Mines, Land

A land mine is broadly defined as any explosive device or munition that is placed under, on, or near the ground or other surface area and that is designed to be detonated or exploded by the presence, proximity, or contact of a person, vehicle, or animal. This entry traces the development of land mines and discusses types of land mines and their uses during the two World Wars and up to the present, including “terror mining.”

The Origins of Land Mines

The linear ancestor of land mines is regarded as the caltrops—a metal device with four sharp pronged points intended to pierce a horse’s hoof or a soldier’s foot, first employed during the time of Alexander the Great. Early gunpowder mines were used by the Chinese against ...

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