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"Italian Minefields in North Africa" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following intelligence report on Italian minefields in North Africa during WWII was originally published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 16, Jan. 14, 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.]


In order for obstacles to be effective, they must be covered by small-arms fire, and if extensive, also by artillery fire. In North Africa the Italian Trieste Division employed a system of observation and signalling posts to prevent the British from clearing gaps in the minefields. These posts, armed with light machine guns, are manned from dusk to dawn, with at least two men on duty at all times. They are located both inside the minefield and along the far edge.

Prisoners of war stated that, "mines were always laid about 1 yard apart, except when the supply was inadequate in which case they were laid either haphazardly or from 2 to 4 yards apart." It is thought that reference is here made to a density of one mine per yard of front, since if the mines were spaced as close as one yard apart the explosion of a single mine would probably touch off the entire minefield by sympathetic detonation.

Much difficulty appears to have been experienced by the enemy in the marking of minefields. Various methods have been reported. One method, which is believed not to have been heretofore reported, is to use a system of wooden stakes: high stakes to mark the near edge, short stakes to mark the far edge and flanks.


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