[Lone Sentry]
  [Lone Sentry: Photographs, Documents and Research on World War II]
Home Page  |  Site Map  |  What's New  |  Search  |  Contact Us

"Land Mines" from Intelligence Bulletin, September 1942

[Intelligence Bulletin Cover]  
The following brief U.S. report on German minefields in Libya and Russia during WWII was originally published in the Intelligence Bulletin, September 1942.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department Intelligence Bulletin publication. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]



In Libya the Germans have been laying rows of anti-personnel mines in front of their plate-shaped antitank mines in an effort to make the cleaning up of minefields more dangerous.

The anti-personnel mines have push-igniters, and are usually laid with only an inch of the antennae visible. Although the disturbed earth is carefully smoothed back into place, the appearance of the danger spot is likely to be different from that of the surrounding ground. A sharp eye can detect the difference, especially since the Germans, after smoothing back the earth, don't seem to worry much about disguising their minefields elaborately.

German antitank mines in Libya are usually laid so that the tops of the push-igniters are flush with the ground. As in the case of the anti-personnel mines, not much concealment is attempted and the disturbed earth usually gives away the location.

For safety's sake, be on the lookout for trip wires. No mines with pull-igniters have been captured, but it is known that the Germans are using them.


In Russia, when the Germans are retreating, they try to halt or delay the Russian advance by mining roads and bridges. The Germans bury the mines (small, round metal cans) under earth or snow. Sometimes, in their haste, they leave a small mound visible, but not often. Although the German mines are occasionally laid in rows or in a checkerboard pattern, as a rule they are not placed in exact order. Sometimes they are wired in series, so that if the Russians do not investigate carefully while disarming the first mine, they may be killed or injured by one of the others.

Another German method is to plant hundreds of empty tin cans in the hope that the Russians will become careless and overlook live mines. The Germans also hang mines from trees, particularly at night, letting them dangle low enough so that men and tanks will run a risk of colliding with them.

It is interesting to note that the Germans' chief reason for using land mines is not to cause great destruction but to spread "mine fever" or, in plain words, fear. The Germans consider that if their opponents stay cool and levelheaded, the mine-laying has been little more than a waste of time and matériel.


[Back] Back to Articles by Subject | Intel Bulletin by Issue | T&TT by Issue | Home Page

LONE SENTRY | Home Page | Site Map | What's New | Search | Contact Us