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"Locating Mine Fields" from Tactical and Technical Trends

A report on an unusual method of locating minefields laid in North Africa by retreating German forces, from Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 37, November 4, 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.]


The commander of a reconnaissance unit recently returned from Africa states that the quickest and most practical way of locating mine fields when in pursuit of retreating German columns is to load a jeep with sand bags and drive straight ahead. Mines are located when the jeep is blown up. This process is dangerous and expensive, but saves invaluable time, and frequently, the jeep crew is not injured because of the protection of the sand bags. A light tank may be similarly employed. If time is taken for a cautious advance, the Germans have attained their objective of delaying pursuit. The risk and loss must be assumed.

When the first fields are met and a road cleared, active pursuit is resumed. As the Germans are pressed, their mine laying becomes progressively more careless until mines can be spotted hastily dug in or hardly covered at all. This is the last phase of their orderly retreat.


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