LANDMINES PART 3:

 

Antitank-Mines:

 

According Finnish Continuation War era manuals Finnish troops were to have 1 - 2 antitank-mines per frontline meter. The roads were enemy was likely to use had to be mined with in depth with 10 - 50 antitank mines per road kilometre. The mines had to be camouflaged well and fake mines could also be placed among the real ones to make their clearance more difficult for the enemy. Antitank mines were useful, but they didn't do wonders. For antitank mine do its thing at least two thirds of the mine had end up under track of armoured vehicle. Even when the mine exploded the typical damage was just broken tank track - a relatively minor damage, which usually could be repaired. However, the mobility kill provided another antitank weapons a good chance to destroy enemy armoured vehicle. Finnish military commonly installed antitank-mines at least 4 meters apart from each other. During World War 2 Finnish antitank mines m/36 and m/39 proved to have too small explosive charges for the to reliably break tracks of some Soviet tanks, so additional explosive charges were introduced for these mines and used with them when necessary. The pressure needed to trigger antitank mine varied between 100 - 350 kg depending model of the mine and fuse in it. According Finnish manuals adding antitank-mines to existing damaged minefield was forbidden. If needed the favoured method was rather building a new minefield either in front or back of the old damaged one. Both freezing of ground and snow made already installed antitank-mines unreliable for winter. With snow on the ground the weight of tanks driving to minefield was an issue - heavy tanks triggered antitank mines even as much as 60 cm of snow on top of them, but already much less snow made antitank-mines unreliable against light tanks. Soft surface, like snow, under the antitank mines also reduced effect of their explosions. Antitank mines placed on ice worked at least in theory, but with variation of temperatures unless maintained they slowly sunk inside the ice and became ineffective in that way.

 

PANSSARIMIINA m/36 (antitank-mine m/36)

PICTURE: Finnish antitank-mine m/36. The blue cross painted across its lid indicates that this is training version of the mine. (Photo taken in Panssarimuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (48 KB).

Construction:

Disc-shaped, sheet metal body with wider lower part.

Fuse type:

Pressure activated fuse.

Basic principle:

Typical pressure-activated antitank-mine.

Location:

Buried to ground, the cap on top 1-cm above surface.

Height of mine:

13 cm

Diameter of mine:

26 cm in lid level, in level of bottom 31 cm

Weight:

5.5 kg

Explosive charge:

2.8 kg of moulded TNT or amatol

Fuse activated by:

Pressure on top of the mine:

- In middle on the top:

350 kg pressure activates fuse.

- In sides on the top:

200 kg pressure activates fuse (mine not buried).

Country of origin:

Finland

Transport method: Wood crates each containing 4 mines. Crate size 37 cm x 43 cm x 68 cm. Fuses for the mines in locker of the crate. Weight of the fully loaded crate 48 kg.

This was the first antitank mine introduced to use of Finnish Army. Its main designer was Lieutenant-Colonel T. Raatikainen (Chief of Ordnance Department for GHQ of Finnish Armed Forces during World War 2), while Lieutenant-Colonel Pylkkänen had assisted as engineer expert in this designing work. Antitank-mine m/36 had disc-shaped sheet metal body with spread out lower part, which had jagged lower surface. The jagged lower surface was likely in the mine to make sure that it would not slide on frozen ground or ice. The fuse used in the mine was the typical pressure activated kind. Side of the mine has a handle for carrying it. Pressure on top of the mine breaks the triggering pin in the fuse releasing the firing pin, which hits the primer cap setting it off, which detonates the fuse for fuse wire that explodes the whole explosive charge located inside the mine. Marking painted in bottom of the mine indicated the explosive used in it: Marking "TAN" indicated amatol while "R" indicated TNT filling. The 2.8-kg explosive charge contained by this mine proved too small for some Soviet tanks already during Winter War. Adding additional explosive charge was the simple solution for this problem. During Winter War the additional explosive charge was typically 1 kg of TNT placed under the mine, but later during Continuation War several purpose-build additional explosive charges were manufactured for this purpose. One of these additional explosive charges for at-mine m/36 was loaf-shaped piece of TNT, while the other was cylindrical - both of these contained 2.5-kg of TNT. The other two additional explosive charges used with it were recycled antitank-mines - around 1943 remaining antitank-mine M/40 and Swedish antitank-mine M/39 minus their lid and fuse were recycled as additional explosive charges for at-mine M/39. These additional explosive charges were placed under the actual mine when it was buried to ground. When the additional explosive charges were not available second antitank-mine m/36 could be placed upside down below the actual mine for increased effectiveness. Training-version of the mine (which contained no explosives) was marked with blue cross painted across its lid. Fuse of the mine had been desinged so, that it fit also to Finnish artillery shells, which used is 32/41 size fuses. Theoretically this would have allowed using artillery shells as antitank mines with these fuses - resulting very similar concept as already used during World War 1. But since the fuse was the most complicated part of antitank mine m/36 and the extra fusesdoesn't seem to have been manufactured this probably never happened. All the manufactured fuses got used with the antitank mines and Finnish military doesn't seem to have used antitank mines build from artillery shells during World War 2, with one possible exception of Viipuri/Wiburg/Viborg in March of 1940.

PICTURE: Structural drawing of antitank-mine m/36. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (54 KB).

Finnish antitank-mine m/36 was quite a good a weapon when introduced in 1936, but unfortunately its explosive charge was too small and its structure (especially the sheet metal body) too complicated for wartime mass-production with rather limited Finnish industrial capacity. As typical in 1930's this mine was kept very secret too long. Even the permanent staff of Finnish Army didn't receive training for their use until just few months before beginning of Winter War in 1939. Much of the reservists called to serve in engineer companies for Winter War had received no training for using these mines when they suddenly received first delivery of these mines. The first manual about this mine Hyökkäysvaunumiina m/36 was published already in 1938, but very few people got to read it already that year. To make things worse the fuse used in this mine proved complicated, but this wasn't the only reason why Finnish soldiers came to dislike this particular model of antitank-mine. Compared to other antitank-mines in Finnish use M/36 was heavy, difficult to carry, expensive to manufacture and there was no way of knowing if the fuse had been sensitized or not - which with lack of proper training caused number of accidents. During the war Soviet mine-detectors also proved quite capable finding easily both M/36 and M/39 antitank-mines. Only 5,000 antitank-mine m/36 were ever manufactured. They were all finished before Winter War, so when it begun their distribution policy made focus of Finnish antitank warfare for first days of Winter War quite obvious - 4,825 were issued to Finnish troops in Carelian Isthmus and only 175 to troops north of Lake Ladoga. Antitank mine m/39 replaced this mine in production already before Winter War. By 1943 Finnish Army had noted quite a few problems with those few hundred M/36 antitank-mines that still remained in its use. These problems included manufacturing defects in mines and their fuses and in some of the mines also the explosives used in some of them started to show signs of reaching their "best-by-date". Due to these problems year 1943 remaining M/36 antitank-mines were called back and repair-shops of Army Corps and Divisions checked and repaired them.

 

PANSSARIMIINA m/39 (antitank-mine m/39):

PICTURE: Finnish antitank-mine m/39. (Photo taken in Panssarimuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (48 KB).

Construction:

Sheet metal body, looks a lot like kettle with a lid on.

Fuse type:

Pressure activated fuse.

Basic principle:

Typical pressure-activated antitank-mine.

Location:

Buried to ground, the cap on top in surface level.

Height of mine:

12 cm

Diameter of mine:

22.7 cm

Weight:

7 kg

Explosive charge:

3.2 kg of TNT or amatol

Fuse activated by:

Pressure on top of the mine:

- In middle on the top:

280 kg pressure activates fuse.

- In sides on the top:

200 kg pressure activates fuse (mine not buried).

Country of origin:

Finland

Transport method: Wood crates each containing 4 mines. Crate size 17 cm x 29 cm x 108 cm. Fuses for the mines in lockers placed in corners of the crate. Weight of fully loaded crate 35 kg.

PICTURE: Structural drawing of antitank-mine m/39. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (59 KB).

Finnish Army introduced this antitank-mine in 1939. The first ones were not delivered until December 1939, when Winter War had already begun. Also m/39 had sheet metal body, but its structure was much less complicated. The mine actually looked quite lot like a kettle with lid. The fuse was typical pressure activated type, it was physically smaller but the basic structure was similar as in m/36. Also this mine had too small explosive charge for some of the Soviet tanks, so when necessary already during Winter War Finnish troops started installing additional 1 kg TNT explosive charges under these mines. Later during Continuation War two purpose-build additional explosive charges were introduced for this mine. First of these additional charges looked like a metal box with handle and contained 2.5-kg TNT charge. This box-shaped additional explosive charge had markings LISÄPANOS PS.MIINAAN m/39 (additional explosive charge for at-mine m/39) and TÄMÄ PUOLI YLÖSPÄIN (this side up) on top of it. The second purpose-build additional explosive charge for M/39 was shell of Soviet TM 35 or TM 38 antitank-mine filled with 2.4-kg of TNT, but without its lid or fuse. When the mine was used with the additional explosive charge it was installed under the actual mine. If more powerful explosive charge was required but additional explosive charges were not available two antitank-mines m/39 could be installed on top of each other.

Production of this antitank-mine was started during Winter War. It had been designed before this war and once the war begun some 85,000 were ordered. But while it was less complicated than M/36, it still proved too complicated for immediate effective mass-production. As this would not have been enough it proved less practical to use than anticipated. As the mass-production of this mine was problematic, Finnish military needed another easier to manufacture antitank mine - that mine proved to be m/S-39, which was also introduced to production during Winter War. Problems-wise antitank-mine M/39 proved to share much of the same problems as M/36. During the war Soviet mine-detectors also proved quite capable finding easily both of these antitank-mines and as mentioned explosive charges on both of them proved too small for strong tracks of Soviet medium and heavy tanks. These also included the difficulty of checking if the fuse has been sensitized as a cause of resulting accidents. However M/39 had also one unique problem caused by the manufacturing materials - by 1943 Finnish Army had noticed that their fuses had started to rust, which made them unreliable. Due to this year 1943 several thousand of them still remaining in use were to be called back to depot for check-up, repairs and new fuses.

 

PANSSARIMIINA m/S-39 (antitank-mine m/S-39)

PANSSARIMIINA m/S-40 (antitank-mine m/S-40)

PICTURE: Finnish antitank-mine m/S-39. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (42 KB).

PICTURE: Another Finnish antitank-mine m/S-39. When this is compared to the one above there are some obvious differences.(Photo taken in Jalkaväkimuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (50 KB).

Construction:

Wood box containing explosives.

Fuse type:

Pressure activated fuse.

Basic principle:

Typical pressure-activated antitank-mine.

Location:

Buried to ground, top of the mine in surface level.

Height of mine:

4.5 cm / 14.5 cm

Width/Length of mine:

22.8 cm or 30.8 cm (both sides equal length)

Weight:

6.5 kg / 7.0 kg / 7.5 kg

Explosive charge:

3.0 kg or 3.8 kg of TNT or chlorate-resin

Fuse activated by:

Pressure of 240 kg on top of the mine

Country of origin:

Finland

Finnish metal industry with its very limited production capability could not produce rather difficult to manufacture antitank-mine m/39 in numbers large enough, so a simpler design was needed. That simpler antitank-mine design was m/S-39 developed in Ministry of Defence in October of 1939. Major A. Saloranta lead the development work so the name was partly named after him, hence the letter S coming from first letter of his last name in name of the mine. As the basic structure of m/S-39 was rather simple wooden box containing explosive charge. It was easier and cheaper to manufacture, while normal furniture factories and carpenters not otherwise heavily occupied with wartime production could manufacture the boxes needed for them. The industrial production of the mine started in 8th of November 1939 in furniture factories of Lahti and Helylä, which manufactured almost 2,000 already during the first week of production. Antitank-mine m/S-40 was improved design introduced during Winter War. Unlike improvised box mines manufactured by Engineer units antitank-mines m/S-39 and m/S-40 had pressure-activated fuses quite similar to one used in earlier Finnish antitank-mines. The pin triggering the fuse breaks when certain amount of pressure is applied on top of the mine. When the pin breaks it will release the firing pin, which hits primer setting it off, which sets of fuse for fuse wire, which detonates accelerant explosive (which sets off TNT or chlorate-resin). However they safeties used (during transport and storage) in these two mine models were not similar. While m/S-39 had below its lid two iron bars, which were removed after the mine had been placed and covered, the m/S-40 had inside it a wooden safety ring, which was removed when the mine was made operational. When compared to earlier Finnish antitank-mines the production numbers for m/S-39 and m/S-40 were huge - over 133,000 of these mines were manufactured by end of Winter War. Two types of exposives were used. Due to shortage of TNT also chlorate-resin was used in m/S-39 and possibly also in m/S-40. Besides easier and faster to manufacture than earlier at-mines M/36 and M/39 these two landmines build in wooden boxes were also much cheaper. While manufacturing even M/39 cost 500 FIM (Finnish marks) the production costs per mine for m/S-39 or m/S-40 were only about 110 FIM. Additional (likely unintended) perk related to these mines was that thanks to their wooden structure they proved difficult to spot with mine detectors (first of which Finnish Army captured from the Soviets during Winter War). During Winter War chlorate-resin was used also in many other landmines such as pipe mines. Like the name suggests chlorate-resin was mix of chlorate and resin. The boxed used in these mines were equipped with explosives in plants located to Lohja, Kouvola and Enso. During Winter War these three plants spent average 12 tons of explosives per day while installing explosives to m/S-39 and m/S-40 mines. By end of Winter War the three plants had used over 450 tons of explosives in this work.

PICTURE: Structural drawing of antitank-mine m/S-40. While the structure had some improvements when compared to box mine, it was still very complicated when compared later antitank-mine m/44. . CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (49 KB).

During Winter War Finnish soldiers started to favour m/S-39 and m/S-40 antitank-mines. They found these two wooden mines easier and safer to use and notably easier to transport than earlier m/36 and m/39 antitank-mines. Explosive charge used also in m/S-39 and m/S-40 proved somewhat too small against Soviet medium and heavy tanks already during Winter War, but Finnish soldiers learned to solve this problem with improvisation. These improvised methods included adding 1 kg of TNT under the mine, but sometimes they also used several mines side by side or piled up. Manufacturing defects were sometimes spotted (apparently most common of them was that the hole for fuse had not been made properly, which made installing the fuse impossible) and sometimes explosives had become soaked and failed to detonate - but these problems were rare. When user experiences were gathered after Winter War, the feedback concerning these mines was very positive and noted repeatedly that this sort of simple and yet effective antitank-mines were exactly what was needed for wartime production. Only common suggested major improvements were adding of anti-removal system and improving water-proofing of the mine. However during Continuation War the situation changed. Explosive charges used in these proved much too ineffective against tank tracks of new Soviet medium and heavy tanks introduced that war. Also, while these wooden antitank-mines were otherwise excellent, their durability in long-term use proved as weak as had been suspected. By year 1943 all remaining m/S-39 and m/S-40 mines were removed from active use. Those of these mines that had been filled with TNT were returned to depots, while those filled with other explosives were scrapped by engineer units, which then recycled their explosives by using them in their normal duties requiring explosives.

Deliveries of m/S-39 and m/S-40 to Finnish Army during Winter War:

Month and year

delivered

December 1939

25753

January 1940

39660

February 1940

38201

March 1940 (*)

29546

Total

133160

 

PANSSARIMIINA m/41 (antitank-mine m/41)

(Tellermine 35 / T.Mi. 35)

PICTURE: Antitank-mine m/41. (Photo taken in Panssarimuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (34 KB).

Construction:

Disc-shaped sheet metal body containing explosive charge.

Fuse type:

Pressure activated fuse + possible anti-lift fuses

Basic principle:

Typical pressure-activated antitank-mine.

Location:

Buried to ground.

- With old fuse:

Cap in middle of the lid 1-cm above surface.

- With new fuse:

Cap in middle of the lid 1-cm below surface.

Height of mine:

10.5 cm (with old fuse)

Diameter of mine:

32.8 cm

Weight:

about 10 kg

Explosive charge:

5 kg of moulded amatol

Fuse activated by:

Pressure on top of the mine.

- Old fuse:

190 kg in middle on top of the mine

- Old fuse:

100 kg in sides on top of the mine (mine not buried)

- New fuse:

300 kg in middle on top of the mine

- New fuse:

240 kg in sides on top of the mine (mine not buried)

Country of origin:

Germany

Transport method: Crates each containing 4 mines. Size of the crate 41-cm x 44-cm x 63-cm. Crate with full load weight about 70 kg.

PICTURE: Structural drawing of antitank-mine m/41 with old fuse. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (55 KB).

This antitank-mine is German Tellermine 35, which German military introduced to their use in year 1935. Finland bought these mines in large numbers after Winter War and they saw large-scale use with Finnish military during Continuation War (1941 - 1944). To be exact two versions of this mine existed: The original Tellermine 35 had pressure plate made from aluminium, while later Tellermine 35 S had steel pressure plate. Likely most if not all of the Tellermine 35 mines delivered to Finland were actually Tellermine 35 S version. The mine was disc-shaped and had sheet metal body. Like most German antitank-mine designs it had anti-lift fuse wells for fuses, to these fuse wells could be installed additional fuses, which detonated the mine if it was carelessly lifted. As usual the fuse was activated by pressure on top of the mine. However these mines with variety of fuses. Finnish manuals list two versions: antitank-mine m/41 with old fuse and antitank-mine m/41 with new fuse. The version Finnish military liked to call at-mine m/41 with old fuse was the version equipped with rather complicated and large Tellerminezunder 35 (T.Mi.Z 35) fuse, with which this anti-tank mine was originally introduced. The other version, which Finnish military called at-mine m/41 with new fuse was this mine used with either T.mi.Z. 42 fuse or T.mi.Z. 43 fuse also used in later German antitank-mines Tellermine 42 and Tellermine 43. Special steel sleeve had to be installed for the mine for it to be used with these new fuses. From these two T.mi.Z. 42 was rather simple pressure-activated fuse, but T.mi.Z. 43 fuse had also been equipped with anti-removal system, which activated the fuse if anybody tried carelessly removed it from the mine. Finnish military manuals don't mention this characteristic with the mine, but it doesn't mean that also T.mi.Z. 43 could not have been used also by Finnish troops as this is not mentioned in Finnish manuals with the Tellermine 43 routinely using this fuse either. So, Finnish troops might have used only T.mi.Z. 42 fuse in their at-mine m/41 with new fuse or they might have used both of the fuses. The Germans manufactured these mines from December of 1935 to end of 1943, by that time the total production of these mines was about 4.2 million. Originally these mines had TNT-filling, but Finnish manuals list only these mines only with amatol filling. If both safety pins of the old T.Mi. 35 fuse were removed the fuse became so sensitive, that just man stepping on the mine could activate it. As usual this mine had handle made from metal wire attached to its side.

 

PANSSARIMIINA m/42 (antitank-mine m/42)

(Tellermine 42 / T.Mi. 42)

PICTURE: Antitank-mine m/42. (Photo taken in Panssarimuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (32 KB).

Construction:

Disc-shaped sheet metal body with pressure plate on top.

Fuse type:

Pressure activated fuse + possible anti-lift fuses

Basic principle:

Typical pressure-activated antitank-mine.

Location:

Buried to ground, top of pressure plate 1-cm below ground.

Height of mine:

8.5 cm

Diameter of mine:

32.4 cm

Diameter of pressure plate:

15 cm

Weight:

8.5 kg

Explosive charge:

5 kg of moulded amatol

Fuse activated by:

Pressure of about 240-kg on top of the mine

Country of origin:

Germany

Transport method: Wood frames each containing 2 mines and boxes each containing 1 mine. Fuses arrived in cardboard boxes each containing 6 fuses.

PICTURE: Transport box of antitank-mine m/42.(Photo taken in Jalkaväkimuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (44 KB).

This antitank-mine is German Tellermine 42. German military introduced it to their own use in 1942. Some 9.8 million were manufactured between August of 1942 and German collapse in 1945. The mine was disc-shaped and had sheet metal body. Like most German antitank-mine designs it had anti-lift fuse wells for fuses, to which one could install additional fuses to booby-trap the mine. These additional fuses with their wires detonated the mine if it was carelessly lifted. Like usual in German antitank mines the mine had handle made from metal wire in its side for carrying it. International sources claim that this mine had TNT-filling, but Finnish manuals list it with only amatol filling. It could be used with two optional fuses: T.mi.Z. 42 originally introduced with it and T.mi.Z. 43 more commonly used in Tellermine 43 antitank-mine. From these two T.mi.Z. 42 was typical pressure-activated fuse, but besides pressure activation T.mi.Z. 43 fuse had also anti-removal system, which activated the fuse if anybody tried carelessly removed it from the mine. During Continuation War Finland bought large number of these mines and they saw large-scale use with Finnish Army. Due to shape of the quite visible pressure plate located on top of the mine US soldiers nicknamed this mine "mushroom".

 

PANSSARIMIINA m/43 (antitank-mine m/43)

(Tellermine 43 / T.Mi. 43)

(US: "Mushroom")

PICTURE: Antitank-mine m/43. (Photo taken in Panssarimuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (36 KB).

Construction:

Disc-shaped sheet metal body with pressure plate on top.

Fuse type:

Pressure activated fuse + possible anti-lift fuses

Basic principle:

Typical pressure-activated antitank mine.

Location:

Buried to ground, top of pressure plate 1-cm below ground.

Height of mine:

10.2 cm

Height of pressure plate:

3 cm

Diameter of mine:

31.2 cm

Diameter of pressure plate:

19.1 cm

Weight:

8.3 kg

Explosive charge:

5 kg of moulded amatol

Fuse activated by:

Pressure of about 320-kg on top of the mine

Country of origin:

Germany

Transport method: Wooden crates each containing 4 mines. Size of crate 37 cm x 37 cm x 48 cm. Weight of fully loaded crate some 45-kg.

PICTURE: Structural drawing of antitank-mine m/43. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (49 KB).

This antitank-mine was German Tellermine 43 introduced to use of German military in 1943. Some 3.6 million were manufactured during its production between March of 1943 and German collapse in 1945. Like earlier Tellermine 43 it was disc-shaped and had sheet metal body with distinctive pressure plate on top the mine. Also, like earlier German antitank-mines with sheet metal body it had anti-lift fuse wells for fuses, to which one could install additional fuses to booby-trap the mine. These additional fuses with their wires detonated the mine if it was carelessly lifted. Also as usual this mine had handle made from metal wire on its side for carrying it. It could be used with two optional fuses: T.mi.Z. 42 originally introduced with it and T.mi.Z. 43 more commonly used in ealier Tellermine 42. From these two T.mi.Z. 42 was typical pressure-activated fuse, but besides pressure activation T.mi.Z. 43 fuse had also anti-removal system, which activated the fuse if anybody tried carelessly removed it from the mine. When compared against earlier Tellermine 42 the largest improvement of this mine was simpler structure, which made its manufacturing easier. Foreign sources mention this mine with both TNT- and amatol filling, but Finnish manuals list it only with amatol. For storing and transport wood filling was installed inside the pressure plate to make it safe.

 

PANSSARIMIINA m/44 (antitank-mine m/44)

PICTURE: Finnish antitank-mine m/44. (Photo taken in Panssarimuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (41 KB).

Construction:

Wood box inside wood frame containing explosives.

Fuse type:

Pressure activated fuse.

Basic principle:

Typical pressure-activated antitank-mine.

Location:

Buried to ground, top of the mine 1-cm below surface.

Height of mine:

11.5 cm

Width/Length of mine:

31 cm (both sides equal length)

Weight:

8.5 kg

Explosive charge:

5 kg of moulded TNT

Fuse activated by:

Pressure of about 350 kg on top of the mine. (*)

Country of origin:

Finland

(*) Pressure in any other part on top of the mine than in the middle likely will not activate the fuse.

Transport method: Crates each containing 4 mines. Fuses located to separate lockers inside the crate. Size of crate 37 cm x 40 cm x 61 cm. Weight in full crate some 45 kg.

PICTURE: Structural drawing of Finnish antitank-mine m/44. It makes interesing comparison to structural drawing of antitank-mine m/S-40. Compared to it M/44 was masterpiece of effective simplicity. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (49 KB).

Finnish Army introduced this antitank-mine to its use in 1944. It was Finnish design, which basically had wood box, which pressure would push deeper inside wood frame applying pressure to the fuse located in between the wood box and the frame. The fuse seems to have been similar to ones used in German-made panssarimiina m/42 and panssarimiina m/43. Side of the mine had handle made from metal wire for carrying it. For storage and transport the fuse was replaced with a wooden plug. The upper part of mine was attached to lower part with a hinge and latch, which allowed opening up the mine for installing or removing the fuse. Finnish military used these mines in 1944.

 

OTHER ANTITANK-MINES:

PANSSARIMIINA m/40 (antitank-mine m/40): Only one of Finnish sources claims that this mine even existed. None of the Finnish military manuals even mention it. So, either it didn't exist or it may have been prototype, which never saw mass-production. Supposedly it had disc-shaped circular sheet metal body, its diameter was 16 cm and height 14 cm. This supposed mine weight 4.2-kg, which included 3.2-kg explosive charge. The claimed fuse was typical pressure activated type with activation pressure of 150-kg. During Continuation War remaining mines of this type were used as additional explosive charges for antitank-mine M/36.

SOVIET TM 35 and TM 38 antitank-mines (Tankovaja Mina 35 / Tankovaja Mina 38): Finnish Army cleared huge number of these antitank-mines from Soviet minefields during Continuation War. Reportedly large number of the mines captured in this way were reused in Finnish minefields. In addition to this some of their shells were used to make additional explosive charges for antitank-mine M/39.

PICTURE: Captured Soviet antitank mine. (Photo taken in Maneesi of Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (53 KB).

Swedish M/39 antitank-mine: Finnish Army bought 100 of these antitank-mines from Sweden 7th of January 1940. Some 50,000 of these mines were manufactured in Sweden and were first issued to Swedish Army in February of 1940, so the ones delivered to Finland could have been from first production. It seems plausible that Sweden sold the particular batch of antitank-mines to Finland (which was fighting Winter War at the time) to get this antitank-mine design field-tested in combat. This circular shape mine had metal body, it weight 7.4-kg and contained 3.1-kg of explosives (TNT). It was 22.5-cm in diameter and about 12-cm high. Activating pressure of the mine was 300-kg if applied on centre of the pressure plate, but if pressure was applied to edge of the pressure plate only 80 - 100-kg was needed for setting off the fuse. Structurally this design was complicated with net used for making sure that dirt would not block downward movement of the pressure plate, seperate safety pin used as safety measure and anti-lift fuse well allowing it be booby-trapped easily. Swedish military soon came to conclusion that the explosive charge was too small for reliably breaking tank tracks of all tanks, it was too difficult to lay and the design was also dangerous to personnel laying it. So its career with Swedish military was short. For Finnish Army 100 mines were a mere drop in the ocean, this mine was not even included in post Winter War Finnish landmines manuals. During Continuation War remaining mines of this type were used as additional explosive charges for antitank-mine M/36.

 


SOURCES (FOR ALL THREE PARTS):

Pioneeriaselajin historia 1918-1968 by Eero-Eetu Saarinen

Pioneerit Suomen sodissa 1939-1944, parts 1-2

Marskin Panssarintuhoojat by Erkki Käkelä.

Aselevon jälkeen by Niilo Lappalainen

Pioneeri by E. Pyyry (1952)

Talvisodan puolustusministeri kertoo by Juha Niukkanen.

Small Arms, Artillery and Special Weapons of the Third Reich by Terry Gander and Peter Chamberlain.

The History of Landmines by Mike Croll

Article: Miinat ja ansat (=Mines and Traps) at Kansa Taisteli magazine by Eero-Eetu Saarinen.

Article: Maamiinat osa 1 by J-P Laine in Suomen Sotilas magazine vol. 4/2004.

Article: Maamiinat osa 2 by J-P Laine in Suomen Sotilas magazine vol. 6/2004.

Article: Lapin miinasota 1944 by Kari Kuusela in Suomen Sotilas magazine vol. 6/2004.

Article: Rajan taa miinoja ja piikkilankoja purkamaan by Ilkka Ahtiainen in Helsingin Sanomat newspaper 27th of October 2004.

Article: Post-War Mine Clearing Mission in Soviet Karelia 1944 - 1947 by Antti Laine in Journal of Military History 15.

Military manual: Hävitysöt by E. Hanell (1923)

Military manual: Pioneerin taskukirja by Eero-Eetu Saarinen (1931)

Military manual: Räjähdysaineoppi by Jalo Vuorinen (1928)

Military manual: Jäämiinaopas (1943)

Military manual: Putkiansaopas (ansa m/43) (1943)

Military manual: Panssarimiinaopas (Ps.miinat m/36, m/39, m/41, m/43 ja m/44) (1944)

Military manual: Rasia-ansaopas, rasia-ansa m/42 (1942)

Military manual: Pommiansaopas, Ansa m/41-S (1942)

Military manual: Hv.miinat, ansat, isku- ja erikoissyttimet (1941)

Military manual: Pommiansa m/41 (1941)

Military manual: Sotilaan käsikirja (1968).

Military manual: Aseopas IV, Tykkejä ja miinoja by Päämaja (1940).

Finnish National Archives (Sönäinen), archive reference T19187

Finnish National Archives (Sönäinen), archive reference T19187/109

Finnish National Archives (Sönäinen), archive reference T19187/192

Finnish National Archives (Sönäinen), archive reference T19187, acquisition documents of Pioneeriosasto II 1941 - 1944.

Finnish National Archives (Sönäinen), archive reference T18462

Finnish National Archives (Sörnäinen), archive folder T23392.

Special thanks to Panssarimuseo (Finnish Armour Museum), Parola.

Special thanks to Sotamuseo (Finnish Military Museum), Helsinki.

Special thanks to Jalkaväkimuseo (Finnish Infantry Museum), Kouvola.

Special thanks to Maneesi of Sotamuseo (Maneesi of Finnish Military Museum), Helsinki.


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