Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Achtung Minen III. [Conclusion]

This is coolbert:

Hobart’s Funnies, to some extent, are still alive and well.

Being used in de-mining operations, the world over.

But with mixed results.

In previous blog entries, I have touched upon some of the unique and unconventional methods being used the world-over in de-mining operations. Methods to include:

* The giant Gambian rat. [to sniff out land mines.]

* Genetically modified water-cress. [cress growing directly over a mine will turn purple in color, other cress remaining green!]

De-mining POPULATED areas in the aftermath of a war is NOT an easy business.

Expensive, time consuming, and DANGEROUS!!

There seems to be no magic or silver bullet to the difficulties posed by de-mining.

Landmines, implanted by various warring factions, are an acute problem. Again, is a worldwide problem.

Most pronounced in such nations as:

* Angola.

* Mozambique.

* Afghanistan.

* Cambodia.

* Columbia.

Land mines, designed to main, causing loss of multiple limbs among victims but not necessarily death, are an enormous strain on poverty stricken countries that cannot afford first class medical care, to include prosthesis for the crippled.

[Worst of all in countries that are by nature agrarian. An adult man in an agricultural society that is crippled in such a manner is an ABSOLUTE LIABILITY on the rest of the populace. Sad, but true!]

Large portions of arable cropland are rendered unusable by the indiscriminate and wanton sowing of land mine, by all factions. Often used AS A TECHNIQUE OF TERROR!!

Land mines, designed also to be more or less undetectable by CONVENTIONAL MEANS!! Very difficult to locate and even more dangerous to remove. AND WILL STAY ACTIVE AND LETHAL FOR DECADES!!

"many anti-personnel mines and some anti-tank mines have a very low metal content and are much more challenging to locate. The process is typically slow, expensive, and dangerous"

[in northern France, live munitions from World War One are uncovered every year. And with annual regularity, a French farmer is blown to pieces when his plow strikes and detonates buried but still deadly ordnance brought to the surface by heaving caused from the spring thaw.]

Civilian variations of Hobart’s Funnies are in operation in those parts of the world most afflicted by the land mine “disease”. Machines working in conjunction with other land mine clearing methods in an exhaustive effort to remove the “menace”.

Machines to include mine rollers, mine plows, and mine flails.

The civilian version of the tank flail is the Hydrema 910.

"the vehicle was first put into service with the US military at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, in order to clear dangerous areas"

These devices are effective, but as could well be expected with any endeavor of this type, NOT 100 % effective.

"Neither system [flails or rollers] is completely reliable and both will leave undetonated mines, requiring the minefield to be rechecked by another method. Mine flails may only be 80% effective; often good enough for military mine clearance, but well below the 99.6% standard set by the United Nations for humanitarian demining."

[when a military “clears” a minefield, they create a gap, a breach, through which units can advance. They NEVER intend to clear the entire minefield, only an OPENING. And, if during the breaching operation, casualties are incurred, that is considered a “cost of doing business”!]

"In the combat zone, the process is referred to as mine clearance. The priority is to breach the minefield quickly to create a safe path for troops . . . it is accepted that mine clearance will be imperfect and there may be casualties from undiscovered mines."

And NOT liked to a large degree by those organizations conducting the land mine clearing operation.

Cost prohibitive in many cases. All these machines require fuel, maintenance, spare parts, trained operators, etc.

AND, destructive of the land in a manner not acceptable.

Well, NO ONE ever said that land mine clearing was going to be easy.

Civilian versions of Hobart’s Funnies are useful. But not entirely so! Are parts of a total solution! I know some pretty significant thinkers and engineers are at work on a HOLISTIC approach to land mine clearing. Using a multitude of devices and ideas to accomplish the goal!

Hey, again, NO ONE EVER said this was going to be easy.




Anonymous Alec said...

Hey, I do enjoy reading your blog. I tried to find a way to email you but couldn't so have chosen this option. It's moderated anyway so it's in effect, an email.

I just wanted to pass on to you something that you may find interesting. Apparently the real reason Bush and Powell didn't push the troops on to Baghdad in Gulf War I was that we'd run out of ordinance. Here's where I found this info:

3:36 PM


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home