"The VAB saved our lives".

22 August 2014: Interview of Captain Glenn PIRIOU of the 51st RI CENTIAL

"The VAB was my favourite vehicle. Rugged, reliable, robust, it was present on every deployment. I used it in the Balkans, in Afghanistan, as well as in Mali. As a user, this vehicle gave us a sense of security, while being quite manoeuvrable and fast for an armoured vehicle.

In August 2014, on the 22nd at 10:30 to be exact, my VAB was blown up by an anti-tank mine in Mali. I was in charge of the logistic convoys, of the Salamandre logistic battalion, from the 516th RT, and I was in charge of the driving and security of these convoys. We were linking Tessalit to Gao with about twenty vehicles. At a sandy crossing point, the rear wheel of the VAB ran over an AC mine. The vehicle jumped. We found ourselves six metres from the impact, with one wheel torn off and the steering column severed. The remains of the tyre were partly 200 metres away. The explosion was violent."

Dans un point de passage obligé sablonneux, la roue arrière du VAB roule sur une mine AC. Le véhicule fait un bond.

Nous nous retrouvâmes à six mètres de l’impact, avec une roue arrachée et la colonne de direction sectionnée. Les restes du pneu se trouvaient en partie à 200 mètres. L’explosion fut violente



According to the ODE (operational demining element), the main load was estimated at eight kilos. However, none of the five crew members were injured.

The metal floor of the VAB was partly cracked, the windows blown out, but the VAB resisted.

After a quick examination by my medical team, my crew was a bit shocked and we were breathless from the blast, but there were no serious injuries and we were able to complete our mission. That day, the VAB saved our lives.

Source : ARQUUS, 130 years of History