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Field Expedient Antiarmor Devices


There are many weapons that you can use to destroy a tank or an armored personnel carrier. The weapons most frequently used are LAWs, Dragons, TOWs, mines, and high-explosive dual-purpose (HEDP) rounds of the M203 grenade launcher. There may be times, however, when you will not have these weapons available. In such cases, you may have to use field expedient devices. This appendix describes some appropriate devices.


In order to construct some of these devices, you must know how to prime charges electrically and nonelectrically. (app B).


These devices are used to obscure the vision of a vehicle's crew and to set the vehicle afire. The burning vehicle creates smoke and heat that will asphyxiate and burn the crew if they do not abandon the vehicle.





Molotov cocktail. This is made with a breakable container, a gas and oil mixture, and a cloth wick. To construct it, fill the container (usually a bottle) with the gas and oil mixture, and then insert the cloth wick into the container. The wick must extend both into the mixture and out of the container. Light the wick before throwing the Molotov cocktail. When the container hits a vehicle and breaks, the mixture will ignite, burning both the vehicle and the personnel around it.

Eagle fireball. This is made with an ammunition can, a gas and oil mixture, a white phosphorous grenade wrapped with detonating cord, tape, a nonelectric blasting cap, a fuse igniter, and a grapnel (or rope with bent nails). To construct an eagle fireball, fill the ammunition can with the gas and oil mixture. Wrap the grenade with detonating cord and attach a nonelectric firing system (app B) to the end of the detonating cord. Place the grenade inside the can with the time fuse extending out of it. Make a slot in the can's lid for the time fuse to pass through when the lid is closed. If available, attach a rope with bent nails or a grapnel to the can. When you throw the can onto a vehicle, the bent nails or the grapnel will help hold the can on the vehicle. Before throwing the can, fire the fuse igniter.

Eagle cocktail. This is made of a plastic or rubberized bag (a waterproof bag, a sandbag lined with a poncho, or a battery case placed inside a sandbag), a gas and oil mixture, a smoke grenade, a thermite grenade, tape, string, and communications wire or cord. To construct an eagle cocktail, fill the bag with the gas and oil mixture. Seal the bag by twisting its end and then taping or tying it. Attach the thermite and smoke grenades to the bag using tape, string, or communications wire. When attaching the grenades, do not bind the safety levers on the grenades. Tie a piece of string or cord to the safety pins of the grenades. Before throwing the eagle cocktail, pull the safety pins in both grenades.


Place such devices at vulnerable points to destroy components of tanks and armored personnel carriers.

Towed charge. This is made of rope or communications wire, mines or blocks of explosives, electrical blasting caps, tape, and electrical firing wire. To construct a towed charge, link a series of armed antitank mines together with rope or communications wire. If mines are not available, use about 25 to 50 pounds of explosives attached on a board (sled charge). Anchor one end of the rope on one side of a road and run its other end across the road to a safe position from which the charge may be pulled onto the road. Attach an electric firing system (app B) to each mine (or to the explosive on the sled charge) and connect those systems to the firing wire. Tape the firing wire to the rope running to the position from which the charge is pulled onto the road. At that position, conduct a circuit check (app B) and then connect the firing wire to a blasting machine. Just before a vehicle reaches the site of the towed charge, pull the charge onto the road so that it will be run over by the vehicle. When the vehicle is over it, fire the charge.

Pole charge. This is made of explosives (TNT or C4), nonelectric blasting caps, time fuse, detonating cord, tape, string or wire, fuse igniters, and a pole that is long enough for the mission. Prime the desired amount of explosives with two nonelectric firing systems, and attach the explosives to a board or some other flat material. The amount of explosives you use depends on the target to be destroyed. Tie or tape the board with the explosives to the pole. The time fuse should only be about 6 inches long. Before putting a pole charge on a target, fire the fuse igniters. Some good places to put a pole charge on a vehicle are under the turret, over the engine compartment, in the suspension system, and in the main gun tube (if the charge is made small enough to fit in the tube).

Satchel charge. This is made of explosives (TNT or C4), nonelectric blasting caps, time fuse, detonating cord, tape, fuse igniters, and some type of satchel. The satchel can be an empty sandbag, or demolitions bag, or some other material. To construct a satchel charge, fill the satchel with the amount of explosives needed for the mission. Prime the explosives with two nonelectric firing systems. Use only about 6 inches of time fuse. Seal the satchel with string, rope, or tape, and leave the time fuse and fuse igniter hanging out of the satchel. Before throwing a satchel charge onto a target, fire the fuse igniters.


To use expedient devices successfully, you must know where the weak points of armored vehicles are. Some of the common weak points of armored vehicles are as follows:

  • The suspension system.
  • The fuel tanks (especially the external tanks).
  • The ammunition storage compartments.
  • The engine compartment.
  • The turret ring.
  • The armor on the sides, top, and rear (normally not as thick as that on the front).


If a vehicle is "buttoned up" and you have no antiarmor weapons, fire your rifle at the vision blocks, at any optical equipment mounted outside the vehicle, into the engine compartment, at any external fuel tanks, or at the hatches. That will not destroy the vehicle, but may hinder its ability to fight.

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