This is an idea by my friend Ed Sackett. See here for another of his ideas on munitions.
Military demolition is usually a task for combat engineers, but infantry needs its own demolition equipment. Repeatedly in the wars of the twentieth century, infantry have faced natural and man-made obstacles which must be removed quickly. Twenty-first century war shows no sign of being different.
Demining and clearing fields of fire are two well-known situations which call for versatile, easy-to-deploy forms of explosives. Combat, especially in urban areas, constantly presents fighting men with the need to blast their way forward. A well dug in enemy can scarcely be dislodged by any other means than heavy charges of explosive delivered literally to his door.
Blocks of TNT and C4, allied with fuses, detonators, and primacord, have long served the infantry in making up satchel charges and daisy chains. These are of course essentially engineers' materials borrowed for frontline use, and they will always be useful, but they remain improvised devices.
Primacord is sometimes deployed by itself in ambushes and for small demolition tasks, and its light weight, ease of handling, and flexibility of employment frequently make it useful to the infantry.
At the other end of the scale, the huge line charges currently employed for clearing mine fields are formidable munitions, much too heavy for infantry to carry, although they have occasionally been used defensively by dug-in troops and the effectiveness of such linear explosives has been demonstrated convincingly.
Ralph Zumbro relates the story:-
"The MICLIC (mine clearing line charge) may be only 80% effective on a mine field, but it is 100% effective in an Iraqui infantry company in open formation"
I propose a light line charge for infantry, something that combines the handiness of primacord with the power of high explosives.
Let's call it Megacord for convenience. I envision an extruded plastic explosive about 25 mm in diameter, flexible and easily cut, that comes in plain vanilla for demolition, or embedded w/ precast ceramic "pebbles" for added anti-personnel effect. A standard package of Megacord might be three or four meters long, depending on weight.
In most applications, Megacord would be fired using standard detonators and wire, or devices such as ManDet.
But I also propose a simple metal or plastic adaptor, threaded to take a grenade or other type of fuse, that can be pressed over the end of a length of Megacord and crimped or taped for security. A short length of Megacord could thus be fused and thrown like a grenade; to make a large demolition device, half a meter to a meter of Megacord can be doubled several times and taped into a manageable bundle.
There exists a variety of primacord with a U-shaped cross section. In this form, primacord becomes a small linear shaped charge for cutting tasks. I suggest a version of Megacord extruded w/ a symmetrical Y- or X-shaped cross section which would similarly generate shaped jets for cutting, but with greater power. I specify symmetrical cross sections so that a length of such Megacord can be plopped down in haste, or thrown, and still cut effectively.
Megacord will be versatile: wrap it around a column! drape it over a door! string it along a ditch! It will provide explosive power in an adaptable form that can be employed in small amounts (a piece the thickness of a slice of pepperoni can pop off a padlock) or large amounts (two meters can blow down a concrete wall). This would go far toward providing infantry with the portable demolition capability it needs in so many situations.
PW:This sounds like an extremely simple and versitile device to use, which are never bad features for infantry weapons.
One of the classic uses for normal primacord is to lay it along a ditch, then get the enemy to jump into the ditch for cover when ambushed. Megacord is even more useful since its blast will be effective at a greater range. Lay it along the side of a track or along a street gutter, covered by leaf litter or rubbish and it will probably still be lethal to troops moving down the centre of the path. This is why I favour the "Y" shaped version, since the explosive jets will be focused upward. Megacord camouflaged and placed on walls or tree trunks would not only cut troops in half but drop the trees or walls on them as an afterthought.
I like the improvised grenade idea too -just a short length of Megacord or a long bit spiraled onto a ball. Since these will form multi-directional shaped charges they should be more effective than conventional grenades against body armour.