Bangalore torpedo

Bangalore torpedo

Infobox Weapon
name= Bangalore torpedo

caption= Bangalore torpedo in Batey ha-Osef museum, Israel.
origin= UK
service= 1914-present
used_by= British Army, United States Army
wars= World War I, World War II
designer= Captain McClintock
design_date= 1912
length= up to 15 metres in 1.5 m sections
filling=TNT, C4

A Bangalore torpedo is an explosive charge placed on the end of a long, extendible tube. 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 "a Bangalore".

It has been estimated that the modern Bangalore torpedo is effective for clearing a path through wire and mines up to 15 metres long and 1 metre wide.Fact|date=February 2007


The Bangalore torpedo was first devised by Captain McClintock, of the British Army unit, the Bengal, Bombay and 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 three metres (ten feet).

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 metre (five foot) 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, and 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 metre (five foot) 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 "Most Outstanding Production".

In World War II

The Bangalore torpedo was later adopted by the U.S. Army as well during World War II, as the M1A1 Bangalore Torpedo. It was widely used by both the U.S. and Commonwealth forces, notably during D-Day. The use of a Bangalore Torpedo to clear a barbed wire barrier is depicted in the D-Day beach invasion scene in the films "Saving Private Ryan", "The Longest Day", and "The Big Red One" as well as the games ' and '. 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 85 pounds of TNT, and you assembled it along the way - by hand. I'd love to meet the asshole who invented it."

Post WWII development

The Bangalore continues to be used today, in the little-changed M1A2 version, although primarily to breach wire obstacles, allowing soldiers to subsequently clear a path of mines using hand-emplaced demolitions, grappling hooks, or other means. American combat engineers have also been known to construct similar, "field-expedient" versions of the Bangalore by assembling segments of metal picket posts and filling the concave portion with C4 explosive. The C4 is then primed with detonating cord, and pickets are taped to each other to make a long torpedo producing shrapnel that cuts the wire when detonated. This method produces similar results 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 aluminium and using shaped-charge 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 metres wide in concertina wire, and also 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, easily-portable obstacle-clearing device.

Other recent path-clearing devices

The U.S. Antipersonnel 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.Fact|date=April 2007

ee also

* Mine-clearing line charge

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Look at other dictionaries:

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