I would like to know more about minefields

Maybe Indy can talk a bit about landmine fields in Out of the Foxholes. What was the exact purpose of them and where would they be placed? (no ‘in the ground’ jokes please…) I heard a rumour that the troops who made minefields put up warning signs near them, is that true?


There are others who can probably answer better but this is what I understand

There are two types of mine fields one is anti personnel and the other is anti tank mines each had its own purpose. There is a third but it deals with sea mines and I won’t cover those.

Anti-personnel mines were designed to cause maximum damage in a given range and while they were lethal their main purpose was to maim and injure. Depending on the region you were in anti-personnel mines would be laid out differently. In desert regions with wide open areas mines would be laid in depth in front of your lines as a first line of defence. In hilly or heavily wooded areas mines would be laid in fields and open areas in front of your lines again as a first line of defence.

One of the dangers of minefields is you couldn’t see them so often they would be marked so your soldiers wouldn’t inadvertently walk into the fields and to warn the local populace it also gave the enemy pause as minefields had a great psychological effect on their morale. Add to that often minefields weren’t documented as to where mines were laid so for both sides it was dangerous. Hundreds of millions of mines were laid and are still being unearthed to this day in all battle zones throughout the world.

Anti-tank mines were designed to incapacitate vehicles, tanks and transports(trucks, animals and wagons etc) and generally could not be set off by someone walking over one as it took a lot of force to trigger these mines. These were placed on roads, fields and open areas to slow or stop an advance. On tracked vehicles generally the mines would damage the track making the vehicles immobile or unusable and rarely caused injuries on the other hand if a truck, car or animal/wagon went over one it would likely end in injuries and fatalities.


Clearing these minefields was slow, tedious and very dangerous work with many personnel killed or injured while clearing these mines. Many various methods were used from crawling on the ground probing for mines to using metal detectors to using flail drums placed in in front of tanks or vehicles and the flailing chains would detonate or rip apart the mine with minimal damage.


Thank you for the reply :slight_smile:

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Minefields are to deny access to pathways. Basically, you don’t want the bad guys to cross over a section of ground to get somewhere else (generally closer to you.) If the bad guys have a lot of tanks, you put down anti-tank mines as well.

You put up signs, yeah – facing your way. :-). You don’t want some idiot getting lost in the dark and getting blown up by your own mines. (This is usually also done by other troops, “Don’t go over there. Minefield.”). If it’s an enemy minefield, you better believe they put up signs. Lots of signs.

Mines are certainly a tripwire (there are “tripwire mines” which just ignite handy flares to illuminate targets). If you hear a kaboom-scream, the bad guys are coming. If it’s tanks, you already know.

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Oh yeah, welcome to the circus!

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Right, so what I take away from this is that the main purpose of minefields wasn’t so much to kill the enemy, as they advertized its presence, (although having a few engineers blowing themselves up trying to defuse the things was of course always welcome) but primarily to slow the enemy down or make them take a different route…

Thanks for the welcoming :slight_smile:

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Here is a good rundown on land mines the history and current uses from Wikipedia (it’s a long read but fairly comprehensive)


First of all, welcome to the forum!
Now land mines, signs were posted to warn their own side to not get hit by mines. One purpose was to create a barrier/trap against enemy units

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