You can contact me at rogercdavies(atsquiggle)

This blog has evolved into a review of historical and modern explosive devices, and responses to them. Links are drawn between historical activity and similar activity in the world today. Mostly I focus on what are now called IEDs but I have a loose personal definition of that and wilingly stray into discussions of more traditional munitions, the science and technology behind them, tactical employment and EOD responses. Sometimes it's just about interesting people in one form or another. Comment is welcome and encouraged but I do monitor it and reserve the right to delete inappropriate stuff. Guest posts are always welcome. Avoid any stuff that makes the enemy's job easier for them.


Entries in Curious (2)


Suspicious shrapnel

Interesting report in today's newspapers here, suggesting that this former soldier Ronald Brown had 6 oz of shrapnel in his body since a mine exploded under him in 1944.  With all due respect to the man concerned, now passed away, a genuine veteran who did recieve wounds in 1944, I pretty much doubt that German mines or booby traps had wire staples as fragmentation, or contained "philips" screws... which while invented in the 30's, I doubt were yet components in German munitions.


Life and grief

I went to a grim and glum funeral of a good man this week. Like most of us in these circumstances it turned my mind to the meaning of life and the meaning of death and the boundaries between the two.  For a period of his life he had been at the forefront of a battle against terrorism, and had suffered badly and bravely in that battle. In some ways his wounds were still unhealed 16 years later.  He, and the community of his colleagues, men who shared some of his experiences, have their whole lives defined to a greater or lesser degree, both willingly and subconsciously, by their role in that battle. Lives of people who deal with IEDs are defined, to an extent, by their actions during a very small percentage of their allotted span. That’s usually OK, but not always.

There are understandable reasons for lives being defined in this way. It’s partly because it’s the summit of a pyramid of training and preparation for a challenging task.   Its partly because you know most people will never understand what you do, and partly because the community of your colleagues, who do understand what you do, encourage it.  But there are negatives that come with it and I felt uncomfortable this week because this man’s life had become defined by what went wrong at the top of that pyramid and maybe he couldn’t come to terms with his false view that an incident beyond his control was a reflection on himself. I don’t doubt the man’s capability and I often used examples of his specific EOD operations as exemplars to others about the need for thoroughness and meticulous thought when dealing with complex IED attacks.  I wish I had told him that, God I wish I had told him that. 

The shared experiences of brothers in arms are desperately needed in these circumstances. The glances, comments, language, attitude and in-jokes  are a hand rail on a ship in stormy seas.  Burton Dassett felt like Wootton Bassett on Thursday.