Infantry Drills

H-65: Buried Minefield

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H-65. Manually reducing a buried minefield is extremely difficult to perform as part of a breaching operation. If mine burrows are not easily seen, mine detectors and probes must be used to locate mines. Mines then are destroyed by hand-emplaced charges. As an alternative, mines can be removed by using a grappling hook and, if necessary, a tripod. (See figure H-10.) Using a tripod provides vertical lift on a mine, making it easier to pull the mine out of the hole.

H-66. The leader organizes Soldiers into teams with distinct, rehearsed missions including grappling, detecting, marking, probing, and emplacing demolitions and detonating cord. Platoons or squads are exposed in the obstacle for long periods.

Figure H-10. Tripod

H-67. The grappling hook is a multipurpose tool used for manual obstacle reduction. Soldiers use it to detonate mines from a standoff position by activating trip wires and AHDs. After the grapnel is used to clear trip wires in a lane, dismounted Soldiers can move through the minefield, visually locate surface laid mines, and prepare mines for demolition. In buried minefields, Soldiers grapple and enter the minefield with mine detectors and probes.

H-68. Multiple grapplers can clear a lane of trip wires quickly and thoroughly, but they must time their efforts and follow procedures simultaneously. A hit on a trip wire or a pressure fuse can destroy the grappling hook and cord, so the platoon and squad should carry extras.

H-69. There are two types of grappling hooks: hand-thrown and weapon-launched.

H-70. Hand-thrown. A 60+-meter light rope is attached to the grappling hook for hand throwing. The throwing range is usually no more than 25 meters. The excess rope is used for standoff distance when the thrower begins grappling. The thrower tosses the grappling hook and seeks cover before the grappling hook and rope touch the ground in case their impact detonates a mine. He then moves backward, reaches the end of the excess rope, takes cover, and begins grappling. Once the grappling hook is recovered, the thrower moves forward to the original position, tosses the grapnel, and repeats the procedure at least twice. He then moves to the end of the grappled area and repeats this sequence through the depth of the minefield.

H-71. Weapon-launched. A 150-meter lightweight rope is attached to a lightweight grappling hook designed to be fired from an M16 or M4-series rifle using an M855 cartridge. The grappling hook is pushed onto the rifle muzzle with the opening of the retrieval-rope bag oriented toward the minefield. The shooter is located 25 meters from the minefield’s leading edge and aims the rifle muzzle at a 30-to 40-degree angle for maximum range. Once fired, the grappling hook travels 75 to 100 meters from the firer’s position. After the weapon-launched grappling hook (WLGH) has been fired, the firer secures the rope, moves 60 meters from the minefield, moves into a prone position, and begins to grapple. The WLGH can be used only once to clear a minefield, but it can be reused up to 20 times for training because blanks are used to fire it.

Next: H-72: Demolitions

Go Back To: U.S. Army FM 3-21.8: The Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad