2d CEB Breaches way into future

8 Nov 2000 | Sgt. Bobbie J. Bryant

Marines from 2d Combat Engineer Battalion, 2d Marine Division are currently conducting operational tests with the new Anti-Personnel Obstacle Breaching System at Engineer Training Area-4 here.

The APOBS is a self-contained, one-shot expendable linear demolition charge system, which can be transported and deployed by a two-person team.  The system is used by assault elements to breach lanes through encountered wire and anti-personnel mine obstacles.

"This is a new system that's being tested to help engineers enhance breaching capabilities," said Sgt. Brian P. Fogarty, an instructor with 2d CEB at ETA-3.

"We're collecting data to determine if the APOB system is feasible, viable and useful for the Corps," said Charlie Company, Commanding Officer Capt. Robert L. Corl.

The APOBS will provide dismounted units with a system providing a 35-meter standoff distance from a target vice pushing a Bangalore Torpedo Set right under the wire. This system exposes minimum personnel and fast to emplace, explained the Bad Axe, Mich., native.

"It could help the infantries mobility by quickly breaching wire obstacles and mine fields," said Fogarty of New Philadelphia, Pa.

Present unit assets do not provide a rapid breaching capability and require extensive manpower and long exposure to enemy fire.  Fogarty said this is a disadvantage to using bangalores to breach obstacles.

The all-weather system has a delay or command mode initiation.  It also has a front and rear backpack assembly that is mounted on modified-pack frames which the two-man team, according to the APOBS instructor's manual, carries. 

The front backpack assembly weighs approximately 62-pounds.  The line charge segment is 25-meters long with 60 high explosive grenades secured in an over braided sleeve.  The rear backpack assembly weighs 54 pounds with a line charge of 20 meters long and an additional 48 HE grenades.

"The system takes an average of one-minute and 20 seconds from the time the Marines take the system off their backs until detonation," Corl said.
"As of now, it's not to replace anything, but it's complementing the Bangolore Torpedoes," he said.

The Marines began training with APOBS Oct. 10 and started firing Oct. 16.  The testing is scheduled to conclude Nov. 2, Corl said.