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Anorak | Six British soldiers killed in Afghanistan: what the papers say

Six British soldiers killed in Afghanistan: what the papers say

by | 8th, March 2012

THE deaths of six British soldiers in Afghanistan dominates the news. The  soldiers, five from 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment and one from 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, died when their  Warrior MICV fighting vehicle struck an improvised explosive device in southern Afghanistan. The dead had only been in Afghanistan a short time two weeks. Since 2001, 404 Britons have died in Afghanistan.

Also, 1,874 UK military and civilian personnel have been admitted to UK field hospitals and classified as wounded in action. Of these, 269 were categorised as “very seriously injured” from all causes excluding disease.

Tom Coglan writes in the Times:

The improvised explosive device has emerged as the defining weapon of the first decade of the 21st century. In the words of one US commander in Afghanistan: “It is not a fact of IEDs on the battlefield, the IEDs are the battlefield.”

Sixteen thousand roadside bombs were laid in Afghanistan last year. In 2009 the figure was 9,300. Even the largest vehicles deployed by Western armies, such as the Warrior, have struggled to defend themselves against bombs that are growing in strength.

Times leader:

Each died for a reason. In the House of Commons yesterday, David Cameron described these sacrifices as “the human cost paid by our Armed Forces to keep our country safe”. This was no patriotic hyperbole. British forces along with their Isaf and Nato allies were deployed to Afghanistan in the wake of the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York to deny al-Qaeda a safe haven from which to plan further assaults in Britain and elsewhere.

This, they have done. Al-Qaeda still exists, but the organisation is no longer what it was. Fragmented, incoherent and with a vastly decreased influence, it fights now mainly for survival. Nato estimates that fewer than 100 foreign militants remain in the country.

Deborah Haynes, Times  Defence Editor, tells the story:
Darkness was falling as two armoured vehicles rumbled over the dusty plain that runs beside a main highway in southern Afghanistan.

It was a routine patrol on the eastern edge of Helmand province which had crossed into neighbouring Kandahar. But for the soldiers on board the Warrior fighting vehicles, the terrain was still new they had arrived in Afghanistan only two weeks earlier.

Suddenly a blast cut through the night. A huge bomb buried in the sand tore through the body of the lead Warrior, ripping open the underbelly and igniting a deadly fire. Boxes of bullets and other ammunition started to explode, adding to the carnage. The six men on board five from 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment and one from 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment did not stand a chance.

The intensity of the blaze meant that the troops in the second Warrior were unable to mount a rescue or even retrieve bodies from the flames.

Richard North looks at The Warrior:

Thus, there is nothing really new about the Taliban capability and although there are suggestions that this current incident will make it essential to introduce new and expensive countermeasures to protect the remaining fleet, there is very little that can be done to the Warriors to enhance their protection.

The weapon of choice, the Ammonium Nitrate Fuel Oil (AFNO) bomb, is a formidable instrument, but it is very old technology and has been used for many years by the Taliban. At weights of up to 250Kg, used in culverts, it can have  devastating results .

As to countermeasures, rather than armour, surveillance and patrolling are the main countermeasures . Certainly, there is only a limited amount that can be done in the way of adding armour protection to a design which is not optimised for mine/IED protection.

Much more could have been done in the past, but with troops scheduled to depart by 2014, there is little more

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Posted: 8th, March 2012 | In: News Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink

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  • June

    RIP

    It surprises me that a celeb dies of their lifestyle choices and the media is flooded with ‘respects’
    Six healthy young men are killed on a tour of duty and not a sodding word