Version 1 / 2min read / Updated Tue 24 Mar 2020 / 230 views
Large-scale minefields are not frequently encountered but when they are, they can be devastating if not properly approached.
The first sign that a minefield has been encountered is typically a vehicle having its track blown off or possibly being outright destroyed, or a sudden explosion blasting down nearby infantry.
- When this happens, the assessment must be made very rapidly that the threat is from mines and not ATGMs, concealed enemy armor, or enemy grenade launchers.
- Due to minefields frequently being covered by anti-tank weapons, it may not be a simple matter to identify the threat as mines.
- Once the mine assessment has been made and the element leader calls out that a minefield has been entered, the most likely way to deal with it is for all vehicles or personnel to immediately attempt to back out of the field the way they came.
- Assuming that the identical paths can be followed backwards, this gets everyone out of any kill zone that might exist that is focused on the mined area.
If a vehicle has been disabled by a mine
The crew will abandon it and head out of the minefield on foot. If an infantryman has been wounded, he applies first-aid to himself and waits for an engineer to be brought up to sweep a safe path to him. If the minefield must be breached, engineers will need to sweep a lane to locate and disable all the mines and allow friendly passage.
The engineers should focus on clearing a lane through the minefield that is about one and a half to two times as wide as the vehicles that will be passing through it, or several meters across for the purposes of infantry movement. Trying to clear the entire field takes too many people and too much time to be practical in most situations. While clearing, follow-on engineers will - if available - place markers on the edges of the cleared lane to help give a visual reference for safe passage. During the lane clearing operation, all available vehicles and infantry will provide overwatch on the engineers. They will suppress or destroy any threats that emerge. Smoke should be employed to mask the clearing operation when feasible, and the engineers may need to crawl to clear their lane if enemy fire is heavy enough.
Note that if an engineer becomes a casualty due to enemy fire or explosives, a supporting infantryman will move in to pull him out, get him to cover or concealment, and administer first aid or call for a medic. The engineers will ignore their own wounded and dead and leave their evacuation and treatment to the supporting infantry.
Once a lane has been cleared by engineers, a single engineer will act as a “ground guide” that the vehicles will follow through the lane. This acts as a final set of eyes on the ground, scanning for any left over mines, as well as giving the armored vehicles (which may have limited visibility) a clear reference to follow through the safe lane.
UNITAF Standard Operating procedures (SOP) are adapted primarly from US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC). Our written and audio procedures are a combination of the following primary source materials, as well as our own learnings, modifications and adaptations:
- US Army Techniques Publication, Infantry Platoon and Squad (ATP 3-21.8)
- Soldier’s Manual of Common Tasks Warrior Leader Skills Level 2, 3, and 4 (STP 21-24-SMCT)
- The Warrior Ethos and Soldier Combat Skills (FM 3-21.75 / FM 21-75)
- Leadership Development (FM 6-22)
- Dyslexi's Tactics, Techniques, & Procedures for Arma 3 (TTP3)