Barbed wire is an inexpensive security measure that can be purchased at all major hardware stores. The pictured 950 foot role was purchased for under $90 at a major home supply retailer. Barbed wire is a great deterrent when emplaced on mounted and dismounted avenues of approach. Most threats will bypass areas with wire obstacles, even if the obstacle is not that well-built. The more nasty the obstacle looks the more likely aggressors are to avoid it. Like any obstacle the intent is to slow the enemy down to force them to assess the obstacle providing an opportunity for the defender to place well aimed fire on the threat. Wire obstacles should be placed in depth and at varying heights along all major avenues of approach. Barbed wire tangles easily in vehicle drive systems so it is likely to slow any vehicles during their approach. Wire obstacles should be anchored with pickets or existing terrain features such as trees, debris, heavy rock formations or existing fences or sign poles. For newer homes with a lot of windows and doors a large role of barbed wire easily covers all ground level entry points. When placing barbed wire as a personnel deterrent place the wire 18-24 inches above the ground and at a depth of at least 10 feet across to prevent the threat from jumping over the obstacle, forcing the threat to trip or to crawl under the wire. As discussed in earlier posts the purpose of wire obstacles is to slow the threat or to force them to take a path of least resistance which is an avenue of your choosing.
Picket pounders are a great tool used to drive pickets or fence posts into the ground. Picket pounders are issued to military forces where they are used to rapidly emplace wire obstacles. During wire obstacle emplacement the picket pounder is essential for driving "U" shaped pickets into the ground which are required to reinforce and anchor constantino wire and razor wire. Steel bailing wire is then used to tie the constantino/razor wire to picket. If the wire obstacle is not secured to the ground they can be easily moved. Picket pounders are essentially a single user system because you do not need someone to hold the picket when driving. This is a big advantage over using a sledge hammer which requires assistance from someone else to hold the picket. Using picket pounders are a great way to free up individuals to do other work. Picket pounders consist of a heavy metal pipe with one closed end and one open end. To assist the user in driving the picket up and down and to reduce user fatigue, long handles are welded on each side of the picket pounder to allow the user's hands to slide when the pounder makes contact with the end of the picket. To use the picket pounder the open end of the pounder is slipped over the top of a picket/fence post and repeatedly slammed against the picket to drive it into the ground. By adding weight to the picket pounder they can used as expedient door breachers or demolition tools. The pictured picket/post pounder was purchased at Lowe's for $35. If you're creative and can weld you can build one yourself designed for your specific needs.
For route clearance a designated vehicle should carry a breach kit that is suitable for reducing wire obstacles to allow both vehicles and personnel to pass. All of your planning and preparation isn't worth not getting to where you need to go. A basic breach kit as outlined in the picture should consist of the following items: USGI Barbed Wire Handling Gloves, Gerber Wire Cutter, 14in Bolt Cutter, Utility Bar, Grappling Hook and Engineer Tape (for marking). All items should fit in a 19in fabric tool bag. Cost of breach kits vary on item brand and range from $160 (as pictured) to $300. The most expensive items are the wire cutters and the grappling hooks. Based on weight limit grappling hooks cost between $25 to $180. The hook pictured is for dragging wire or debris only and is not intended for climbing. Unless you are climbing walls money is better spent on quality cutting tools then on grappling systems.
A key component of any engineer obstacle breach kit is a pair of Barbed Wire Handling Gloves. See picture insert for comparison between USGI Barbed Wire Handling Gloves and USGI Heavy Duty Gloves. The sharp barbs of concertina wire and razor wire easy cut through traditional leather gloves. Anyone that has dealt with concertina wire during obstacle reduction or obstacle emplacement knows the handling dangers and how easy it is to get injured if you do not have the correct equipment. Barbed wire handling gloves are a must for teams handling barbed wire systems during emplacement and can be used to pull wire during obstacle clearance operations.
To prevent injury barbed wire handling gloves incorporate tightly spaced staples along the glove's grip that prevent penetration. The gloves are also designed with a long cuff to cover the user's forearms. The USGI heavy duty gloves are a good glove for general construction and engineer work. Engineer's alternate between both gloves based on different phases of obstacle emplacement.