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Monday, June 06, 2016

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Weapons of the War in Afghanistan: Grenades, Mines, and Explosives Part II

Weapons of the War in Afghanistan
View of vehicles on the Korengal road nearing "Death Draw" from my position providing overwatch.

In the world of war, weapons and technology are ever changing, each war is characterized by the weapons and tactics used to fight it. As new environments and enemies are encountered, the parties to those wars develop new - more effective tactics, technologies, and weapons to counter and defeat their adversaries. The ingenuity seen in war has existed since (and most certainly before) the first wars of recorded history and continue to this very day. 

Keeping with that theory, let’s take a look at the weapons that have characterized the wars and conflicts that the United States has been a party to over the course of it’s history. During the course of this series, I aim to breakdown the weapons used in each conflict by their classification, and to which party they were employed by. Having served in combat operations in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley, I would like to start our series with the War in Afghanistan. 

For our seventh installment, let’s take a look at the most commonly encountered Grenades, Mines, and Explosives in the War in Afghanistan.

HMMMVs at Camp Blessing.

Part II: AAF / ACF

Chinese Type 67 
Like most stickgrenades, this Chinese type had a friction fuse with a pull wire which went through the handle. The threaded safety cap gave access to a pull ring. 

Although similar in design to the infamous German Model 24 Stielhandgranate, it was poorly manufactured and resulted in many duds. 

Some of these Grenades may be filled with Picric Acid explosive which can become sensitive with age.
  • Charge/filler: 0.92 oz of differing explosives.
  • Effective Range: 2 m
  • Weight: 1.18 lbs
Korengal Road near "Death Draw" an area of elevated IED/roadside bomb/mine activity. Korengal Valley, Afghanistan.

Russian F1
The Soviet F1 hand grenade, is an anti-personnel fragmentation defensive grenade. It is based on the French F1 grenade and contains a 60-gram explosive charge (TNT).

The UZRGM (“Universal Igniter, Hand Grenade, Improved") fuse is a universal Russian type also used in the RG-41, RG-42, RGO-78, RGN-86 and RGD-5 grenades. The standard time delay for this fuse is 3.5 to 4 seconds. However, UZRGM fuse variants are available which give delays between zero (i.e., instantaneous, specifically for use in booby-traps) and 13 seconds. It is possible to hear a loud "pop" as the fuse ignites and begins to burn. Additionally, it is possible to screw an MUV booby-trap firing device into the fuse well.

The F1 grenade has been supplied to various foreign countries over the years, including Iraq and other Arab nations, and there are different production variations according to country of origin (in terms of finish, markings and spoon/lever design). Though obsolete and no longer in production, it can still be encountered in combat zones.
  • Charge/filler: 2.12 oz Trinitrotoluene
  • Effective Range: 30 m effective radius, with fragmentation dispersal up to 200 m
  • Weight: 1.32 lbs
LZ at Camp Blessing.

The RGD-5 is a post World War II Soviet anti-personnel fragmentation grenade, designed in the early 1950s. The RGD-5 was accepted to service in 1954, and is still in service with many of Russia's former client states and has been supplied to Iraq as well as other Arab nations.

The grenade contains a 3.9 oz charge of TNT with an internal fragmentation liner that produces around 350 fragments and has a lethal radius of 25 meters. The weight of the grenade with the fuse fitted is 11 oz. Typically, the RGD-5 uses the 3.2 to 4 second delay UZRGM fuze. The RGD-5 may also be fitted with the more modern DVM-78 fuse, or variants of the UZRGM with delays of between zero (i.e. instantaneous for use in booby traps) and 13 seconds. It is also possible to screw an MUV booby-trap firing device into the fuse well.

The grenade is egg-shaped with no external ribbing, except for a lateral ridge where the two halves of the grenade join. The surface has a few small dimples on it with a green or olive drab, paint-scheme. The RGD-5 can be thrown about 35 to 45 meters by the average soldier and when thrown, it is possible to hear a loud "pop" as the fuse ignites and begins to burn. The grenade can inflict injuries (e.g. penetrating eye wounds) out to 15 meters from the site of detonation. Victims caught within 3 meters of the detonation site are almost certain to be killed or severely wounded.

This grenade is still manufactured in Russia with copies produced in Bulgaria, China (as the Type 59), and Georgia. Many millions of RGD-5s and its clones have been manufactured over the years and although not as advanced as more modern grenades, the RGD-5 is still an effective and inexpensive weapon. A single RGD-5 grenade costs around $5 US, making it highly affordable during a major conflict when many grenades are required.
  • Charge/filler: 3.9 oz Trinitrotoluene
  • Effective Range: 3 m kill radius, 15-20 m casualty radius.
  • Weight: 10.9 oz
Camp Blessing

Arges 84-P2A1

The Arges 84-P2A1 is a Pakistani copy/ripoff of the Austrian Arges HdGr 84. It has a high occurance of use in terrorist attacks in Southern Asia, and seem to be widely available. 
  • Charge/filler: 3.35 oz Plasticized PETN w/ 5000 approx. dia 2-2.3 mm steel balls
  • Effective Range: 20 m radius
  • Weight: 1.06 lbs
Camp Blessing

OZM 72 Bounding AP Mine

The OZM-72 is a Soviet manufactured bounding mine type anti-personnel mine.

They are normally painted olive green, and issued with a spool of tripwires and two green painted wooden or metal stakes for affixing the tripwires. The OZM-72 also contains preformed steel fragments, and is issued with empty fuse wells, so a variety of fuse options are possible.

The mine can be activated by a variety of fuses, including electronic fuses or command initiation, although they are most commonly fitted with an MUV booby trap switch which is activated by a tripwire.

On firing, a metal base plate remains in the ground, while the mine body is thrown up by a small lifting charge, but remains attached to a strong wire tether. When the end of the tether is reached at a height of approximately 0.5 m, the main charge explodes and scatters fragments of the casing across a wide area.
  • Charge/filler: 1.46 lbs TNT / 2400 steel fragments
  • Effective Range: 25 m
  • Weight: 11.02 lbs
On the LZ at Camp Blessing.

YM - II AT Mine (Iranian: SB-81 Copy)

The SB-81 is an Italian plastic cased minimum metal anti-tank blast mine dating from the early 1980s. The mine uses an air pressure based fuze, which gives it protection against overpressure and blast. It can therefore be regarded as a blast resistant mine. The mine can be scattered by hand or by mine laying systems.

The mine is found in the Falkland Islands and the Western Sahara. An electronically fused version of this mine (the SB-81/AR-AN) was also produced which featured an integral anti-handling device plus self-destruct capability.

YM-II: This is an Iranian copy of the mine, its specifications are slightly different from the SB-81. It weighs 7.05 lbs and has a main charge of 4.41 lbs of Composition B. It is produced in olive green or sand colored ABS plastic and is found in Afghanistan and Iran.

  • Charge/filler: 4.41 lbs Composition B
  • Effective Range: N/A
  • Weight: 7.05 lbs
Abandoned Village of Hanuk Banday seen from OP Rock, Firebase Vegas, through an m-145 optic on a M240B.

YM - III AT Mine (Iranian:Type 72 Copy)

The YM-III or YM-3 is a circular ABS plastic cased Iranian minimum metal anti-tank blast mine. It is a copy of the Chinese Type 72 non-metallic anti-tank mine. The mine uses a blast resistant fuze, which relies on gradual application of pressure to trigger it. The mine is found in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iran, and Iraq.
  • Charge/filler: 12.57 lbs of Composition B
  • Effective Range: N/A
  • Weight: 15.43 lbs
Abandoned house outside the wire along the northeastern side of Firebase Vegas, Korengal Valley, Afghanistan.
This structure would often be used by AAF/ACF fighters as cover to attack Firebase Vegas. 

TM 46 AT Mine
The TM-46 mine is a large, circular, metal-cased Soviet anti-tank mine. It utilizes either a pressure fuse or tilt-rod, which is screwed into the top. Anti-tank mines with this type of fuse were capable of inflicting much more damage to armored vehicles. The TMN-46 is a variant of the mine fitted with a secondary fuse well on the bottom (where it cannot be seen) which is slightly off-set from the center of the mine. This secondary fuse well can be fitted with a pull-fuse which functions as an anti-handling device. The mine was used by the North Vietnamese forces during the Vietnam War, and is found in many countries in Africa, the Middle East and South East Asia.
  • Charge/filler: 12.57 lbs of TNT
  • Effective Range: N/A
  • Weight: 18.96 lbs
The abandoned village of Hanuk Banday after bombing runs during which there was heavy engagement with AAF/ACF/ fighters.

Shawn G in the Korengal Valley, Kunar Province, Afghanistan.

For more info on these and other weapons
Technical specs compiled from:

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Shawn in the Korengal Valley, Kunar Province, Afghanistan.

For more info on these and other weapons
Technical specs compiled from:

"The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement."


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