many vehicles (or block off entries) on the new remote roads at night to make tracks and any IED planter still must cover footprints while replicating the unique ground pattern in the dark, not to mention get to and away from the remote road over miles of open terrain with no place to hide and a heavy load to bear.

Freshly dug dirt at night may well have a different IR signature, as well.
So augment that with higher flying UAS (TF ODIN down to Shadow) or aerostats/towers in each COP, and lower flying T-Hawks, and Ravens to maintain nightly surveillance. One COP could cover 10 kms on either side alternating between noisy, culvert-checking T-Hawks, and quieter Ravens to make the enemy believe the coast is clear. Use unmanned ground sensors near wadis.

Zealous66, you must admit the US flies in Afghanistan more than other allies and casualties are far less than Vietnam or the 14,000 the Soviets lost...and you should see some vehicles are coalition partners and the poor ANP use.
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Old 02-04-2010   #246
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Default I'm unsure that's a fair assessment.

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Originally Posted by zealot66 View Post
...I cant help but think that in 10-20 years, people are going to be studying the question of losses due to the IED and mistakes overzealous, hardcharging glory hounds ran their men into bombs instead of methodical painstaking recon and more ways to lower the body count.
In fact, I'm quite sure it is incorrect. The painstaking recon you suggest is possible and might lower the casualty count a bit -- it equally as well might not lower it. However, that 'painstaking' equals 'time' -- and time is sometimes in short supply. Mission demands quite often require efforts that are inimical to security. The History books rarely address that factor well because most of the historians don't understand it . Not to mention that soldiers are more likely to be lost by hesitant over caution than they are by aggressive maneuver.
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Booby traps in vietnam caused a ton of casualties...
Booby traps? Weren't that many, particularly after 1965. There were some but there were also a far larger number of what we today call IEDs.
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but I see that in a different light of the jungle vs more open terrain.
Jungle versus open is more than countered by short distances versus significant distance. Afghanistan is four times the size of South Viet Nam with twice the population -- and there were over 1.5M allied troops in that country at the peak. Afghanistan has less than a fourth as many Coaliton troops to cover that four times larger nation. My math skills were never good and are now quite rusty but I believe that's an exponential difference. Exponential or not, it is quite significant.
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Instead of trying more soldiering skills and intelligence, it seems that America just tries to build bigger more expensive vehicles.
Thank an ignorant news media and a venal Congress for that. The terrible thing that is an MRAP was reluctantly purchased by the Armed Forces at Congress' insistence. You can also thank that Congress for underfunding training (big hardware projects mean more jobs and more votes than does training).
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Like I said, it just aches to hear of another casualty due to IED. Didnt even get a chance to fire at the enemy.
Cannot understand why that aches. Nor am I sure that those casualties would feel a bit better if they did have a chance to fire, I don't think that makes much difference. Look at the bright side, the good news is that far fewer are dying in these wars than was true in the past (LINK)...
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I know its a painful reality of controlling the AO to be mobile and presence on the ground but There has to be an answer.
There is an answer and lacking that technique, you're doomed to have mines and IEDs planted -- kill everything that moves near your routes. I doubt you or most Americans will go for that. Even I think that's a bit far...
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Old 02-04-2010   #247
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. I think we are trying to fight a gentlemans war with barbarians. They do not honor the geneva convention or care about collateral damage. I think the only time this country truly won a war was in ww 2 when we literally took care of the problem. You can never win a PC war. The enemy laughs and shrugs and sees weakness in what we call moral strength.
You are of course correct in all aspects. Unfortunately, World War II was the last war we fought without adoptingng those kinds of 'civilized' constraints -- as if war could ever be civilized...

While you and I may agree on that and many others also agree, there are a number of people in this country who do not agree that Thomas Jonathan Jackson was correct as quoted by G.F.R. Henderson "War means fighting. The business of the soldier is to fight. Armies are not called out to dig trenches, to live in camps, but to find the enemy and strike him; to invade his country, and do him all possible damage in the shortest possible time. This will involve great destruction of life and property while it lasts; but such a war will of necessity be of brief continuance, and so would be an economy of life and property in the end (emphasis added / kw)."
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... Well, the Seal got enraged one night and lit the village up. There was no more problem.
Things like that happened very frequently in WW II, frequently in Korea and occasionally in Viet Nam. They are and will be exceedingly rare today.

That declining occurrence rate is a function of the type of war, increasing gentrification (word of choice for a Family Board...), sadly increasing lawyerly involvement and vastly improved communication and reportage, the so-called 'information warfare' factor. It will only continue to decrease in acceptance as an acceptable response -- until the next existential war; then the gloves will again come off. Moral of that is to avoid thses little wars, they cost more than they're worth.
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...I think one of the chief errors of the bush administration was prostrating ourselves to an imaginary border in pakistan. Who the hell is pakistan ? Who the hell were the Cambodes or Pathet Lao? track your prey, follow its spoor and kill it.
The Bush mistake was in staying to 'fix' Afghanistan and Iraq. We should've slammed in hard and rapidly, removed the problem children and left, throwing money at the UN ion the way out and yelling "Cleanup on Aisle three..."

As for borders, not that easy to ignore IF you're trying to wage 'legitimate' war -- and the Politicians who try to wage war on the cheap, ignoring Stonewall, have to use the legitimate ploy...
Quote:
Hopefully the Taliban holds up in Helmand and wants to get their martyrdom in the spring. And we should disregard a two faced Pakistan and track down every insurgent in the valley and get rid of them. There should be no safe place. It sucked the blood from us in Vietnam and its doing it now too.
In both cases, the tactical and operational environments suffer from achingly poor strategic choices. Sadly, we cannot now disregard Pakistan. Nor can we change the rules at this point. We just have to suck it up and hopefully, resolve not to try this foolishness -- stupidity, really -- again.
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Old 02-06-2010   #248
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Default Taliban Claims Undetectable "Omar" IEDs in AFG

Mods - if there's someplace better for this, feel free to nudge it.

This, from IRN media:
Quote:
The Taliban in Afghanistan have built a new generation of improvised explosive devices which is not detectable, a Taliban statement has said.

The new IEDs, called "Omar", have been made by the Taliban technical experts inside Afghanistan and cost only $85 each, the statement, released on Friday, said.

According to the Taliban statement the new IEDs are not detectable by special mine-detector machines used by foreign forces based in the country.

Taliban said they have made the new remote-controlled IEDs after the US and NATO forces entered into Afghanistan special modern devices that are able to detect and neutralize ordinary IEDs made by the Taliban.

The Taliban say the new-generation IEDs have proved to be effective.

The report comes as the United States promised on Friday to provide armored vehicles, ground penetrating radar and other equipment to NATO allies to help protect their troops in Afghanistan from increasingly deadly roadside bombs ....
In the same reliability neighbourhood as IRN media, here's the Taliban's statement on that one (PDF at non-terrorist site - Scribd.com - but in Pashto).

Michael Yon, on a related track:
Quote:
Am told the enemy has started using IEDs that use no metal. As explained to me by an excellent source, when you step on the bomb, it causes two liquids to mix which then explode.
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Old 02-07-2010   #249
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Ahh, someone rediscovers--yet again--wooden mines/IEDs. This has been going on since about a week after someone first invented the (metal) mine detector...
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Old 02-07-2010   #250
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Default From WW I Italian box mines to

the Russian PMD series to the Schü to the VC models...
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Old 02-07-2010   #251
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The Taliban has discovered Diet Coke and Mentos. All is lost.
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Old 02-07-2010   #252
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In addition to WWII's wooden mines, the use of similar so-called "Omar" IEDs by drug cartels has been in Colombia for almost 30 years !

We've got mechanical mine clearance equipment all over the world, but yet can get a few vehicles to Afghanistan ?

It's proven that these vehicles improve agriculture too - turning 25 inches of soil with each pass
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Old 02-08-2010   #253
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The working speed of flail systems is a walking pace, the working speed of most other mechanical mineclearing systems is a slow bicycle pace.

Neither is a good convoy protection answer to under-road mines + neither provides protection against off-route mines.


These offence-defence spirals at low war intensity* won't yield any decision and thus deserve little attention. The key problem is the problem of IFF.



*: Most forms of possible combat are impossible because of an incapable enemy, after all.
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Old 02-08-2010   #254
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Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
The working speed of flail systems is a walking pace, the working speed of most other mechanical mineclearing systems is a slow bicycle pace.

Neither is a good convoy protection answer to under-road mines + neither provides protection against off-route mines.

These offence-defence spirals at low war intensity* won't yield any decision and thus deserve little attention. The key problem is the problem of IFF.

*: Most forms of possible combat are impossible because of an incapable enemy, after all.
Hey Fuchs,
Interesting your choice of the stone-age flail system but yet none of the military's heavy armor or even the latest German system. Both cover a square click in one hour. They are not designed to protect convoys (you know that already), and they do a good job of destroying anything with frequent chain replacements.

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Old 02-08-2010   #255
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Roller, rake, dozer & flail.

The double extruder idea didn't work properly afaik and magnetic solutions don't work against mechanical mines either. Simple pushing devices (that bend feeling antennas early) are uninteresting in this context as well.

Rake and dozer don't work satisfactorily in hard ground against buried mines. Rollers rarely if ever work satisfactorily.
Flail is terribly slow.

Did I miss one?


Anyway; the point is that mineclearing equipment is a sideshow even though the enemy is extremely weak and thus limited to little else but a mine campaign due to his lack of survivability in combat.
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Old 02-08-2010   #256
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Roller, rake, dozer & flail.

The double extruder idea didn't work properly afaik and magnetic solutions don't work against mechanical mines either. Simple pushing devices (that bend feeling antennas early) are uninteresting in this context as well.

Rake and dozer don't work satisfactorily in hard ground against buried mines. Rollers rarely if ever work satisfactorily.
Flail is terribly slow.

Did I miss one?


Anyway; the point is that mineclearing equipment is a sideshow even though the enemy is extremely weak and thus limited to little else but a mine campaign due to his lack of survivability in combat.
I realize your latest argument with robots didn't go over well, but never thought of you inside an armored vehicle performing mechanical demining Something in the recent past ?

Anyway, the point in this particular thread is some magic set of bags with liquid contents being combined to initiate an explosion (although I have some serious doubts much like the recent Nigerian as to some explosive force being contained in sandwich bags ).

I'm not sure about your point regarding mechanical demining being a sideshow. So quick to eliminate something that has been around for decades and performs its mission without fatalities (even among the most novice of operators in Africa).

I'll bite: You first argued over speed which was way off and now contend nothing works. You got me Fuchs !
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Old 02-08-2010   #257
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This sounds like a pile of misunderstandings.

Mechanical mineclearing works - although not every system on all soils.

It's way too slow. It's too slow for patrols, way too slow for convoys and it's also too slow for breakthrough battles. It was used in the latter with relatively good success under special circumstances, though.

The simple "minebreaker vehicle at the head of convoy" concept (as with that South African-inspired vehicle with the trailers) can be used for road sweeps, but it's useless for small unit movements/patrols.


Mechanical mineclearing is a sideshow in part because it doesn't help patrols or convoys much.
It's furthermore a sideshow because 100%, god-like mineclearing would not even come close to winning the war. It would merely take away another tool fromt he enemy, liit him to less options, probably further reducing the intensity fo warfare and thus the likeliness that we run out of steam before they do because it lasts too long and isn't worth the huge costs in comparison even to the best-case victory scenario.



Now if you think that my speeds are off then feel free to tell which system is faster in practical use.


"Both cover a square click in one hour. They are not designed to protect convoys (you know that already), and they do a good job of destroying anything with frequent chain replacements."

I don't know anything short of a nuclear bomb with this kind of capability.

"square click", that would be a square kilometer as far as I know.

A system of great 10m width (way too optimistic) would need to drive 100x1000 m per hour = 100 km/h (62 mph) plus instant turns to achieve that kind of performance.
An armoured combat engineer battalion may be able to clear mines that quickly.
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Old 02-08-2010   #258
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Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
This sounds like a pile of misunderstandings.

Mechanical mineclearing works - although not every system on all soils.

It's way too slow. It's too slow for patrols, way too slow for convoys and it's also too slow for breakthrough battles. It was used in the latter with relatively good success under special circumstances, though.
Precisely my point – mechanical clearing devices were designed for specific tasks and conditions. Operating them out of their intended environment merely reduces their effectiveness and leads some to believe they are useless. A lot more goes into leading a mechanical demining team than just driving or operating robots. The same can be said for choosing the right detector for the soil and target.

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Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
The simple "minebreaker vehicle at the head of convoy" concept (as with that South African-inspired vehicle with the trailers) can be used for road sweeps, but it's useless for small unit movements/patrols.
I guess that would depend on the vehicle’s application. I would not pretend to keep up with a convoy. I would however employ the vehicle sufficiently ahead of the convoy in a suspect area. I’m not advocating mechanical demining as a convoy protection vehicle, just another tool in the kit bag that has some proven advantages. Instead of riding around in an MRAP awaiting detonation, I suggest destroying an element that the enemy can no longer use.

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Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
Mechanical mineclearing is a sideshow in part because it doesn't help patrols or convoys much.
It's furthermore a sideshow because 100%, god-like mineclearing would not even come close to winning the war. It would merely take away another tool fromt he enemy, liit him to less options, probably further reducing the intensity fo warfare and thus the likeliness that we run out of steam before they do because it lasts too long and isn't worth the huge costs in comparison even to the best-case victory scenario.
Exactly – reduce the enemy’s options and save lives. You then have anecdotal evidence of mechanical demining not helping a patrol or convoy ? I'm unaware of this tactic ever being employed.


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Now if you think that my speeds are off then feel free to tell which system is faster in practical use.
As the fastest system is made in Germany and you contend these machines are all slow, I’ll let you do your own homework

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Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
"square click", that would be a square kilometer as far as I know.

I don't know anything short of a nuclear bomb with this kind of capability.

"square click", that would be a square kilometer as far as I know.

A system of great 10m width (way too optimistic) would need to drive 100x1000 m per hour = 100 km/h (62 mph) plus instant turns to achieve that kind of performance.
An armoured combat engineer battalion may be able to clear mines that quickly.
Yep, one square kilometer or 1,000 square meters.

Quote:
It works at a maximum rate of nine meters per minute... at a rate of up to 1,000 square meters per hour under optimum conditions

... destroys mines faster than they can detonate
As you may have feared, it can be remotely operated and, it's been around since 2001.
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Old 02-09-2010   #259
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A square click is a square kilometre - and that's 1,000 x 1,000 metres = a million square metres.


There's Keiler. Its operating speed is 1.5 to 4.5 km/h - mediocre walking pace at best. The width is 6.35 m

4.5 km/h * 6.36 m = 4,500 m /h * 6.35 m = 28,575 sq m/h
That's 1/35th of a square klick. That's of course total theory, the upper end of the imaginable given its tech specs. The real performance is more like creating two or three gaps in minefields (few hundred metres deep) during the course of a combat day.

Minebreaker is an even more rare vehicle and its producer claims a performance of 1.5 to 2 ha (Hektar) per day. That's up to 2 x 100 x 100m = 20,000 sq m.
Its width is approx 4m, and a day of work has most likely about 8-10 working hours.

Finally there is the R/C MAK Rhino. A report from Croatia tells about 150,000 sq m cleared in 14 days. That's 15% of a square click in two weeks.
The average was apparently about 10,700 sq m per day of work.


There's a reason for the use of explosives in battlefield demining; mechanical demining is terribly slow.
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Old 02-09-2010   #260
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These are not wooden box mines, they probably come in a variety of sizes, but can be a coffee cup sized hollowed out wooden initiator, with a hole in the top that the lid is (gently) set in. flat wooden "pressure plate" with a small pointy stick that goes down into the hole to where the chemicals are (picture a round drink coaster with a sharpened dowel rod in the center). Stepping on this mixes the chemcials triggering the initiating blast. Attached to this are as many jugs of home made explosive as they care to apply buried beneath it.

Something "The Professor" would make to defend Gilligan's Island.
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