Another Wanat Lesson: 700 Ball Bearings



When's the last time you emplaced a claymore mine? When's the last time you've even seen one?

I'm sure I'll get a few of the 'you're an idiot' comments, but in several trips to Afghanistan and Iraq -- as well as multiple trips to the field for training with a variety of Marine and Army units -- I have never once seen or heard of claymores being used or trained for employment. That's not to say it doesn't happen, it's just that I've had a pretty good pass over a lot of the modern military and never once did I run into any (figuratively, of course)...

And that's a shame, because what a great piece of gear...

Well, more from the Wanat history -- seems the institutional Army needs to take a closer look at claymore training and employment.

American soldiers require additional and enhanced training in tactical employment of claymore mines. Claymore mines were integral to controlling and denying the dead ground around OP Topside, and were not optimally employed to accomplish this task. Claymore mines were not employed at COP Kahler, although they could have proven to be extremely efficient at controlling the dead ground in the ravine to the west and north of the COPs perimeter...

However, the limited numbers and failure to have overlapping Claymore fields of fire is evidence that Claymores were not employed to their maximum effectiveness at OP Topside.

Claymore mines should always be employed in depth, with the rear Claymores employed and recovered after darkness, all firing wires buried, and all Claymores should have their rear highlighted with visible markings (chemical lights, reflective tape, IR glitter tape, white paint, etc.) so that any enemy disturbing or tampering with Claymores can be readily detected, and deterred by the employment of covering Claymores or other suppressive fire. The effective use of Claymore mines needs to be emphasized, and additional numbers of Claymore mines should be deployed for the defense of static positions. Doctrine and TTPs for Claymore mine employment need to be enhanced and strengthened. This recommendation should be addressed by the U.S. Army Center for Lessons Learned and by TRADOC service schools, particularly the Infantry School.

Now, I did take a look at a copy of the Small Unit Operations in Afghanistan handbook recently compiled by the Center for Army Lessons Learned in Leavenworth. It mentions the use of "mines" and claymores in the defense of COPs, JCCs and OPs but doesn't go into very much detail at all.

Like the water purification callout, maybe it's time for more training and better technology with the claymore...

-- Christian

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