"Latvia" Former Soviet Union Military Bases
Pressure Fuse
Landmine Fuzes
The main design consideration is that the bomb the fuze is intended to actuate is stationary, and the target itself is moving in making contact.
A land mine is an explosive device, concealed under or on the ground and designed to destroy or disable enemy targets as they pass over or near the device. Such devices are typically detonated automatically by way of pressure from the target stepping or driving on it, though other detonation mechanisms may be possible. The device may cause damage either by a direct blast or by fragments that are thrown by the blast.
The name originates from the ancient practice of military mining, where tunnels were dug under enemy fortifications or troop formations by sappers. These killing tunnels "mines" were at first collapsed to destroy targets located above, but they were later filled with explosives and detonated in order to cause even greater devastation.
Nowadays, in common parlance, land mines generally refer to devices specifically manufactured as anti-personnel or anti-vehicle weapons. Though many types of [Improvised Explosive Devices "IED"] can technically be classified as land mines, the term land mine is typically reserved for manufactured devices designed to be used by recognized military services, whereas IED is used for makeshift devices assembled by paramilitary, insurgent, or terrorist groups.
The use of land mines is controversial because of their potential as indiscriminate weapons. They can remain dangerous many years after a conflict has ended, harming the economy and citizens of many developing nations. With pressure from a number of campaign groups organized through the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, a global movement to prohibit their use led to the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and
Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction. Currently, a total of 159 nations are party to the Ottawa Treaty.
Land mines were designed for two main uses: to create defensive tactical barriers, channeling attacking forces into predetermined fire zones or slowing an invasion force's progress to allow reinforcements to arrive; and to act as passive area-denial weapons "to deny the enemy use of valuable terrain, resources or facilities when active defense of the area is not desirable or possible".
Land mines are currently used in large quantities mostly for this first purpose, thus their widespread use in the [Demilitarized Zones "DMZ"] of likely flashpoints such as Cyprus, Afghanistan and Korea.
Landmines continue to kill nearly 20,000 people every year, even decades after the ends of the conflicts for which they were placed. 
Pre-modern Development
Some sources report that the 3rd-century Chancellor "China" Zhuge Liang of the Kingdom of Shu in China invented a land mine type device. This claim was made by Jiao Yu in his Huolongjing Quanzhi "Fire-drake Manual in One Complete Volume", his preface written in 1412 AD "although the book was originally published in the mid 14th century", and that Zhuge had used not only "fire weapons" but land mines in the Battle of Hulugu Valley against the forces of Sima Yi and his son Sima Zhao of the Wei Kingdom. 
However, this claim is dubious, considering that gunpowder warfare did not exist in China until the advent of the flamethrower "Pen Huo Qi" in the 10th century, while the land mine was not seen in China until the late 13th century.  
Explosive Landmines
East Asia
Explosive land mines were being used in 1277 AD by the Song Dynasty Chinese against an assault of the Mongols, who were besieging a city in southern China. The invention of this detonated "enormous bomb" was credited to one Lou Qianxia of the 13th century. The famous 14th century Chinese text of the Huolongjing, which was the first to describe hollow cast iron cannonball shells filled with gunpowder, was also the first to describe the invention of the land mine in
greater detail than references found in texts written beforehand.
This mid 14th century work compiled during the late Yuan Dynasty and early Ming Dynasty "before 1375, when its co-editor Liu Ji died" stated that mines were made of cast iron and were spherical in shape, filled with either 'magic gunpowder', 'poison gunpowder', or 'blinding and burning gunpowder', any one of these compositions being suitable for use. The wad of the mine was made of hard wood, carrying three different fuses in case of defective connection to the touch hole.
In those days, the Chinese relied upon command signals and carefully timed calculation of enemy movements into the minefield, since a long fuse had to be ignited by hand from the ambushers in a somewhat far-off location lying in wait. However, the Huolongjing also describes land mines that were set off by enemy movement, called the 'ground-thunder explosive camp', one of the 'self-trespassing' "zifan" types, as the text says:
These mines are mostly installed at frontier gates and passes. Pieces of bamboo are sawn into sections nine feet in length, all septa in the bamboo being removed, save only the last; and it is then bandaged round with fresh cow-hide tape. Boiling oil is next poured into "the tube" and left there for some time before being removed. The fuse starts from the bottom "of the tube", and "black powder" is compressed into it to form an explosive mine. The gunpowder fills up eight-tenths of the tube, while lead or iron pellets take up the rest of the space; then the open end is sealed with wax. A trench five feet in depth is dug "for the mines to be concealed". The fuse is connected to a firing device which ignites them when disturbed. 
The Huolongjing describes the trigger device used for this as a 'steel wheel', which directed sparks of flame onto the connection of fuses running to the multiple-laid land mines underneath the carefully hidden trap. However, further description of how this flint device operated was not made until a Chinese text of 1606 AD revealed that a weight drive "common in medieval clockworks" had been used to work the 'steel wheel'. 
The way in which the Chinese land mine trigger worked was a system of two steel wheels rotated by a falling weight, the chord of which was wound around their axle, and when the enemy stepped onto the disguised boards they released the pins that dropped the weights. In terms of global significance, the first Wheelock musket in Europe was sketched by Leonardo da Vinci around 1500 AD, although no use of metal flint for gunpowder weapons were known before that
point in Europe.
Besides the use of steel wheels providing sparks for the fuses, there were other methods used as well, such as the 'underground sky-soaring thunder'.  The Ming Dynasty "1368–1644" text of the Wubei Zhi "Treatise on Armament Technology", written by Mao Yuanyi in 1628, outlined the use of land mines that were triggered by the heat of a slow-burning incandescent material in an underground bowl placed directly above the train of fuses leading to the mines buried 3 ft beneath. The booby-trap of this mine system had a mound where weapons of halberds, pikes, and lances were dug in, meant to entice the enemy to walk up the small mound and claim their stolen prize of war booty.
When the weapons were removed from the mound, this movement disturbed the bowl beneath them where the butt ends of the staffs were, which in turn ignited the fuses. According to the Wubei Huolongjing volume of the 17th century, the formula for this slow-burning incandescent material allowed it to burn continuously for 20 to 30 days without going out. This formula included 1 pounds "0.45kg" of white sandal wood powder, 3 oz "85g" of iron rust "ferric oxide", 5oz "140g" of 'white' charcoal powder from "quicklime", 2oz "57g" of willow charcoal powder, 6oz "170g" of dried, ground, and powdered red dates, and 3oz "85g" of bran.
The Chinese also employed the use of the naval mine at sea and on the rivers of China and elsewhere in maritime battles.
Europe and the United States
The first land mine in Europe was created by Pedro Navarro "d. 1528", a Spanish soldier, who used it in the settles of the Italian castles, in the beginning of the sixteenth century.
At Augsburg in 1573, a German military engineer by the name of Samuel Zimmermann invented an extremely effective mine known as the fladdermine. It consisted of a fougasse "or later, sometimes a shell fougasse, that is, a fougasse loaded not with stones but with early black powder mortar shells, similar to large black powder hand grenades" activated by a snaphance or flintlock mechanism connected to a tripwire on the surface. Combining the effects of a tripwire activated bounding fragmentation mine with a cluster bomb, it was devastating to massed attackers but required high maintenance due to the susceptibility of black powder to dampness. Consequently it was mainly employed in the defenses of major fortifications, in which role it continued to be used until the 1870s.
In Europe in the early eighteenth century, improvised land mines or booby-traps were constructed in the form of bombs buried in shallow wells in the earth and covered with scrap metal and/or gravel to serve as shrapnel. Known in French as fougasse, the term is sometimes still used in the present day to describe such devices. This technique was used in several European wars of the eighteenth century, the American Revolution, and the American Civil War.
The first modern mechanically fused high explosive anti-personnel land mines were created by Confederate troops of Brigadier General Gabriel J. Rains during the Battle of Yorktown in 1862. As a Captain, Rains had earlier employed explosive booby-traps during the Seminole Wars in Florida in 1840. Both mechanically and electrically fused "land torpedoes" were employed, although by the end of the war mechanical fuses had been found to be generally more reliable. Many of these designs were improvised in the field, especially from explosive shells, but by the end of the war nearly 2,000 standard pattern "Rains mines" had been deployed.
Improved designs of mines were created in Imperial Germany, circa 1912, and were copied and manufactured by all major participants in the First World War. Both sides employed land mines "defensively" and tunnel mines "offensively". Well before the war was over, the British were manufacturing land mines that contained poison gas instead of explosives. Poison gas mines were manufactured at least until the 1980s in the Soviet Union. The United States was known to have at least experimented with the concept in the 1950s.
Nuclear mines have also been developed, both land and naval varieties. An example is the British Blue Peacock project, while another was the U.S. Medium Atomic Demolition Munition.
Characteristics and Functioning
A typical land mine includes the following components:
  • firing mechanism or other device "including anti-handling devices"
  • detonator or igniter "sets off the booster charge"
  • booster charge "may be attached to the fuse, or the igniter, or be part of the main charge"
  • main charge "in a container, usually forms the body of the mine"
  • casing "contains all of the above parts"
Firing Mechanisms and Initiating Actions
A land mine can be triggered by a number of things including pressure, movement, sound, magnetism and vibration. Anti-personnel mines commonly use the pressure of a person's foot as a trigger, but tripwires are also frequently employed. Most modern anti-vehicle mines use a magnetic trigger to enable it to detonate even if the tires or tracks did not touch it. Advanced mines are able to sense the difference between friendly and enemy types of vehicles by way of a built-in signature catalog. This will theoretically enable friendly forces to use the mined area while denying the enemy access.
Many mines combine the main trigger with a touch or tilt trigger to prevent enemy engineers from defusing it. Land mine designs tend to use as little metal as possible to make searching with a metal detector more difficult; land mines made mostly of plastic have the added advantage of being very inexpensive.
Some types of modern mines are designed to self-destruct, or chemically render themselves inert after a period of weeks or months to reduce the likelihood of civilian casualties at the conflict's end. However, these self-destruct mechanisms are not absolutely reliable, and most land mines laid historically are not equipped in this manner.
Anti-Handling Devices
Anti-handling devices [See Appendix XXIV] detonate the mine if someone attempts to lift, shift or disarm it. The intention is to hinder de-miners by discouraging any attempts to clear minefields. There is a degree of overlap between the function of a booby-trap and an anti-handling device insofar as some mines have optional fuze pockets into which standard pull or pressure-release booby-trap firing devices can be screwed. Alternatively, some mines may mimic a standard design, but actually be specifically intended to kill de-miners e.g. the MC-3 and PMN-3 variants of the PMN mine. Anti-handling devices can be found on both anti-personnel mines and anti-tank mines, either as an integral part of their design or as improvised add-ons. For this reason, the standard render safe procedure for mines is often to destroy them on site without attempting to lift them.
Anti-Tank Mines
Anti-tank mines were created not long after the invention of the tank in the First World War. At first improvised, purpose-built designs were developed. Set off when a tank passes, they attack the tank at one of its weaker areas, the tracks. They are designed to immobilize or destroy vehicles and their occupants. In U.S. military terminology destroying the vehicles is referred to as a catastrophic kill "k-kill" while only disabling its movement is referred to as a mobility kill "m-kill".
Anti-tank mines are typically larger than anti-personnel mines and require more pressure to detonate. The high trigger pressure normally 100kg "220 pounds" prevents them from being set off by infantry or smaller vehicles of lesser importance. More modern anti-tank mines use shaped charges to focus and increase the armor penetration of the explosives.
Anti-Personnel Mines
Anti-personnel mines are designed to kill or injure enemy combatants as opposed to destroying vehicles. They are often designed to injure rather than kill in order to increase the logistical support "evacuation, medical" burden on the opposing force. Some types of anti-personnel mines can also damage the tracks or wheels of armored vehicles.
Under the Ottawa Treaty, "also known as the Mine Ban Treaty" signatory countries undertake not to manufacture, stockpile or use anti-personnel mines. As of 2009, it has been signed/accessioned by 156 countries. As of the date of this writing 3 February 2013, Thirty-eight countries, including the People's Republic of China, Russian Federation and the United States, are not party to the Convention. 
Guerrilla Warfare
None of the conventional tactics and norms of mine warfare applies when they are employed in a guerrilla role:
  • The mines are not used in a defensive role "for specific position or area".
  • Mined areas are not marked.
  • Mines are usually placed singly and not in groups covering an area.
  • Mines are often left unattended "not covered by fire".
One of the aims of terrorism and to a certain extent of guerrilla warfare is to spread fear and panic. This can be achieved by a single mine left on a civilian road to be detonated by a civilian target which is clearly quite different from the normal military application. 
One example where such tactics were employed is in the various Southern African conflicts during the 1970s and 1980s, specifically Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Laying Mines
Minefields may be laid by several means. The preferred, but most labor-intensive, way is to have engineers bury the mines, since this will make the mines practically invisible and reduce the number of mines needed to deny the enemy an area. Mines can be laid by specialized mine-laying vehicles. Mine-scattering shells may be fired by artillery from a distance of several tens of kilometers.
Mines may be dropped from helicopters or airplanes, or ejected from cluster bombs [See Appendix XXI] or cruise missiles.
Anti-tank minefields can be scattered with anti-personnel mines to make clearing them manually more time-consuming; and anti-personnel minefields are scattered with anti-tank mines to prevent the use of armored vehicles to clear them quickly. Some anti-tank mine types are also able to be triggered by infantry, giving them a dual purpose even though their main and official intention is to work as anti-tank weapons.
Some minefields are specifically booby-trapped to make clearing them more dangerous. Mixed anti-personnel and anti-tank minefields, anti-personnel mines under anti-tank mines, and fuses separated from mines have all been used for this purpose. Often, single mines are backed by a secondary device, designed to kill or maim personnel tasked with clearing the mine.
Multiple anti-tank mines have been buried in stacks of two or three with the bottom mine fuzed, in order to multiply the penetrating power. Since the mines are buried, the ground directs the energy of the blast in a single direction, through the bottom of the target vehicle or on the track.
Another specific use is to mine an aircraft runway immediately after it has been bombed in order to delay or discourage repair. Some cluster bombs combine these functions. One example is the British JP233 cluster bomb which includes munitions to damage "crater" the runway as well as anti-personnel mines in the same cluster bomb.
Gallery of Pressure Fuzes –
Revised: 02/03/2013 – 14:04:42