The handling of explosives is one of the core capabilities of engineers. Nevertheless, blowing up a bridge is a highly complex project. "Bridges always are key infrastructure that can determine the success of a battle. At the same time, important civilian utility lines often run in those bridges. Whoever controls them has a decisive advantage," explains Lieutenant Colonel Peer Papenbroock, the Commander of enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Lithuania.
Before the bridge can be blown up, the engineers have to "load" it. This means that the soldiers have to attach the explosives in previously determined spots. The duration of this loading process is influenced by a lot of factors: Is the bridge made from wood or reinforced concrete, how big is it and are the explosive charges to be attached openly or embedded covertly? For covertly embedded explosives, holes are drilled in the structure and the explosives then filled in these.
It took the eight engineers six hours to attach 30 kilograms of PETN explosive and 150 metres of detonating cord to the 20-metre wooden bridge. In doing so, they loaded half of the bridge openly and the other half in a covert manner in order to practise both kinds of explosive placement. After all preparations have been completed, the time has come: All explosive charges have been placed and the bridge is ready for demolition.