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Wed May 4, 2016, 01:11 AM

Twelve Green Berets, two tons of explosives...



War story follows: One of the things Special Forces soldiers do is train other nations' armed forces. Before a Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha can deploy on a training mission, they must present the training the other country's army will receive to a US Army unit at either their base or a base close to theirs. When I was at Fort Drum, NY, the closest SF base was in Massachusetts...10th Group learned better than to try training MI school students in 1982 (which is a story for another day) so they came to Drum, and they trained our unit in advanced first aid, demolitions, survival and weapons.

You can't really train with explosives at Devens...maximum single blast is 25 pounds. What the hell are you going to do with only 25 pounds of explosives? So when they went to a real Army base they decided to get in some practice for themselves...and brought FOUR THOUSAND POUNDS of C-4, TNT, military dynamite, Bangalore torpedoes and detonating cord with them. First thing they did before we went downrange is asked us to call Range Control and find out what the biggest single blast they could set off was. The duty fell to me.
"Yeah, we've got twelve insane Green Berets here with a truckload of HE who want to know how much they can set off at one time."
'How much do they have?'
"Four thousand pounds."
'Oh, it's a lot more than that...'
If you want to make a Special Forces engineer happy, tell him he can set off as much explosive as he wants.

This particular detonation had 300 pounds of TNT, fifty of C-4 and one Bangalore torpedo in it. On top of all that shit we piled concertina wire, logs, bricks, used tires, an old jeep, just anything we could get our hands on that was lying on the range. I got this shot by aiming my camera toward where the bomb was, crouching down inside the bunker they had for us (it was a quarter-mile from the blast pit) with my finger on the shutter, waiting until the sergeant counted down to one, then leaning on the shutter button until the sound of the explosions reached us. I photographed seven different blasts and this is the only one where I got the explosives while they were still burning.

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Reply Twelve Green Berets, two tons of explosives... (Original post)
jmowreader May 2016 OP
csziggy May 2016 #1
malthaussen May 2016 #2

Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Wed May 4, 2016, 08:28 AM

1. Whoa - that is impressive. And a bit terrifying!

Among my grandfather's photos we found some that appear to have been during his time in the Army Corp of Engineers in World War I. A few of the pictures show the result of explosions - one shows an explosion (540) - and pictures of cards with the amount and type of explosive. Unfortunately, these were loose oversized negatives so I have no way of knowing which card goes with which of the test explosions.

In many of the pictures, the engineers seem to be having some fun but in the one with two men holding what appear to be sticks of dynamite the younger man is not at all happy (549).

Maybe you can give me suggestions as to the various explosions and which card goes with which result? http://www.woodswell.com/family/albums/dmw_photos/1918_World_War_I/index.html I particularly like image 552.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Wed May 4, 2016, 10:41 AM

2. Reminds me of an iconic WW2 photo...

... of a bomb hitting U.S.S. Enterprise during the Battle of the Eastern Solomons. It's a motion picture frame, extracted from a film one can still see on YT. Originally, it was believed that the photographer did not survive the experience, but subsequent research has shown that the photo was taken by a different person, who did survive, although his equipment didn't.

I don't know how to post pix here, but have a link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:USS_enterprise-bomb_hit-Bat_eastern_Solomons.jpg

-- Mal

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