A landmine is an explosive device designed to be placed on or in the ground to explode when triggered by an operator or the proximity of a vehicle, person, or animal.
The name originates from the practice of mining, where tunnels were dug under enemy fortifications or forces. These tunnels (“mines”) were first collapsed to destroy fortifications above, and later filled with explosives and detonated.
Landmines generally refer to devices specifically manufactured for this purpose, as distinguished from improvised explosive devices (“IEDs”). Land mines are used to secure disputed borders or to restrict enemy movement in times of war. Tactically they serve a purpose similar to barbed wire or concrete dragon’s teeth vehicle barriers, slowing or channeling the movement of attacking forces to the advantage of defenders. From a military perspective, landmines serve as force multipliers, because they increase the efficacy or potency of a force without requiring more personnel.
Landmines are a controversial “weapon”. Since the Ottawa Treaty came into force on March 1, 1999, now with 155 signatories, participants agree they will not use, develop, manufacture, stockpile or trade in anti-personnel land mines. Another 40 countries have yet to agree to the Ottawa Treaty, securing landmines as still a viable threat in combat.
Discover detailed analysis and breakdowns of landmines in combat situations with our detailed military handbooks.