This report covers:

  • BB makes a Claymore mine
  • There’s more
  • More demolitions classes
  • Flying car
  • Joshua fit the battle…
  • Tank gunnery
  • Moving targets
  • The moving tank target
  • Summary
“Thank you for reporting! 🙂 30-caliber Gauntlet – I will directly took it with me if possible!
This radio-controlled target cart brought me an idea. I bought radio-controlled Tiger I model tank for my older boy recently (he has now tank – jet – train – aircraft carrier – rocket etc. phase). This tank I discovered has a great potential to be radio controlled target carrier. It runs through off road with tremendous torque-force 🙂 I will create a target holder; it would be even more fun as you can shoot moving target! 🙂 It will be a great fun on the grandparents ranch in summer, I can feel it already 😀

Oh, Tomek! You don’t know what you have done. BB was a bad boy when he was in the Army. Don’tcha wanna know what he did?

BB makes a Claymore mine

BB used to teach demolitions classes in the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment. For one class my co-instructor and I decided to teach the students how to make an improvised Claymore mine. Nothing wrong with that. All it takes is two pie plates, some popsicle sticks, about half a brick of Composition C4, a blasting cap and a fuse. The rocks for the mine you pick up wherever you are. You see Claymore mines are loaded with steel projectiles and they go off at troop level like a wide shotgun blast.

Claymore mine.

We set up paper silhouette targets about 15-20 feet from the silhouettes and had our class standing behind a berm off to one side and about 100 yards away. Both of us hid inside a concrete culvert pipe that was laying on top of the ground about 20 yards from the mine. Then we lit the fuse and retired smartly into the pipe. It was about 50 feet long and we figured somewhere in the middle was the safest place.

What we did not count on was the pipe wasn’t exactly perpendicular to the mine. When the mine went off some of the rocks came back at the pipe and entered the open end that wasn’t quite perpendicular to the mine. Actually, neither end was perpendicular, so the rocks came in both ends. They whirled around the inside of the pipe, leaving spiral white tracks where the concrete was worn away. Amazingly all the rocks missed us, or if they hit us they were going so slow that it didn’t matter. Drunks and little babies…

There’s more

I wish I could tell you that was the end of it, but it wasn’t. BB moved with the Third Armored Cavalry down to Fort Bliss, Texas on the Mexican border. Little did the Mexicans suspect that we were the same Army unit that briefly held their nation during the war with Mexico (1846-1848). We weren’t called the Third Cav. then. We were the First Regiment of Mounted Riflemen, sometimes referred to in the history books as the US Mounted Rifles.

More demolitions classes

At Ft. Bliss BB taught Advanced Individual Training to personnel assigned to the Third Cav. We had explosives, so naturally BB taught them. One day BB was trying to demonstrate the high velocity of TNT when it explodes, so he put about 40 pounds under a trashed-out car body. BB told the troops the car would only raise up 10-12 feet because the shock of the blast was so fast. For this one we primed several blocks and walked up a rise until we were about 300 feet above and 150 feet from the car. We cut fuses of about 15 minutes length to give us time to walk up the road to the top of the hill.

Flying car

When the blast went off the car body rose slowly to a height of about 50-100 feet above where we were standing (so 350-400 feet in all), then the car slowly drifted across the dirt road 50 yards from where it had been. Unfortunately there were telephone poles and telephone wires across that road. The car came down about 20 yards past the wires.  High explosive — yeah!

Joshua fit the battle…

Same range with another class I had my sergeants string demolition cord like clothesline about 300 feet between two Joshua trees, then hang some clothes on them. Demo. cord burns at 26,000 f.p.s. and I asked the trainees to watch and tell me from which side the explosion had been detonated.  I had people downrange and on both sides of the demo cord about a half mile away from us, so the troops didn’t know who set it off.

But the sergeants had to hold fire while a helicopter landed up on the hill with me and my troops. It was the Regimental commander coming out to see the training. Once his bird was down and he was out I told the sergeants to go ahead with the shot.

What I DIDN’T know was my Sargeants were being funny boys that day. They had wrapped each Joshua tree with 10-12 wraps of demo. cord. That is enough to cut a Joshua tree in half, which is exactly what it did.

The Regimental commander looked at me and said, “Lieutenant Gaylord, you do know that Joshua trees are a protected species? I believe I have seen enough of this training.” and he got back in his chopper and flew off. I never heard a word from anyone.

Tank gunnery

I have a lot more, but now let’s shift the blame to someone else. At the Grafenwoehr training area we were in tank gunnery on a range where we zeroed our coaxial machine guns. There are 17 tanks on the firing line and they are all trying to zero their coax, which is a .30 caliber machine gun that moves in parallel with the main gun. The gunner uses it to hose off friendly tanks when enemy infantry climbs on board.

I was not in the tower that controlled the range that day, but Lieutenant Redfern is inside one of the tanks, working on a coax when a wild boar comes out of the trees and onto the range. Lt. Redfern is a hunter! So he slewed the turret, put the coax on the boar, pulled the trigger and traversed the turret around, following it as it runs. Since he was in the gunner’s seat deep inside the tank he can’t see that he was traversing the turret around toward the control tower that’s behind him, all the while holding his finger on the trigger! The range control officer was screaming at him to cease fire, but Lt. Redfern was having too much fun. Thankfully his belt of ammo ran out before things got dangerous! And a range non-commissioned officer climbed aboard his tank (from the back, never the front) and got his attention — with a steel pipe to the top of his helmet!

Shop Benjamin Rifles

Moving targets

Okay, a company of 17 tanks was lined up on a moving target range at Grafenwoehr. And our battalion was getting visited by a German 4-star general. Well, when a 4-star comes he brings the entire galaxy with him! The 2-star American post commander was there (of course) and my lieutenant colonel battalion commander is having a cow that this range gets started EXACTLY on time! So, every five minutes he’s up in the tower bugging the company commander who is running the range because — well, someone needs to be on the blame line!

When there are five minutes remaining before 0800, the battalion commander stays in the tower, shouting at the company commander, “This range better go hot at exactly 0800!”

The company commander is no dummy. He has a senior sergeant in a tank with a round loaded ready to shoot when he tells him the range is hot. Eight-o’clock comes, the tower radios his sergeant to go live and BOOM! The range is hot. Soon all 17 tanks are shooting at the moving tank target.

The moving tank target

The moving tank target is a small railroad car that runs on a closed course. It is powered by a Volkwagen engine and has lumber poles that hold up a half-sized plywood silhouette of a tank. Tomek — this is what you made me think of last week!

That target runs back and forth on the rails so all the tanks can shoot at it at different distances. Then it returns to the firing line where the target is repaired, because the inert tank rounds have torn the target to splinters. They are aluminum slugs 4-inches wide that travel over 4,000 f.p.s. and weigh over 20 pounds.

Well when the target came back the German general was still on the range, most impressed by what he had seen. And on the moving tank target that’s returning is another German lying flat for having been shot at by tanks for the past 10 minutes! You see, the first thing he is supposed to do in the morning is ride the target around the entire course to see if any repairs to the rails have to be made.

Now, you have to appreciate that this tank range is a quarter-mile in width and a screaming German can’t be heard above all the commotion. Lt. Redfern, who speaks fluent German, ties a white cotton cloth around his hat and runs over, pretending to be Range Control (the Grafenwoehr range masters). He takes the operator’s statement and allows the generals to leave the range. He assures the operator that heads will roll for what they have done, and I think he talked the guy into staying with us that day.


That’s just a sample of the bad things that BB has seen and done while he served his country.