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May 26, 2004

Last but not least on Canadian stuff today: Elsie

The Canadians have signed on to the Landmine Treaty, known as the Ottawa Convention in recognition of their strong support, and in my experience in planning sessions, they are pretty up front and aggressive about it (though they are willing to position themselves behind minefields provided by us... because we are Bad People and didn't sign on. It's all Bush's fault, of course. Even if Clinton was in office.

Perhaps this is one reason they are so into it. They developed a pretty nasty little bugger of their own, the Elsie.

I have two, shown with a rifle bullet for scale:

Not large at all, just big enough to blow off your foot. Exactly the kind of thing that so annoyed the people who wrote the treaty. Small, hard-to-detect, easy to emplace mines that look a lot like toys to small children (though service mines (vice the training ones shown here) are not quite as attractive a color!

Before any Canadians get huffy - they are/were also produced by the US and Japan as the M25 and Type 67 respectively. They are very simple.

The C3A2 (Elsie) is a plastic bodied cone shaped A pers mine which is designed to wound or kill by blast effect. The mine has two components; the body and charge. The body resembles an arrow head, it has a smooth finish and contains the firing mechanism. The charge is a seperate component which fits inside the body, it contains a shaped explosive charge and has camouflage material on its exterior. When delivered, the body has a dust cover to protect the internal cocked striker mechanism/detonator. After the body is placed in the ground, the dust cover is removed and replaced by the charge. The mine is water resistant and it can be laid in wet ground. The C3A2 contains 7.8 g of Comp A5 while the older C3A1 version contained Tetryl. The mine is difficult to locate using metal detectors under most field conditions. Due to its small surface area the C3A2 has limited resistance to blast overpressure from explosive breaching systems like the Giant Viper and MICLIC. The Elsie is also produced in the US as the M25, and in Japan as the Type 67.

The designers were curiously respectful of the victims buddies:

The C3A2 "Elsie" is difficult to locate using metal detectors in areas that have high metal content in the ground such as artillery shell fragments. On detonation the mine will cause immediate blast injury to the victim as well as hearing damage to anyone within a 5 meter radius. Due to its shaped charge the mine concentrates all of its explosive force upward. The secondary fragmentation hazard is thus greatly reduced.

Wouldn't want to hurt anyone with that secondary fragmentation hazard...

Here's a picture of the mines and their component parts, less the safety clip. I haven't found a clip yet... The mine on the left has the shipping plug with it. The little black bit in the center is the explosive charge (inert trainer in this case) that is inserted into the mine to make it live. In this photo, you can see that it is in fact a shaped charge, albeit a wee one.

If you'd like all the dirty details, they're all laid out here.

Still to come: The german glass and shuh mines.