01 June 2009

AT 09--day 3

Sitting in a culvert

Yesterday was a classroom day. We sat in a large tent in the FOB that stayed hot even when the air outside was cool and breezy, and learned about IEDs. IEDs are what the media calls 'roadside bombs'--Improvised Explosive Devices. They account for more than a third of the fatalities in theater, outstripping even accidents, which surprised me. The can be pretty scary; easily emplaced, hard to detect, and deadly. They've even got armor-piercing versions of them now, called EFPs--Explosively Formed Projectiles. That's new. Previously, some good armor pretty much made you immune, unless you got hit on your vehicle's soft underbelly or something. These new weapons are amazing--cheap, fairly easy to make in a machine shop, and make use of some cool physics. You take some metal--copper is good, because it melts easily--pack it in a cylinder over some explosive, and form the surface into a concave lens shape. When it's fired, it forms itself into a liquid metal bullet