Artillery: August 1, 2002


Israel reports that Hamas is building anti-tank rockets in an unknown workshop. At least two have been fired at armored busses, and at least one was captured when a weapons cache was raided. The 92mm rocket is regarded as "home made", an expression that means each is built, one at a time, in a machine shop rather than mass produced on an assembly line. The rocket is fired from a length of commercial plastic pipe one meter long using an improvised sight and detonator. The rocket, known as al Bana, has a shaped-charge warhead made from sugar and nitrates. There are eight folding fins which are hinged at the base of the rocket and unfold as it clears the launch tube.--Stephen V Cole

The 22 July issue of the Chinese publication "The People's Daily" reported that the Chinese army was undergoing radical changes, with state-of-the-art technology being introduced to replace obsolete equipment. Artillery (both tube and rocket) is apparently their center of gravity, while trumpet calls (once used to develop fighting spirit and cause panic among enemies) are now considered outdated. The 12 cavalry divisions found until recently in the Chinese army have also ceased to be a combat force, with only two cavalry battalions retained for shooting film and television dramas. - Adam Geibel


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