Watch this M1 Abrams dispose of a roadside bomb in the most efficient way it can. Rather than wait for the bomb disposal squad, this heavy armor unit takes matters into its own hands — or tracks — to avoid delaying or possibly injuring the entire convoy following close behind.
No soldiers were harmed in the filming of this video, which was uploaded in 2009. In hindsight, it appears the biggest threat the soldiers in this video face is the wrath of their commanding officer when he finds out about their unconventional bomb “disposal” method.
IEDs are commonly used in roadside bombs, and ever since the first U.S. casualty from an IED took place on Nov. 14, 2003 in Afghanistan, the rules of engagement have changed. Soldiers are not just looking for the enemy, they have to examine every edge of the road and diligently look for signs of suspicion to detect an explosive that could kill his team.
“It’s an enduring legacy of the homemade bomb that has created more American casualties over a decade and two wars than any other weapon,” USA Today reported.
However, it’s no match for the 70-ton M1 Abrams. Take a look below:
While there is still proper protocol to follow when a soldier suspects an explosive, it can become clearer why unconventional bomb disposal methods may be used when deemed necessary. It seems to be a life or death fight and waiting for conventional measures to be taken might not always be an option in certain situations.
The Pentagon’s Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) reported that somewhere between more than half to two-thirds of Americans killed or wounded in combat in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have been victims of IEDs planted in the ground, in vehicles or buildings, or worn as suicide vests, or loaded into suicide vehicles.
Numerous efforts have been made to battle the explosive devices. Vehicles that fare much better in explosions have been produced, more air vehicles are being used, bomb-defeating technology has been implemented, soldiers’ clothing has become more protective, computers on vehicles that can detect vehicle-borne IED hot spots are active, and robots are being used to ward off explosions.
Although this incident went without issue, some M1 Abrams were not so lucky against IEDs. In several incidents between 2004 and 2006, IEDs detonated near an M1 Abrams and killed and injured troops. The IEDs were more powerful and able to tear through the M1’s thick body.
While not all IEDs are as powerful, like the one in the video above, it’s a reminder of the dangers that confront even the toughest of battle machines.