Skip to comments.Anti-Tank Mines Destroy M1A1 in Iraq - Photos
Posted on 11/09/2003 7:03:35 AM PST by 11B3
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My initial response was surprise. I have come to think of the M1A1 as nearly invincible.
But I am mistaken. Chobham plate is 25 years old and technology is always advancing. The design of the M1A1 has a very few vulnerabilities. It is inevitable that our tanks will become more and more vulnerable as the technology marches on.
You familiar with Pookie?
Pray for him, and I will too. The Memphis papers are full of it today; one of the 101 Airborne casualties was from here, as was one of the Mississippi National Guardsmen whose truck hit a mine.
I heard there was a Bradley mine fatality incident a few days back as well. I'm afraid your pal will soon at least see firsthand what such results will be.
I'm expecting about what happens to the BTR70/80 under such conditions. We shall see.
Smart top-attack munitions are going to eventually end the present-day tank's reign. To armor the top deck of an Abrams to the same standard as the frontal arc would take about six times as much armor. I don't know what the frontal armor package weight is, but a good guess is that you'd double the overall weight of the tank just slapping a thick layer of Chobham armor on the top deck.
Active defenses such as the Russian *Arena* active defence suite may buy some a few additional years for the Main Battle Tank, but even that approach doesn't offer protection from hypervelocity long-range tank killers like LOSAT.
He's probably right. But if you do have to take a hit or near hit from such fiendish devices, the vehicle to be in at the time remains the big fella.
None of the sixty-seven Pookies, built from 1976 to 1980, ever detonated a landmine. Twelve Pookies were lost and two drivers killed but only by electrically-detonated mines or by RPG7 rockets in ambushes ahead of their convoys. One driver was killed by a rocket hitting his windscreen, the other by a boosted command detonation mine. All the other drivers survived because the V-shaped armoured cab, 700 millimeters above the ground, deflected the blasts harmlessly.
The prototype was tested in the field in 1976 and promptly found twelve Soviet-made anti-tank mines on the notorious Mount Darwin-Mukumbura road in north-eastern Rhodesia. In the four years of their deployment, the Pookies found an assortment of over 550 anti-tank mines buried in the roads.
A world first and combat-tested, the Pookie remains the most effective mine-detecting vehicle available. Its Reutech (Barcom) detectors sweep a wide path. And soon its effectiveness will be doubled by the installation of the newest non-metallic (Ground Probing Radar) detecting system to combat the menace of the plastic mine. The Pookie is robust, fast and capable of all-weather and 24-hour operation on all roads and in open terrain. It is cost-effective, light on fuel, and, because it is based on the VW Kombi, spares, replacement engines, gearboxes and the like as well as mechanical expertise are available world-wide. When a mere 250,000 whites in the middle of Southern Africa are fighting with their lives they make a plan. Here is one of the little inventions we came up with in the 1970's. Take a look at a Pookie below:
When the landmines were taking a very heavy toll and we were in danger of losing, someone came up with a bright idea. Roads hundreds of kilometres long were mined. There just were not enough people nor enough time for people to walk on foot with mine detectors. So someone wondered if you could build a vehicle which could drive over a landmine without setting it off. Then you would mount a metal-detector on it. They needed a vehicle which was light and which could have its weight spread out over a wide area. They went and got hold of used Formula One racing car tyres and put it on a small vehicle powered by a VW engine. The result was a Pookie!!
Rhodesia was under a lot of strain and money was tight. The only source of Formula One racing tyres was the South African Grand Prix. Each year, army personnel from Rhodesia (dressed in plain clothes) would go to South Africa and buy up used racing car tyres. The South Africans couldn't understand what these crazy Rhodesians were up to!!
The first real live trial of the Pookie was on a long stretch of road known to be filled with landmines. The Pookie drove along and detected each mine. Upon detection the vehicle was stopped and the landmines were lifted. The Pookie was a roaring success. Only approximately five were ever built and they were Rhodesia's Secret Weapon against landmines. In a few hours the Pookies could detect and remove landmines which had been carried by humans for hundreds of miles and which had taken a long time to lay. Pookies were so important that their location was a military secret and nobody knew which roads they were going to sweep next. They could undo many weeks of labour by Marxist terrorists in a very short time.
Here is a Pookie from another angle. Note the metal detector hanging between the front & back wheels:-
The Pookie Troop
The Pookie at War! (Here we see a Pookie leading an army column across mine-infested terrain into Mozambique on a cross-border raid to hit the enemy in their camps. This is no different to what America did in Afghanistan after WTC. Note, behind the Pookie is a tank. Rhodesia could not afford to buy tanks. The few tanks they had were actually Russian tanks captured on cross-border raids... As you can see this Russian tank is now doing service in the Rhodesian Army!)
Funny Pookies! (Even in war there is time for a bit of fun. These Pookies were "dressed up" for the Jacaranda Festival and were humorously named "Jacaranda" & "Jill". Note: Those "pipes" sticking out at 45 degree angles are actually anti-ambush devices - a type of a shotgun).
When the Russians finally discovered that their entire landmine strategy was ineffective they went to work devising a new type of landmine which contained no metal. So they invented the plastic landmine. When the new mines were planted, the situation once more became critical.
Again the engineers thought and thought. Eventually somebody wondered: If you can't detect plastic, can you detect a hole dug in the hard soil? So, using early, primitive computer logic, they devised a "detector" which bounced sound waves into the ground and then analysed the reflection. The little computer then used its logic to determine when it thought there was a "hole". Note, the soil on the roads is tightly packed, but when you dig a hole for a landmine, no matter how tightly you pack it, it is not as dense as the rest of the road. The Pookies were never again as effective as they had been originally. Note, electrically detonated landmines were also used, but that is another story. Nevertheless, they did manage to get reasonable success - though with many more false alarms than before. So in the end, the Marxist Liberators were not able to defeat us using landmines alone.
Let me mention a few other things about the little Pookie. You will note it is very small because it only carried one person, the driver. The Pookies often drove in front of convoys. They drove quite far ahead because they needed a decent stopping distance in case they detected landmines. It was found, with practise, that a Pookie could travel along at 80 Km/Hr (48 mph) and still effectively detect mines! It would then stop and the convoy would also stop behind it. Due to this, the Pookie was thus always vulnerable to ambush. So it was armoured and the driver was protected with bullet-proof glass. The shape of his compartment was in a V just in case a landmine went off. The wheels were some distance from the base so that the blast effects would be some distance from the driver and so the wheel could fly off if need be. Nobody ever died in a Pookie.
Pookies were in demand all over Rhodesia. Then Robert Mugabe's "Liberators" took to planting landmines on airstrips.
This is what is left of a small plane from the African Development Fund which struck a landmine on an airstrip. The pilot and three passengers were killed. Again, people were killed who were actually trying to help the blacks!
It was not feasible to provide Pookies for the many landing strips and airfields in the bush. So they put metal detectors on a bicyle frame.
This bicyle-mounted mine-detector was named the FU-2. One can't help if there was some sort of message in the name! Note the car battery to power the detector.
It should be noted that Rhodesian mine-protected vehicles got a boost from some experiments which had been going on in South Africa. The South Africans were having landmine problems in South West Africa (Namibia). Their line of thinking was in the opposite direction to that of the Pookie. Rather than developing a vehicle to move over landmines without setting them off, they were trying to invent a vehicle to find them and to set them off! So they needed a vehicle which could survive landmine blasts.
A Prototype of the "Spinnekop" (Spider)
The "Spinnekop" (Spider) - the final product. (Note it has a mine-detector right at the front)
Everything I've picked up along the way since I first saw and heard the first shots fired *to whom it may concern* that came my way has come either as a result of hard-won trial and error experience that is quite literally priceless, or, more often, the distillation of that shared to me by others balanced against what I've found from experience to have worked okay for me and that which has not. Beyond that, I've filled in a few blanks from historical accounts, some of which are pretty well generally known, and some of which may not be.
But those who gave me some advice, both general and some specific, that kept me from having to learn the lessons and reach the conclusions they did the hard way never put a price on it, save that I gave it good consideration whether it meshed with that else I'd observed or not, and that I pass it along to those others it might help out.
So any time my background as a *reasonabli knowledgadble individual* RKI, if not *expert*, in such things can be shared, imparted, or passed along, then I remain glad to do so. And I need no payment or fee for that, other than the same consideration and condition via which I'vev picked it up: pay attention to it and see how it fits in, and pass it along to those it might help, so they don't have to learn the same lessons the hard way. Anybody with questions within my areas of experience or expertise is welcome to pass 'em my way, and if I can answer 'em easy, swell. If not, and I have to dig a little, I've been around long enough that I generally have a pretty good idea about where to at least begin looking, and by so researching material for another, I generally pick up a few more tidbits for myself too, so I profit by the inquiry as well.
So no charge. But if I can help out by filling in the blanks or recalling some odd detail here or there, dandy, and it helps me pay off the bet to others who shoed me the way when I was a younger pilgrim.
Any time you think I might be the one to come up with an answer, just shake my tree a little, and I'll try not to fall out of it, and come up with some kind of answer. When I can document it or give a fairly concrete or absolute *yes or no in most every case* response, then I'm happiest, but that's very often not the case.
Molan Lave. Camerone! a la baionette! Remember the Alamo; Avenge Goliad. So many Russians! Where will we bury them all? Nuts!
Plevna; surprise, surprise! *Killer Hill* at Kolla, Suomussalmi and the Ratte Road. Into the Valley of death rode the Six Hundred. The Newfoundlanders at the Smomme on July 01 1916. Pickett's men at Gettysberg; Cleburne's Division at Franklin. The Yankees at The Battle of the Crater. Kursk. Two battaliions of crapped-out Israeli Centurions on the Golan Heights, October, 1973. Mush Morton aboard the Wahoo; Kapitänleutnant Günter Prien and the battleship "Royal Oak" in October, 1939. The H.L. Hunley. Vladimir *Popski* Peniakoff and *Popski's Private Army*; The Long Range Desert Group and David Sterling's Special Air Service...and Otto Skorzeny's Brandenbergers.
Lyudmila Pavlichenko and her Tokarev rifle; Carlos Hathcock and his Winchester; Simo Häyhä and his m/28-30 pystykorvaa. Michael Wittman and his Tiger tank, Hauptmann Hans Joachim-Marseilles in his Messerschmitt BF-109; Hans-Ulrich Rudel in his Stuka. Dick Bong in a P-38, Jimmy Doolittle in a B-25 Mitchel over Tokyo, Major Charlie Kelly in his Huey, callsign *Dustoff*.
The difference? I do not know, though I know that we all surely will die, some of us alone and forgotten, others in swell company among the best of friends in the worst of times.
But they knew what that difference was, though they will not tell you. You have to find out for yourself. There are thousands of other examples. Millions.
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