Article History Of The Anti-tank & Anti-personnel Weapon


Mi Lance corporal
MI.Net Member
Feb 20, 2016
Long before World War I, the term VMine Warfare* was well known. The
term was used to denote tunnels, advanced towards enemy positions and usually
filled with large amounts of explosives which, when initiated, were to bury
enemy positions or destroy them, in order to make possible the breakthrough
of friendly forces. Also covered by this term was combat against ships with
naval mines. While this article is entitled *land mines#, its discussion is
limited to antitank mines and mines used against other ground vehicles, as
well as mines used against live targets on the ground. Both types of mines
had their origin as a result of the conditions prevailing during World War I.

Antitank Mines
When in 1917, for the first time, tanks appeared in great numbers near
Cambrai, there was little that could be pitted against these colossi. With
great luck, the tanks were stopped either through direct hits from infantry
guns or through efforts to tear apart their tracks with concentrated explosive
charges. Under favorable conditions, daredevils managed to enter a tank from
the rear and knock out the crew with charges thrown into the vehicle. Such
measures, however, were inadequate against the multitude of tanks, which in
1918 had a decisive impact on the course of the war at the Somme, the Aisne
and the Marne rivers.
Until the end of World War I, Germany remained unsuccessful in its efforts
to stop the approaching steel behemoths with an effective counter-weapon,
except for tanks of their own design and the cited defense systems, and
except for improvised mines, whose effect usually remained doubtful. Germany,
however,was unable to solve the problem of an antitank mine fuze which would
satisfy all requirements.
Probably the most sensitive area of an armored vehicle at that time was
the track. Therefore, all countries endeavored to design prepared charges
which were set off by the pressure of a track. In most cases, these charges
consisted of simple containers filled with explosives with enough force to
rupture a track. In order to protect such a fuze against inadvertent initiation, perhaps by a soldier running across it, three different methods were
mainly employed which are briefly described below:
The shear pin safety mechanism which usually incorporated a metal pin going
through the striker which was sheared off under heavy pressure, thus
releasing the spring-loaded striker;
The lever lock safety mechanism in which the lever carrying the striker is
held in place by asecond lever which is in contact with the pressure cover
of the mine. With a load applied to the cover, the second lever turns about
its pivot point releasing the striker lever at a given point;
The ball lock safety mechanism in which the spring-loaded striker pin is
held in place by two or three balls resting between the striker pin and a
sliding element which, under pressure from a tank track, is depressed so that,
the balls can fall into recesses provided for this purpose and thus release
the striker.

Of these three systems, the last cited is still considered the most
commonly applied system.

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Mines, nasty but necessary I suppose. Thats a good insight into the development of the AT & AP mine, the attached document is very useful.

Here is a cut-away view of an M14 antipersonnel landmine, showing the integral firing pin (a bit random but gets things moving)


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