26. GERMAN MINE FIELDS IN LIBYA

The following report on German mine tactics in Libya during World War II was originally published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 1, June 18th, 1942.

German mine fields encountered in the Tobruk area are reported to have been, with very few exceptions, combinations of anti-tank and anti-personnel mines.

A row of "Sperrmine" anti-personnel mines, called "S" mines, with push igniters was frequently laid in front of the Teller mines (platter shaped anti-tank mine, weighing about 10 lbs.). This apparently was intended to make the work of taking up the minefield more dangerous.

Trip wires intended to give warning of the approach of hostile troops were also utilized. It is reported that "T" mines are usually laid with the top of the igniter flush with the ground and the earth smoothed back into place. No elaborate concealment has been encountered and the disturbed earth usually makes the mines easy to locate. No pull-igniters have been found in the cavities provided for them in the side and base of "T" mines although the Germans are known to have used this type of igniter in the area.

In one case a field of "T" mines was found to have been arranged for deliberate firing, and engineer reconnaissance discovered electric leads connected to the arming points in the sides of the mines. They were wired in parallel to enable the mines to be fired singly or in groups.

"S" mines are usually laid with only an inch of the antennae visible, and the disturbed earth carefully smoothed back into place. Nevertheless, the disturbed earth usually makes their location easy, as no elaborate attempt at concealment has been encountered.

Push, pull, and pedal-types of this mine have been encountered, the two former predominating.

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Erwin Rommel explains his strategy to a staff officer, June 1942.

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