BENGALURU: Designed by Captain McClintock of the Madras Sappers in 1916, Bangalore Torpedo — the explosive charge placed in a series of connected tubes — helped clear barbed wire and booby traps. Named after Bangalore, the mine was used in WWI and II, and helped the Allies defeat the Nazis. Interestingly, MEG also named a cocktail after it in 2016.
Simply called Banger or Bangalore sometimes, interestingly, the mine was never been used in any Indian war, said Lt Col Dinkar Verma (retd), as India has always been involved in defensive wars.
The curator of the Madras Sappers Museum, Verma said it was last used in the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, not even in Kargil, because India never attacked then. A sepia picture of three Indian soldiers sporting the Bangalore torpedo in their hands is one of the famed possessions of the Madras Sappers Museum and Archives. An extract from the Madras Sappers Annual Report of 1912 reads, “Destruction of Wire Entanglements: The Bangalore Torpedo System”.
“The most rapid method of affecting the passage of barbed wire entanglement is undoubtedly the cutting of a road right across it by the detonation of an elongated charge of explosive,” it reads.
“To investigate these various methods and conflicting views, certain experiments have been carried out at Bangalore,” it says.
The Bangalore Torpedo cocktail is a mix of single malt scotch and local spices from Scotland and India and was launched in the 100th year since the torpedo’s invention. All retiring officers are now served this drink as a tradition. In memory of McClintock, it has scotch, cardamom jaggery, star anise, spiced apple juice, tea and orange slice procured from Bengaluru locally. The warm relationship that men in uniform share with a tastefully mixed drink, is well known. On the last day of service, the torpedo is a reason as good as any for the men in green to raise their glasses and say “cheers!”