Water Mines

from Peter Bayliss with Ralph Grambo
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The VC have used water mines against the river fleet with a large measure of success. The mines have been locally fabricated, but they are very effective. Water mines are exploded almost exclusively by command detonation, either electrically or by pull wire. This method requires electrical or pull wires running to the shore where a concealed man explodes the mine when a target passes.

Water mines have been used in canals and rivers. The techniques are similar in both applications. The VC tie mines and explosives to tree trunks or put them into boats and place these items in the middle of the waterway. When a target passes by, the mine is exploded. The boat trick is particularly effective since it will lure someone in our friendly forces craft to investigate. When the tree trunks are employed, some form of camouflage, such as duck weed, is needed. The command detonation technique makes it necessary to check suspicious looking objects from a distance before approaching and to spot the wires leading to the shore.

The VC have been known to plant command detonated Rifles in the bottom of shallow waterways, such a. canals that are less than a meter in depth, even at high water. Friendly forces should be on the lookout for wires running to the shore which enable the VC to explode a mine when a vessel passes.

In deep channels, mines are set up at varying depths to best handle different vessels. Some of the mines may be controlled from the shore, while others are set at given depths. The mines can also be set up in such a manner that VC on the river banks can position them in the paths of targets.

Most water mines appear to have one thing in common; the detonation is usually initiated electrically. Conventional mine sweeping operations will detect these mines, but there is the danger that during the course of the operation a mine will be detonated by a VC on the river bank. Using information from local people is the best way to detect and to make provisions to eliminate a mine threat. Water mine locations are similar to those for land mines. The VC seek to place water mines where vessels must slow down, bunch up, or stop.

The mines may be found at bends, narrow straits, and in mid-channel. Since some water mines can be positioned by the operator on the shore, they may be located anywhere in a channel. Since water mines are often used with ambushes, likely ambush sites are also likely mine sites.


This locally manufactured water mine is of a type constructed of she metal, rolled into a short conical shape, and fastened with rivets.

FUNCTIONING. The mine is placed in the channel of the river or stream. and adjusted in height according to the traveling depth of ships in that particular body of water. The mine is fuzed electrically and detonated by means of a battery pack.


The water mine is composed of two parts, the explosives chamber and the flotation chamber, separated by a sheet metal partition. The water mine is employed against shipping in rivers and canals. The flotation chamber built into the mine serves to keep the mine off the bottom and suspended in midstream. The depth of the mine is controlled by a series of ropes from the shore. The mine is constructed of medium weight sheet metal with riveted seams. All seams are covered with a waterproofing compound.

Functioning. The mine is fired electrically from the shore using a series of batteries or a hand generator. With the approach of a ship the mine is adjusted remotely to the proper depth to ive the optimum effect from the blast.

Limpet Mines are a type of explosive device that is attached to the side of a vessel by suction devices usually at or slightly below water level.