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"German Methods of Clearing Minefields" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following military intelligence report on German methods of clearing minefields is taken from Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 14, Dec. 17, 1942.

[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 following report shows the Axis methods of clearing minefields during the attack on the El Alamein front in August 1942.

a. During the Night

(1) Three or four men worked with spades, picking up mines to make one narrow gap. Immediately behind each man was a mechanized vehicle covering him with its weapons. As the digger moved a pace or two forward, the vehicle followed. No lights were visible.

(2) Transport or mechanized vehicles were driven straight at the minefields in an attempt to find at least one clear route through.

(3) It is not known whether or not this was successful, as the British abandoned the first minefield before daylight. Mines were seen to explode, however, and it is considered that several vehicles must have been destroyed.

b. Daylight

(1) Mechanized vehicles advanced about 50 yards apart on a front of about 400 yards. In front of each vehicle were men picking up mines covered by the weapons of the armor. Between the tanks, infantry advanced across the minefield in line, about 3 yards apart, with bayonets fixed. In one area, an infantry gun was seen being brought into position on the near edge of the minefield, covering the advance.

c. General

(1) Artillery fire was concentrated on the far edge of the minefield before the advance began. This fire appeared to be on areas selected for the breakthrough.

(2) No attempt was made to clear mines before the moon was up.


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