Originally developed in World War II, the PMD-6 antipersonnel mine is a rudimentary pressure-activated blast device in a wooden box. It has been widely used in Cambodia. As wood rots, the mine mechanism may shift, and the device often sets itself off or becomes inoperative.
The most prevalent of the conventional landmines are the so-called
blast mines. They rely upon the energy released by the explosive
charge to harm their target, and are normally buried by hand or placed
on the ground. The injuries they produce result primarily from the
explosion, but secondary fragmentation injuries are possible as the
mine casing or surrounding dirt or gravel is blasted at the victim.
Most depend on blast alone for their effectiveness, since the target
generally needs to come in contact with the mine to set it off.
The MON-50 antipersonnel mine is a Soviet version of the American
M-18 Claymore, a directional fragmentation mine. The curved plate
is filled with pellets or projectiles in front of the explosive
charge. It can be mounted against a round surface such as a tree or
can be placed on a small stand-alone stake.
Preformed metal fragments of selected shapes and sizes are shot out
by the blast at a high velocity over a predetermined arc. Sometimes
described as the military equivalent of the sawn-off shotgun, the
widely copied American M-18 Claymore mine contains 700 steel balls and
can kill targets up to 50 metres away. Other types can kill people as
far away as 200 metres. Directional fragmentation mines are often
planted around foxholes or used against convoys, and can sometimes be
activated by a simple remote-control switch.
Widely used in Afghanistan, the Soviet PFM-1 scatterable
pressure-sensitive blast mine is also known as the "butterfly mine"
because of its shape, which unfortunately attracts children who think
it is a toy. It has been produced in various shades of brown, green,
and white. The PFM-1S version of this mine is one of the rare designs
which include a self-destruct mechanism. It explodes 24 hours after
Three types of ignitors, which may be used with tripwires or with
The OZM-4, a metallic bounding fragmentation mine.
A bounding fragmentation mine is designed to kill the person who sets
it off and to injure anybody nearby by propelling fragments. The
cylindrical mine body is initially located in a short pot or barrel
assembly; activation detonates a small explosive charge, which
projects the mine body upwards. As it "bounds" into the air, the
mine is activated by an anchor cable secured to the barrel assembly
which remains on the ground; the cable pulls a pin from the fuse on
the mine's body. The resulting blast scatters fragments, some of
which may be preformed, over a much wider radius and area than would
be possible with a surface or buried mine of similar size.
The PMN mine contains a large amount of explosive, and the injuries it
inflicts are often fatal. It is designed in such a way that it is
practically impossible to neutralize. As a safety precaution for
those laying this mine, a 15- to 20- minute delay mechanism is
activated when the mine is armed.
The irregular shape and small size (about 9 cm diameter) of the
BPD-SB-33 scatterable antipersonnel mine make it particularly hard to
locate. A hydraulic antishock device ensures that it cannot be
detonated by explosions or artificial pressure. It is also
exceptionally light, and can thus be carried and deployed in extremely
large numbers by helicopters.
This Vietnamese antipersonnel mine is about the size of a tennis ball,
and can be mounted on a stake for use with a tripwire or buried just
below the surface and set off by pressure.
There are numerous variations of the PMR-2A or POMZ-2 antipersonnel
stake mines, which are generally planted in clusters or rows of
at least four units and are set off by an intricate system of