– American mines cause big problems for Russian tanks
Modern booby traps played an important role in the resistance against the Russian winter offensive.
The objective of the Russian winter offensive is to bring the entire Donbas region under Russian control. The military operation was a massive failure. Land gains can be registered only in Pachmut. In addition to the more obvious objectives of the Russian units, which allowed the Ukrainians to prepare accordingly, modern mining systems also played an important role. Ukrainian troops may again fall into various modern types of mines, as weapons are supplied from Western states, above all the United States. Explosives also played an important role in the tank battle near Wuhledar.
Actually, mines should not be impenetrable to tanks. Mines rarely destroy tanks. Instead, the goal is to immobilize the Panzerkampfwagen by damaging the tracks or wheels. However, the Russian units’ anti-mine systems reached their limits as Ukrainian troops laid dense mines with multiple types of mines near Wuhleder and other strategically important locations.
Russian anti-mine systems designed for pressurized mines
Russian troops mainly used mine rollers of the KMT-7 and KMT-5 types. As reported by the business magazine “Forbes”. These operate using two heavy duty steel wheels, which are complemented by a spade-like plow structure behind the wheel sets. Mining rollers are attached to the front of the tank. If it rolls over a mined field, the weight of the roll must set off the mesh explosions before the tank itself rolls over it. Plows have the function of excavating all mines that heavy steel wheels cannot blast. An additional mechanism is to detect and detonate magnetic mines. However, in the Ukraine war, it failed on several occasions. So the Russians had already left a lot of mine rollers last summer. As the Economist writes.
According to the Economist report, Ukrainian troops primarily use Soviet-era TM-62 anti-tank mines. These have a pressure detonator that is buried or scattered in fields and is triggered when vehicles roll over them. However, modern versions of TM-62 booby traps can be triggered by magnetic ignition systems. In this case, the proximity of a metal military vehicle is sufficient.
Russian tank advances at Wulader were successfully halted as the Ukrainians laid several dense, mixed minefields and had American-style magnetic cluster mines at their disposal. Advances in large armor systems, Constructive defects Russian tanks and skillful ambushes of Ukrainian troops also played a decisive role. As we demonstrated in our analysis of the battle of Whuledar.
Russia has some modern anti-mine systems that detect and detonate magnetic mines. Mining vehicles with rocket-powered clearance systems and magnetic devices are less common. The British Ministry of Defense said Ukrainian troops in Whuledar faced serious problems after they fired light US-made RAAMS magnetic anti-personnel mines along routes previously cleared of mines by Russian units.
Planned Ukrainian Spring Offensive
Over the past few weeks, Ukrainian troops have received concessions on the delivery of new Western demining systems. These are to be used in the coming spring offensive. However, Russian forces have also protected their strategically important positions with mines. Capabilities of Ukrainian mine countermeasures will be put to the test.
Simon Angelo Meyer Intern at Tamedia News Desk since 2023. He previously worked as a picture editor at Keystone-SDA.More info