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.