Soldier Combat Skills

Chapter 14-1 – Mines

This section discusses antipersonnel and antitank mines. Some mines are “smart.” That is, they contain RF receivers, which allow for remote or automatic self-destruction or self-deactivatation via a remote control unit (RCU), on demand, after a period of time, or at a particular time. The default self-destruct time, once the mines are dispensed, is four hours.


14-1. Antipersonnel mines are designed specifically to reroute, block, or protect friendly obstacles These mines are designed to kill or disable their victims, and are activated by command detonation.




On May 16, 1996, the President of the United States implemented a phased restriction and elimination of antipersonnel land mines. Implementation began with non-self-destructing mines,
but will eventually include all types of antipersonnel mines. This policy applies to all Infantry
units either engaged in or training for operations worldwide. The use of non-self-destructing
antipersonnel land mines is restricted to specific areas:

  • Within internationally recognized national borders.
  • In established demilitarized zones such as to defend South Korea.

Mines approved for use must be emplaced in an area with clearly marked perimeters. They must be monitored by military personnel and rotected by adequate means to ensure the exclusion of civilians.

US policy also forbids US forces from using standard or improvised explosive devices as booby traps.

Except for South Korea-based units, and for units deploying to South Korea for training exercises, this policy forbids training with and employing inert M14 and M16 mines. This applies to units’ home stations as well as at Combat Training Centers, except in the context of countermine or mine removal training.

  • Training with live M14 mines is UNAUTHORIZED!
  • Training with live M16 mines is authorized only for Soldiers on South Korean soil.


This policy does not apply to standard use of antivehicular mines. Nor does it apply to training and using the M18 Claymore mine in the command-detonated mode.

When authorized by the appropriate commander, units may still use self-destructing antipersonnel mines such as the ADAM.

Authorized units may continue to emplace mixed minefields containing self-destructing antipersonnel land mines and antivehicular land mines such as MOPMS or Volcano.

The terms mine, antipersonnel obstacle, protective minefield, and minefield do not refer to an obstacle that contains non-self-destructing antipersonnel land mines or booby traps.

Any references to antipersonnel mines and the employment of minefields should be considered in the context of this policy.


14-2. The M18A1, also known as the Claymore mine, is a directional, fragmentating (one-time use) antipersonnel mine (Figure 14-1, Figure 14-2, and Figure 14-3 [page 14-4]). The Claymore weighs

1.6 kilograms (3.5 pounds), 0.68 kilograms (1.5 pounds) of which is C4 (explosive) and steel sphere projectiles. One Claymore and its accessories are carried in the M7 bandoleer (Figure 14-2). When detonated, the Claymore projects steel fragments over a 60-degree, fan-shaped pattern about 6 feet

(1.8 meters) high and 164 feet (50 meters) wide, at a range of 50 meters. This pattern of distribution is very effective up to 50 meters, moderately effective to 100 meters, and still dangerous out to 250 meters. It has the following features:

  • A fixed plastic sight.
  • Folding, adjustable legs.
  • Two detonator wells.
  • Olive-drab plastic case.


14-3. The Claymore is mainly a defensive weapon used to support other weapons in a unit’s final protective fires. The Claymore may also be employed in some phases of offensive operations. Complete instructions for installing, arming, testing, and firing the Claymore are attached to the flap of the bandoleer. If possible, read the directions before employing the mine.

Emplacement for Command Detonation

14-4. Inventory the M7 bandoleer, ensuring all components of the M18A1 Claymore mine are present and in serviceable condition. Components consist of an M18A1 Claymore mine, M57 firing device, M40 test set, and a firing wire with blasting cap.

  • Conduct a circuit test, with the blasting cap secured under a sandbag.
  • Install the M18A1 Claymore mine.
  • Aim the mine.
  • Arm the mine.
  • Recheck the aim.
  • Recheck the circuit.
  • Fire the M18A1 Claymore mine.


  • Check the firing device safety bail to ensure it is on SAFE.
  • Disconnect the firing device from the wire.
  • Replace the shorting plug dustcover on the firing wire connector.
  • Replace the dustcover on the firing device connector.
  • Keep possession of the M57 firing device.
  • Untie the firing wire from the firing site stake.
  • Move to the mine.
  • Remove the shipping plug before priming.
  • Separate the blasting cap from the mine.
  • Reverse the shipping plug.
  • Screw the shipping plug end into the detonator well.
  • Remove the firing wire from the site stake.
  • Place the blasting cap into the end of the wire connector.
  • Roll the firing wire on the wire connector.
  • Lift the mine from its emplacement.
  • Secure the folding legs.
  • Repack the mine and all the accessories in the M7 bandoleer.


14-5. The MOPMS is a man-portable antitank and antipersonnel mine system (Figure 14-4). The M-131 module weighs about 165 pounds (75 kilograms), and contains a mix of 17 M78 antiarmor and 4 M77 antipersonnel mines. The MOPMS module may be initiated by hardwire or radio control. The hardwire capability uses wire and electrical firing devices. The M-71 handheld radio control unit (RCU) allows one Soldier to control as many as 15 groups of MOPMS modules from a remote location.

14-6. This mine deploys four trip wires upon ejection. These wires trip a fragmenting kill mechanism (Figure 14-5).

14-7. Each dispenser contains seven tubes; three mines are located in each tube. When dispensed, an explosive propelling charge at the bottom of each tube expels mines through the container roof. Mines are propelled 115 feet (35 meters) from the container in a 180-degree semicircle (Figure 14-6). The resulting density is 0.01 mine per square meter. The safety zone around one container is 180 feet (55 meters) to the front and sides and 66 feet (20 meters) to the rear.

14-8. You can disarm and recover the container for later use, if mines are not dispensed. The RCU can recycle the 4-hour self-destruct time of the mines three times, for a total duration of 16 hours (4 hours after initial launch and three 4-hour recycles). This feature makes it possible to keep the minefield in place for longer periods, if necessary. The RC can also self-destruct mines on command. However, once the mines are dispensed they cannot be recovered or reused.


14-9. Antitank mines are pressure activated, but are typically designed so that the force of a footstep will not detonate them. Most antiarmor mines require an applied pressure of 348 to 745 pounds (158 to 338 kilograms) in order to detonate. Most tanks and other military vehicles apply that kind of pressure. Most antiarmor mines go off on contact, but some are designed to count a preset number of pressures before going off. By delaying detonation, a large number of enemy vehicles and troops might travel deep within the minefield before knowing the area is dangerous. The US policy for the use of non-self-destructing antitank mines applies until 2010, when these mines must be replaced by models that either self-destruct or at least self-deactivate. The M21 is a circular, steel bodied, antiarmor mine designed to damage or destroy vehicles by a penetrating effect (Figure 14-7). The bottom of the mine is crimped to the upper mine body. An adjustable cloth carrying handle is attached to the side of the mine body and a large filler plug is positioned between the handle connection points. A booster well is centered on the bottom. The mine has a small diameter fuse cavity and a stamped radial pattern centered on top. The M21 is 9 inches (23 centimeters) in diameter and 4 1/2 inches (11 centimeters) high. It weighs a total of 17 pounds (8 kilograms) with 11 pounds (5 kilograms) of high explosives. The M607 fuse protrudes from the top. This mechanical fuse can be used with or without a tilt rod. Without the tilt rod, it works like a normal pressure fuse.

14-10. The M21 is activated by 1.8 kilograms (4 pounds) of pressure against a 21-inch (53-centimeter) long extension rod or, without the rod, by 290 pounds (132 kilograms) of vertical pressure on top of the M607 fuse. Once the fuse is triggered, it releases a firing pin, which is driven into the M46 detonator, which in turn sets off a small, black powder charge. This charge blows off the top of the mine, exposing a convex steel plate. It also drives another firing pin into an M42 primer, which in turn fires the main charge. The main charge blows the body apart and blasts the steel plate upwards through the belly armor of the tank. Unlike most antiarmor mines, this one can actually kill a tank, not just disable it. It uses a Miznay-Schardin plate as a directed-energy warhead; a kill mechanism for belly-kill and track-breaking capability. The M21 produces a kill against heavy tanks, unless the mine is activated under the track.

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