By Army Maj. Carson Petry, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division
FORT HOOD, Texas -- Army combat engineers produced flaming booms and prodigious smoke plumes during a training exercise at the Curry Demolition Range here.
Soldiers from Alpha Company, 8th Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division conducted demolition training July 14-17.“This week we’ve conducted demolitions and squad movements,” Army Staff Sgt. Charles Marsch, a squad leader with A Company, 8th Brigade Engineer Battalion said during the exercise. “But today is the culmination of a week in the field. The purpose is to get the soldiers familiar with different ways to demo.”
Deployed Army combat engineers conduct route clearance operations to uncover improvised explosive devices, and they’re also experts at breaching operations, using high explosives in a variety of means.
Countless hours are spent in the classroom discussing safety and theory, but hands-on training gives combat engineers the confidence and experience required to be effective during combat operations.
The explosive strength of a demolition charge depends on the type of obstacle a combat engineer must breach, Marsch said, noting that breaching a barrier gives maneuver forces the most expedient way to close with and destroy the enemy. Such work, he said, requires technical expertise in handling and creating explosive charges.
The soldiers have trained on the Bangalore torpedo, as well as concrete charges, Marsch said. The Bangalore is torpedo-shaped featuring C4 explosive and detonation cord, he explained.
‘Everything Goes Away’
“You lay that on top of the obstacle, and everything goes away,” Marsch said. “When we come up to an obstacle, the enemy likes to use concertina wire. The Bangalore clears the lane for the tanks. It makes the lanes faster, smoother and safer.”
A concrete charge, he said, is an urban-use demolition charge that blasts through walls. It leaves a hole in the wall, allowing infantry forces a way in.
The combat engineers enjoy demolition training, he said.
“This training means a lot to me,” Army Spc. Hunter Goodall said. Learning how to apply a concrete charge during the exercise made him feel more confident, he added.