You’ve seen the news about the Battle of Marjah in southern Afghanistan. And you’ve heard that one of the major challenges facing the Marines are mines and IEDs slowing their advance.  Well, one part of the toolkit for the Marines is a vehicle adapted from the M-1 Abrams tank especially to clear minefields. Behold, the Assault Breacher Vehicle, or ABV.

That “comb” on the front of the ABV is a plow to dislodge any landmines or IEDs buried along the ABV’s path. Now, ABVs don’t have a monopoly on plows. Often, one tank in each Abrams platoon (of 4 tanks) will have a plow.

The big boxes on the back of the ABV contain Mine Clearing Line Charges, or MICLICs. The MICLIC consists of a rocket that drags a tube of high explosives through the air then lays them along the intended path, across any suspected minefields. After the charge is emplaced, it is detonated, and the blast pressure from the explosion causes any mines nearby to sympathetically explode.


The Marines like their ABVs, and the Army, which has let its engineering vehicle capability slide, may purchase some as well.

10 thoughts on “ABV”

  1. I read an article on these a couple days ago. They are way kewl… I’d bet they are also pretty handy (the MCLIC) for clearing out earthworks and other prepared positions.

  2. No, MICLICs won’t do much to earthworks. The surface blast has a lot of atmospheric overpressure, but unless you penetrate, it’s most noise and flash.

    The plow would do a decent number on a lot of emplacements though.

    The Army used to have a lot of CEVs built on M60 hulls. Between the 165mm demo gun, and the dozer blad and the A-frame, they could clear a lot of obstacles. And they could tow a MICLIC.

  3. Yeah… I was envisioning using the MCLIC against rifle pits, trenches and other hasty defenses.

    Those old Engineer M-60’s were pretty sweet, too.

  4. Cullin hedgerow cutters were awful hard on M-5s thought, and even harder on the crews. The M-5 just didn’t have the mass to punch through a hedgerow like an M-4 did. A Stuart had to charge the hedgerow, and if it was too thick, it would stop the M-5 in it’s tracks, with predictable bumps and bruises to the crew, and strain on the tranny. Shermans could bull moose thier way through, as could the occasional armored bulldozer, or tankdozer.

  5. Yeah, I just grabbed the first pic I came across, rather than looking for an M4.

    Heh. Scott said “tranny”…

    Something you wanna tell us?

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