Front page
Silflay Hraka?

Bigwig is a systems administrator at a public university
Hrairoo is the proprietor of a quality used bookstore
Kehaar is.
Woundwort is a professor of counseling at a private university

The Hraka RSS feed

bigwig AT

Friends of Hraka
Daily Pundit
cut on the bias
Meryl Yourish
This Blog Is Full Of Crap
Winds of Change
A Small Victory
Silent Running
Dr. Weevil
Little Green Footballs
Fragments from Floyd
The Feces Flinging Monkey
the skwib
Dean's World
Little Tiny Lies
The Redsugar Muse
Natalie Solent
From the Mrs.
The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
On the Third Hand
Public Nuisance
Not a Fish
Electric Venom
Skippy, The Bush Kangaroo
Common Sense and Wonder
Neither Here Nor There
The Greatest Jeneration
Ipse Dixit
Blog On the Run
Redwood Dragon
Greeblie Blog
Have A Cuppa Tea
A Dog's Life
Iberian Notes
Midwest Conservative Journal
A Voyage to Arcturus
Trojan Horseshoes
In Context
The People's Republic of Seabrook
Country Store
Blog Critics
Chicago Boyz
Hippy Hill News
Kyle Still Free Press
The Devil's Excrement
The Fat Guy
War Liberal
Assume the Position
Balloon Juice
Iron Pen In A Velvet Glove
Freedom Lives
Where Worlds Collide
Knot by Numbers
How Appealing
South Knox Bubba
Heretical Ideas
The Kitchen Cabinet
Bo Cowgill
Raving Atheist
The Short Strange Trip
Shark Blog
Ron Bailey's Weblog
Cornfield Commentary
Northwest Notes
The Blog from the Core
The Talking Dog
WTF Is It Now??
Blue Streak
Smarter Harper's Index
nikita demosthenes
Bloviating Inanities
Sneakeasy's Joint
Ravenwood's Universe
The Eleven Day Empire
World Wide Rant
All American
The Rant
The Johnny Bacardi Show
The Head Heeb
Viking Pundit
Oscar Jr. Was Here
Just Some Poor Schmuck
Katy & Bruce Loebrich
But How's The Coffee?
Roscoe Ellis
Sasha Castel
Susskins Central Dispatch
Josh Heit
Aaron's Rantblog
As I was saying...
Blog O' Dob
Dr. Frank's Blogs Of War
Betsy's Page
A Knob for Brightness
Fresh Bilge
The Politburo Diktat
Drumwaster's rants
Curt's Page
The Razor
An Unsealed Room
The Legal Bean
Helloooo chapter two!
As I Was Saying...
SkeptiLog AGOG!
Tong family blog
Vox Beth
I was thinking
Judicious Asininity
This Woman's Work
Fragrant Lotus
Single Southern Guy
Jay Solo's Verbosity
Snooze Button Dreams
You Big Mouth, You!
From the Inside looking Out
Night of the Lepus
No Watermelons Allowed
From The Inside Looking Out
Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
Suburban Blight
The SmarterCop
Dog of Flanders
From Behind the Wall of Sleep
Beaker's Corner
Bad State of Gruntledness
Who Tends The Fires
Granny Rant
Elegance Against Ignorance
Say What?
Blown Fuse
Wait 'til Next Year
The Pryhills
The Whomping Willow
The National Debate
The Skeptician
Zach Everson
Geekward Ho
Life in New Orleans
Rotten Miracles
The Biomes Blog
See What You Share
Blog d’Elisson
Your Philosophy Sucks
Watauga Rambler
Socialized Medicine
Verging on Pertinence
Read My Lips
The Flannel Avenger
Butch Howard's WebLog
Castle Argghhh!
Andrew Hofer
Moron Abroad
White Pebble
Darn Floor
Pajama Pundits
Goddess Training 101
A & W
Medical Madhouse
Slowly Going Sane
The Oubliette
American Future
Right Side Redux
See The Donkey
Newbie Trucker
The Right Scale
Running Scared
Ramblings Journal
Focus On Reality
Wyatt's Torch

April 18, 2005

Travels in Iraq: Paladin Depot

Thank God for our Iraqi correspondents, else new content would be even rarer.

On the plus side, my Night Elf now has a parrot!

Here's the latest from LTC Bob. As per usual, the words below are his, and the value-added, or value-subtracted, depending on your point of view, editing is mine.


This is Paladin as we approached from the air.

Paladin is one of the Iraqi ammo depots that we took over after the war. It's a huge place--about 16 square miles all together--located about 10 miles south of Fallujah, which you can see from the base's northern boundary. When it was operated by the Iraqis it included a missile assembly plant and an ammunition loading plant – or a Load, Pack, Assemble Facility, as I think it’s known in the business. In other words, the projectiles, the casings, primers, the fuses, the propellant, etcetera were all brought to Paladin as separate items, then assembled into a complete round and stored in the ammo storage area.

I'm not sure if they did small arms stuff, but there is ammo currently stored there from 12.5 mm machine gun to 57mm anti-tank (AT) up to artillery and aircraft delivered bombs. There is a high quality rail spur and road network there, and the place will probably end up as some kind of industrial park in the future, since that infrastructure is already there.

The civilians who work there (US Contractors, TCNs – third country nationals, and LNs – local nationals) live in or near this area. In the background, you can see the underground bunkers, which were built by a French contractor some time ago. Interestingly, you cannot get any kind of material handling equipment (i.e. a forklift) into any of them; the damn doors are too small. That means everything that went in – and sometimes it was loaded in up to the ceiling – and everything that comes out, comes out by hand. With some of the arty rounds weighing over 100lbs each, it’s a major undertaking.

This pic shows one of the ammo crews working to prepare ordnance for disposal. They have previously moved all the ammo out of a bunker into the open. Here they are taking artillery rounds and propellant charges out of the packing boxes and loading them into crates to go to the demo range.

Most artillery ammunition is what is called "separate loading" that is, the projectile and the propellant changes come separately, and are loaded separately into the gun, with a certain number of charge increments used depending on the range of the target.

Separate loading ammunition has four separate components: primer, propellant, projectile, and fuse. The four components are issued separately. Upon preparation for firing, the projectile and propellant are loaded into the howitzer in two separate operations. Separate loading ammunition propellants are issued as a separate unit of issue in sealed canisters to protect the propellant. The amount of propellant to be fired with artillery ammunition is varied by the number of propellant increments. The charge selected is based on the range to the target and the tactical situation.

In order to get the propellant to be destroyed in the blast, it is packed in a layer on the bottom of the charge boxes. Then a layer of projectiles (donor material – in the EOD parlance), which contain high explosives (HE) like TNT, C-4, etcetera are placed on top. Think of propellant as "gunpowder" which burns, but does not truly explode. The HE in the projectiles insures that the propellant goes up in one big boom – rather than getting partially consumed, or "kicked out" of the pile. These are 130mm rounds and charges being loaded.

Here's a close-up of the ammo boxes they’re unloading…

Not that Jordan was the only seller. I have some like this (smaller) from the first war – I am sure the wife thinks that they are a fine decorating addition to any home.

They will save the empty boxes to "cook off" the 12.5 mm and other small arms ammo. They simply dig a hole, put the small arms stuff in it, build a fire around it with the empty boxes and let them cook off. There is no HE in the small arms rounds, only propellant. When it gets hot enough, it burns and cooks off, rupturing the brass casings and leaving the solid rounds in place.

Here's one more of a site where they were working straight from out of the bunker – you can see that there are 57mm AT rounds in the left crate and that the right crate has a layer of anti tank mines on top. AT mines are also good donor material – they are almost all HE. These are some kind of mines with a plastic case, not sure whose they are – not U.S. Our plastic ones are square.


My guess is that the mines above are either M409s or 411s, either Belgian or Portuguese, depending on the exact designation.

Posted by Bigwig at April 18, 2005 11:29 AM | TrackBack
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.
Post a comment Note: Comments with more than two dashes per line will be blocked as spam.

Remember personal info?