Red Army Faction terrorists, one a woman, fired two RPG-7 anti-tank grenades and aburst from an H&K-53 assault rifle. The first grenade struck the top of the trunk onKroesen‘s car and passed through, exiting from the right rear fender. It shattered the rearwindow, spraying the Kroesens with glass. The second grenade missed, explodingbeyond the car. Four H&K rounds struck the car, but didn’t penetrate the armor. Theyquickly drove away, escaping with only scratches.This is only one of many examples where the use of a fully armored vehicle boughtenough time for the dignitary to escape. Other precautions can also be used to survivesuch an assault. Public figures should always vary their schedules and routes traveled.Terrorists look for any activity that is routine in order to know where and when to launchtheir attack.
The "Shell-game" Defense
At 6:40 p.m. on September 8, 1986, Chilean President Augusto Pinochet was returning tothe capitol from his weekend retreat. He was riding with his grandson in the back of anarmored Mercedes, which was the fourth car in a five-car motorcade. Suddenly a carpulling a trailer swerved across the road ahead, blocking their path. Sniper fire eruptedfrom both sides of the road, knocking out the two lead motorcycles. The motorcadestopped. A rocket struck the second car in the motorcade (the usual position for aprotectee's car), killing the five bodyguards inside. Automatic weapons fire raked the restof the motorcade, setting some of the cars on fire. Pinochet's driver reacted quickly. Hebacked up, striking the car behind him, then made a U-turn and escaped. Pinochet laterput his bullet-riddled Mercedes on display. Not only had its armor and his driver's quick reaction saved his life, but also moving his car from the second to the fourth position inthe motorcade had fooled the terrorists.
Bomb-resistant vs. Bomb-proof
Let's say that you’re a public figure with a healthy budget at your disposal. What kind of armored vehicle do you need or want? In 1984, President Ronald Reagan wanted a U.S.made car. The Secret Service started with a stock Cadillac Fleetwood limo, costing$31,512. It was then stretched 17 inches to a more presidential length of 22 feet. TheHess and Eisenhardt Armoring Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, which started outprotecting coaches in 1876, added a few features that the Secret Service won’t discuss.Suffice to say that it is bullet-and-bomb
. Unfortunately, there is no such thing asa bomb proof car. Prime Minister Luis Carrero Blanco learned that lesson the hard way.At 9:30 a.m., on December 20, 1973, he was riding through Madrid, Spain, in the back of his armored 1973 Dodge Dart with his driver and two bodyguards. They were followedby another car with a driver and two more bodyguards. It was a trip they routinely madeevery day. The terrorist group ETA knew it, too. They had rented a basement apartmentalong the route and dug a T-shaped tunnel, which extended out under the street. Theythen packed the top of the "T" with three explosive charges, totaling about 1200 poundsof TNT. An Austin car was double-parked to force Blancos limo to drive directly over thecharges. As his car approached, a lookout signaled the triggerman. Blanco’s car was