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May 27, 2004

Another little agent of nastiness.

Oddly enough, there really isn't a whole lot of info about the German Glasmine 43 out on the web. Not that I spent a huge amount of time or effort (I'm sure someone will) but what's here may be the most complete set of pictures out there on this ugly little spud.

From the Army Medical Activity website talking about fragment producing weapons (for doctors) I did find this:

In an attempt to reduce the metallic content of the antipersonnel mine and increase the difficulty in its detection, a glass mine (Glasmine 43 (f)) was developed. This consisted of an outer glass casing 4.2 inches in height, from 4½ to 6 inches in diameter, and from 0.25 to 0.40 inch in thickness. Approximately 40 pounds of direct pressure was required to break the glass shear plate and activate either a chemical or a mechanized ignitor

It was developed to be hard to detect by having as little metal as possible (the mine detectors back then weren't near as sensitive as your average Wal-Mart metal detector is now), using no strategic materials, and able to be produced by an industry not already overwhelmed with war work. I guess the germans were just boarding over the broken windows...

Here is a picture of the basic components, though you can't see the (inert) charge (original waxed paper, block of wood inside). A glass bowl, made of tempered glass so it will shatter jaggedly, into which sits the explosive, a detonator (lower right), the thin glass plate (usually missing from these) leaning up against the bowl, and the top cover, another piece of thick glass to add to the fragmentation effect. Obviously, with the very thin glass plate, these were not intended for long-term minefilelds in front of defensive positions, but were for hasty delaying and harassing minefields. This top cover is a relatively rare color, brown. Most are that greenish-blue tinged color of the bowl. Mines this complete are rare, because, well, they're glass! The effort the seller went to to ship it to me from Scotland made unpacking a 20 minute process - but the thin glass plate survived!

This is a shot of the charge, with a 8mm Mauser rifle cartridge for scale. Wrapped in paper and waxed to waterproof it, it's just big enough to blow off your foot - like the Elsie I covered yesterday. This one at least has a secondary use - the glass bowl is a glass bowl, after all...

Next is a picture of the detonator - called a 'saukopf' or pigs-head by the Germans, for obvious reasons. Remove the cotter pin on the left, and the initiator is armed. It took roughly 40 pounds of pressure to set it off. The real purpose of the brown piece of glass was to make sure that when stepping on the mine the something went deep enough into the bowl to hit the fuze.

John | Permalink | Comments (4) | Ammunition
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