Mine Warfare Awareness
This appendix presents an overview of the need for mine warfare awareness. Landmines will continue to be a threat to future force projection operations and stability and support operations (SASO); therefore, it tells how to counter this threat and protect the force. It outlines aircrew procedures in the event of a forced landing in a suspected minefield.
Operation Restore Hope demonstrated the requirement to accurately predict, detect, remove, proof, mark routes clearly, and clear landmine areas during SASO. When they enter areas where others have fought, soldiers will encounter large numbers of unexploded ordnance; inevitably, they will operate in unmarked and uncleared mined areas. In Somalia, it was not unusual for children to bring unexploded ordnance to soldiers, nor was it uncommon for patrols to find minefields or caches of ammunition.
Landmines will continue be a significant threat to future force projection operations and SASO. In every major peacekeeping arena from Cambodia to Bosnia, mines and fabricated explosives continue to take a toll on troops and civilians. To help counter this threat, units should-
a. Train soldiers how to detect, remove, mark routes clearly, proof, and to operate in landmine areas. Develop unit drills for dealing with mines and unexploded ordnance.
b. Consider that heavy mine-clearing capability-such as mine plows and mine clearing line charges (MICLCs)-may not be appropriate during SASO when main supply route (MSR) road surfaces should not be destroyed.
c. Exploit human intelligence (HUMINT) as a good source of information for suspected minefield locations.
d. Look for signs of mining activities, which include dead animals, craters, blown vehicles, disturbed soil, etc.
L-3. MINE AND BOOBYTRAP AWARENESS
Mine and boobytrap education for soldiers deploying to foreign countries is one of our greatest challenges. There are more than 2,700 different types of mines and fuse combinations in the world today. Landmines and boobytraps are a constant threat during peacekeeping and peace enforcement operations. The following are guidelines for protecting the force against mines and boobytraps:
a. All soldiers need to know how to identify, mark, and report the presence of minefields.
b. Expect constant changes in local mine warfare techniques.
c. Never attempt to disarm a landmine; report its location through your chain of command.
d. Do not move over the most obvious and easiest ground without first checking it for mines.
e. Never pull, or cut any wire, taut or slack, without first examining both ends. It is preferable that you do not touch the wire while examining it.
f. In convoys, the lead vehicle should proof the route of march. Use sand bags, flak vests, steel plates, or lumber to protect crew. Limit the number of personnel in the vehicle.
g. A mine or suspicious object immediate action drill is-
(1) Warn those in the immediate vicinity.
(2) Determine the limits of the minefield.
(3) Mark the limits of the minefield.
(4) Report to higher.
h. In areas that may be mined, always move with eyes open and treat with suspicion any object, natural or artificial, that appears out of place in its surrounding. If a soldier is wounded from a mine, use the following casualty immediate action drill:
(1) One person clears a route to the casualty.
(2) Look, probe, detect.
(3) Clear the area immediately around the casualty.
(4) Administer essential first aid.
(5) Remove the casualty from the minefield using a cleared route.
(6) Administer additional first aid.
(7) Evacuate the casualty as soon as possible.
L-4. AIRCREW PROCEDURES
a. As part of their mission planning, crewmembers must update mine obstacle information on their maps. Consideration must be given to landing sites available (paved roads, cleared sites, etc.) in the event of a forced landing along the route of flight.
b. In the event of a forced landing in a contested area that has not been confirmed as being clear of mines the crew must-
(1) Remain in the aircraft (unless fire, injury, or threat situation dictate otherwise).
(2) Minimize movement inside the aircraft.
(3) Pass the condition of the aircraft and crew to the controlling agency.
(4) Standby for evacuation instructions.
c. If the threat situation and the nearest safe landing area are known, the crew should also include this information in their radio call for the recovery/mine clearing team.
d. As a precaution, aircraft should not hover over known or suspected minefields. Rotor wash can detonate a variety of mines, which can cause injury to the crew, as well as aircraft damage.
The ultimate objective of all commanders is to accomplish the mission with minimal loss of personnel, equipment, and supplies. Despite peace agreements, soldiers face the prospect of confronting armed belligerents who only respond to the threat, or use, of force. The constant threat of violence demands necessary countermeasures to protect the force. The US Army Aviation Center (USAAVNC) will continue to update this appendix with emerging doctrine and lessons learned as they become available.
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