May 25, 2007:
One of the things combat troops,
especially engineers, in Iraq have to memorize are the various danger distances
for roadside and car bombs. For example, a 500 pound bomb (of the size found in
small cars, and just sitting on roadsides) is lethal out to about 30 meters.
Or, as U.S. troops are reminded (in the most familiar terminology possible),
about the third the length of a football field. This scales up in easily
remembered values. A two ton bomb, usually found on a truck, is lethal out to
about 60 meters. The largest type of truck bomb encountered, about five tons of
explosives, is lethal out to a hundred yards. Beyond lethality, there is flying
objects that extend out much further. The most troublesome flying objects are
glass. For the 500 pound bomb, you have to worry about falling glass out to
about 400 meters. For the two ton bomb, that's 800 meters, and for the five ton
bomb, that's 1,200 meters. Beyond the falling glass zone, you are generally
safe, and that's how far you have to evacuate your own troops, and civilians,
when you are trying to disarm a bomb, or are going to destroy it in place.
Naturally, if there are buildings, or any other type of sturdy obstacle, in the
way, that will reduce the distances. While the larger bombs will flatten many
types of structures, the lethal and danger zones are still smaller.