Home On The Range (A Phat History Lesson)
(Authors Note) For those who were never in the military, a range is where soldiers perform various exercises and training. Besides shooting there are land navigation ranges, demolition ranges, indirect fire ranges, and NBC (Nuclear biological chemical) ranges.
There I was, no sh**, in Graffenwier. My unit went there every year to get rid of all the extra expendable stuff we had accumulated over the year. The way the Army works is that you have so much allotted to you and if you don’t use it all, they reduce the amount they give you the next year. It was vital to get rid of all the bullets and explosives we had, so that next year we could ask for more.
The best range ever was the demolition range, where we got to blow up a lot of C-4. The first lesson was how to use the new shock cord the army was moving to instead of the Det cord they had been using. It was pretty cool and we each got to try. The instructions went like this. Here is your brick of C-4. Here is your shock tube and primer. Here is your time fuse. Go set it up and wait for the word to start the time fuse. Now in hindsight the person giving the instructions should have told us that we shouldn’t put anything on top of our C-4. I would have, only because I know that if you give a soldier C-4 they’re going to blow something up. I chose to place a practice anti-tank mine (looks like a 10lb hockey puck) on top of my C-4. Other soldiers found other materials to place on theirs. We waited for the word, then pull, twist, push the timer was off; time to make a hasty retreat (break contact is what they call it now) and head a safe distance away.
We’re probably standing 500 meters away when the first one went off. BOOM! There goes the anti-tank mine launching about 200 ft into the air. Everyone started laughing only because it was just great to see something fly into the air because of the explosion. The next few went off sending more crap high into the air. Now it’s a hysterical laughter that everyone is enjoying the madness except our Company Commander, which will be important later on. Then BOOM, a railroad tie, that one industrious soldier placed on his and another soldier’s C-4, was lifted into the air. It sort of happened in slow motion. Everyone was silent as this 300lb railroad tie came flying at us. We all watched in silence as it flew over our heads and landed into the tree line 30ft behind us. Everyone stared in disbelief for about 5 seconds and then just fell out laughing. It would probably not have been as funny if it landed on a few of us, but since it missed, it was a riot. Remember what I said about the Company Commander not finding any of this funny? Well, we ended up doing a lot of push-ups because of our soldierly curiosity.
We then blew up some claymores and some bangalor torpedoes, and some home made claymores we made out of coffee cans, C-4, and rocks. The next exercise was to make an obstacle by adding only enough C-4 to blow half a tree away, so that when the tree fell across the road it would still have to be cut in order to move it. They gave us a formula and set up some large pieces of wood for us to try this on. Unfortunately it turned out we had too much C-4 left over even after we blew the pieces of wood up. Solution, just go put all the C-4 on the pieces of wood and keep the formula for some other time. My team had about 35 lbs of C-4 strapped to our piece of wood and that was probably the lightest of the 9 pieces of wood that were out there for us to use. We set the fuse then moved back 1km to watch the destruction. It turns out that instead of making an obstacle, we found a decent way to make toothpicks. I don’t think there was a piece of wood longer than an inch after the blast that shook the ground at 1km away. You could actually see the pebbles vibrate on the ground during the blast. So there was a story with explosions hope you liked it. If you want more Phat History tries these articles:
Phat History Lesson Part 1
One day Basil will actually read an article and post it on his blog before I trackback to him.