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Grab a satchel charge and let it blow

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I'm playing a PBM QB right now and noticed that whoever picks up a satchel charge from an injured/dead engineer/breach team... is able to use it :eek:

Kind of useful since it's bad news to lose the only guys who know how to blow a hole in the bocage... but a bit unrealistic too, don't you think ?

To pick up a satchel charge ought not make you an engineer. It makes it a de facto magic object :D

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...but a bit unrealistic too, don't you think ?

I don't know. Doing any kind of sophisticated demolition, e.g. blowing a bridge, should be beyond ordinary infantry. But mouseholing a wall is pretty simple. Many elite soldiers, such as paratroops, commandos, and rangers, had training in handling explosives.


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A WW2 satchel charge is basically plastic explosive and a fuse in a package. Pretty much all infantry got at least shown how the things work as part of their standard training, in WW2 usually by way of demonstration or a film or some such. Once the infantryman got to the war, if there was a need for him to know how to use explosives to help keep himself alive - for instance clearing a built-up area, or fighting tanks, opening up that safe found in the attic of the house, or perhaps just fishing - then he tended to learn pretty durn quick.

It would be a rare squad anywhere where out of 8 - 10 men no one knew, somehow, how to use a satchel charge in an emergency. Maybe there is justification for inexperienced infantry not to do so as quickly or perhaps with a chance of error, but by that same token I would expect experienced or well-trained infantry to use satchel charges professionally. In fighting I'd guess experienced infantry would use satchel charges better than the engineers for blasting walls and smacking tanks and so forth; those that knew how had a slightly better chance of living.

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Yeppers, I am with Bigduke on this one. Even in basic training you are givin instruction on using just about every weapon that might possibly come into your possession. This is Infantry basic in 2005, but the base they use is the same, and the training hasn't changed all that much, only the equipment. I would also agree with the above, for doing advanced engineer type things, ie. dropping a single span of a bridge, then you would need engineers for that. For most work with explosives where the infantry/engineer lines are blurred, I would say they are capable of it.

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Pull the cord.

Throw it towards enemy.

Even I could handle that one.

In their most basic usage, they were like large bulky grenades.

Well, it's a little more complicated than that. The priming and detonation process for a demo charge is definitely more complicated than for a grenade. There's also the issue of deciding what delay is appropriate, and how much charge to use -- use too much, and you may end up blowing up yourself along with the target. But as far as I know the essential point is true -- infantrymen did usually have basic training in how to use a demo charge. Certainly not with the same sophistication and competence as a Combat Engineer, but they at least knew how to make the thing go boom.

Part of the issue is that CM doesn't really differentiate between fairly simple uses of demo charges, like just setting one with enough delay to get away and take cover, and then chucking it against the side of a log bunker, and complex uses of explosives that would require more training to execute properly, such as blowing a hole through bocage such that the gap created would actually be useable by vehicles. In the latter instance, more expertise is needed because you can't simply solve the problem with overkill -- too much explosive may create a crater nearly as difficult for a vehicle to cross as the bocage berm.

But given the level of abstraction present in CM right now for explosives use, I think it's fine that any troops can pick up demo charges (though only specialized unit can begin a battle equipped with them).

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