Photo Information

Marines with 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion launch a line charge from an Assault Breacher Vehicle here for the first time in the fleet, Nov. 23. The line charge, a long string of C4 explosives attached to a rocket, is used to clear a lane of all mines or improvised explosive devices so that tanks and other large equipment have a safe path to navigate on. (Official Marine Corps Photo by Lance Cpl. Brian M. Woodruff) (RELEASED)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Brian M Woodruff

2nd CEB tests new line charges

25 Nov 2008 | Lance Cpl. Brian M. Woodruff

On Nov. 23, the Marines with 2nd Combat Engineers Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, fired the M58 A3 line charge from the Assault Breacher Vehicle (ABV) for the first time since the ABV hit the fleet.  

The line charge, a 350 foot long string of C4 explosives, is launched by an MK 22 Mod 4 rocket mounted on the ABV. The rocket’s purpose is to stretch the charge to its full length. Once the charge is stretched out, Marines detonate it, creating a lane eight meters wide and 100 meters long.

After the charge is detonated, the lane is free of any mines, improvised explosive devices, or other hazards the Marines may face.

“This equipment is vital to us because clearing obstacle fields is one of the four tenants of combat engineering,” said 2nd Lt. Michael D. Barry, ABV platoon commander.

The line charge is packed with 1,750 pounds of C4, and with that much explosive, combat engineers have the ability to breach bigger lanes. This allows Marines to get through with heavy equipment, and bring more fight to the enemy.

Staff Sgt. Justin K. Hickman, platoon sergeant for ABV platoon, said he believes with the new capability they have a great advantage.

The ABV, which has only recently hit the fleet, was designed for combat engineers, more specifically for lane breechers. It looks like an M1A1 Abrams battle tank without the turret, but has a few extra add-ons. 

“This was what the vehicle was designed for but didn’t make it out of the testing phase until recently,” said Hickman, a Orangeburg, S.C., native.

Besides the ability to launch line charges, it has a full width mine plow, a lane marking system, remote control system and a protective weapon system.

“We can clear a path through a large area, move more quickly, we can get to the enemy without losing Marines to IED’s or mines,” said Hickman.

The vehicle is run by a two man crew but has the option to be remotely operated. With its new capability to launch line charges, it will help the survivability rate of our troops, and increase our ability to quickly get through mine fields and other complex obstacles.

Although clearing an area can still be a long and arduous process, the 2nd CEB Marines now have one more weapon they can turn to when called upon to solve a situation quickly and safely.