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Part Three.
Special Mining Operations

Part three provides tactical and technical information on special-mining operations, such as using booby traps and expedient devices. It also discusses mining in rivers, urban terrain, and unique environments. Restrictions and responsibilities are outlined in detail for the employment and the clearance of special mines and devices.

Chapter 12

Mining Operations in Special Environments

Mines are emplaced and encountered in all environments, some of which need special consideration to understand effective employment, detection, and/or removal.



Conventional AT mines are much more effective in water than on land because water transmits the shock effect better than air. Vehicle support members, tracks, and wheels are damaged by a mine blast. Small vehicles are overturned and almost completely destroyed. Because water amplifies and transmits shock waves, mines equipped with pressure-actuated fuses are subject to sympathetic detonation at greater distances in water than on land.

M15 and M19 AT mines can be used for streambed and river mining. The M21 AT mine should not be used because it is very difficult to arm and disarm underwater, and it can be easily functioned by drifting debris. To avoid sympathetic detonation, AT mines must be at least 14 meters apart in water that is less than 61 centimeters deep, and at least 25 meters apart in water that is deeper than 61 centimeters. The mined areas are chosen to take advantage of stream and adjacent area characteristics. Water depth within the minefield should not exceed 1 meter because it is difficult to work in deeper water, and pressure-actuated fuses are usually ineffective against waterborne vehicles.

Current velocity must be considered when emplacing mines in a streambed or a river. If the mines are placed deeper than 45 centimeters, they must be recovered by engineer divers:

  • A lightweight diver has diving restrictions based on current velocity.
  • A scuba diver is restricted to a maximum current velocity of 0.5 meter per second.
  • A surface-supplied diver is restricted to a maximum current velocity of 1.3 meters per second.

Seasonal current velocity should also be considered if the minefield is to be in place for an extended period of time. Additional information on diving restrictions can be found in FMs 20-11-1 and 5-490.

Since sand in inland waters continuously moves downstream, it may be difficult to locate and remove mines planted on sandbars or downstream from sandbars. If the site has a muddy bottom, the mud should not be deeper than 46 centimeters and there must be a hard base underneath it. The enemy is unlikely to choose a fording point where vehicles mire easily. If underwater obstacles (gravel, rock, stumps) are bigger than the mine, the area cannot be easily mined. If such areas must be used, place the mines so that they are exposed to vehicle wheels or tracks. Armored vehicles usually enter and exit streams at points where the incline is less than 45 percent. After entering a stream, vehicles often travel upstream or downstream before exiting. Carefully examine riverbank formations and underwater obstacles to predict the trail a vehicle will use to ford the stream.


When emplacing mines in streams and rivers, always work in pairs. Prepare the mine on land near the emplacement site. Coat fuse threads and wells with silicone grease (a waterproof lubricant) or a heavy grease to minimize the chances of water leaking into the mine. Waterproof joints between the pressure plate and the mine case with silicone grease. As a rule of thumb, waterproofed mines are reliable up to 3 months when immersed without waterproof coverings. Secure the mine with outriggers to prevent drifting:

  • Construct field-improvised outriggers with--

  • Two green limbs that are about 3 centimeters in diameter and 1 meter long. Green limbs are recommended because they are stronger and less likely to float than those which are dried out and dead. (Steel pickets, sign posts, fence rails, or similar items having the proper dimensions may also be used.)
    Two pieces of clothesline, manila line, or similar material that are about 1 meter long.
  • Fasten the limbs to the underside of the mine and secure them with the line (Figure 12-1).

Figure 12-1. Outrigger techniques

  • Approach the emplacement position from the downstream side. To prevent dragging the outrigger or contacting objects in the stream, carry the mine by grasping its sides, not by its carrying handle.
  • Place the mine and the outrigger on the stream bottom. Stake down outriggers after they are emplaced to prevent drifting. If staking is impossible, place sandbags or large rocks on the outriggers for better anchorage.
  • Arm the fuse.



Mines may have drifted downstream and/or been tampered with by enemy forces. Removal by any method other than explosive breaching (see TM 9-1375-213-12) is extremely hazardous and is not recommended. If the situation demands recovery by hand, proceed with utmost caution.

A two-person recovery team--

  • Slowly proceeds 2 meters downstream from where the mine was emplaced and then carefully probes for the mine. If the mine was placed deeper than 45 centimeters, it must be recovered by engineer divers.
  • Removes any foreign material from the top of the mine and disarms it.
  • Carries the mine ashore and removes the fuse and the detonator.

Engineer divers normally emplace new mines or mines that have not been submersed in water; but if the mine and the fuse show no evidence of damage or deterioration, the mine can be reused. If the mine is reused, mark it to indicate that it has been immersed in water; for example, place the letter W on the pressure plate.


The minefield is recorded on DA Form 1355 (Figures 12-2a and 12-2b).

Figure 12-2a. Sample DA Form 1355 (front side) for river mining

Figure 12-2b. Sample DA Form 1355 (inside) for river mining


In addition to normal safety measures, underwater mining requires evaluation of the tactical situation and application of special safety techniques. The turbidity, the velocity, and the depth of the water and the condition of the bottom require that laying-party personnel be able to swim well. Prolonged immersion of personnel, especially in cold temperatures, must be avoided. Sudden drop-offs, rocks, and other objects that are likely to cause personnel to lose their footing must be considered. Other safety measures include the following:

  • Work in pairs.
  • Emplace mines from upstream to downstream to prevent personnel and equipment from being swept into the mined area.
  • Stay on the downstream side of the mine when arming the fuse.
  • Place the mine as flat as possible on the bottom to prevent drifting. Use green saplings or other nonbuoyant material to construct outriggers.
  • Do not arm the mine before it is laid.
  • Carry the mine horizontally or edgewise to the current to reduce water resistance on the mine's pressure plate.


Characteristics of urban areas (such as a high proportion of hard-surfaced roads) prohibit a simple transition from open- to urban-area mine employment techniques and doctrine. The advantages of abundant cover and concealment, maneuver restrictions, and observation already possessed by the defender of an urban area can be significantly enhanced by the proper use of mines. Terrain modified through the process of urbanization provides a unique battle environment.

The major characteristics of urban terrain which are likely to impact on mine warfare include the following:

  • Multistoried buildings add a vertical dimension to the battle. Basements and floors become part of the battle scene. The vulnerability of combat vehicles increases because attack from above or below is likely.
  • Fighting is done at close range, often face-to-face, and seldom exceeds 50 meters. Some weapons, particularly large-caliber weapons, are unsuitable at a short range.
  • Sewers, subways, and tunnels provide covered and concealed passageways for the movement of troops on both sides. Detailed knowledge of the location and the status of these tunnels is needed to successfully wage an urban battle.
  • Streets and parking lots are modified to withstand continuous use by vehicles. Major routes and lots are paved. A high density and complex pattern of streets provide numerous avenues of advance. Burying mines is extremely difficult. Most mines are surface-laid and camouflaged with rubble and debris to avoid detection.
  • Movement by vehicle is difficult. Streets are littered by rubble and cratered if the city has been bombed or subjected to artillery attack. Bridges and overpasses are likely to be destroyed or blocked. Traffic flow is highly channelized.
  • Extensive map and chart data are needed by the commander. For example, the commander should know the locations of telephone, electric, gas, water, and sewer connections; substations; and generating and pumping stations.


US policy prohibits the use of non-self-destructing AP mines for all US forces except those on the Korean Peninsula. However, US forces can expect to encounter AP mines that are emplaced by other countries in support of MOBA. They are employed to block infantry approaches through or over underground passageways; open spaces; street, roof, and building obstacles; and dead spaces.

When AP mines are encountered (Korea Only: or used) in MOBA, mine locations are recorded on DA Form 1355 as shown in Figure 12-3).

Figure 12-3. Building sketch and mine plan (DA Form 1355)

Underground Passageways

Subways, sewers, cellars, and utility tunnels provide protected movement routes for troops. In large cities where underground systems are numerous and complex, limited manpower may dictate that forces employ obstacles to block key passageways with wire and AP mines. (See Figure 12-4.)

Figure 12-4. Underground passageway

Open Spaces

Open spaces include gaps between buildings, courtyards, residential yards, gardens, parks, and parking lots. In some cases, mines can be concealed in rubble or buried. However, the characteristics of most terrain surfaces, coupled with limited time and resources, dictate that mines be surface-laid. (See Figure 12-5.)

Figure 12-5. Open spaces

Street Obstacles

Hand-emplaced AP mines can be emplaced on street surfaces, on railroad lines, and in areas along shallow waterways. (See Figure 12-6.)

Figure 12-6. Street obstacles

Roof Obstacles

Mines and booby traps supplement wire obstacles to deny operations that require air assault onto rooftops. They also prevent occupation on roofs that afford good observation points and fields of fire. (See Figure 12-7.)

Figure 12-7. Roof obstacles

Building Obstacles

Building obstacles include areas within and adjacent to buildings. Forces can lay mines in conjunction with wire obstacles to deny infantry access to covered routes and weapon positions (Figure 12-8).

Figure 12-8. Building obstacles

Dead Spaces

Obstacles and mines can be emplaced to restrict infantry movement in areas that cannot be observed and in areas that are protected from direct fire.


The following AP mines are effective in urban terrain:

  • Korea Only: M14. Its small size makes it ideal for obscure places, such as stairs and cellars. It can be used in conjunction with metallic AP and AT mines to confuse and hinder breaching attempts. (See Figure 12-9.)

Figure 12-9. Probable M14 AP mine emplacement

  • Korea Only: M16. With trip-wire actuation, its lethal radius covers large areas such as rooftops, backyards, parks, and cellars. An added advantage can be gained by attaching twine or wire to the release-pin ring to expediently rig the mine for command detonation. (See Figure 12-10.)

Figure 12-10. Probable M16 AP mine emplacement

  • M18A1 (claymore). Numerous innovative applications of claymore mine deployment can be found for defensive warfare in urban areas (Figure 12-11). With remote firing, a series of claymore mines along a street establishes a highly effective ambush zone. Mines can also be employed on the sides of buildings, in abandoned vehicles, or in any other sturdy structure. Numerous opportunities exist for effectively sited, well-concealed mine employment above the terrain surface. Claymore mines can be used to fill the dead space in the FPF of automatic weapons. They present a hazard when used in confined, built-up areas. Exercise caution when using them close to friendly forces because there is a danger of backblast.

Figure 12-11. Probable M18A1 AP mine emplacement


Enemy tanks, infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), and direct-fire support weapons are restricted to streets, railroad lines, and, in some instances, waterways. (See Figure 12-12.) M15, M19, and M21 mines are used primarily in tactical and nuisance minefields; but they are occasionally used in protective minefields. They should be employed with other obstacles and covered by fire. Conventional AT mines emplaced in streets or alleys block routes of advance in narrow defiles. Concealment of large AT mines is accomplished by placing them in and around rubble and other obstacles. Extensive labor requirements generally prohibit burying mines in difficult terrain types.

Figure 12-12. AT mine emplacement in urban areas

In dispersed residential areas, obstacles are required to reduce the enemy's infantry mobility through and between houses and in open areas. They also prevent armored vehicles from moving between houses and along streets. AT minefield patterns should extend outward from the streets, incorporating open areas between buildings and streets to prevent easy bypass of street obstacles.

Significant labor and mine materials are required to deploy conventional mines between widely spaced buildings, in high-rise construction, and in industrial and transportation areas. Therefore, SCATMINEs should be seriously considered as viable alternatives. Some situations, such as the one shown in Figure 12-13, provide opportunities for the effective employment of mines in tactical and nuisance minefields.

Figure 12-13. AT mine emplacement in industrial and transportation areas


Area-Denial Artillery Munitions and Remote Antiarmor Mines

In addition to the advantages (such as reducing required resources and emplacement time) applicable to all SCATMINE systems, ADAMs and RAAMs have two specific advantages. They are the most rapidly deployed SCATMINE systems, and preplanning artillery-delivered minefields increases the rate at which nuisance minefields can be emplaced. Secondly, these mines can be delivered under enemy fire. Employment of ADAMs and RAAMs is most effective when the enemy's intentions are known and their forces are committed to an avenue of advance. (See Figure 12-14.)

Figure 12-14. ADAM/RAAM employment

Using ADAMs/RAAMs in urban terrain involves five specific problem areas:

  • Difficulty in precise minefield siting. Accurate siting is extremely critical due to the typically restrictive avenues of advance and may be futile due to the difficulty in adjusting artillery rounds in an environment that obscures observation. Further, buildings tend to create unmined shadow zones.
  • Uncertainty of ADAM/RAAM survivability upon impact with a building or ground surfaces that are characteristic in urban areas.
  • Likely availability of artillery firing units. ADAM/RAAM emplacement may not be a priority of the maneuver commander, because his supporting units may not have enough ADAM/RAAM munitions on hand. Assuming the availability of artillery assets for an ADAM/RAAM mission could prove disastrous for defending forces.
  • High detectability of these mines on bare and lightly covered surfaces. This permits the enemy to seek out unmined passageways or pick through lightly seeded areas. If you use the doctrinal guidelines for emplacing artillery-delivered mines on top of the advancing enemy or immediately in front of them, the desired obstacle intent (disrupt, turn, fix, block) and enhanced fires are achieved.
  • Difficulty in achieving a good, random pattern. Hard-surfaced areas cause mines to bounce and roll. Some mines (especially AT mines) will land on top of buildings and are ineffective.

Air Volcano

The primary advantage of the air Volcano system is its capability to site and emplace minefields accurately. This depends on the helicopter's maneuverability over the selected minefield terrain and the proper coordination between ground forces and aviation support. Disadvantages include vulnerability and the high replacement cost of the helicopter. However, in view of the system's operational concept, employment in urban terrain (which provides little exposure of the helicopter) actually increases the practicality of employing this system in urban areas. Mine survival rate on impact with a hard surface is another potential problem.

Flipper and Ground Volcano

Three aspects of the Flipper and the ground Volcano distinguish them from other SCATMINE systems:

  • The dispenser is organic to supporting combat engineers, making it readily available to support the maneuver commander's defensive plan.
  • Delivery siting is accurately pinpointed to the ground.
  • Better opportunities exist to record the presence of a minefield. In contrast to artillery-delivered and air Volcano systems, the Flipper and ground Volcano are delivered by engineers who are normally located with and report directly to the maneuver commander.

Some primary factors may degrade Flipper and ground Volcano deployment in urban terrain. The requirement to emplace minefields before an actual attack in order to reduce system vulnerability is the most significant factor. This makes the minefield detectable and provides more reaction time for the enemy to alter their scheme of maneuver. The delivery of mines depends on terrain trafficability. The prime mover and the launch vehicle must negotiate the terrain over which mines are to be dispensed.

Modular Pack Mine System

The MOPMS is ideally suited for employment in urban terrain (Figure 12-15). The module can be hidden from enemy view, and the mines can be dispensed after attackers are committed to a route of advance. Additionally, mines can be emplaced rapidly under enemy fire. In contrast to other SCATMINE systems, the commander controls when and where mines are dispensed and how they are detonated, regardless of the enemy situation.

Figure 12-15. MOPMS employment


When considered for employment in urban terrain, Gators encompass the same problems as artillery-delivered and air Volcano mine systems.


Phony minefields can be established rapidly with negligible effort and cost. They have the distinct advantage of blocking the enemy but not friendly forces. Although it is difficult to fake a surface-laid minefield, expedients such as soup pans, seat cushions, and cardboard boxes have historically proven effective in delaying and channelizing attacking forces. These objects, as well as other ones readily available in urban areas, can be used as phony minefields or used to cover real mines. A more realistic phony minefield could be created with inert or training mines.

Inadequate minefield camouflage in urban terrain is viewed as a critical constraint in deploying conventional mines and SCATMINEs. Smoke can be deployed from various dispensers, but it must be dense and accurately employed and released.



Mine employment in cold regions poses special problems--the principal one being emplacement. Mine burial is extremely difficult in frozen ground. The freezing water in soil causes it to have high strength and penetration resistance, so digging times are greatly increased if not impractical. However, there are several means to overcome this problem. In some cases, the minefield can be laid out before the soil freezes. To do this, dig holes for each individual mine and insert a plug into the hole to protect its shape and prevent it from being filled in. A wide variety of material can be used for plugs. Ideally, the plug should be economical, easy to remove, and rigid enough to maintain the depth and shape of the hole. Sandbags, plastic bags filled with sand or sawdust, or logs make excellent plugs. If the minefield cannot be prechambered, mechanical means can be used to dig holes. When available, civilian construction equipment (particularly large earth augers) can be used to drill holes for mine emplacement.

To assure detonation of buried, pressure-actuated mines, they should be placed in a hole that is shallow enough for the pressure plate to be above ground. Covering spoil should be a maximum of 1 centimeter deep.

When burial is impossible, mines are placed on the surface. Heavy snow cover may reduce the effectiveness of both buried and surface-laid mines by causing them to be bridged. Mines laid in deep snow should be placed as close as possible to the surface and supported by boards or compacted snow. Waterproof mines before emplacement in cold regions. Mines can also be placed in plastic bags before burial. In some cases, a layer of ice may form over the top of the pressure plate. Although the load required to break the ice is slightly higher than that required to activate the fuse, thin layers of external ice will have little effect on mine functioning. When possible, tilt-rod mines should be used in cold regions because they are less susceptible to ice and snow. Magnetic mines are not significantly affected by snow, although cold weather decreases battery life.

Camouflaging a minefield in a cold region is difficult. Mines should be painted white when snow is expected to remain on the ground for extended periods of time. Minefield signature tracks should be swept away, or deliberate tracks should be made to give the impression of a safe area.

Korea Only: When trip-wire mines are employed in snow, the wire should be about 10 meters long, with a slight amount of slack left in the wire. The trip wires should be supported approximately 46 centimeters above the ground to avoid degradation by snowfall.


Fuses and explosive components deteriorate very rapidly in jungle climates. As a result, mines and mine material require more frequent and extensive maintenance and inspection. Waterproof mines employed in humid climates. The rapid growth of vegetation hinders maintenance recovery and removal. Dense vegetation may cause mines to become inoperable or windblown foliage can detonate them. FM 90-5 provides detailed information on jungle operations.


In desert climates, fuses and explosive components deteriorate slowly. The terrain and the situation determine how mines will be emplaced. Mine boards will normally be required to provide support in soft, shifting sand. Mines emplaced in the desert have a tendency to shift position, and the spacing between mines and rows should be increased to prevent sympathetic detonation. Blowing sand may expose buried mines or cover surface-laid mines. Sand may also cause mines to malfunction. It is important to realize the difficulty of accurately recording minefield locations in vast, open, desert areas void of recognizable terrain features. More mines are required for desert operations. Typically, desert minefields are much larger and have a lower density than those used in Europe or Korea. FM 90-3 provides detailed information on desert operations.

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