Bangalore Torpedo, History Revisited

Captain McClintock, in 1912, is credited with the invention of the Bangalore Torpedo. He was with the British Indian Army unit, the Madras Sappers and Engineers at Bangalore, India, at that time. It was a means of exploding booby traps and barricades without the soldier having to approach them closely.  They were used extensively in the first world war to clear the traps and mines left over from the Boer War and the Russo-Japanese War.

The Torpedoes were also used to allow forces to blast a  trench through the defense line. The movie, “The Longest Day”, has a segment near the end where on the beaches of Normandy a barbwire defense is taken out with the help of Bangalore torpedo.

The portable torpedo had three different parts.  A smooth nose to penetrate its target; a number of empty sections to give the length. Finally, additional empty pipes which were filled with explosive such as TNT.  The charge placed within one or several connected tubes is exploded using a long fuse for delayed effect to ensure the soldier’s safety.  The weapon is also called a ‘Bangalore mine’, ‘bangers’ or simply ‘Bangalore’.

The Bangalore torpedo is still employed today by the United States Army in a slightly modified version, called the M1A2. Mondial Defence currently manufactures them for the UK and US armed forces. They have even been used in Afghanistan for clearing enemy supply dumps within deep cave system.

So if you are from Bangalore or have any association with the city, it is a little bit of interesting trivia to brag about.


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