Armor & Mines Redux

Time: January 1968
Place: Vietnam.

One of the major tasks for Mobile Construction Battalion Four was the convoying of men, material and equipment to construction sites such as the huge Liberty Bridge across the Thu Bon River and An Hao, south of Da Nang. The roads these convoys travel were swept every daily for mines, but on occasion the enemy replanted mines in the route of an unsuspecting convoy.

Early in MCB Four’s deployment a convoy vehicle struck a mine which killed all occupants. All were Seabees attached to MCB Four. Lt. George W. Partlow, CEC, USN, noted the value of protective shields on these vehicles as they would be traveling these dangerous roads day after day. Lt. Partlow devised an armor plating which could be installed in almost any vehicle.

Formerly, these vehicles were sandbagged on the floor of the cabs and in other vulnerable locations. This sandbagging afforded some protection against mines; however lives were still in danger and injuries were still being sustained even with this sandbag protection.


The new method by Lt. Partlow consisted of installing 3/8-inch steel plate under the fenders and beneath the cab of the vehicles. Layers of sandbags were then placed between the plates and the truck members. This combination of metal plating and sandbags created a more effective barrier to protect the driver and passengers from the blast effects and shrapnel resulting from an exploding mine.

Source: All Hands Magazine, January 1968

Time: December 2005
Place: Iraq

(AP) – Critics of the war in Iraq seized on charges that U.S. troops
there don’t have enough armored vehicles as another example of poor
planning by the Pentagon.

President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld tried Thursday to tamp
down the firestorm, which was ignited a day earlier when an Iraq-bound
soldier publicly complained to Rumsfeld that the Army wasn’t properly
armoring vehicles for the campaign.

Read more here.

One Response to “Armor & Mines Redux”

  1. Airborne Combat Engineer Says:

    Road bomb deja vu

    The North Coast Curmudgeon notes we’ve been there before (in Vietnam) when it comes to dealing with IEDs (not called that then) on roads, and we don’t seem to have made much progress. He shows a photo of some field-expedient

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