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Assault Breacher Vehicle (ABV), shortly Breacher, and nicknamed Shredder,[1] is the name of a military vehicle model as first used on a larger scale by the US Marines in the joint ISAF-Afghan Operation Moshtarak in Southern Afghanistan during the War in Afghanistan in 2010 against the Taliban insurgency.

Marines with 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion launch a line charge from an Assault Breacher Vehicle.


Design and purpose

These tracked combat vehicles were especially designed to clear pathways for troops and other vehicles through minefields and along roadside bombs and Improvised Explosive Devices. The 72-ton, 40-foot (12-meter)-long vehicles are based on a tank with a 1,500 horsepower engine, but fitted with a 50-caliber machine gun and a front-mounted 15-foot (4.5-meter) wide plow, supported by metallic skis that glide on the dirt and armed with nearly 7,000 pounds (3,175 kilograms) of explosives.

They were called "the answer" to the deadliest threat facing NATO troops in this conflict. The Breachers are also equipped with M58 MICLIC Mine Clearing Line Charges: rockets carrying high-grade C-4 explosives up to 100-150 yards (meters) forward, detonating hidden bombs at a safe distance, so that troops and vehicles can pass through safely.[2]

In the 1990s, the U.S. Army decided it could not afford to continue developing complicated, maintenance-heavy vehicles for this purpose. The Grizzly program was canceled in 2001. The prototype developed never made it to the production lines. The Marine Corps however persisted and funded its own development and testing. The main body of the final model of the ABV is built on the General Dynamics chassis that is used for the M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank. Pearson Engineering of the UK provided the specially designed plow and the other mine-clearing accessories.[3][4][5]

First use in combat

In the morning of December 3, 2009, for the first time breachers were used in combat, when Marines pushed into the Taliban stronghold Now Zad during Operation Cobra’s Anger in Helmand province, on their way to another Taliban stronghold Marjah, 380 miles (610 kilometers) southwest of Kabul,that was to be assaulted in February 2010.[6][7][8][9][10]

On February 11, 2010, two breachers fired explosive line charges in the desert outside Sistani, to test Taliban defenses on the eve of Operation Moshtarak when closing off the enemy's escape route.[11][12][13][14][15]

On February 13, 2010, on the first day of the operation, breachers of the US Marines 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion succeeded in digging and blasting "safety lanes" through the numerous minefields laid by the Taliban around Marjah.[16][17]

According to a report in December 2009, there were then five ABVs in Afghanistan, and the U.S. Marines were said to have plans to field a total of 52 by 2012, of which about 34 have already had been produced. The U.S. Army was said to have ordered 187.[18]

See also


  1. ^ "Marine Corps’ newest modded tank, “The Shredder!”"
  2. ^ "Marines push 'The Breacher' against Taliban lines"
  3. ^ "Marines roll out Assault Breacher Vehicles for Marjah Afghanistan offensive - When Marines rumble into the Taliban stronghold of Marjah in Helmand province for one of the largest offensives of the Afghanistan war, they'll be battle-testing a powerful new weapon, the Assault Breacher Vehicle"
  4. ^ "US Marines push their ultimate mine clearance weapon, 'The Breacher,' against Taliban lines"
  5. ^ "MV-22 and ABV Meet Expectations"
  6. ^ ""Marine assault - Operation Cobra's Anger"
  7. ^ "Marines Blast Through Now Zad With Assault Breacher Vehicles"
  8. ^ "Monster mine-clearing tank goes to work in Afghanistan"
  9. ^ "Combat Camera: US Marines Take Now Zad During Operation Cobra's Anger, Part 1"
  10. ^ "United States Marines Corps deployed for the time in Afghanistan the new engineer armoured ABV Assault Breacher Vehicle"
  11. ^ "Taliban escape route sealed before attack"
  12. ^ "US and Afghan troops ring Taliban stronghold"
  13. ^ "Marines test Taliban defenses before Afghan attack"
  14. ^ "Two U.S. Marine Assault Breacher Vehicles (ABV), test-fire explosive line charges in the desert outside Sistani"
  15. ^ "U.S. and Afghan forces surround 1,000 Taliban as they poise to launch Operation Moshtarak"
  16. ^ "Marine assault vehicles key to Afghan strategy - As U.S. and Afghan troops prepare for an offensive in Helmand province, the Assault Breacher Vehicle - a cross between a tank and a bulldozer - is intended to conquer the terrain and roadside bombs"
  17. ^ "Taliban leaders flee as marines hit stronghold"
  18. ^ "New Marine Tech Slams into Helmand"

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