Infantry: October 5, 2001

Archives


Afghanistan is a land of vast deserts, high mountains and a million caves. The Afghans have long used the many caves for shelter and storing stuff. During wartime, the caves are a good place to hide fighters, as well as caches of food and ammunition. When the Russians fought Afghans during the 1980s, they had a terrible time with Afghans in caves. The Afghans knew where the caves were, which ones had two entrances and used this knowledge to use the caves for ambushes and combat in general. Caves are difficult to deal with, as they usually have small openings, and are often deep enough so the Afghans can go deep and avoid Russian fire power. After the Afghan war, the Russians came up with a solution to the caves problem; portable FAE (Fuel Air Explosive) weapons. The Russian Shmel (Bumble Bee) is a rocket propelled warhead fired from a launcher similar to that used by their RPGs (anti-tank rocket launcher). The RPO-A (Infantry Rocket Flame Thrower) is used against caves and bunkers, as well as armored vehicles. The RPO-Z is used against buildings and troops in the open. The basic principle of FAE is a container of gasoline like fuel that is spread (by compressed gas) to form a mist cloud of fuel. A detonator than ignites the cloud and causes a huge explosion. The effect is like a nuclear weapon, for there is enormous pressure and a lot of flame. All the oxygen is also used up. So if you aren't crushed or burned, you die from lack of oxygen. The Russians have developed a new fuel that is better able to seep into wherever air can go before detonating. In a cave, everyone dies. Even armored vehicles are vulnerable because some of the fuel sometimes seeps into the vehicle and starts fires when it explodes. If US troops do end up fighting inside Afghanistan, Shmel's can be obtained from Russia, which is selling RPOs to anyone with the cash.


 


Article Archive

Infantry: Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close