Ammunition - Ammunition Sabotage

Ammunition Sabotage

As an unconventional warfare tactic, parties to an armed conflict may attempt to supply ammunition to their opponents that has been sabotaged such that some rounds explode when fired, disabling the weapon and killing or injuring its user. Apart from the direct damage so inflicted, this tactic has the advantage of undermining the enemy's confidence in their ammunition supply. Sabotaging ammunition is not without drawbacks, however: it involves the supply of some working ammunition to the enemy, and it incurs the risk that the sabotaged ammunition may find its way to friendly troops. Over time, the enemy may also become aware of the deception and find ways to identify the sabotaged rounds.

Because of its indiscriminate nature, the use of sabotaged ammunition is not widespread in warfare, and its legality under the laws of warfare is uncertain. It has, however, found use in several modern conflicts. In World War II, it was used by the British and German forces. During the Vietnam War, Project Eldest Son was a U.S. effort to leak sabotaged AK-47 ammunition to the Vietcong. The tactic was likely also used by Soviet forces in the Afghan civil war in the 1980s. In the most recent phase of that war, U.S. forces have sabotaged mortar rounds intended for use by the insurgent Taliban. And in the ongoing Syrian civil war, the tactic has been reported to be used by government forces.

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