Ambushing a helicopter

Footage has been released of a Colombian army helicopter being blown up by guerrillas.  The Telegraph reports:

The Black Hawk helicopter exploded shortly after landing on 22 June in the Norte de Santander department about 264 miles northeast of the capital Bogota.

The military said an explosive was manually set off and the Colombian government said four soldiers were killed and six others were injured in the attack.

. . .

… guerrillas from the National Liberation Army (ELN) took responsibility for the attack on Saturday in a message posted on its Twitter account stating that eight soldiers had been killed.

There’s more at the link.  Here’s the video of the explosion.

The incident reminds me of one in Angola during the war years there.  It was reported that a patrol of South African Special Forces operators noticed that Angolan forces were carving a helicopter landing pad out of the bush near Cuito Cuanavale, to make helicopter resupply easier.  They waited until the work force had returned to its fire for supper that evening, then buried four Soviet TM-46 landmines in the center of the cleared area.  They wired them to explode on command, and led the wire from the detonator to the edge of the clearing, burying it carefully so it wouldn’t be noticed.  When an Angolan Air Force Mil Mi-8 helicopter came in to land next morning, it went straight back up again, in pieces.  So did everyone on board.

This illustrates one of the fundamental vulnerabilities of using helicopters in warfare.  They need cleared areas in which to land.  If there aren’t many around, those that exist can be booby-trapped or ambushed to destroy helicopters before those on board, or their cargo, can be unloaded.



  1. This is also what the giant Claymore mines like the MON-100 were developed for… Set them in the trees surrounding the LZ, and then detonate as the helicopter comes below the line of fragmentation. These mines are what the North Vietnamese used to interdict many of the available LZ options north of the border.

  2. There have been a number of Colombian helicopters destroyed by FARC and other groups over the years. One very simple trick they used was to place a household box fan on its side in the expected landing zone with the grill on the upper side removed. Several hand grenades with the pins removed were lodged in between the blades – the downdraft from a helicopter would spin the blades, releasing the grenades to devastating effect.
    The 'Daisy Cutter' was invented to make landing zones on command in Vietnam; I'm sure the concussion took care of mines and nearby watchers too.

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