M18A1 Claymore Antipersonnel Mine

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The M18A1 Claymore is a directional anti-personnel mine used by the U.S. military. It was named after the large Scottish sword by its inventor, Norman A. MacLeod. Unlike a conventional land mine, the Claymore is command-detonated and directional, meaning it is fired by remote-control, shooting a pattern of metal balls into the kill zone like a shotgun.

The Claymore fires steel balls, out to about 100 meters within a 60° arc in front of the device. It is used primarily in ambushes and as an anti-infiltration device against enemy infantry. It is also of some use against unarmored vehicles.

Many countries use mines like the Claymore, some of which seem to be copies of the American design. Examples include former Soviet Union models MON-50, MON-90, MON-100, MON-200, MRUD (Serbia), MAPED F1 (France), and Mini MS-803 (South Africa).

Contents

Description

The M18A1 Claymore mine consists of a horizontally convex green plastic case (inert training versions are blue). The shape was developed through experimentation to deliver the optimum distribution of fragments at 50 m (55 yd) range. The case has the words "Front Toward Enemy" embossed on the front surface of the mine. A simple open sight on the top surface allows for aiming the mine. Two pairs of scissor legs attached to the bottom support the mine and allow it to be aimed vertically. On both sides of the sight are fuse wells set at 45 degrees.

Internally the mine contains a layer of C-4 explosive behind a matrix of about seven hundred 18-inch-diameter (3.2 mm) steel balls (about as big as #4 birdshot) set into an epoxy resin.

When the M18A1 is detonated, the explosion drives the spheres out of the mine at a velocity of 1,200 m/s (3,937 ft/s),[1] at the same time breaking the matrix into individual fragments. The steel balls are projected in a 60° fan-shaped pattern that is 6.5 feet high and 50 m (55 yd) wide at a range of 50 m (55 yd). The force of the explosion deforms the relatively soft steel fragments into a shape similar to a .22 rimfire projectile.[1] These fragments are moderately effective up to a range of 100 m (110 yd), with a hit probability of around 10% on a prone man-sized 1.3-square-foot (0.12 m2) target. The fragments can travel up to 250 m (270 yd). The optimum effective range is 50 m (55 yd), at which the optimal balance is achieved between lethality and area coverage, with a hit probability of 30% on a man-sized target.

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