Soldiers from Norfolk-based Light Dragoons discover and destroy deadly explosive cache in Afghanistan
A huge cache of lethal explosives that could have been used against British troops and Afghan civilians has been sniffed out and destroyed by troops from the Norfolk-based Light Dragoons.
The soldiers from A Squadron The Empire, an elite cavalry reconnaissance regiment, found the 250kg store of home-made explosives hidden under blue tarpaulin while on operations with their Afghan Army partners in the Nahr-e-Saraj area of Helmand.
Squadron Sergeant Major Brian Howard, 37, said: 'We were moving towards a position and saw a blue tarpaulin in the wadi. I thought it was a body at first, because it's not uncommon for Afghans to bury family members loosely on the hills.
'I didn't want anyone watching to realise what was going on, so we quickly dropped off six blokes then moved off in our vehicles to keep the dust screen moving.'
Two soldiers pushed forward to investigate further and found it was not a body but an improvised explosive device cache that also included pressure plates used to trigger the devices.
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One of the soldiers, Trooper Jamie McCartney, 23, said: 'We recognised it as home made explosives and confirmed using the water test. It turns the water milky and this silver stuff floats to the top, like mercury.
'Finding this stuff has had a huge impact on the enemy's ability to strike us and the local people and it has been great for the morale of the squadron. The lads feel it is a job well done and each bit of good we do helps us to get on top.'
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Explosives experts made the weapons safe after first light and blew them up where they were found.
Sergeant Major Howard said: 'It gives great satisfaction taking capability away from the insurgents. The bomb disposal guys said we had probably saved 60 limbs, or 30 pairs of legs. Ultimately, we've saved lives.'
Their fellow Light Dragoon sister unit, B Squadron of The Brigade Reconnaissance Force also found a 250kg cache earlier in the tour.
The Light Dragoons return to the UK in November after six months in Afghanistan.