A DEADLY DANGER: IRAQI MINES
An estimated 500,000 mines are scattered throughout Kuwait by Iraqi forces. It is believed that anti-personnel and antitank mines have been laid in a mile-wide zone along the Saudi-Kuwaiti border.
The estimates of Iraq’s arsenal range from 10 million to 20 million mines of many types, sizes and from many different countries. Among the kinds:
* “Toe poppers,” relatively simple mines that can blow off a foot when stepped on.
* The notorious “Bouncing Betty,” which reaches chest height before it explodes and mutilates its victim.
* Antitank mines that can blow up a 60-ton battle tank, tossing it five feet into the air.
Fighting the Threat
A variety of mine-clearing methods and equipment exist, from hand-held detectors to plows attached to armored tanks to sophisticated mine-explosive techniques. British engineers are particularly skilled in mine-clearing.
Fuel-air Explosives 1. 21 mine-clearing rockets launched from an Assault Amphibious Vehicle 2. Parachute deploys at a pre-set time 3. Two-stage detonation spreads a fine mist of fuel in the air and then ignites it. 4. Shock waves detonate pressure-sensitive mines in the area. (1,000 feet-long by 66 feet-wide clearing)
AN/PRS-8 Metallic and Non-metallic Mine Detectors * Handheld detector with headset, equipped with solid-state electronics and signal-processing equipment. * Can be used in any kind of soil. * Once detected, the mine is marked and later removed, or destroyed by an explosive charge.
Aardvark Joint Services Flail Unit * Scottish-built device to clear plastic anti-personnel and antitank mines. * Flail assembly mounted on an armored half-track vehicle, attached to the rear chassis. * Rotating action of the flail detonates mines, clearing a path 10 feet wide.
Giant Viper A. British made, 700-foot hose coiled in 2-ton box, 3-inch diameter, filled with plastic explosive. B. A cluster of eight rockets propels the hose. C. Three parachutes guide the tail as it straightens. D. Charge is fired electrically from towing vehicle and explodes, neutralizing mines. (The hose blasts a passage for vehicles at least 600 feet long and 24 feet wide)
Mine-clearing Line Charge (MSLC) M-58A4 1. American-made linear charged-explosive-filled hose. 2. The linear charge hose is launched by a 127-mm rocket. Forward travel is limited by a 206-foot arrest cable. 3. After reaching the minefield it explodes, detonating the mines. 4. The 355-foot long charge clears a path 45 feet wide and 330 feet long.
Inside the Iraqi Arsenal: Cardoen Directional Antipersonnel Mine * Chilean-made and created for defense and ambush. * Curved rectangular body than can be installed on posts or trees or on the ground. * Lethal within 52 feet over an arc 60 degrees wide; fragments can be dangerous within a range of 820 feet. Approximate Specifications: Weight: 3.47 lbs. Length: 8.5 inches Width: 1.37 inches Height: 3.2 inches Main charge: Composition C-4 Weight of main charge: 1.4 lbs.
OZM Series Soviet-made Bounding Antipersonnel Mine--"Bouncing Betty” * Fires a grenade waist-or chest-high before exploding. * Detonates by either remote electrical fire, pressure on a fuse or by pulling a wire attached to the fuse. * Explodes 5 feet to 8 feet above the ground with an effective radius of 82 feet and can blow a person apart. Specifications (OAM-3): Weight: 6.6 lbs. Diameter: 2.95 inches Height: 4.7 inches Main charge: TNT
Valsella Valmara 69--Italian Antipersonnel Bounding Mine * Cylindrical shape in plastic case with removable fuse mounted on top; spikes project out of top at angles. * Bursts into more than 1,000 metal splinters. Lethal radius is at least 82 feet. * Detonated by tripwire or by direct pressure on one or more of the fuse prongs. * Fully waterproof. Specifications: Weight: 6.6 lbs. Diameter: 5.1 inches Height (with fuse): 8.07 inches Main charge: Composition B Weight of main charge: 0.9 lbs. Type of booster charge: RDX
Valsella VS-2.2--Italian Antitank Mine * All plastic, waterproof, pressure-activated mine. * Small, highly effective against main battle tank tracks and suspensions. * Has anti-shock device that prevents accidental detonation. * Iraq has these and comparable mines, not necessarily from Italy, but probably copies made in Singapore. Specifications: Weight: 7.7 lbs. Diameter: 9.44 inches Height: 4.72 inches Main charge: Composition B Weight of main charge: 4.7 lbs.
PMN Soviet-Made Antipersonnel Mine * Most significant numerically and used extensively in combat throughout the world. Made of plastic with rubber cover. * Hard to defuse. * Detonates with pressure and can easely remove a leg. * Estimated that 25,000 to 30,000 were deployed in Afghanistan. Specifications: Weight: 1.3 lbs. Diameter: 4.4 inches Height: 2.2 inches Main charge: TNT
TM-46--Soviet Antitank Mine * Old technology, but Iraq has a lot of them. * Metallic and laid either by hand or mechanically. * Detonated by pressure. * Versions are produced in Israel, China, Egypt and Bulgaria. Specifications: Weight: 19.55 lbs. Diameter: 12 inches Height: 4.33 inches Main charge: TNT Weight of main charge: 13.09 lbs. Type of booster charge: Tetryl