Thursday, 21 April 2011

Another Senseless Waste of a Bomb Disposal Expert

Yet another waste of a life, that needn't have been cut short. Another life of many in the Ordnance Disposal Section that the top brass seem to deem expendable.

The fact is in any job, statistically eventually you are going to make a mistake because you are human and fallible. If that job is defusing bombs that someone else has set to kill you, statistically the odds of surviving aren't good to start out with. Combine the two and throw into the mix the effort and stress of defusing bomb after bomb, day after day, in an active and hostile theatre of war anyone with any sense would see that the odds of surviving a tour of duty without death or injury would be be pretty slim. If the odds of surviving a tour are that low, its tantamount to asking or troops to do suicide missions.

Those who day after day, under such immense and unimaginable stress on behalf of their fellow brothers/sisters in arms continue to disarm IEDs with the certain knowledge of their low odds of survival deserve our utmost respect and admiration.

Its just a pity that such waste is senseless, when other hugely safer means of clearance can be used instead.
As long ago as World War Two, we had flail tanks: armoured vehicles that were used to clear mines, with very little risk from the occupants. Today, in our war zones,  we see British Ordnance Disposal staff walking in front of convoys, with no protection from IEDs and just a flak jacket to stop small arms fire.


Its about time our top brass wised up and changed tactics, rather than put our troops under such stress. A female bomb disposal expert being killed might highlight the issue and make a difference, although it shouldn't. I just wonder if at some point, under such unimaginable mental stresses, we'll get the first bomb disposal expert to send a letter home to say they deliberately set off an IED to kill themselves.

It doesn't have to happen: years ago DOTR provided an alternative solution, the d-9 armoured bulldozer. The Americans are using the breacher, a bulldozer/tank hybrid. UK forces have an equivalent called the Trojan.

We could quite easily use such vehicles to clear main routes to and from bases. There is no need to endlessly patrol back alleys and risk the lives of our soldiers in such obvious ambush territory. If one of our bases is being attacked, send out an armoured convoy with the breacher in front directly to the enemy position and engage them. That bomb disposal experts and their fellow comrades are being sacrificed to end their days in some dusty alleyway in order to prove a point by supporting endless, pointless foot patrols just seems to be a waste.

Our armed forces are at their best when they innovate, invent and integrate new strategies into their operations, putting the enemy on the back foot. Its about time our top brass disengaged from their 1914 mentality and engaged the mentality and strategy of 1944.


  1. I suspect the main motivation is that people are cheaper...

  2. Based upon actions, not words, which do you think is more important to the MoD - money or soldiers?

    (Same goes for most of our politicians really, especially New Labour who appear to despise our soldiers while loving rolling about in tax-payers' money).


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