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Sea Mine

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Much more impressive than a boot.

Any ship can be a minesweeper. Once.

Ah, naval mines. Just the thing to catch unwary vessels.

The use of these Naval Weapons is still legal unlike the anti-personnel land-based version, but you are required to notify people of their use and the rough location of them, so civilian shipping can stay out of the way.

Naval mines in fiction are always portrayed as large metal spheres covered with small spike-like detonators which cause the mine to explode on contact with a ship (or any unfortunate individual). This is based on the appearance of early naval mines. Most modern ones look rather different. Some are self-contained launch tubes for a homing torpedo that launches when it detects the sound of a ship or submarine's propellers (and is smart enough to distinguish between the two, or even different classes and sizes of ship, and may be set to attack either or both). Others are modified aircraft bombs dropped in shallow waters to lie on the sea bed, with sensor circuitry that detonates when they detect the change in magnetic fields created by the ship's metal hull. The horned type, however, remains a favored weapon for shallow waters and low budgets, and like the Cartoon Bomb is easily recognized by the viewing public.


That page picture has a grain of Truth in Television to it, by the way; Just as unexploded ordnance is regularly found on land around the United Kingdom and Continental Europe, fishing trawlers working in the English Channel or the North Sea really do pull live mines, torpedoes and other Second World War-era munitions out of the depths every so often.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The Digimon Chikurimon is one.
  • Mazinger Z: In episode 22, Baron Ashura used electric sea mines -called Balanger M1-. They were light blue with dark blue spikes that covered its bodies, and they were able to move through water and home in on an opponent. Once they came into contact, they released electric charges to hurt their target. That episode also featured Mechanical Beast Balanger M2, a giant robot capable to transform into a red, spiky, electric sea mine.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: In the last manga arc, Heishin used sea mines to protect his organization's base. They looked like the classic type and they were stored inside wooden cages.
  • Arpeggio of Blue Steel, set in a navy-based future, doesn't use the round ones, instead opting for modern sea mines like hidden torpedo launchers. The comparison is still made though.

    Comic Books 

    Film - Animation 
  • Finding Nemo: The sharks live in a sunken warship surrounded by "balloons". They become a Chekhov's Gun when a berserk Bruce accidentally sets off a torpedo while trying to kill Marlin and Dory, which sets off a chain reaction with the other mines, causing the sharks to flee.
    • Those would have had to be Allied ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) mines as the Japanese would not have been able to lay mines and the Allies had no motive to lay any other type. By an example of Hollywood Tactics the submarine seems to have been an Allied sub. While of course mines wouldn't know the difference, Allied subs would not be submerged near Australia. They would be running on the surface, with an escort to prevent friendly fire, too high to be hit by ASW mines.

    Film - Live-Action 
  • James Bond
    • In Moonraker, Bond's Amazon boat has a number of these in its arsenal, which Bond releases to blow up a pursuing boat.
    • At the beginning of For Your Eyes Only, a British spy trawler accidentally fishes in a sea mine and sinks. It seems like a freak accident, but it was actually planted by The Dragon, who later blows up another on dry land to effect his escape from 007.
  • Hot Fuzz, except it's not underwater when we see it, it's lying around in some dude's garage.
    • Though initially appearing to be a dud, it quickly starts ticking once Angel and Danny find it. Double Subversion; it doesn't go off, and it ends up stored in the evidence locker with Angel believing it's deactivated. It winds up going off in the penultimate scene.
  • The Heroes Of Telemark have to fend off a mine with a big pole while escaping from Norway.
  • The protagonists of The City of Lost Children have to navigate through a bunch of these to get to the lair of the resident Mad Scientist.
  • An unrecovered sea mine from WWII is what sinks HMS Trojan in Morning Departure.

  • A supertanker in the first chapter of Win, Lose or Die has to tread the waters of Straits of Hormuz carefully, as the previous eight years of Iran–Iraq War has left it filled with mines, and they have no assistance of clearing them from British and US navies. Little do they know that the real danger comes from above, not below.
  • In 1634: The Baltic War, using an uptime encyclopedia the Danish develop mines to help defend against the USE Navy. However, given King Christian is more enamored of Awesome, but Impractical weapons, it's only done as a side project, not producing enough devices (which resemble the stereotypical spiked sphere) to have much of an effect, though they do manage to utterly destroy one of Admiral Simpson's ironclads in their one deployment before the conflict against Denmark is concluded.
  • A Royal Navy submarine's loss in Red Storm Rising is hypothesized to be due to a decoy for a Soviet submarine being planted in the middle of a minefield.
  • In The Mandarin Cypher, British spy Quiller is doing a scuba infiltration of a Chinese oil platform that turns out to be protected by sea mines, a fact that he doesn't realise in the dark until the detonation horns have bumped against him. He detaches the mine from its cable and stashes it for later use.

    Live Action TV 
  • The 1970's Australian series Patrol Boat had an episode where a Japanese WW2 sea mine had drifted inshore, but blowing it up would mean destroying some historical Aborginal cave paintings.
  • Done in the first series of Sea Patrol (also an Australian series about a patrol boat), when a mine washes up on a beach after a cyclone. While it is unstable, the only real danger comes from a pair of Too Dumb to Live preteen boys who find the mine, don't report it straightaway. One even runs towards it when the bomb disposal unit are about to destroy it to save a tortoise.
  • One of these washed up in the lagoon in an episode of Gilligan's Island.
  • Dad's Army: In "Menace from the Deep" the Walmington-on-Sea platoon is stranded on the Walmington-on-Sea Pier. The situation becomes worse when a sea mine drifts underneath the pier. When Hodges falls off the pier, the magnetic mine is attracted to his steel helmet.

  • Naval mines were used in the 1998 MBX The Battle of Brunei. The Malaysian naval commander gave the Refuge in Audacity order that the minefields be regularly chummed.
  • Dutch comedy Audio series Ome Henk has the titular Uncle Henk berate his Director for misinforming his nephew Jantje for calling a Seamine a Buoy. His nephew responds by throwing it away, causing a GINOOOOOOOORMOUS explosion. As per usual.
  • It's widely accepted that a Navy Mine sunk the Hospital Ship The HMHS Britannic(sister ship of the Titanic) The 2000 Made for TV Movie however played with the alternate theory of a submarine torpedo but in the end it was the work of a saboteur.
  • Common in the old MAD magazine standby, Spy vs. Spy. Sometimes they were hidden in innocent-looking items as a trap, other times they were turned on their owners, but it was as good as guaranteed that seeing one in the setup would result in an explosion by strip's end.

  • The Goon Show: "The Dreaded Batter Pudding Hurler".
    Eccles: MINE AHEAD! Dirty big mine ahead!
    Bloodnok: Mi—? (footsteps running into the distance, splash)
    Neddie Seagoon: Funny, he wasn't dressed for swimming.
    Eccles: Wait, fellas, there's no need to worry about the mine — it's one of ours!
  • The Navy Lark: HMS Troutbridge once thought they had salvaged a missing American satellite. What they had actually found was a World War II era sea mine. Hilarity Ensues.
  • The Men from the Ministry episode "The Thing on the Beach" revolves around a sea mine on an English beach-resort that Mr. Lamb is forced to defuse. At the end of the episode it turns out to be a mine-shaped collecting box.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech allows for the deployment and use of minefields as part of its advanced (i.e., not strictly tournament-standard) rules. This includes explicitly sea-based conventional, inferno, or command-detonated minefields; inferno mines only work on the surface, the other two can be placed at any given depth.
  • Widely used in Harpoon.
  • Space 1889 the adventure Canal Priests of Mars have an aerial version.
  • In Salvage Hidden Treasures, these can be encountered as events, and it costs the player half the money they have to repair their ships.

    Video Games 
  • Can be deployed in Harpoon.
  • In the Hunt has loads of these in the first stage and the final stage.
  • In Steel Saviour, the first Mini-Boss drops these near you, which explode in a large Sphere of Destruction.
  • The Pokémon Koffing's appearance is based on a floating naval mine. Since it learns Self-Destruct and Explosion, this is fitting.
  • Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves features these as a hazard in some stages, as smallish items (often with their own inner tubes for flotation). The last chapter notes your approach to magnetic mines in a ship. The Cooper Gang avoided Critical Research Failure and Critical Existence Failure by bringing the ship from the prior chapter. Made primarily of wood.
  • Relic Entertainment's Vanity Plate shows one of these.
  • Crysis had them for some reason.
  • Appeared in one mission in Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars.
  • You can find the gargantuan red and black Lance mines scattered around in Borderlands: The Secret Armory of General Knoxx. If you get too close, they will explode and automatically down you, and you can detonate them from afar with rockets and grenades.
  • Common obstacles in the first two Crash Bandicoot sequels.
  • 2/3 of the underwater stages in Alundra 2 feature these, which explode if you touch them. Then there are the ones that that start following you.
  • The SNES platformer Claymates had a few of these floating around some of the longer underwater sections.
  • Duke Nukem 3D features small mines in the "Toxic Dump" level.
  • Sub Culture had whole fields of this, sometimes made extremely dense for some missions.
  • The player's ship has to navigate minefields every now and then in the Naval Ops series. You can also lay mines, but they don't do very much damage and getting another ship to run into them is iffy at best.
  • The Legend of Zelda
    • There were a few in the Pirate's Fortress in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass has underwater enemies during the treasure-salvage minigames that evoke this look, being spiked balls with eyes that explode if you make contact with them with either the crane hook or the treasure chest you're salvaging note .
  • Kingdom of Loathing has mine crabs, hermit crabs that claimed naval mines as their homes. See Demonic Spiders.
  • Bug had these in Quaria. They blow up if you touched them, of course.
  • Featured in the seventh story mission of Jaws Unleashed. Just touching the chains which the mines are attached to will make them explode.
  • The first Venice level in Tomb Raider II has a group of sea mines in by the level exit. Naturally, you couldn't drive your boat through the area unless you wanted to suicide but the trick to clearing the mines is to accelerate to the mines and jump out of the boat before impact.
  • Tomb Raider (2013) picks up the tradition in one of the later areas, a stretch of beach choked with shipwrecks from every era since the beginning of seafaring. The whole area is littered with about a dozen sea mines that look exactly as described at the top of the page. Some float in the sea, others lie half-buried in the sand, all of them are harmless unless you shoot at one while standing near it. Finding and detonating them all completes one of the area's challenges and rewards Lara a nice amount of Experience Points.
  • In Banjo-Tooie, the Submarine Challenge minigame involves destroying a bunch of these (called Shrapnel) for points.
  • Lots of them show up in GoldenEye: Rogue Agent in a cutscene when you arrive at Crab Key.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Shows up in the game Super Mario World.
    • They return in Super Mario Galaxy 2. Like just about everything in the Mario games, they have eyes, and will try to lean into your path if you swim too close.
  • Advanced Strategic Command has anti-ship and anti-sub mines. Standard unitsets include minelaying-capable submarines, among other things.
  • Mega Man 4 has some stationary underwater mines that explode when you linger near them in Dive Man's level.
  • Certain environments had these in Carmageddon. Interestingly enough, they frequently appeared above water as well, still floating while chained to the ground. If run into, the whole sprite would explode and deal dynamic but even damage to the recipient's vehicle based on his/her innate strength and armor level.
  • A rare appearance of the "torpedo launch tube" type of modern sea mine is the Widow mine in Starcraft 2, which burrows into the ground and periodically launches a single homing rocket.
  • In keeping with the game's goofy, nonsensical 1960s setting, Team Fortress 2 features the Sentry Buster robot enemy in Mann Vs. Machine mode. It is half robot Demoman, half sea mine, and all Action Bomb.
  • Chapter 4 of Gatling Gears has these with a twist: The Empire has drained the entire sea, turning it into a desert, so the mines are stuck in the ground like landmines. There's also an achievement for not getting damaged by any of these.
  • The Commandos series, particularly Men Of Courage, has them. The Diver has to disarm them in at least one mission.
  • Somewhat ironically, sea mines end up as land mines in MechWarrior 3, where you were tasked with infiltrating a former lake for one mission. The heavy sea mines that had been placed there to ward off a naval attack did not escape the lake when it drained and dried up, and instead sank into the sediment on the bottom, becoming a hazard to any large, passing pieces of metal, such as your Humongous Mecha. This obligates you have a sense for careful navigation, a watchful eye, and an equally steady hand to locate and destroy the mines with neither radar alerts nor targeting assistance.
  • A few missions in Cobra Triangle have you disposing of mines in safe zones. If your boat gets too close to one as it goes off, you'll lose a life.
  • The mines in Minesweeper resemble the typical spiked sea mines.
  • Both Feeding Frenzy games have sea mines as hazards the fishes have to avoid. Should one touch it and BOOM! They can also be quite useful, as predators, too, go BOOM when hitting one.
  • In Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, some naval mines can be found in Irate Eight. They are set off when Donkey Kong swims near them and blast four pieces of shrapnel when exploding.
  • When underwater in Sunless Sea, the player can encounter submerged sea mines. Running a Zubmariner into it is a very bad idea. There are also the Unexploded Unclear Bombs, which have a red glowing dot at their center (just like the one featured on the main menu) and can be disarmed.
  • Fallen London, its sister game, has the Unexploded Mine as a weapon. It doesn't actually make you more Dangerous, however, but rather more Persuasive. As it turns out, plopping an armed mine strong enough to sink battleships right on the table before beginning negotiations strengthens your position significantly.
  • During Octogeddon's Bonus Stages, the animal buddies must dodge a plethora of sea mines descending upon them at high speeds.
  • In one level of Half-Life 2, you zip through the river on a motorboat while an enemy chopper drops mines in front of you.
  • Sea mines appear in Warframe as obstacles in Grineer underwater bases that explode when you approach them, likely killing you in one hit. They are bright red so you can easily shoot them from afar without risking yourself.
  • Some underwater areas in Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom are loaded with sea mines, some of which start off anchored to the floor and rise up when a crab cuts the rope.
  • They appear as a hazard in Commander Keen 4's underwater level, moving back and forth or up and down.

  • Newshounds featured a dolphin whose former job was to find these. He wasn't very good at it. Favourite line: 'Boom boom boom go the ocean zits!'

     Web Video 
  • World War II: The series covers the mining of the seas by Allies and Axis. Early episodes tell the story of mysterious new German mines wreaking havoc on British shipping before they were discovered to be magnetically triggered and a degaussing countermeasure developed.

    Western Animation 
  • On Centurions, Max Ray's Depth Charger weapon system was equipped with one called a "hydromine". He once used several of them to stop a tsunami from occurring when a massive meteorite landed in the ocean.
  • The unfortunately-named "Stink 'n' sink" mines from Avatar: The Last Airbender, invented by Hakoda.
  • On the Looney Tunes short "Porky's Snooze Reel", a jellyfish swallows a mine whole, despite the narrator's warnings, and is blown into jars of Jell-O.

    Real Life 
  • Maritime mine warfare is actually Older Than They Think: the concept was first introduced in the Ming dynasty China in the 14th century, and used against Japanese pirates (Wako) in the 16th century.
  • Mines are a menace at shallow and narrow seas. Consequently, littoral countries with vast archipelago or shallow coasts are experts on mine warfare. Examples contain Finland, Greece, Germany, Thailand and Poland. Conversely, they are of little use on depths more than 200 m.
  • Finland literally bagged the Soviet Baltic Fleet at Kronstadt harbour in 1941 by mining the whole Gulf of Finland. The minefields contained mines on different depth so that not even submarines could get out. After the Armistice 1944, openings were cleared on the minefields so that the Soviet ships could freely enter and exit the Baltic. The minesweeping continued well into the 1950s.
  • The spiky protrusions on the mine which Donald and the Ducklings have just angled on the cartoon featured are so-called Hertz horns. They are lead horns which contain a small glass ampulla full of electrolyte and two electrodes. When a ship runs into the mine, the soft lead of the horn will bend, breaking the ampulla and letting the electrolyte run in the horn. It will then close an electric circuit, which then in turn will detonate the fuse and the explosive charge on the mine itself.
  • Sea Mines, like their land-based cousins, could serve as more of a deterrent than a direct weapon. Enemy ships had to sail around known minefields, thus a force could mine waters on the most direct route between an enemy base and their own waterways. Such a tactic was used during World War I to try and limit the effectiveness of German U-Boats by forcing them to take a longer route to get at Allied shipping with the North Sea Mine Barrage.
    • There is a famous saying from the Gulf War that you do not actually need any mines to create minefield: you just need a press release and a Notice to Mariners.


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