You mean after you hear that soft “click” that mine manufacturers built in out of courtesy so that a soldier knows he’ll die soon and can say his last prayer, or, even better, be saved by his mates?
Sounds too good to be true? That’s because it is.
Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians commonly refer to such landmines as HSE mines – Hollywood Special Effect mines.
If you were to construct an anti-personnel (AP) mine, would you build it in a way that allows a soldier who stepped on it to get away unharmed? Probably not. At least that’s how weapon developers approach that question. And why wouldn’t they? Their job is to create a device that stops the enemy from penetrating an area (or at least to make it very time-consuming). The more casualties the deployment of the device produces, the more it will slow down or stop the enemy. Obviously, this is best achieved with a mine that instantly injures or kills a soldier rather than with one that allows him to survive unharmed.
Just to give you an idea, AP mines are usually activated by pressure, a trip wire, or remote detonation, depending on the type of mine. The most common type, blast mines, are shallowly buried and triggered by at least 5 to 16 kilograms of pressure (depending on the sensor) applied to its pressure plate. Once a soldier (or child, for that matter) steps on it, the AP mine will detonate. The blast is strong enough to severely injure or even kill a person, turning pieces of the victim’s bones into secondary fragmentation.
Again, there is no military value in creating AP mines that give victims a chance to get away unharmed. HSE mines are an invention by the movie industry to add a dramatic element to war movies. Once a soldier steps on one, the scene builds up anticipation and grows increasingly tense. It always makes for a good story, either to show the strong bonds of friendship and brotherhood between the good soldiers (like in The Monuments Men, The Boys in Company C, etc.), or of course the ruthlessness and inhumanity of the bad guys (like in Behind Enemy Lines). There is even a movie that is entirely dedicated to this topic: Landmine Goes Click. If Hollywood would show the effects of stepping on a landmine the way it actually is – a sudden, unanticipated blast – it would leave unexploited the potential for a pretty dramatic (yet fictional) event. But regardless of how often they are depicted in movies, HSE mines are not an actual thing!
- The German S-Mine (“Bouncing Betty”) had a time delay of approx. 4 seconds before it was fired 0.9 to 1.5 meters (3 to 5 ft) upward, where the main charge – surrounded by roughly 360 steel balls, short steel rods, or scrap metal pieces – detonated./>
- Some antitank mines require the pressure (of more than 115kg) to be applied not once but twice. Such devices are called double impulse (DI) mines and have several purposes (thanks to Bob Kinch for the comment!):
1. To evade destruction by mine roller-equipped tanks. The mine is armed but remains dormant after the first impulse from the pressure of the mine roller. It sets off by the second impulse, which is given from the pressure of the tank that pushes the mine roller.
2. When enemy contact is not expected, tanks usually move in columns, with the second tank often being the leader. DI mines can take out the second tank, cutting the first tank in the column off from the rest.
3. Placed at the edges of mine fields, DI mines can lure tanks deep into a mine field before the first mine explodes. By that time the DI mines that have been rolled over only require one impulse to be set off, making the recovery of tanks difficult and time consuming, particularly if AP mines are mixed with DI mines./>
Sorry to say this, but Hollywood has tricked you. Once you step on a mine, it’s already too late./>