M18A1 Claymore Mine

The M18A1 Claymore mine is used as an electrically-controlled, one-shot weapon. It is used in support of other weapons employed in a unit's final protective fires.

It is a directional, fragmentation antipersonnel mine, designed primarily for use against massed infantry attacks. It has:

  • A fixed plastic sight
  • Folding, adjustable legs
  • Two detonator wells
  • An olive-drab plastic case

The mine weighs a little over 3 pounds, consisting of 1 1/2 pounds of Composition C4 explosive, plus steel sphere projectiles.

When detonated, the M18A1 mine projects steel fragments over a 60-degree, fan-shaped pattern approximately 6 feet high and 50 meters wide, at a range of 50 meters.

This pattern of distribution is very effective up to 50 meters, moderately effective to 100 meters, and dangerous out to 250 meters.

One mine and its' accessories are carried in the M7 bandoleer. Attached to the flap of the bandoleer are complete written instructions for installing, arming, testing, and firing the mine. It is strongly recommended that if at all possible, you read the directions before using the mine.

To Arm the Mine:

  • Aim the mine using the sighting slit.
  • Firmly press the support legs into the ground, rechecking the aim.
  • Lay wire from firing position to the mine.
  • Insert blasting cap into either detonator well and secure with the shipping plug.

To Fire the Mine:

  • Take cover at the firing position.
  • Insert plug of wire directly into M57 Firing Device, with the "Safety" in the "On" position.
  • Rotate the "Safety" to the "Off" position.
  • Depress the handle (squeeze the device) sharply. This will send an electrical current to the blasting cap, causing it to detonate. The detonation of the cap, in turn, will cause the main charge of C-4 to detonate, sending the steel fragments into the opposing personnel.

To Disarm the Mine:

  • From the cover of the firing position, move the "Safety" to the "On" position.
  • Disconnect the M57 firing device from the blasting cap wire. 
  • Approach the mine from the rear. 
  • Carefully remove the Shipping Plug - Priming Adaptor and the blasting cap from the detonator well.
  • Return all material to their original positions in the M7 Bandoleer.

Helpful Tips on Claymore Mines:

  • The C-4 explosive is relatively stable, usually requiring a sharp explosion from inside the detonator well to set off the main charge.
  • Since it can be fired only once, timing is everything. It should not be used against single targets, but saved for its' intended targets, massed personnel. When lead elements of an enemy formation approach within about 20 or 30 meters of the mine, it should be detonated.
  • Although the mine is designed to spray an arc of 60 degrees in front of it, you can expect to get stray fragments and secondary missiles anywhere in front of the mine out to about 250 meters. You can also expect secondary fragments to rebound up to 100 meters behind the mine. While you can't rely on these stray or secondary fragments to effectively stop an enemy, they may be hazardous to your own personnel in the area.

More Information on Mines

More Information on Operational Safety

From Operational Medicine 2001: Health Care in Military Settings
CAPT Michael John Hughey, MC, USNR
  January 1, 2001

Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Department of the Navy, 2300 E Street NW, Washington, D.C, 20372-5300
United States Special Operations Command, 7701 Tampa Point Blvd., MacDill AFB, Florida, 33621-5323

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