August 31, 2006

Concrete Proof

In the comments of this post, Ronald Lewis, an experienced bomb damage assessment expert with 20 years of experience, states, in part (my bold):

...The nature of the hole in the roof of the Reuters vehicles is inconsistent with penetration by shrapnel. There would be more than one hole, a larger one surrounded by many smaller ones. This single hole, its shape and the initial gray color of the damage area are more consistent with a vehicle struck by a large piece of masonry striking the top of the vehicle at high velocity, possibly dislodged by a rocket blast. It is clear that the vehicle, itself, was not struck by missiles or rockets...

Mr Lewis is not the only expert to reach a similar conclusion.

Both of the armored vehicle manufacturers I corresponded with yesterday agreed that an explosive probably did not cause the damage shown on the Reuters vehicle. Old Soldier, a retired Master Army Aviator helicopter and fixed-wing test pilot also remarked based upon his 31-years experience that the damage may have been caused by (my bold):

... [a] chunk of flying concrete debris from a larger explosion (say perhaps a HELLFIRE or artillery round hitting a building nearby).

There are, of course, conflicting ideas that very may well be valid. Photo analysis alone does not seem capable of resolving this issue with any degree of certainty in the blogosphere, which is why it is quite disappointing that the professional media refuses to investigate what may have occurred.

I have one more email floating out there to an expert that might be able to shed a little more light on this incident, but as time passes, it appears that they are unlikely to return comment. The simple fact of the matter is that without a close-up inspection of the vehicle by recognized experts and perhaps metallurgical tests on any shrapnel that can be verified as being recovered from the victims and the vehicle, we may never know exactly what transpired.

I could not resist my sillier side, however, and present to you an artist's conception of the helicopter that carried out the attack.


Barring any late-breaking developments, I think this story is pretty much done.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at August 31, 2006 02:48 PM | TrackBack

I've been a mechanic, fireman, and EMT at the same time in my life. The first thing I would do to debunk a "They hit our Ambulance!" claim would be to open the hood, and see if there was an ENGINE, and other essential parts still in place to operate the vehicle! I can shoot holes in junked cars as well as the next guy.

Posted by: Tom TB at August 31, 2006 06:52 PM

CY did you receive DOD permission to publish a picture of the next generation Apache with the cutting edge technology CBDS (Concrete Block Delivery System)? There is a smaller version of CBDS that is being developed for Predator UAVs.

Posted by: Old Soldier at August 31, 2006 07:23 PM

Reuters could settle the whole thing very quickly by presenting the vehicle to the FBI or BATF for chemical residue analysis.

I won't hold my breath.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at August 31, 2006 09:34 PM

One more question: are we confident that the vehicle was armored to begin with? Has anyone tried to confirm an 8mm thickness (from the photos or otherwise)? Does 8mm bend and tear like that?

Posted by: The Scrutinator at September 6, 2006 09:58 AM