Canadians destroy massive amount of munitions
Sgt. Terry Wolaniuk
First published July 14, 2003
During the last week of May 2003, Canadian Engineers,
American Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) personnel and other
SFOR soldiers from Poland, Romania and Turkey destroyed about
22,000 items weighing an estimated 36,000 kilograms consisting
in munitions, unexploded ordnance (UXOs) and weapons at Velika
Banovici - The items, which included various artillery shells,
tank rounds, mortars, rockets, AK-47 and SKS assault and sniper
rifles have been collected from throughout Northwest Bosnia
and Herzegovina. The collections were either directly from
the armed forces or from individual citizens in weapons collection
drives known as 'Operations Harvest'. The ordnance was from
a Weapon Storage Site in Doboj in the US Area of Responsibility.
This weapons storage site is the central collection point
for weapons and ordnance from other storage sites that are
being shut down due to downsizing and confiscation due to
non-compliance with established peace accords.
A substantial quantity of C-4
For five days, ten soldiers from 13 Field Squadron, 1 Combat
Engineer Regiment currently serving with the Second Battalion,
Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) joined
a US EOD team from the 221st Ordnance Company, 35th Infantry
Division in Banovici near Tuzla to assist in the destruction
of the ordnance. The US EOD team had more than seven sea containers
full of various ammunition, UXOs, and weapons and this didn't
include the multiple truckloads that the Polish, Russian,
and Turkish EOD teams delivered as well.
Over 22,000 ordnance items with an
estimated weight of 36,000 kg have been destroyed.
With such a large amount of items to dispose of - more than
the equivalent of 44 one-ton pick-up trucks - a substantial
quantity of the plastic explosive C-4 was required. Over the
five days nearly 100 crates of C-4 (that's 4000 blocks, or
2,700 kilograms) were put to work.. Due to the sheer volume
being disposed, conventional methods would prove to be too
time consuming and wasteful of the C-4. Instead, the teams
used the explosive power of some of collected munitions to
destroy smaller natures of ammunition, in addition to strategically
placed C-4. For example, the explosive content of anti-tank
mines worked incredibly well in destroying small arms ammunition,
105mm HE (high explosive) rounds worked fabulously in making
the white phosphorous rounds vanish, and with a lot of C-4
other nasty devices were destroyed.
Another two range weeks
Every time the button was pressed and an overwhelming shock
wave came down the valley to kick us in the chest, there was
satisfaction in knowing that there were fewer weapons and
munitions in this country. There was also realisation that
we were likely preventing loss of life in the future. However,
while this range is complete, we know the mission is not over.
As the Canadians departed from their American EOD friends,
three more sea containers filled with more munitions and weapons
arrived. Engineers estimated another two range weeks were
in order to keep up with the inflow of ordinance.
Chimo! (Rallying cry of the Canadian Engineers).
Nations of SFOR: Canada