Falklands Finally Cleared of Mines

Sigh.
All my hard work, those months of refencing miles of mine fields....
Oh ok.
All those weeks....
Alright, days..
Sod it, hours then.
And many, many days sitting in the BV with an issue green flask watching the rain running down the windows.

Did they even sort out the one the PSA laid?
 

theoriginalphantom

MIA
Book Reviewer
It's possible that the time taken to lift mines could be relative to the accuracy of the laying records.

If any records exist.


and the movement of items in the ground
 
How long did it take to lay enough mines, for it to take nearly 40 years to dig them all back up again?
I’m genuinely interested in how it’s done. Is it one sapper with a sack of mines and a trowel, like he was planting daffodil bulbs?

It takes about 5 minutes to dig in one AP mine and arm it, more or less. The daffodil analogy is a good one.

The story we were told about the Argentine mines is that they initially tried to record where the individual mines were, but as the task force approached they started thickening up by throwing mines out like seeds. Mines like the SP33 are intended to be scatterable from things like helicopters so this could be done.

For those who were ever there the terrain away from the beaches largely consists of peat liberally mixed with BFO slabs of rock. The Argies also followed the old practice of only marking the rear fence This meant, IIRC, that the 3 Para attack on Longdon went through a minefield, but (again, IIRC) there was only one casualty as most blokes just stepped from rock to rock.

As I’ve mentioned above it didn’t take 40 years of clearance. The contract only went on for 11 years.

It takes you 30 seconds to lose your car keys down the back of a sofa...finding them might take all day, and you’re not worried about them blowing up if you sit on them by mistake.
 
Very quickly

View attachment 519694

There’s 6 AT mines in each of those tubes and they are pumped out at a rapid rate of knots

Then you have the barmine layer that ploughed, laid and covered mines quick quickly.

View attachment 519695
I appreciate the Argies wont have had these, but the concept remans.

The barmine layer was a bit of a bugger if the barmines werent straight (they would bend over time). We employed a highly technical method to straighten them - by placing them on radiators during inspection.

Yes we found several ‘banana mines’ in Kuwait in ‘91.
 
More complex. There was a fenced off area covered in raked sand. The discharge tube fired and the location of the mines noted. Then a specially converted vehicle with clear makrolon protection and a fitted CV tool went in with the driver wearing a bomb suit. The mine was picked up and then placed in a pressure rig where th pressure to operate the belleville spring was noted.

The trial wasn't completed until all the mines were accounted for. The area was then cleared of metal and other debris and reraked.

As a result you will have had infinitely more experience with live than any Sapper. All we ever did was fire peat pellets :)
 
Had the Argies kept any sort of record of the mine field locations?

Was any sort of assistance offered by the Argies military in terms of allowing some of their personnel who had been involved in the mine laying to assist in clearing?

There's a photo posted online somewhere by the then 59 Cdo head honcho, of his men and some argies after the ceasefire.

The caption says they were mine clearance volunteers, given temporary pay numbers and were very happy to be properly fed.
 
. I have an idea it was 1st Parachute Company RE,
The Parachure Engineers in 1 & 6 AB Divisions were termed Squadrons for some reason even though they were Companies in the rest of the Royal Engineers. Your dads BD jacket appears to be the post war version with the open neck and tie so was probably taken post war. He looks a bit like Cliff Richard.

1st Parachute Squadron RE

Yes we found several ‘banana mines’ in Kuwait in ‘91.
We had a lad join 10 Para in 1992. He had originally joined the Royal Anglians as a boy soldier at IJLB Oswestry then served with one of their battalions until he transfered to the RE and joined 9 Para Sqn RE serving with them about 1978 to 85 including the Falklands war in 1982. He then went to JLR RE as an adult instructor as a Corporal until he flounced in about 1987/88.

When he joined us he had just finished working in Kuwait clearing mines. He had paid for a house in London with the money he had earned and complained that he was down to his last £70,000. He wasn't EOD and got the job purely on his B1 Combat Engineer experience.

Apparently Royal Ordance had got the contract from Kuwait to clear all the minefields and then contracted it out to the Royal Engineers in the best tradition of Tory government back scratching their mates. RO was in the process of being privatised and sold off at the time - hence the SA80 saga of Value-for money, or doing it on the cheap as it was more commonly known to ensure RO had full order books.

I think it was 50 Field Squadron at Rippon was due to go but the chaps got a bit miffed about risking life and limb to bump up shareholders dividends and Directors profit and it hit the front pages of the papers. The government bottled it and RO had to shell out the appopriate rate for contracters to do the job.
 
Don't landmines "Swim" as in migrate through the sand. If a mine has been picked up in the surf during a storm then is it possible for it to turn up in a previously cleared area at a later date.

Or am I a bit wide of the mark. Genuine question though.
No your not. One of my uncles who was a Sapper EOD bod demined along the Norfolk coast in the early 1950s following the mine maps and many had swum happily down the sandy beach over time. I rather think there are areas where the odd mark 5 mine appears. His son was another EOD chap who went down a few months post Op Corporate to replace a Sapper who lost his led to an AP mine.
 
And will the location in question stay that way even after the ceremonial send off?
Yes it will as it is part of the Shoebury Ranges and believe me the odd Ranger mine turning up there is the least of the problems in clearing the land and sands area.
 
The Parachure Engineers in 1 & 6 AB Divisions were termed Squadrons for some reason even though they were Companies in the rest of the Royal Engineers. Your dads BD jacket appears to be the post war version with the open neck and tie so was probably taken post war. He looks a bit like Cliff Richard.

1st Parachute Squadron RE


We had a lad join 10 Para in 1992. He had originally joined the Royal Anglians as a boy soldier at IJLB Oswestry then served with one of their battalions until he transfered to the RE and joined 9 Para Sqn RE serving with them about 1978 to 85 including the Falklands war in 1982. He then went to JLR RE as an adult instructor as a Corporal until he flounced in about 1987/88.

When he joined us he had just finished working in Kuwait clearing mines. He had paid for a house in London with the money he had earned and complained that he was down to his last £70,000. He wasn't EOD and got the job purely on his B1 Combat Engineer experience.

Apparently Royal Ordance had got the contract from Kuwait to clear all the minefields and then contracted it out to the Royal Engineers in the best tradition of Tory government back scratching their mates. RO was in the process of being privatised and sold off at the time - hence the SA80 saga of Value-for money, or doing it on the cheap as it was more commonly known to ensure RO had full order books.

I think it was 50 Field Squadron at Rippon was due to go but the chaps got a bit miffed about risking life and limb to bump up shareholders dividends and Directors profit and it hit the front pages of the papers. The government bottled it and RO had to shell out the appopriate rate for contracters to do the job.

Thanks! I was a bit vague about the change from companies to squadrons. It adds up that it’s a post-war BD blouse.

I was on that RO project and we’d probably know each other. Most of the 9 Sqn lads were sent home early though after trashing* the British Embassy.


















* Quelle surprise :)
 
Yes it will as it is part of the Shoebury Ranges and believe me the odd Ranger mine turning up there is the least of the problems in clearing the land and sands area.
Yup Grandfather ran the railway and search lights on the ranges as a Sapper. My dad as a child was forever down on the Forshaw collecting and burning the cordite from the big shells. Fun for a toddler!
 
...One of my uncles who was a Sapper EOD bod demined along the Norfolk coast in the early 1950s following the mine maps and many had swum happily down the sandy beach over time...
No easy task. The late Noel Cashford was a wartime RNVR bomb & mine disposal officer and prolific author of books about EOD whom I was privileged to count as a dear friend, along with his delightful wife Brenda, now also deceased.

Noel was instrumental in the erection of a memorial at Mundesley-on-Sea in Norfolk honouring the 26 Royal Engineers bomb disposal personnel who lost their lives while clearing World War II landmines from Norfolk's cliffs and beaches between 1944 and 1953.

The Mundesley Landmine Clearance Memorial comprises a 10ft high 500kg German bomb casing on a granite base provided by the Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal Unit at Wimbish in Essex.

760262CE-A3BD-4612-9A48-769599D692D4.jpeg
 
Thanks! I was a bit vague about the change from companies to squadrons. It adds up that it’s a post-war BD blouse.

I was on that RO project and we’d probably know each other. Most of the 9 Sqn lads were sent home early though after trashing* the British Embassy.


















* Quelle surprise :)
Do you mean ex 9 Sqn Bob? He had left the army a couple of yours previously. I thought it was all contracters on that job - ex RE.
 

Yokel

LE
How many of these things did the Argentine forces lay and did they map them properly in accordance with international law? I think I am correct in thinking that a lot of these things were indiscriminatingly scattered from helicopters?

Will Argentina be helping to pick up the bill?
 

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