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The Pookie - Mine Clearance Vehicle with Formula One Tyres

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posted on Feb, 19 2009 @ 06:22 AM
I was researching mine clearing and anti-ambush vehicles from The Rhodesian Bush War as my father used to drive around in an armoured Land Rover that he had outfitted with homemade cannons attached to the reinforced bumper. Four of these cannons would point to the left and four to the right, with two pointing forwards.
These cannons were basically thick steel tubes packed with explosive and ball bearing and detonated electrically from a console in the cabin.

Anyway, while searching, I encountered a vehicle I remembered as a young boy, The Pookie - an armoured land mine clearing vehicle that used Formula One tyres for an extremely soft and wide footprint:

The crucial difficulty was how to avoid detonating the mine and thereby destroying, or at least, damaging the detecting vehicle. The solution was to fit the Pookie with the widest and softest tyres available, Formula One tyres, to give the Pookie a ground pressure which would not even break the small bones in a man's hand. The width of the tyres, in any case, spanned most landmine holes, lessening the chance of a detonation. In addition, as the Pookie's mechanical parts were drawn from the universal Volkswagon Kombi, the use of the VW trailing arm suspension, imparted less downward thrust than conventional coil springs. None of the sixty-seven Pookies, built from 1976 to 1980, ever detonated a landmine. Twelve Pookies were lost and two drivers killed but only by electrically-detonated mines or by RPG7 rockets in ambushes ahead of their convoys. One driver was killed by a rocket hitting his windscreen, the other by a boosted command detonation mine. All the other drivers survived because the V-shaped armoured cab, 700 millimeters above the ground, deflected the blasts harmlessly.

The Pookie

And a link in Wikipedia:

The Pookie is a small one-person vehicle named after the 'Bush Baby' fitted with large Formula One tires to prevent the detonation of buried mines by exherting little ground pressure and spanning the mines' circumference.1 The vehicle is made with readily-available parts from the Volkswagen Kombi and resembles a small go-cart with an elevated cab to protect the driver.1 The bottom of the cab has a V-shaped reinforced hull to deflect the blast away from the operator. Sensor 'pans', resembling rectangular wings, are lowered and used perpendicular to the ground below the cab. When the vehicle is transported, the pans are raised at a 45 degree angle.

Link 2

I even founda reference to a pedal powered Pookie!
Link 3

It seems this vehicle is still being manufactured but it was susceptible to IED's and remote detonated mines so would not be very useful in Iraq.

posted on Feb, 19 2009 @ 07:05 AM
reply to post by deltaalphanovember

hi, d>a>n,.. some of my old rodesian army pals tought me a usful tip for up armouring a 4x4 i had at the time,.. by using the slats of the convaer belt.. the type found on a rock crushing machine,s (approx 15x15 in)
simply overlaying them and riviting them to the underside of your 4x4 chasis, a great way to deflect ieds or eods ...

posted on Feb, 19 2009 @ 07:17 AM
HI d.a.n. this might be a double post so apolz plz
some of my old rhodesian (RDF) pals taught me a usful tip to up armour a 4x4 i had at the time to deflect IEDS&EODS. simply by using the slats of the convayer belt of a rock crushing machine usally found in quarries, fixing and riviting (the 15x15 slats) to the underside of your vehicle.. as i,m sure your aware when rhodesia fell alot of the peaple settled here in the UK..

[edit on 19-2-2009 by foxhoundone]

posted on Feb, 19 2009 @ 07:35 AM
reply to post by foxhoundone

Rhodesia had very little support from the rest of the world, even very little from it's neighbor South Africa and was forced to use some rather ingenious tricks to protect the lives of the soldiers.

One of the most common designs you would see was a V-shaped body - specifically designed to deflect blast shock waves. Additionally the Roll cage was considered vital as well as an opening to let blast pressure escape and seats which had shock absorbers. Tyres were also filled with water to disspate blast shock.

posted on Feb, 19 2009 @ 07:43 AM
well dan what do you think of the stuff they have in iraq and afghanistan these days i meen look at the first variants of armour ussed on their hummers it looked very basic to me. and i think the snatch type land rovers were given to much bad press

posted on Feb, 19 2009 @ 07:52 AM
reply to post by foxhoundone

The Humvee is a disaster of course but the Buffalo is a big step forward. It is virtually identical to the South African made Buffel that was used in the Angola bush war so successfully:


Johannesburg - US Army and Marine personnel in Iraq are increasingly staking their lives on South African-designed armoured vehicles, British defence publication Defence Systems Daily reports. Officially, the South African-acquired device is called the "mine protective clearance vehicle", or MPCV. "But we just call it the Buffalo," said Army 2nd Lieutenant David Swisher, a platoon leader with the 612th Engineer Battalion.

Don't know anything about the Snatch type Landies ... tell me more.

posted on Feb, 19 2009 @ 08:32 AM
snatch landies were brought into UK land forces deployment as internal security 4x4s , they where basicly up armoured landies using a kind of composite/kavler compound with armoured glass and a v12 R,ROYSE power unit .. mainly used during the troubles in n,ireland (or trialed) at the the time. the army only had humber and saracen amroured cars which were considered to intimadating (?) for the public, so intro, the snatch landie. when the cease fire held in the province there was a surplus of landies held in the army ordinance dumps .. alot of these landies ended up in iraq as security vehicles, but got busted up by the press for being easy target, s for taliban forces,,

posted on Feb, 19 2009 @ 09:19 AM
reply to post by foxhoundone

Ah yes, I did find some articles on them while researching Armoured Landrovers.

As a point of interest to validate the claims made by your friends about using converyor belts as additonal armour I found the following link (about the Leopard Land Mine Resisting Vehicle):

Prior to this, mine proofing had been various attempts to armour plate existing vehicles chassis and bodies or insulating them with sand-bags, rubber conveyor belting and the like, or building a strengthened body onto an existing chassis.


posted on Feb, 23 2009 @ 01:16 AM
link says 15 or so were lost and many drivers killed and in 10 years they never detonated a single mine? Talk about fail.

posted on Feb, 23 2009 @ 05:58 AM

Originally posted by rufusdrak says 15 or so were lost and many drivers killed and in 10 years they never detonated a single mine? Talk about fail.

Read the article carefully:

Twelve Pookies were lost and two drivers killed but only by electrically-detonated mines or by RPG7 rockets in ambushes ahead of their convoys. One driver was killed by a rocket hitting his windscreen, the other by a boosted command detonation mine

The Pookies had very little armour to keep their weight as low as possible - an RPG rocket hitting the windscreen would cause a lot of damage in most armoured vehicles.
The Pookie was a landmine detecting vehicle - not a landmine-proof vehicle.

The amount of mines they detected and lives saved is incalculable. 2 Drivers lost in 10 years is tiny in the scheme of things. How many good men die in vehicles in Iraq due to landmines?

[edit on 23/2/2009 by deltaalphanovember]

[edit on 23/2/2009 by deltaalphanovember]

posted on Jan, 10 2012 @ 03:20 PM
reply to post by deltaalphanovember

the pookie was built by Davies engineering using components from a VW kombi, this same company builds the Thunderbird Microlight in Tarlton South Africa and the owner Trevor has a pookie behind one of the hangers.

the fact is that Rhodesia and South Africa were in the forefront of anti landmine and landmine detection vehicles due to the nature of the bush war and of course the threat of landmines on dirt roads and farm tracks.

The lack of reliable IED and landmine proof vehicles in use in the current conflict an Afghanistan unfortunately is not through lack of design technology but rather through lack of forsight in planning and implementation of the correct vehicle for the right job, in march 1986 I was in a Buffel which happened to be following a police Casper which hit a double "cheese mine" in a puddle in mamelodi, the total damage was one lost wheel with no injuries and no one was strapped in , if the buffel had hit this then it would have rolled, as no seatbelts were worn due to danger of petrol bombs the buffel occupents would have been seriously injured.

this shows the right vehicle can protect those even when systems are not used as they should be, IED's would certainly have more of an effect but hey a casper or even buffel would be much better than a lightly armoured land rover.

the Pookie was used to detect landmines and the F1 tyres were there for low pressure footprint to spread the weight to stop detonation of mines and other devices, they suffered from damage on rough terrain and on potholes but hey rather a blown tyre than dead people in a convoy.

posted on Jan, 13 2012 @ 04:27 AM
reply to post by alansking

Pookie lives! I would love to take a few pics of it for this article. I also researched some information on armament, and found out that one enterprising guy mounted this beast:
Spider 24 Barrel Rotary Shotgun

the Pookie was armed with the Spider 24-barrel rotary 12-gauge shotgun. The Spider, fired in ripples by the Pookie driver pulling on a chain, covered a 270-degree arc with buckshot, either as prophylactic fire or as a riposte in an ambush. In such awe did the insurgents hold the Spider that they began to let the Pookies through the ambushes and attack the convoys instead.

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