Brits Use Mine Blasting Charge in Afghan Offensive

To blast their way through Taliban mine fields during their push into Marja in southern Afghanistan, the Marines turned to the Assault Breacher Vehicle (ABV), an M1A1 Abrams main battle tank with its turret removed and fitted with a dozer blade, a mine plow and two Mk 155 linear demolition charges. The line charge carries 1,750 pounds of C4 that is shot out 100 meters in front of the tank to blast a lane through IED and mine belts.

Now, the Brits are getting in on the act with a lane-clearing mine-charge of their own. Named the Python, it’s similar in function to the ABV, although the rocket-propelled mine charge is carried on a trailer towed behind the Trojan armored engineer tank. The 230 meter long hose, packed with one-and-a-half tons of high explosive, is launched over the tank and onto the mine field, then detonated, clearing a 7 meter wide lane.

“It takes your breath away. You feel the vehicle rock, and in awe of what has just happened. You see the flash, hear the bang and then feel the shock wave,” said Staff Sergeant Mark Eastley, 35, from Devon, from 30 Armoured Engineer Squadron.

The Royal Engineers used the Python breaching charge for the first time in Afghanistan on Saturday during the Marja offensive, according to the Ministry of Defense press release.

- Greg

  • Jim

    Wrong. It was the US which copied the British. A system called Giant Viper was in use long before Desert sheild, mounted on the AVRE (Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers). It is in fact the US which has just caught up with us.

    • Marine1

      Captain Red Coat-

      The truth your mom invented it first, then I tapped your mom, and the US has just followed…

      Don’t you love crappy mom jokes

  • joe

    Well Whooop-tee-doo!

    Does it really matter there Gomer who came up with it first, it ‘s the fact it’s being used.

    And no where in the article does it say anybody came up with it first…

    • Jim

      The write up states that we are jumping on the bandwagon of using this equipment. This is incorrect. The British Army have had this equipment (uniquely) since the 1950’s. ‘Python is merely the latest incarnation. Its fine if you dont like accuracy Joe. I do.

  • Dave

    Our AEs where using this system in 45 commando Royal Marines up country Aden in the 1960s I know because I was there.

  • Lowell

    what the article meant is that the US Marines were the first to use it in Afghanistan. Then the Brits started using there’s after the US. geeezzzz you people need to get a freaking life. We are all on the same team.

  • Lowell

    and Jim no where does it say the Brits are jumping on the bandwagon just merely states, “Now, the Brits are getting in on the act with a lane-​​clearing mine-​​charge of their own. ”

  • Jim

    Same thing isnt it Lowell?? Yes we are on the same team, however I stated what I stated to educate. Would you correct me if I claimed for Britain the Wright Brothers acheivement?

  • msufalcon

    i don’t know who came up with it first, but in WWII they were using tanks with flails in the front to deal with mines, so mine clearing tanks isn’t remotely a new idea

  • elmo

    Footnote to msufalcon’s comment. In addition to the mentioned “flails tanks”, the first version of the Python/Giant Viper was also used in WWII both both British and U.S. tropps.

  • AMMO

    The point, JIM, is that in AFGHANISTAN, we were using them first. Not that we invented them, not that the british are socialist pigs, simply that we were using them in afghanistan before they were.

    Just felt I should “educate” you.

  • eric

    focus people, focus!

    How is the offensive doing? How are the talib doing, and the press, and the public, and the politicians? Here in Holland our government is on the brink of falling on a’stan. What is the situation with you?

  • Camp

    “Military launches python attack” (video)…

  • maxentropy

    Where’s the video?! :)


    I dont care who invented it or who used it first. All I want to know is WHERE DO I GET ONE?!
    They never sell the good stuff at the Army surplus store…

  • willy

    sounds cheap and easy.
    Lukily taliban doesnt start shooting inthem when they enre in the pocket blowin pocket side mines by remote making driving out impossible.
    Nice to see how this works out?
    :) :)

  • willy

    1. They cant see the mines with scanners=scary(plastic,ceramic? whooooooo)!
    2. There are so much of them that they need to fucking LaNe in the middle of every fucking desert=SCARY??
    3. Self motting=Priceless!! :) :)
    4. If there are really so many mines why dont we use our superior chemical pruduction ability western “cheap as mass production with hitech” way and meter bomb the full fucken country?=Gettin riddof full problem=Pricelessss.

  • willy

    Is this supposed to make taliban dick all their chemicals into one pack for easy disposal or to catch web trolls. I wonder??

  • willy

    Hey boys they know about our tunnels!

  • matt

    afghan mines are a bag or jug or more of ammonium nitrate with a detonator and cell phone. Very low tech stuff typically. Stick a bag of AN to the bottom of a culvert, run a wire with a cell phone at the end, back off half a mile and wait for your local ISAF to come walking or driving by.

    This is low, low tech warfare out in the boonies typically.

  • Sapper

    Bottom line is that is not the Brits or the Marines using one in the picture. It is United States Army Combat Engineers in Iraq, Summer 2008…..its my freaking Platoon!