Archived Discussion

This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Croaker: Can someone name an example of the "click/pile rocks on it" scenario from a war series, such as Band of Brothers or Tour of Duty?

//It seems to me there was one episode of "Tour of Duty" that had a scene based on this, but I saw it so many years ago that I can't recall the particulars. Incidentally, some of the old antipersonnel mines used in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam *did* have triggering mechanisms that went "click" and functioned as the trope describes. These days, though, the newer devices are mostly designed to be left above ground, perhaps hidden by grass or foliage (even if there is no foliage, the sight of visible mines and boobytraps sitting on top of the ground is sure to make the enemy want to either slow down considerably or go around the minefield--and that is what mines are for, to force enemy troops to move through some areas and not through others, in order to lead them into an ambush or a pre-planned artillery bombardment), and detonated by means of nearly-invisible tripwires rather than a mechanism that makes a melodramatic "click" and gives someone a chance, however slight, to escape. But I digress.

Securiger: I do not believe it is true that "old antipersonnel mines used in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam" actually worked this way. There was a common military myth that the German S-mine ("Bouncing Betty") worked this way. However in reality it just had a short delay (4 to 5 seconds), intended to give the victim a moment to get out of the way so the mine could jump to the optimal height before exploding. Almost all later bounding mines fire instantly, and simply have a lifting charge powerful enough to throw it to the correct height even if it has to go right through someone to get there. Also, both the original S-mine and most of its later descendants (e.g. US M-16 mine) can have both pressure triggers and tripwire triggers set simultaneously (some others, like the Russian OZM, have a choice of triggers but can only be set up for one). It's just that tripwires are more likely to be randomly activated (e.g. by animals) and are so are left off in certain tactical scenarios (e.g. close to a defended position.)

//We aren't necessarily talking about bounding AP mines here. This description makes me think of some of the late WWII German and Russian "toe popper" and "shoe mine" designs with their simple mechanical fuze mechanisms that sometimes clicked.

(random passer-by): I am not a demolitions expert, nor a combat engineer, but I do not think there is any such thing as an explosive blast that is "strictly horizontal," as the page mentions.

Even if such a thing existed, the type of bounding antipersonnel mine it describes isn't necessarily always going to be propelled perfectly vertically into the air to create a plane of detonation exactly parallel to the horizon. This is, according to what I've read, considered to be a real problem with antipersonnel cluster munitions. They can be designed so that most of the shrapnel goes to the sides, maybe sprayed out in something like a 30 degree angle diverging 15 degrees above and below the plane passing through its center perpendicular to its long axis, all the way around. But in the real world, they don't always fly or fall exactly perpendicular to the horizon (some have fins, some have a plastic ribbon sticking out the top, they still often fall crooked because of wind and because of the bursting charge that scatters the munitions over the intended target) and in the real world, the ground isn't perfectly flat parallel to the horizon. A one thousand pound class cluster bomb casing, like the old Mk. 20 Rockeye of the Vietnam era, loaded with a thousand one-pound antipersonnel grenades, even with much cleverness applied to the preformed shrapnel in the grenades, plus fins or plastic ribbons or whatever, still has holes and gaps in the pattern it covers. Mind you, it's fewer holes, and a much larger area, than a single WWII style "iron bomb" of the same weight would affect.

But I digress. I don't believe Wikipedia's claims about perfectly horizontal blasts that don't leak out shrapnel at any other angle (even Claymore mines don't throw 100% of their ball bearings in the intended 30 degree cone, and this is a design that's been in use and continuously refined for fifty years), and even if it were true, the real world isn't a flat sheet of glass parallel to the horizon.

The Grim Sleeper: I think you are taking to "strictly horizontal" a bit too literally. Like you said Claymores, with the ever hilarious text "this side toward enemy" have a approximate kill-zone, and most of the shrapnel fly in this area. There are of course odd balls that could fly in any direction, and the shock wave, which is still mostly spherical. Also you seem to be confusing several types of deployment. Yes you can drop them via airplane or clusterbomb, but these Bouncing Betties and Claymores are usually placed manually. This means they will at least be sort of upright, and thus the most of the shrapnel, which does most of the damage, will fly in a horizontal direction. So although ducking for a Bouncing Betty will not guaranty you will be unharmed, when you do step on a mine, betting on best odds is better then a groin full of metal.

Xander77: No mention of Jumping on the landmine to protect your buddies? Or is that a purely Russian trope?

Nohbody: In the 1994 movie Blown Away, about an IRA bomber played by Tommy Lee Jones breaking out of prison to get revenge on the person who had gotten the bomber sent to prison in the first place, one of the characters puts on a headset for listening to music, and hears the signature "click". Would it being a bomb instead of a mine make it a different trope, or does any explosive device signaling that it's armed with an audible notice count?

The Grim Sleeper: That would be this trope with a capital T.

The Grim Sleeper: Why isn't captain Blackadder's "standard procedure for Mine-trotting" on this page? I think it funnier out of context then the current quote.
George: Oh sir, just one thing. If we should happen to tread on a mine, what do we do?
Edmund: Well, normal procedure, Lieutenant, is to jump 200 feet into the air and scatter yourself over a wide area.