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Simultaneous explosive reductions.

Live-fire operations at NTC are an excellent training opportunity for engineers. NTC is the only training environment in the continental United States where units may regularly fire the M58 high-explosive mine-clearing line charge (MICLIC). Often, reverse planning based on the overwatching enemy drives the unit to conduct a brigade-level breaching operation. This requires two lanes through a complex obstacle in order to assault a task force onto the objective. Units often choose to weight the brigade's breach force with at least two MICLICs to quickly create two lanes using explosive reduction techniques. This raises the question, "Should we reduce at two points of breach simultaneously?" The MICLIC surface danger zone (SDZ), as well as the unit's ability to conduct rehearsals, should drive this decision. The answer to the question can be "yes." However, units should consider the following points when planning and preparing for simultaneous explosive reductions:


The NTC-approved MICLIC SDZ (shown below) is based on Department of the Army (DA) Pamphlet (Pam) 385-63, Range Safety, with each distance in the fragmentation zone rounded up to the nearest 100 meters. The SDZ is divided into Area F; the 30-meter radius around the MICLIC; and the fragmentation zone of 500 meters forward, 200 meters to the rear, and 800 meters to each side of the MICLIC. DA Pam 385-63 states who can be in Area F and the fragmentation zone when the MICLIC is fired:

* Only the MICLIC, armored towing vehicle, and M1 tank with mine-clearing blade or roller (if the unit chooses to fire over a tank) may remain in Area F.

* Elements of the breach force and support force may be inside the fragmentation zone but must be behind the MICLIC firing line outside of Area F and must be "buttoned up."


Points of Breach

With these mandatory control measures, units that conduct simultaneous explosive reductions must ensure that points of breach are at least 800 meters apart. The reasons for this are twofold:

* One enemy artillery-delivered scatterable minefield (200 by 800 meters) can close two lanes if they are not at least 800 meters apart.

* In the event of a misfire on one lane, the unit can continue to create the second lane by dismounting engineers to mark the lane and sending the assault force through to the farside objective. In every type of misfire procedure for a rocket or charge, the unit must wait 30 minutes before approaching the launcher or charge, if it has been deployed. This means that within the SDZ, all vehicles must maintain a buttoned-up status, and no vehicles can move forward of the MICLIC firing line.


None of these procedures are specific to NTC and the NTC exercise operating procedures. Leaders should consider them during all phases of the operation whether it is a training or combat operation. To adequately synchronize any combined arms breaching operation, units must conduct full-force or, at the very least, reduced-force rehearsals where clearance of the SDZ and reporting procedures are adequately practiced. This is vital to successfully reducing two lanes through an enemy obstacle and maintaining the momentum of the brigade's attack.

The Sidewinder MICLIC Guide is available at <>. To obtain a copy of this guide in a compact disc format, e-mail <> and provide a valid unit address.

By Captain Kirk Gibbs

POC is Captain Kirk Gibbs (SW03B), (760) 380-5151 or DSN 470-5151, or e-mail <>.
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Title Annotation:National Training Center (NTC)
Author:Gibbs, Kirk
Publication:Engineer: The Professional Bulletin for Army Engineers
Date:Oct 1, 2003
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