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Claymore Mine

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M18A1 Claymore directional anti-personnel mine.


Shown here with the M57 firing device, (aka 'clacker') and command wire. Missing from the CES is the M40 test set and the bandolier, a two pocket cotton satchel with a sewn-in weatherproof instruction sheet.

Named after the Claymore sword (qv) by its inventor, Norman MacLeod, it is a curved mine encased in plastic with supporting legs that may be folded under the mine for transport, or pushed into the surface from which it is to be fired.

On detonation, the Claymore projects a fan-shaped pattern of 700 spherical soft steel balls which is approximately 150' x 6' in size at a range of 150'. Taking this area and the amount of projectiles into account, the limitations of the weapon are plain. While it may well inflict casualties at more than 100 yds, shorter ranges are the norm.

It should be noted that there is also a 50' danger area behind the mine, and contrary to misconceptions they cannot be mounted on your helmet

It is command, timed or target initiated, although forces of signatory countries of the Ottowa Convention are banned from the latter use.* If command initiated it can be used in defence to cover approaches to positions or in the offence, eg. to initiate an ambush. Timed initiation is far more rarely used, as planning to deter a hot pursuit would be indicative of the original plan being complete underpants.

Drill claymores still contain the projectile matrix, but are cast in blue plastic for identification, as is the spool for the command wire. A training aid is available, substantially identical in size and shape to the live mine, that cooperates with the existing MILES (US equivalent to the UK SAWES/ESAWES system.) It a directional acoustic signal that approximates the effectiveness range of the actual Claymore mine.


Example of the result of a Claymore attack on a soft skinned vehicle.

  • It has been argued that setting a target initiated Claymore is permissible if the danger area is under constant observation and initiation can be prevented by the observers.

anoraks enlarged here