Friday, November 16, 2007

Shaped Charge Weapons

I was at dinner with a friend tonight and I was discussing how our troops in Iraq often don't receive the proper gear and they outfit themselves with superior gear (at their own expense) than what was issued to them. This was in the context of sending them some supplemental items, but that isn't the topic of this blog...

His opinion was that instead of trying to send them gear, we should complain to our congress to get them to send the correct gear. I said that in fact it was part of the tradition of the US Military to send their soldiers out with outmoded gear.

In a bad way, two threads collide in the topic of shaped charged weapons.

In WW2 the US Military was famous for failing to provide soldiers with adequate personal anti-tank weaponry. While our infantry struggled with the bazooka, which frequently bounced off the armor of German tanks (and even more sadly, against Soviet-made T34 tanks in Korea in the 1950's) the Germans had a weapon that worked well against even the heavily armored Soviet tanks, much less the poorly armored US vehicles. The Germans used shaped charge weapons, namely the Panzerfaust, which was a simple charge on a stick but was crude and effective.

Now in Iraq, when the US finally gets serious and up-armors the Humvee, the insurgents (I prefer terrorists) move to shape charged weapons against our vehicles, which can even penetrate the armor of our M1 tanks, much less these armor plated SUV's. There are a variety of defensive measures that can be employed against these weapons, as you can read in this article. Here is another article about shaped charge weapons that is also helpful.

Unfortunately what is old is new again...

1 comment:

gerry from valpo said...

Many civilians fail to realize that the HMMWV (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle) was designed to take the place of the Jeep, not a tank.

The Bradley Fighting Vehicle was designed to do what the HMMWV is doing in Iraq. A good friend of my son commands one in Korea. I can't tell you why they are not being used as they should in Iraq. Maybe Don Rumsfeld knows.