The Return of the Anti-Tank Mine?

With most of the UK’s stock of anti-tank Barmines either expired or used for Explosive Means of Entry (EMOE) in Afghanistan there is somewhat of a dilemma when it comes to the ‘return to contingency’, or conventional combined arms combat.

The cupboard is bare.

The Barmine Layers are currently being disposed of.

barmineDescribed by the disposal agents as;

These were designed to be towed behind FV 432`s, Stalwarts, Saracens, CVRT Spartan, AEC Trucks, Bedfords and even Landrovers !! Obviously now obsolete but will make a fantastic display piece for a show or museum. Or even a possibility for conversion I.E. potato planter! Trencher for cables etc.

So although it may seem surprising, the MoD might be back in the market for them.

Defence Equipment and Support is responsible for procuring and supporting the equipment and services for the UK’s Armed Forces. The DE&S Technology Office seeks to understand Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) and near COTS counter-mobility technologies in the land domain. Both mines other than anti-personnel mines (MOTAPM) and other novel / innovative technologies are within the scope of this call. MOTAPM refers to anti-vehicle mines. Unlike anti-personnel mines, this type of mine is activated by a vehicle driving over it, rather than a person stepping on it. MOTAPM includes anti-tank mines. Expression of Interest (EoI) will be used for MOD informative purposes to gain market understanding and are not in competition or subject to any formal assessment.

Mines remain an emotive and sensitive subject with the MoD, as in most Western nations, anti-personnel mines are long gone and the whole subject fraught with legal scrutiny.

And yet they remain an effective capability.

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Think Defence hopes to start sensible conversations about UK defence issues, no agenda or no campaign but there might be one or two posts on containers, bridges and mexeflotes!

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18 Comments on "The Return of the Anti-Tank Mine?"

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HMForcesReview

Mines are great, if you aren’t a moralistic nation.

According to Wiki Mark 7 mines were disposed of, Shielder system off the books.

The cupboard is bare.

Mk 7 needed a cat 2 dozer to draw the Mark 3 mine layer train (aka The Beast) whilst 432 or Stalwart could draw the barmine layer through the north German plain. Shielder system mines were deposited on the surface.

Be interesting to know what Ajax can draw.

Barmine was a very clever pieced of kit integrated with the barmine layer. I suspect any buried replacement would end up looking similar. Shielder (after my time) looks to have been very expensive to maintain by comparison and in mine warfare terms lasted almost no time at all.

Live mines are not used in training for obvious reasons, so they are not used up in training like ammunition; that’s why generally they should last decades longer than other in service munitions.

Hope Commander 3(UK) Div knows not to rely on minefields to secure his flanks in the advance or front in defence.

grubbie

Mines are quite humane (this includes anti personnel mines)if used correctly. They are basically defensive and if you don’t want to get hurt don’t go into the well marked minefield. This is much nicer than chopping people up with airburst weapons if they get too close. Obviously that’s a very big “if”.

Sven

Imagine how much the MOD procurement bureaucracy could spend on this category of mines:
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/munitions/shm.htm
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2004SPIE.5441…13R

Presumably we have disposed of the little red triangles marked “MINE” and the short fence pickets (enemy side) to support them as well.

And if we don’t train for laying do we still train for manual breaching.

As stated above the anti-tank mine is a very useful tool in providing area denial to vehicles either during attack or defence and for the UK to drop this ability after experiencing over a decades worth of warfare were the biggest single threat and mobility restrictor was anti- vehicle mines in the form of IED’s! Why did we spend Billions on MRAP’s ? Does the MoD understand the ‘M’ stands for Mine?
Obviously any future conflict is envisagevto be multinational so an allies sappers could do it for us but an organic mine laying ability would avert that question of asking another general for a ‘borrow’ of his men , kit and supplies when we know he needs them as much as we do :-(

Paulpeake

I wonder about modern utility of anti vehicle mines. With all the smart anti tank munitions out there, I don’t know that there is much point in them.

There are all sorts of sensors that can be emplaced to monitor an area or manned or unmanned aircraft could be used. A virtual barrier could be created without expending any munitions and without a needing a lot of manpower.

accattd

Claymore has already been replaced by a next-gen procurement (OK, the hitting power is better, somewhat, but the main thing is a man-in-the-loop, ie. it is no longer a mine (of anti-personnel variety).

Mines are effective in slowing down and channelling a heavily armoured opposing force… may be we are considering fighting in other kinds of terrains now, rather than just in open desserts?

lastdingo

But, but, but – fighting in desserts would be tasty!

Germany still uses a Mine Ban conformal non-scatterable AT mine, DM 12 PARM 1.
A vehicle crushes a fibre-optic cable, mine fires. Width covered 30 m. Fine for blocking forestry roads, for example.
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/DM-12_PARM

A successor (PARM-2) was meant to have 100 m and quite sophisticated multi-stage sensors.

I personally never understood why we didn’t simply procure a <200 g light fibre optic cable, battery, clock fuze to be used on Panzerfaust 3 rounds. They wouldn't even need a tripod; you can easily improvise a durable mounting if you're not in a sand desert.

TehFinn

@accattd, are you referring to Forcits improved claymore that I believe the UK MOD has purchased? Finnish defense industry is furiously trying to make it’s way past the confines of the Ottawa treaty and is developing some sort of unholy matrimony of sensor network and ANTI-PERSONNEL MINES!!! Embargo the savage Finns!! The wanted outcome as I understand it is sufficient output of data from the sensors to recognize hostiles so minefields can be activated. About AT mines, the Finnish inventory is believed to be 500K out of which 50K smart bottom attack mines including ones that can be remotely activated. Again, made by Forcit http://forcit.fi/en/defence/land-systems/.

Sure, we got SMART and BONUS and all the other smart anti tank munitions available. Where as artillery cannot fire without notifying its location, mine warfare can be done discreetly and without compromising friendlies. Not fair but war never has been. Artillery is a main axis of effort weapon where as mines are deployed by all troops at all levels (in Finnish doctrine at least). Even the puny infantry squad has AT and AP mines in their arsenal.

accattd

Yeah, that was the one.

As for anti-tank mines, I always knew the Finnish definitio of Light Infantry was different from everybody else’s:
comment image

TehFinn

You could say “minenwerfer” is the main arm in FDF. The AT mine pictured above can be fitted with different fuze to make it work as AP mine. The original fuze detonates under 150kg+ of pressure so practically it can be set off by just walking over it.

To me it’s a shame how all the progressive western countries are doing long term plans on whim of a moment. Ban mines because buuhuu Burma and others, buy the equipment back, ban cluster munitions, ooops there goes 80% of our arty stockpiles. Costly decisions have been made based on what has happened in third world countries without any documentation on mine fields or conducted fire missions.

Do brits have any sort of EFP mine? We have two in our inventory, one weighing 3,6kg and the other 19kg, penetration at 30m 30 and 100mm of RHA. Even the smaller one makes hole big enough to put your fist through it, I guess you could pop your head through the bigger ones hole.

ArmChairCivvy

We may have had the “instant” minefields, but I wasn’t aware of this instant mine breaching solution (not sure if it is of the same vintage):

Mike

that the Barmine has gone a redesign incorpoating new technology would have been a better idea. Anti tank mines can be very useful in a variety of possible scenarios and the Barmine was one of the very best. It gave the Americans no end of trouble during Gulf 1 when the Iraqis used them. The Americans used mine ploughs to clear mines and because of their shape Barmines would fit through the tines and secure at least a mobility kill on the sweeper

Chris Werb

If you want to buy a bigger piece of our once great countermobility capacity, here is something else. http://www.mod-sales.com/direct/vehicle/,37,/44504/Alvis_Shielder.htm

Mike W

@ Chris Werb

Yeh, why the hell did they get rid if the Shielder/Volcano combination?. We are told that there is now a new danger of high-end, high intensity conflict and some kind of counter-mobility capacity will surely be vital.

If the Volcano mines and projectors are still in storage somewhere, could they not be fitted to 6-tonne trucks (with armoured cabs perhaps )and given to the Reserve? Might even help recruitment a bit. They would be keen on operating a “new” piece of interesting kit, etc. etc.

Chris Werb

@ Mike W. Stop making sense!

I read in Hansard a while back that the UK Govt had invested heavily in the Royal Engineers and that not one capability had been divested, although numbers have dropped – that was an outright lie, as all 29 Shielders had recently been cast and sent to Withams.

Mike W

@Chris Web

Many thanks for the reply. “and that not one capability had been divested,”. Yes, it was a downright lie. The ironic thing is, though, Chris, that as soon as a vital piece of equipment is cast, in a high percentage of cases we suddenly find ourselves in a situation where it is needed. It does raise the whole question of whether storage can be all that costly and difficult. I see that the Army has recently seen sense and brought back some lost CBRN capability, including the Fuchs vehicles which, according to one correspondent, were stripped of equipment and left outside a shed to rust! Then suddenly, we discover there is a need!

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