Old Tactic used again: booby-trap ammunition


#1

The front page of the New York Times today (Sat, 20 Sep) is “Syrians Place Booby Traps in Rebel Guns”.

[quote]…Ghadir Hammoush, the commander of a fighting group in Idlib Province who said he knew of five instances in which rifles had exploded from booby-trapped ammunition…
The practice has principally involved rifle and machine-gun cartridges, but also the projectiles for rocket-propelled grenades and perhaps mortar rounds according to interviews with more than half-dozen rebel leaders in Syria and many fighters, as well as aqn examination of shattered rifles and the contents of a bobby-trapped cartridge.
The primary source for doctored ammunition has been the Syrian government.[/quote]

I’ve seen assertions that both sides used this approach in the desert in WWII.

I have seen indications the US created booby-trap 7.62x39mm ammo in Vietnam including a warning in 1966 not to use captured VC/NV ammo with two or three listed headstamps because it could be booby-trapped. I assumed at the time that this must have been ammo the US booby-trapped since specific headstamps were listed.

When I was with the RAF in the mid-70s, I heard rumors that the British had used similar items in some problem areas in the post-WWII period.

I have a 9x19, reported Russian made that is a booby-trap round. In the early 1990s some of these showed up in both 9x19 and 45ACP. With the 45s was a cloth sack with Cyrillic on the front indicating the rounds were booby-trap cartridges, as I remember. At the time I was told that the language on the Sack was Bulgarian and not Russian, even though the cartridges were Russian made. This is also when the unheadstamped, red and green tip 9x19mm rounds were coming out of Russia (claimed to be from the KGB), and the cases on all three appear identical.

Some ideas just continue to be reinvented.

Cheers,
Lew


#2

[quote=“Lew”]The front page of the New York Times today (Sat, 20 Sep) is “Syrians Place Booby Traps in Rebel Guns”.

[quote]…Ghadir Hammoush, the commander of a fighting group in Idlib Province who said he knew of five instances in which rifles had exploded from booby-trapped ammunition…
The practice has principally involved rifle and machine-gun cartridges, but also the projectiles for rocket-propelled grenades and perhaps mortar rounds according to interviews with more than half-dozen rebel leaders in Syria and many fighters, as well as aqn examination of shattered rifles and the contents of a bobby-trapped cartridge.
The primary source for doctored ammunition has been the Syrian government.[/quote]

When I was with the RAF in the mid-70s, I heard rumors that the British had used similar items in some problem areas in the post-WWII period.
Cheers,
Lew[/quote]

This is a specific reference to Northern Ireland I think. Its often been said but I have never found any firm evidence. By the way Lew, I am going to Bracknell in the morning. (only Lew will understand this)

The question with Syrian ammo is that low grade ammo with misfires can create the same effect as booby trap ammo, particularly in semi auto and MG applications, and it would be hard to seperate fact from speculation. It could be down to (lack of) training and procedures for clearing misfires.


#3

Lew, the word “again” may be corrected as it seems that the use of such cartridges never stopped since they were invented.

Russia and Israel are prominent users of such cartridges for years.

The Syrian ones seem to have an improvised (or low tech) load inside.


#4

Lew, I looked up that bag (just to confirm).
The language used there is no Russian and no Bulgarian. Merely bad Russian by one who did not know the language.


#5

I do not know of any Israeli use of “modified” small arms ammo, but I do know that some grenades and detonators had delays removed (Ooops!). I think I have heard of some British “modification” of mortar rounds.


#6

The NYTs article went on to quote military soruces that the US has used a range of such ammunition in both Iraq and Iran. The items mixed with other ammo now have a very small amount of HE do that it only wreaks the gun. The ones with Lots of HE are slipped into mags of bad guys killed during combat with the idea that these will very likely be reused in the unit when they police up the battlefield. The NYT also references German and British usage in WWII and US usage in Vietnam and other uses. EOD is right—used frequently.

Apparently the NYT photographed a round and asked some “experts” where the case was made. One said probably Iran and the other probably Syria. The NYT should have posted it on the forum if they wanted a straight answer.
Cheers,Lew