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"German Mine-Locating Instruments" from Tactical and Technical Trends

A report on German mine detection equipment in WWII, from Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 24, May 6, 1943.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. 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.]


Information has become available regarding the "Frankfort" mine-detector in use by the German Army. This is an electrical device and is suitable for locating metallic land mines. It consists essentially of three parts: the batteries and electric oscillator circuit which are mounted in a pack on the back of the user; the searching stick with antennae which is carried in the hand; and a pair of head-phones which are connected to the oscillator circuit in the pack.

The user first assembles the apparatus and then, while holding the antennae away from the vicinity of any metallic object, adjusts the tuning dial of the instrument until a uniform low-pitched buzz is heard over the head-phones. The operator then moves forward slowly, swinging the searching stick in a half-circle in front of him with the antennae held about 1 or 2 inches above the ground. The electrical balance of the antennae and oscillator circuits will be upset when the antennae are brought into the proximity of any metallic object. This unbalance results in changing the tone of the note heard in the head-phones from the original low-pitched tone to a high, shrill sound. The closer the antennae are moved to the metal object, the higher the note becomes; this enables the user to locate the exact spot at which the mine or other metallic object is buried.

One weakness of this device is that it is impossible to distinguish between metallic mines and odd bits of metal, such as tin can, shell splinters, and the like. Another weakness is that it can be defeated by using wooden cases for mines instead of metal cases, in which event the detector fails to give any warning of the proximity of the mine. The device is sensitive to the average metallic land mine up to a distance of about 3 feet.

In order to overcome the last objection given above, the Germans still use a bayonet or a form of metallic probe to locate the mines by probing in the area under search.

From another source than that responsible for the above information, it is reported that in recent experiments with mine detectors, and improvised mines under about 4 inches in depth, the older model Aachen gave consistently better results than the new Frankfort detector.


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