Mine buster on trial DPR/TV/1143

Accession Number F04358
Collection type Film
Measurement 3 min 29 sec
Object type Actuality footage, Television news footage
Physical description 16mm/b&w/silent
Place made Vietnam: Phuoc Tuy Province, Long Hai Hills
Date made 16 July 1969-17 July 1969
Access Open
Conflict Vietnam, 1962-1975
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC

Australian Army engineers in South Vietnam are testing what is hoped will provide a quick and safe method of clearing minefields. An early test was carried out near the Long Hai Hills at the site of a suspected VC minefield. The device, a large roller made up of tyres offset behind and to the right of an armoured personnel carrier was bolted onto the APC, with Sapper George Hamill of Subiaco, WA, a member of 1st Field Squadron RAE, lending a hand. Keeping an expert eye on the fitting out process was Captain John Power of Balga, WA, OC of 1st Field Squadron Workshops RAEME, who developed the device from a similar idea used by American Forces to clear road verges. Water is poured into the tyres to give extra weight and they are fitted onto an axle made of 4-inch waterpipe. The tyres, with the treads covered by tinplate, have free movement up and down to seek out mines set in dips and hollows in the ground. On this test no mines were found. Later tests (now on roll 2) were carried out at the old Australian minefield which runs from the Horseshoe feature, southwards towards the sea. Shrapnel damage from some of the tests is examined on the extra armour plate fitted at the rear of the armoured personnel carrier after an early run. The device triggers the mine's primary charge which causes it to jump into the air. When the mine is three to four feet in the air it explodes, but by this time the device has rolled on. So far the tests, watched by the Army Chief Engineer in Vietnam, Lt Col Max Johnson, have proved successful and about 300 mines in the test section have been exploded. Also identified: Sapper Colin Norris of Holsworthy, NSW.

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