De-tangling 40mm high explosive grenades

With forwarding operating bases closing and troops withdrawing from Iraq, Joint Munitions Command civilian and military staff have to sort, clean, package and, in some cases destroy, the ammunition, hand grenades and C4 explosives left behind. Army.mil reports

When they receive it, the ammunition is a hodgepodge of items in varying condition. Imagine tree lights at Christmastime. Who wants to de-tangle that lot, especially when it’s a box of 40-millimeter high explosive dual purpose rounds? Yet, that is what Wettlaufer and his team do every day.

Whether it is bricks of C4 plastic explosive or M-67 fragmentation hand grenades, it is all inspected, prettied up and repackaged for another round.



Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Dennis

    Just have to say it is interesting that they are working with ammo point and breaking some safety issue. For example the bracelet and watch.

  • Joe Hooker

    Not as bad as it sounds. Plastic explosive is very stable and needs a high order booster i.e. blasting cap to set it off. 40mm is also pretty safe — it doesn’t arm unless it’s spun rapidly by being fired.

  • dogon13

    40 meter grenades huh…..must be one hell of a kick when you shoot that πŸ˜‰

  • Lance

    Just don’t bring your 100 volt hand buzzer to work Steve. LOL

  • charles222

    Yeah, 203 and Mk 19 rounds don’t arm unless they’re actually fired; you’re not going to get it to detonate spinning it by hand.

  • Tinkerer

    @dogon13

    mm=millimeter
    m=meter

    The confusion is actually understandable, it’s only us the rest of the planet that use the standard metric system.

  • Concerned_Soldier

    Steve,
    I can attest to this, we cleaned up a FOB in Northern A-Stan and had the same problem, but we had AT-4s and frags as well as other types! It is safe as long as it is treated correctly! Most ammo is pretty stable as most people know, it is the non functioning stuff that is more upsetting then dangerous, a waste of taxpayer money, not to mention, now we can’t train with it or shoot it!!

  • Sam Suggs

    this is wrong on so many levels its not going to work outwhere going to look back on the arab spring as we look back on the revolution in iran