The Bangalore was first devised by Captain McClintock, of the British Army Bengal, Bombay and Madras Sappers and Miners in 1912. He invented it as a means of exploding booby traps and barricades left over from the Boer and Russo-Japanese Wars. The Bangalore would be exploded over a mine without the engineer having to approach it by more than about 10 feet (3 meters).
By the time of World War I the Bangalore was primarily used for clearing barbed wire. It was standardized to consist of a number of externally identical 5 foot (3 meter) lengths of threaded pipe, one of which contained the explosive charge. The pipes would be screwed together using connecting sleeves to make a longer pipe of the required length, and a smooth nose cone would be screwed on the end so as to not snag on the ground. It would then be pushed forward from a protected spot and detonated, and would clear a 5 foot (1.5 meter) wide hole through barbed wire.
The Bangalore continues to be used today, in the little-changed M1A2 version. Its effectiveness in clearing barbed wire has been significantly reduced with the use of higher tensile strength wire. Today it is used primarily in its original role as a device for clearing mines or other explosives. In the path-clearing role the new rocket-deployed Antipersonnel Obstacle Breaching System has largely replaced the Bangalore, as it is both lighter and faster to use.