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Thread: Three million French landmines still buried in Algeria

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    Three million French landmines still buried in Algeria

    Watch where you step...

    (I fecking HATE landmines)



    There are nearly three million landmines still buried on Algeria’s border regions out of a total of 11 million laid by the French colonial army, according to an Algerian official.

    Colonel Hocine Hamel, in charge of mine-clearing operations in eastern Algeria, on Tuesday said that since 1963 Algeria has removed over eight million mines during the de-mining of the border between Algeria and Morocco.

    "French colonialism had put several types of mines throughout 1 710 km in the wilayas (regions) of Tebessa, Souk Ahras, El Tarf and Guelma in the east and the wilayas of Bechar, and Naama Tlemcen in the west," Hamel said.

    "Mine clearance operations conducted by the army led to the destruction of 8 million mines between 1963 and 1988,” he said. They were laid by the French army during Algeria’s war for independence between 1954 and 1962.

    In the first clearance phase between 1963 and 1988, the Algerian army cleared 1 482 km of mined areas along a total length of 2 531 km, destroying in the process more than 7.8 million mines. In November 2010, Algeria reported that since November 2004 and through the end of October 2010, it had destroyed 508 554 mines at an average rate of some 7 200 per month. Algeria subsequently reported that as of June 2011, 43 mined areas remained to be cleared in Algeria: 31 in the east, totalling 6.2 km2 and 12 in the west totalling some 7.36 km2.

    The north of the country has been contaminated by an unknown number of homemade mines and explosive items laid by insurgent groups and a reported 15 709 antipersonnel mines laid by the Algerian army around installations, particularly high-tension powerlines, according to the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor. In March and August 2011 Algeria reported that all of the mines laid by the army had been cleared. Clearance of the last of the 15 minefields and 15 709 antipersonnel mines laid was completed on 28 April 2011.

    In 2004 the army began a new de-mining operation, which has so far seen the destruction of 772 157 mines along border regions, Hamel said. He added that Algeria has to complete the de-mining effort by 2017. This is in compliance with the Ottawa Convention’s Mine Ban Treaty, to which Algeria became a signatory in 1997. The Ottawa Convention lays out guidelines on the prohibition of the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines.

    In December last year Algeria requested an extension of five years, until April 1, 2017, to complete the remaining de-mining tasks it had identified.

    De-mining in Algeria is entirely conducted by the Algerian corps of Combat Engineers and is complete funded by the state. Since the start of the second phase of de-mining, landmine accidents have grown infrequent, from 126 casualties in 2005 to just one in 2010, the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor reports.

    In August 2011 Algeria noted that, in addition to human suffering, mines have slowed the development of the contaminated regions, rendering broad swathes of agricultural and grazing land unusable; overburdened the health system; increased poverty as a result of disabilities caused by mine injuries; and destroyed flora and fauna as a result of poaching using mines recovered from the minefields.

    In 2007 France gave Algeria details on where its forces had laid millions of mines on its borders during Algeria’s struggle for independence in order to stop the Algerian resistance movement from infiltrating the country from neighbouring Morocco and Tunisia. Millions of these mines were laid on the Challe and Morice Lines on the eastern and western borders of Algeria. The heavily fortified Morice Line (named for the French defence minister, André Morice), consisted of an electrified fence, barbed wire, and mines over a 320 kilometer stretch of the Tunisian border.


    http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.ph...and&Itemid=105
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    Re: Three million French landmines still buried in Algeria

    I was working out there, around Mecheria.There are still mountains of old barbed wire and of course thousands of AP mines.

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    Wow... 11 millions landmines... That costs a lot!

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    Active Member Scouser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adomiso View Post
    Wow... 11 millions landmines... That costs a lot!
    That occured to me too! How much does a land mine cost - £200? Multiply that by 11 millions then add in the cost of putting them in the ground then the cost of searching for each one, one by one, removing and disposing of it... Absolute madness.
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    Top Moderator Major Forum Poster Rapace's Avatar
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    For those who are not familiar with the history of the Algeria war, those landmines and barbed wire were aimed at securing the Tunisia/Algeria border (and – to a lesser extent – the Morocco/Algeria border), since the ALN (Armée de Libération Nationale, the Algerian ‘rebels’) were receiving most of their supplies and reinforcements from Tunisia. This line was called ligne Morice, after the name of the (then) French Ministry of Defense who ordered its construction. Most of the most serious engagements between the French army and the ALN took place in this eastern part of Algeria (Souk-Arhas, Guelma, etc.). Guelma BTW is where Lt-Col Jeanpierre, CO of 1er REP and one of the few survivors of the RC4 disaster in 1950 in Indochina that saw the destruction of 1er BEP, was KIA in May 1958.
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    Re: Three million French landmines still buried in Algeria

    Quote Originally Posted by Rapace View Post
    For those who are not familiar with the history of the Algeria war, those landmines and barbed wire were aimed at securing the Tunisia/Algeria border (and – to a lesser extent – the Morocco/Algeria border), since the ALN (Armée de Libération Nationale, the Algerian ‘rebels’) were receiving most of their supplies and reinforcements from Tunisia. This line was called ligne Morice, after the name of the (then) French Ministry of Defense who ordered its construction. Most of the most serious engagements between the French army and the ALN took place in this eastern part of Algeria (Souk-Arhas, Guelma, etc.). Guelma BTW is where Lt-Col Jeanpierre, CO of 1er REP and one of the few survivors of the RC4 disaster in 1950 in Indochina that saw the destruction of 1er BEP, was KIA in May 1958.
    I just looked up the wiki page for the Battle of Route Coloniale 4. Sobering stuff.


    "On 25 May, 2,500 Viet Minh troops overwhelmed the French fortress at Dong Khé, which lay at the strategic center of RC4, thus cutting the supply line between the French positions at Cao Bang and Lang Son. French parachutists retook Dong Khé on the evening of 27 May and a company of Legionnaires took charge of the fort."

    and the second battle:

    "Giap had concentrated ten battalions around Dong Khé, reinforced by a complete artillery regiment, together with the remaining forces from Le Hong Phong I"

    "Some 130 of the Legion parachute battalion out of the 500 that had jumped emerged from this breakthrough fight; they had only escaped by clambering down lianas shrouding a 75 ft cliff with their wounded tied on their backs"



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_..._4#cite_note-1
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    Active Member gatorojo's Avatar
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    Re: Three million French landmines still buried in Algeria

    Quote Originally Posted by Scouser View Post
    I just looked up the wiki page for the Battle of Route Coloniale 4. Sobering stuff.


    "On 25 May, 2,500 Viet Minh troops overwhelmed the French fortress at Dong Khé, which lay at the strategic center of RC4, thus cutting the supply line between the French positions at Cao Bang and Lang Son. French parachutists retook Dong Khé on the evening of 27 May and a company of Legionnaires took charge of the fort."

    and the second battle:

    "Giap had concentrated ten battalions around Dong Khé, reinforced by a complete artillery regiment, together with the remaining forces from Le Hong Phong I"

    "Some 130 of the Legion parachute battalion out of the 500 that had jumped emerged from this breakthrough fight; they had only escaped by clambering down lianas shrouding a 75 ft cliff with their wounded tied on their backs"



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_..._4#cite_note-1
    Those guys were in deep Kim-chi for sure; but what does this battle in Vietnam have to do with Algeria? Am I missing something obvious?

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    Re: Three million French landmines still buried in Algeria

    Quote Originally Posted by gatorojo View Post
    Those guys were in deep Kim-chi for sure; but what does this battle in Vietnam have to do with Algeria? Am I missing something obvious?
    There or people on here more expert than me on the subject including several who were there; in the context of the Legion, Algeria followed and was almost fought concurrent with the Indochina war during which some in the Legion and elsewhere felt that they were poorly led militarily and politically and paid dearly for it. After taking a pounding as a result, the Legion were immediately sent to Algeria where they were asked to fight a very dirty war at the height of which the French government said it was all unnecessary anyway as Algeria is no longer France but Algeria. Remember that “la vieille Légion” at that time was not allowed on the French mainland and always was based in Algeria, famously headquartered at Sidi Bel-Abbes. It was home to them.

    Feeling betrayed, this broke the limit of patience for some in the political and military heir achy and the assassination of De Gaulle was planned (Day of the Jackal) and elements of the Legion took control of parts of Algeria and in places subdued the French regular army there. The 1st REP was to parachute on Paris and take strategic positions. It came to nothing but the Legion was changed forever as a result.

    The Fifth Republic emerged from this time.

    What defines the Legion then and now is that they are always asked to do more with less, always are outnumbered it seems as Indochina and Algeria illustrated and as Rapace said, that officer Lt-Col Jeanpierre was in both places and I think a certain Guy Rubin de Cervens (http://www.cervens.net/Guy.html) too. Rapace himself is “black-foot” and will explain it better than I but the absence of the 1er REP today had its roots in what happened Vietnam/Indochina. Voltigeur was there too. There's living history on this site.

    If they had been better resourced too then maybe all those land mines along that border wouldn't have had to be laid. They persist to this day.
    Last edited by Scouser; 11th May 2012 at 12:00.
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    Re: Three million French landmines still buried in Algeria

    Quote Originally Posted by gatorojo View Post
    Those guys were in deep Kim-chi for sure; but what does this battle in Vietnam have to do with Algeria? Am I missing something obvious?
    I was just making an incidental remark about Lt-Col Jeanpierre CO of 1er REP, KIA in Algeria in the so-called bataille des frontières, in the area where most of the landmines mentioned by Scouser were buried. As a Captain, Jeanpierre was one of the few survivors of the Route Coloniale n°4 (RC4) disaster.
    The webmaster's father (Guy Rubin de Cervens) fought also in Indochina and Algeria, but was not part of the RC4 affair.
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    Re: Three million French landmines still buried in Algeria

    I hope they all get defused and no one walks on one, kids women or men.

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    Re: Three million French landmines still buried in Algeria

    Quote Originally Posted by Scouser View Post
    That occured to me too! How much does a land mine cost - £200? Multiply that by 11 millions then add in the cost of putting them in the ground then the cost of searching for each one, one by one, removing and disposing of it... Absolute madness.
    £200? I'd guess the production costs of an AP landmine would be somewhere between a couple of dollars to maybe twenty, tops?

    Which is still a lot of money, but when you consider the cost of a jet fighter or a modern battle tank and crew, training costs, maintainence, supply chain...landmines are still a "cheap and cheerful" weapon.

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    Re: Three million French landmines still buried in Algeria

    "What defines the Legion then and now is that they are always asked to do more with less......"

    ‎"With a modicum of resources and a grossly undercalculated amount of time, we can do more to un**** anything you do for so long with so little, that one may think that we can do everything with nothing, forever." SF NCO to Gen Staff Offr.

    Pretty much sums up the Legion!

    Stay Safe All,

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    Re: Three million French landmines still buried in Algeria

    Quote Originally Posted by invictus_88 View Post
    £200? I'd guess the production costs of an AP landmine would be somewhere between a couple of dollars to maybe twenty, tops?

    Which is still a lot of money, but when you consider the cost of a jet fighter or a modern battle tank and crew, training costs, maintainence, supply chain...landmines are still a "cheap and cheerful" weapon.

    Ah well, production cost and the price any ministry of defence pays are two different things! In America the pentagon admitted to congress that the price for each gallon of fuel in Afghanistan was $400. In previous times they paid $435 for a $7 hammer! Our dear old MoD ordered two aircraft carriers then found they would have no aircraft to put on them by the time they would be completed so they plan to mothball one and revised their order for more capable catapulted aircraft which could be delivered in time. The builders BAe upped the priced by a £billion for this change. Yesterday the MoD decided they the STOVL aircraft were good enough after all and revised their order again to the original order. The study to do this cost up to£250m.

    They could have ordered the American F18 off the shelf, undefeated in battle for a fraction of the price which is carrier ready of course but McDonnell Douglas is a competitor to BAe and wouldn't benefit financially from such a decision. Not that BAe and the UK government is corrupt in any way you understand. No sirree.

    Dunno about the French Mod at that time - £200 for a land mine? Is there any non-french rifle, bullet, howitzer, aircraft etc in the French military? And who benefits from such a policy...

    I want to go to Tibesti in Chad but I read that disgustingly, many of water holes there have been mined. There's nothing cheerful about land mines, they just bring misery and should be banned.
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    Re: Three million French landmines still buried in Algeria

    Currently UN and other mine action organisations assess that on average a landmine costs between $3 and $30 to place, with manufacturing costs as low as 80 cents, removal on the other hand costs between $300 and $1000 per mine.

    A minefield is considered cleared when 96% of all mines are believed to have been removed.

    Therefore a cleared minefield which previously contained approx 1000 mines may still have around 40 mines active.

    The term "land mine" comes from WW1 when miners used to tunnel under enemy trenches, fill the tunnel with explosives and blow the living begorrah out of whoever was in the trench.

    The most mined country in the world according to my mate at Halo who pretends he knows lots about the subject is Egypt with over 20 million, Algeria doesn't make the top ten. Afghanistan is 4th with about 10 million.

    Have to take my hat off to the deminers hearts of lions and incredibly big balls, although they do tend to loose said balls on the not infrequent occasions that they trigger the mine accidentally.

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