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Home :: Destruction of Materiel to Prevent Enemy Use

Destruction of Materiel to Prevent Enemy Use

Destruction Notice For Radio Sets:

To prevent the enemy from using or salvaging this equipment for his benefit.

When ordered by commander.

1) Smash - Use sledges, axes, handaxes,  pickaxes, hammers, crowbars, heavy tools.
2) Cut - Use axes, handaxes, machetes.
3) Burn - Use gasoline, kerosene, oil, flame throwers, incendiary grenades.
4) Explosives - Use firearms. grenades, TNT.
5) Disposal - Bury in slit trenches, fox holes, other holes. Throw in streams. Scatter.


1) Smash - Meters, controls, panels.
2) Cut - Cables and all wiring.
3) Burn - Resistors, capacitors, all technical manuals, instruction books, tube charts.
4) Bury or scatter - Any or all of the above pieces after destroying their usefulness.


Safety Notice:
This equipment uses high voltages which are dangerous to life. Observe all safety precautions.
1) Make no adjustments inside the equipment with the power on.
2) Do not operate the equipment with the shields removed.
3) Do not connect power to any unit of the radio set until operating instructions have been read completely.

Destruction Notice For M38A1 Jeep and M170 Ambulance:

a.) Destruction of the 1/4-ton 4 x 4 utility truck M38A1 and the 1/4-ton 4 x 4 front line ambulance M170 when subject to capture or abandonment in the combat zone will be undertaken by the using organisation only when, in the judgement of the unit commander concerned, such action is necessary in accordance with orders of, or policy established by, the army commander.

b.) The information which follows is for guidance only. Certain of the procedures outlined require the use of explosives and incendiary grenades which normally may not be authorised items for the vehicle. The issue of these and related materials, and the conditions under which destruction will be elected, are command decisions in each case, according to the tactical situation. Of the several means of destruction, those most generally applicable are:

Requires axe, pick mattock, sledge, crowbar, or similar implement.

Requires gasoline, oil, incendiary grenades, or other flammables.

Requires suitable explosives or ammunition.

Includes artillery, machine guns, rifles using rifle grenades, and launchers using antitank rockets. Under some circumstances hand grenades may be used.

In general, destruction of essential parts, followed by burning will usually be sufficient to render the vehicle useless. However, selection of the particular method of destruction requires imagination and resourcefulness in the utilisation of the facilities at hand under the existing conditions. Time is usually critical.

c.) If destruction to prevent enemy use, is resorted to, the vehicle must be so badly damaged that it cannot be restored to a usable condition in the combat zone either by repair or cannibalisation.

Adequate destruction requires that all parts essential to the operation of the materiel, including essential spare parts, be destroyed or damaged beyond repair. However, when lack of time and personnel prevents destruction of all parts, priority is given to the destruction of those parts most difficult to replace. Equally important, the same essential parts must be destroyed on all like materiel so the, enemy cannot construct one complete unit from several damaged ones.

d.) If destruction is directed, due consideration should be given to:

(1) Selection of a point of destruction that will cause greatest obstruction to enemy movement and also prevent hazard to friendly troops from fragments or ricocheting projectiles which may occur incidental to the destruction.
(2) Observance of appropriate safety precautions.

Method No. 1 - Destruction by Burning
a.) Using an axe, pick mattock, sledge, or other heavy implement, smash all vital elements such as distributor, carburettor, generator, ignition coil, fuel pump, spark plugs, air cleaner, lights, instruments, and controls. If time permits, and a sufficiently heavy implement is available, smash the engine cylinder block and head, crankcase, and transmission.

b.) Puncture fuel tank as near the bottom as possible, collecting gasoline for use as outlined in 'e' below.

c.) Slash tires. If tires are inflated exercise care to prevent injury should the tire blow out while being slashed. Whenever practicable, it is usually preferable to deflate tires before slashing.

d.) Explosive ammunition, if available nearby, should be removed from packing or other protective material. Place ammunition in and about the vehicle so that it will be fully exposed to the fire and in such locations that the greatest damage will result from its detonation. Remove any safety devices from ammunition.

e.) Pour gasoline and oil in and over the entire vehicle. Ignite, by means of an incendiary grenade fired from a safe distance, a burst from a flame thrower, a combustible train of suitable length, or other appropriate means. Take cover immediately. If gasoline and oil are not available, use other flammables such as oily rags or waste wood, or paper. Ignite by means of incendiary grenades or other suitable means.

Caution: Cover must be taken without delay since an early explosion of the explosive ammunition, if present, may be caused by the fire. Due consideration should be given to the highly flammable nature of gasoline and its vapour. Carelessness in its use may result in painful burns. Elapsed time: about 6 minutes.

Method No. 2 - Destruction by Demolition
a.) Prepare two 2-pound charges of EXPLOSIVE, TNT ( two 1-LB blocks or equivalent per charge together with the necessary detonating cord to make up each charge. ) Set the charges as follows:

(1) The first, on top of the clutch housing.
(2) The second, as low on the left side of the engine as possible.
(3) Connect the two charges for simultaneous detonation with detonating cord. Provide for dual priming to minimise the possibility of a misfire.
(4) For priming either a non-electric blasting cap crimped to at least 5 feet of safety fuse ( safety fuse burns at the rate of 1 ft in a prx 40 sec; test before using ) or an electric blasting cap and firing wire may be used. Safety fuse, which contains black powder, and non-electric blasting caps must be protected from moisture at all times. The safety fuse may be ignited by a fuse lighter or a match; the electric blasting cap requires a blasting machine or equivalent source of electricity.

Caution: Keep the blasting caps, detonating cord, and safety fuse separated from the charges until required for use.

Note: For the successful execution of methods of destruction involving the use of demolition materials, all personnel concerned will be thoroughly familiar with the pertinent provisions of FM 5-25. Training and careful planning are essential.

b.) Destroy the tires.
c.) Detonate the charges. If primed with non-electric blasting cap and safety fuse, ignite and take cover. If primed with electric blasting cap, take cover before firing the charges. The danger zone is approximately 200 yards. Elapsed time: about 5 minutes.

Method No.3 - Destruction by Gunfire
a.) Destroy the tires as in method No.1
b.) Destroy the vehicle by gun fire using artillery, machine guns, rifles using rifle grenades, or launchers using antitank rockets. Fire on the vehicle aiming at the engine, axles, body, and wheels. Although one well-placed direct hit may destroy the vehicle, several hits are usually required for complete destruction unless an intense fire is started, in which case the vehicle may he considered destroyed.

Caution: Firing artillery at ranges of 500 yards or less should be from cover. Firing rifle grenades or antitank rockets should be from cover. Elapsed time: about 5 minutes.

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