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M-18a1 Claymore Mine - Front Toward Enemy
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The M18A1 Claymore is a directional anti-personnel mine developed for the United States Armed Forces. Its inventor, Norman MacLeod, named the mine after a large medieval Scottish sword. Unlike a conventional land mine, the Claymore is command-detonated and directional, meaning it is fired by remote-control and shoots a pattern of metal balls into the kill zone like a shotgun. The Claymore can also be victim-activated by booby-trapping it with a tripwire firing system for use in area denial operations.
The Claymore fires steel balls, out to about 100 m (110 yd) within a 60° arc in front of the device. It is used primarily in ambushes and as an anti-infiltration device against enemy infantry. It is also used against unarmored vehicles.
Many countries have developed and used mines like the Claymore. Examples include former Soviet Union models MON-50, MON-90, MON-100, and MON-200, as well as MRUD (Serbia), MAPED F1 (France), and Mini MS-803 (South Africa).
The M18A1 Claymore mine has a horizontally convex gray-green plastic case (inert training versions are light blue or green with a light blue band). The shape was developed through experimentation to deliver the optimum distribution of fragments at 50 m (55 yd) range. The case has the words "FRONT TOWARD ENEMY" embossed on the front of the mine. A simple open sight on the top surface allows for aiming the mine. Two pairs of scissor legs attached to the bottom support the mine and allow it to be aimed vertically. On both sides of the sight are fuse wells set at 45 degrees.
Internally the mine contains a layer of C-4 explosive behind a matrix of about seven hundred 1⁄8-inch-diameter (3.2 mm) steel balls set into an epoxy resin.
When the M18A1 is detonated, the explosion drives the matrix forward, out of the mine at a velocity of 1,200 m/s (3,937 ft/s), at the same time breaking it into individual fragments. The steel balls are projected in a 60° fan-shaped pattern that is 6.5 feet (2.0 m) high and 50 m (55 yd) wide at a range of 50 m (55 yd). The force of the explosion deforms the relatively soft steel balls into a shape similar to a .22 rimfire projectile. These fragments are moderately effective up to a range of 100 m (110 yd), with a hit probability of around 10% on a prone man-sized 1.3-square-foot (0.12 m2) target. The fragments can travel up to 250 m (270 yd). The optimum effective range is 50 m (55 yd), at which the optimal balance is achieved between lethality and area coverage, with a hit probability of 30% on a man-sized target.
The weapon and all its accessories are carried in an M7 bandolier ("Claymore bag"). The mine is detonated as the enemy personnel approaches the killing zone. Controlled detonation may be accomplished by use of either an electrical or non-electrical firing system. When mines are employed in the controlled role, they are treated as individual weapons and are reported in the unit fire plan. They are not reported as mines; however, the emplacing unit must ensure that the mines are removed, detonated, or turned over to a relieving unit. The 100-foot (30 m) M4 electric firing wire on a green plastic spool is provided in each bandoleer. The M57 firing device (colloquially referred to as the "clacker") is included with each mine. An M40 circuit test set is packed in each case of six mines. When the mines are daisy-chained together, one firing device can detonate several mines.
The mine can be detonated by any mechanism that activates the blasting cap. There are field-expedient methods of detonating the mine by tripwire, or by a timer, but these are rarely used.
March 10th, 2020
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