U.S. Northern Commander Air Force Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy announced Monday that more than 5,200 active duty soldiers are being deployed to the United States’ southern border to “harden the points of entry and address key gaps in areas around the points of entry.”
Three combat engineer battalions will be part of the surge that will bolster President Donald Trump’s defense of the southern border. Gen. O’Shaughnessy said they would arrive “with expertise in building temporary vehicle barriers, fencing — and we’re bringing them in with heavy equipment which, as we speak right now, is line-hauling towards Texas.”
Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy: “By the end of this week we will deploy over 5,200 soldiers to southwest border. That is just the start of this operation.” pic.twitter.com/pL0kbR1Z1v
— CSPAN (@cspan) October 29, 2018
The combat engineers will also have 22 miles of a longtime favorite waiting for them at the border: concertina wire.
Named after an accordion-like instrument, concertina wire is coiled razor wire that expands to create a temporary barrier. The wire was originally introduced in World War I to help fortify entrenched positions against enemy infantry.
The obstacle is difficult and messy to cross, even for a team of trained professionals.
There’s nothing in the world like concertina wire available to these troops.
It’s easy to deploy, imposing, and doesn’t require maintenance. It can be placed by veterans and greenhorns alike.
Anyone bold enough to cross a barrier made of the stuff quickly discovers another trait: when concertina wire grabs you, it doesn’t let go. Unlike barbed wire that was originally made to fence in livestock, the design of razor wire is specifically geared towards humans. Jagged edges are pointed and angled to hook and hold clothes, hair, and skin.
The wire can often be seen topping prison fences, a placement meant to tangle anyone who is able to scale them.
Similar tactics have been used to harden Spain’s borders during their ongoing immigration crisis.
Assaulted by a constant stream of African migrants, the country decided to put up a high fence topped with razor wire. Migrants that attempted to scale the wall were shredded. Some became trapped in the wire and were forced to wait until authorities could arrive.
A video originally from the Daily Mirror shows the chaos that even a few lines of this wire can cause.
Members of the caravan headed through Mexico may face a similar fate if they attempt to pass American concertina wire.
Ultimately, what happens to caravan members is up to them. Concertina wire is a passive defense and is only harmful if a crossing is attempted. With the miles and miles of the razor-sharp wire backing up thousands of troops armed with heavy equipment, the caravan’s chances of reaching U.S. soil is quickly dwindling down to zero.
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