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You must be able to move on- or off-road as needed. You take action to counter mines whenever intelligence and terrain analysis show the likelihood of mines or that mines have been discovered. You may need to counter mines when conducting quartering parties. Or you may need to do so when setting up holding areas for defiles and river crossing. Operations to counter mines include--

  • Denying the enemy the chance to use mines.
  • Spotting mine-emplacement teams and reporting their activity.
  • Using metallic and nonmetallic mine detectors.
  • Detecting mines by having troops make a visual inspection.


MP area security measures like continuous, aggressive patrolling routinely help deny the enemy the chance to emplace mines along MSRs. Patrols--

  • Look for suspicious persons along MSRs.
  • Check with the local populace for information on unusual activities along the MSRs.
  • Maintain surveillance of the MSR while operating static posts.
  • Watch approaches to critical points like bridges or defiles.
  • Use night-vision devices to maintain surveillance of the road and critical points along the MSR. Mines usually are emplaced at night under cover of darkness.
  • Use PEWS to detect activity around an area.
  • Take immediate action upon detecting a mine-emplacing team.


If you must check an area you believe may be mined, detecting can be done by one or more teams. You will need mine detectors, demolition equipment, rope, wire, and, perhaps, night-vision devices. To visually detect mines--

  • Watch for trip wires. Do not wear sunglasses; they reduce the ability to detect trip wires.
  • Look for foreign material on roads (grass, dirt, sticks).
  • Look for signs of recent road repair. These areas can conceal mines.
  • Watch for wire leading away from the road. It could be a command firing wire.

To probe for buried mines, use a sharp nonmetallic object like a sharp piece of wood. Careful probing is the best way to find buried mines. But it is slow work, especially in hard or frozen ground. Be sure no one--

  • Uses metal probes--some enemy mines have magnetic detonators that would be set off by a metal probe.
  • Carries any iron or steel near the mines. (Keep items like bayonets, weapons, and cartridge belts outside a mined area.)

Mine detectors can supplement your visual inspection and probing. Detectors signal mine locations by changes in the tone heard in the operator's headset. Mine detectors can be used standing, kneeling, or prone.

All mine detectors give some false signals. Experience in using each type of detector helps you interpret the signals you receive. A metallic detector will react to any kind of buried metal (a nail, a can). A nonmetallic detector may give a false signal when it passes over a tree root or an air pocket. Areas strewn with small metal fragments like shrapnel make it harder to operate metallic detectors, but do not affect nonmetallic detectors. When using a detector--

  • Do not use within 6 meters of another detector. They may interfere with each other's signals.
  • Be on guard for trip wires and booby traps.
  • Have a second soldier help watch for booby traps and trip wires.
  • Work no more than 20 minutes at a time. You must keep from becoming tone deaf to the signals in the headset.
  • When the detector indicates a possible mine, use the probing technique to verify the presence of a mine.

Breaching a minefield (neutralizing the mines) is best done by Engineers. If you find enemy mines, put up temporary warning signs. Later, replace the signs with standard markings. Report detection of enemy mines through your unit's chain of command. Inform higher HQ each time you locate emplaced mines or discover additional lanes or gaps.

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