Bangalore torpedo

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Bangalore torpedo
Bangalore-torpedo-batey-haosef.jpg
Place of originBangalore, India
Service history
In service1914-present
Used byIndian Army, Pakistani Army, British Army, Canadian Army, United States Army, Peoples Liberation Army
WarsWorld War I, World War II, Korean War
Production history
DesignerCaptain McClintock
Designed1912
Specifications
Lengthup to 15 m (49 ft) in 1.5 m (4.9 ft) sections

FillingTNT, C4
 
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Bangalore torpedo
Bangalore-torpedo-batey-haosef.jpg
Place of originBangalore, India
Service history
In service1914-present
Used byIndian Army, Pakistani Army, British Army, Canadian Army, United States Army, Peoples Liberation Army
WarsWorld War I, World War II, Korean War
Production history
DesignerCaptain McClintock
Designed1912
Specifications
Lengthup to 15 m (49 ft) in 1.5 m (4.9 ft) sections

FillingTNT, C4

A Bangalore torpedo is an explosive charge placed within one or several connected tubes. It is used by combat engineers to clear obstacles that would otherwise require them to approach directly, possibly under fire. It is sometimes colloquially referred to as a Bangalore mine, bangers or simply Bangalore.

It has been estimated that the modern Bangalore torpedo is effective for clearing a path through wire and mines up to 15 m (49 ft) long and 1 m (3 ft 3 in) wide.[citation needed]

Contents

Overview

The Bangalore torpedo was first devised by Captain McClintock, of the British Indian Army unit the Madras Sappers and Miners at Bangalore, India, in 1912. He invented it as a means of exploding booby traps and barricades left over from the Boer and Russo-Japanese Wars. The Bangalore torpedo would be exploded over a mine without the sapper having to approach closer than about 3 m (10 ft).

Bangalore Torpedoes are currently manufactured by Mondial Defence Systems of Poole, UK,[1] for the UK and US armed forces. They have been used recently on operations in Afghanistan for such actions as clearing enemy supply dumps within deep cave systems.

In World War I

By the time of World War I the Bangalore torpedo was primarily used for clearing barbed wire before an attack. It could be used while under fire, from a protected position in a trench. The torpedo was standardized to consist of a number of externally identical 1.5 m (5 ft) lengths of threaded pipe, one of which contained the explosive charge. The pipes would be screwed together using connecting sleeves to make a longer pipe of the required length, somewhat like a chimney brush or drain clearing rod.

A smooth nose cone would be screwed on the end to prevent snagging on the ground. It would then be pushed forward from a protected position and detonated, to clear a 1.5 m (5 ft) wide hole through barbed wire. An example of this technique can be seen in the silent film Wings, the 1927 film that received the Academy Award for Best Motion Picture. During the 1917 Battle of Cambrai, British Royal Engineers used them as diversions to distract the enemy from where the real battle was to be fought.[2]

In World War II

The Bangalore torpedo was later adopted by the U.S. Army during World War II, as the M1A1 Bangalore Torpedo. It was widely used by the U.S. notably during D-Day.

The Bangalore Torpedo was obsolete in British use at the time of D-Day having been replaced by rocket launched 'Conger' and AVRE vehicles equipped with a 40 lb explosive charge for bunker clearing.[citation needed]

Post World War II development

The Bangalore continues to be used today in the little-changed M1A2 version, primarily to breach wire obstacles. British Royal Engineers, Canadian Combat Engineers and Infantry Assault Pioneers along with American combat engineers have also been known to construct similar field versions of the Bangalore by assembling segments of metal picket posts and filling the concave portion with plastic explosive. The PE is then primed with detonating cord and a detonator, and pickets are taped or wired together each to make a long torpedo producing shrapnel that cuts the wire when detonated. This method produces results similar to the standard-issue Bangalore, and can be assembled to the desired length by adding picket segments.

The newest evolution of the Bangalore is the Bangalore blade, an updated version made from lightweight aluminum and using explosively formed penetrator technology to breach obstacles which the original Bangalore would have been unable to defeat. In a test detonation conducted on the television show Future Weapons, the Bangalore Blade blasted a gap roughly 5 meters wide in concertina wire, and created a trench deep enough to detonate most nearby anti-personnel mines. The Bangalore Blade was developed in the United Kingdom by Alford Technologies and is intended for use with both standard army and Special Forces units that require a lightweight, portable obstacle-clearing device.

Other recent path-clearing devices

The U.S. Anti-Personnel Obstacle Breaching System (APOBS) and the British RAMBS II rifle grenade breaching system are starting to replace the Bangalore for path-clearing due to their ease of use, effectiveness, and flexibility—they can clear a path several times longer than the Bangalore torpedo.[citation needed]

Fictional depictions

The use of a Bangalore Torpedo was depicted as part of a platoon training scene in the World War II movie [Breakthrough (1950 film)|Breakthrough], as a method to clear a mine field the Bangalore is referred to in the 1967 movie Tobruk, and to clear a barbed wire barrier depicted in the D-Day beach invasion scene in the films Saving Private Ryan, The Longest Day, Storming Juno, and The Big Red One as well as the games Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, Medal of Honor: Frontline, and Call of Duty 2: Big Red One.

In The Big Red One, screenwriter and director Samuel Fuller, a veteran of D-Day, expressed through the narrator his disdain for the inherent hazards of assembling and employing the weapon: "The Bangalore Torpedo was 50 feet long and packed with 85pounds of TNT, and you assembled it along the way - by hand. I'd love to meet the asshole who invented it!"

See also

References

  1. ^ http://www.mondial-defence.com/Products/Demolition_Charges.html
  2. ^ Wilfrid Miles, Official History of the Great War, Military operations, France and Belgium 1917, Volume III, The Imperial War Museum Department of Printed Books (1948), pp.96

External links