British Army - Royal Engineers Mine Warfare - Barmine - Shielder - Claymore Mine - Off-Route Mine - Mk 7 Mine - Mine Detectors - Python - Armed Forces - a8a9




Anti-tank minefields laid by the Royal Engineers will usually contain Barmines (anti-tank) or Mk. 7 (anti-tank) mines and anti-disturbance devices may be fitted to some Barmines.

Minefields will always be recorded and marked; they should also be covered by artillery and mortar fire to delay enemy mine clearance operations and maximise the attrition of armour.

ATGWs are often sited in positions covering the minefield that will give them flank shoots onto enemy armour; particularly the ploughs or rollers that might spearhead a minefield breaching operation.



Shielder provides the facility to create anti-tank barriers quickly and effectively. The system consists of modular dispensers of anti-tank mines which can be fired to either side or to the rear, mounted on a flatbed version of the Stormer Armoured Personnel Carrier.

The anti-tank mines have a programmable life, at the end of which they self-destruct. Ordered in 1995, Shielder is derived from the US Alliant Techsystems M163 Volcano system.

It is believed that the total value of the order is approximately 110 million for 29 x Shielder systems, anti-tank mines, training, spares and the Stormer flatbed carrier.

The first vehicles entered service in 1999.

In British Army service, Shielder will only lay anti-tank mines. These mines are carried in canisters, (each of which hold six mines with up to 40 canisters), and are carried on a launcher rack. These are on the rear of the Stormer flatbed and discharge the anti-tank mines either side as the vehicle moves across the terrain. A dispenser control unit provides fire signals, testing and arming of the self-destruct mechanism.



The Barmine is usually mechanically laid by a plough-type trailer, that can be towed behind an AFV 432 or Warrior. The Barmines are manually placed onto a conveyor belt on the layer, from inside the APC.

The minelayer automatically digs a furrow, lays the mines into it at the correct spacing and closes the ground over them. Up to 600 mines can be laid in one hour, by one vehicle with a three-man crew.

A full width attack mine (FWAM) fuse and an anti-disturbance fuse are available for Barmine; these are secured on the ends of the mine, adjacent to the pressure plate.

BARMINE (ANTI-TANK) Specifications
Weight 11kg
Length 1.2m
Width 0.1m
Explosive Weight 8.4kg


This French mine is designed for vehicle ambush. The mine is placed at the side of the road and a thin electric 'breakwire' laid out across the vehicle's path. The mine is initiated when the vehicle breaks the wire. A shaped charge known as a 'Misznay Schardin Plate' fires an explosively formed projectile into the side of the vehicle.

Length 0.26m
Weight 12kg
Diameter 0.2m
Range 75m


The Mk.7 Mine is a large, round metal-cased blast mine which may be initiated by pressure or tilt-rod (to give it a full-width attack capability). It has been in service for many years and, when stocks are exhausted, will be replaced by the barmine. The Mk.7 mine can be mechanically laid from a large trailer, akin to a mobile assembly line. This obsolete piece of equipment has a very poor cross-country capability and no protection for the operators.

MARK 7 MINE (ANTI-TANK) Specifications
Charge Weight 8.89kg
Mine Weight 13.6kg
Diameter 0.13m


The Claymore Mine has a curved, oblong plastic casing, mounted on a pair of bipod legs. The mine is positioned facing the enemy and fired electrically from distances up to 300m away. On initiation, the mine scatters about 700 ball-bearings out to a range of 50m across a 60 degree arc.

First purchased from the US in 1963, the Claymore is an effective anti-infantry weapon that is likely to remain in service for many years to come.

Weight 1.58kg
Length 210mm
Width 30mm
Charge Weight 0.68kg



The 4C, the standard mine detector of the British Army since 1968, has been replaced by the Ebinger EBEX-420PB. The Army have designated the detector L77A1 and assigned it the NATO Stock Number 6665-99-869-3649.

The L77A1 is a lightweight, modular design which uses pulse induction technology to locate the metallic content of mines. The battery compartment and electronics are built into the tubular structure, and an audible signal provided to the operator via a lightweight earpiece. The sensitivity is such that even modern plastic mines with a minimal metallic content can be detected to a depth of 15cm.

MINE DETECTOR L77A1 Specifications
Weight Packed with all accessories 6.5kg
Weight Deployed ready for use 2.2kg
Approximate Battery Life 45 hrs
Detection Depth (metal AT mine) 0.6 - 0.7m



Python is an effective minefield breaching system which has been successfully tested by the British Army. Python replaces the Giant Viper minefield breaching systems which date back to the 1950s.

The Python has the ability to clear a much longer safe' lane than its predecessor. It is also faster to bring into action and far more accurate. It can clear a path up to 230m long and 7m wide through which vehicles can then safely pass.

The system works by firing a single rocket from a newly designed launcher mounted on a trailer which has been towed to the edge of the mined area.

Attached to the rocket is a coiled 230m long hose packed with one and a half tons of powerful explosive. After the hose lands on the ground it detonates and destroys or clears any mines along its entire length. It is claimed that in a cleared lane, over 90% of anti-tank mines will have been destroyed.

Trailer mounted Pythons can be towed in tandem' by the Chieftain Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers engineer tank (CHAVRE) (shown loaded with three gap-crossing fascines), giving the Royal Engineers the capability of breaching minefields over 400 meters deep.

PYTHON Specifications
Trailer Weight 136kg
Hose Length 230m
Cleared Zone 180m x 7.3m