U.S. Marines from 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, conduct the first amphibious landing in an Assault Breacher Vehicle with a Modified Full Width Mine Plow prototype. Photo by Lance Cpl. Rhita Daniel/U.S. Marine Corps
Feb. 9 (UPI) -- If allied soldiers running up the beaches of Normandy during World War II had the Marine Corps' modified Assault Breacher Vehicle, or ABV, perhaps the death toll would not have been so high.
The thinking behind that scenario is the driving force behind the Marine Corps' strategy to perfect the "beach assault."
The U.S. Marine Corps this week announced that their ABV made history last year when it conducted its first amphibious landing with a Modified Full Width Mine Plow prototype.
The modified hardware is designed to aid combat Marines in amphibious beach assaults by deploying the ABV from a Navy Landing Craft Utility to create a safe path by clearing countermeasures such as mines.
"Our legacy Full Width Mine Plow on the ABV could not fit onto an LCU because it was too wide," Timothy Barrons, ABV project officer for Engineer Systems at Marine Corps Systems Command, said in a press release.
"The prototype we are testing fills a current capability gap and gives commanders the flexibility to use multiple surface connectors to get ABVs in the fight," said Barrons.
In December 2017, the modified ABV was used for the first time during Exercise Steel Knight, an annual training event designed for fine-tuning command and control processes, and "interoperability" with the 1st Marine Division, adjacent units and naval support forces.
"The Assault Breacher Vehicle is the premiere breaching tool in the Marine Corps, and there is no other tool like it," said Alvin "Tommy" West, an ABV platform engineer.
"It can carry two Linear Demolition Charges [or line charges] on the back with over a thousand pounds of C4 explosives in each of the charge. A rocket is attached to each line charge to propel the charge, which is critical when clearing a path through mine fields," West said.
The Marine Corps says the ABV Program Team plans to modify the ABV even more from information and feedback gathered during Exercise Steel Knight in order to improve the overall concept and design.
After additional modifications are added, the ABV will be tested at the U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center in Maryland.