Originally Posted by MikeMeech
As far as the British are concerned I have not seen any evidence that the majority of their tank casualties in 1918 were caused by German anti-tank mines. Indeed the big concern of the Tank Corps during 1918 was German field guns being used in the anti-tank role. The documents of the period appear to indicate this, for example the 'Co-operation between Tanks & Aeroplanes' written by Major Leigh-Mallory in September 1918 states: "Our own experience and captured documents show that the enemy relies almost entirely on his artillery for anti-tank defence,..."
Fuller in 'Tanks in the Great War 1914-1918' mentions German anti-tank mines but does not appear to consider them as a 'great' threat. The book 'Genesis, Employment, Aftermath' edited by Searle, has a chapter 'Scouting for Brigades: British Tank Corps Reconnaissance and Intelligence 1916-18' by Jim Beach has some information and references of documents relating to German anti-tank mines (p.131), however, again from this chapter the artillery used in the anti-tank role has more importance.
I think, from memory, the largest loss of British tanks to anti-tank mines was due to them entering an 'old' British mine field rather than German.
The US Army Corps of engineers did a report on German AT mines in 1919 it reported that the majority of British losses were through AT mines
From notes taken from the report
The Germans produced approximately 3,852,000 land mines, with an average monthly production rate of 108,000 in 1917 and 128,000 in 1918. Almost all of these were AT mines with some AP mines used t
to discourage mine clearing.
US reports on the effectiveness of German AT mines based on the Mk V* and the Renault FT a few of the results
- One 3-inch high-explosive shell buried 6 inches under track V* No effect FT Permanently disabled
- One 6-inch high-explosive shell buried 6 inches under track V* Permanently disabled, FT not tested
- One 3-inch high-explosive shell on ground under belly V* not tested FT Permanently disabled
- One 6-inch high-explosive shell on ground under belly V* Permanently disabled FT Completely destroyed
- 2 pounds triton buried 6 inches under track V* No test FT Heavy damage
- 15 pounds of triton buried 6 inches under track V* Permanently disabled FT No test
During the period 8 August 1918 to 11 November 1918, the British tunnelling companies supporting the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th armies removed 6,714 German mines (and 4,272 British antitank mines) In addition Canadian and Australian engineers lifted considerable numbers of mines.
Captain Debeque, an American engineer inspected German defensive preparations and found,
“While it was well known that the use of tanks by the Allies caused the Germans considerable concern it was not fully realized to what extent they had taken measures to cope with the problem until after the territory had been evacuated and the work of clearing the mine fields was begun. Besides the numerous tank defences and mines encountered a demonstration field was found near Briey [France] which had evidently been used as a school and field for testing various types of tank mines. 5. It appears that the scheme followed by the Germans was to prepare mine fields and auxiliary tank defences along logical avenues of approach for tanks, such as broad fields, valleys, mesas and in the fields adjoining roads. 6. The utilization of tank mines and barriers is typical of a defensive attitude and when these measures were taken by the Germans it is evident that they had little intention of going ahead but were preparing to hold the ground at all cost. 7. While in the majority of the mine fields the mines were connected up and ready for use there were some instances where the mines were placed but had not been equipped with detonating devices. In these cases it is possible that while preparations had been made for a strong defensive organization an opportunity had been left to assume an offensive attitude. 8. In other instances it is noted that the mine fields extending along the front alternate with open fields of similar length having no tank mines or barriers. Whether this arrangement was intended to allow the launching of attacks through the open spaces or whether the plan was to begin the construction of the tank defences at numerous points and eventually fill the intervening spaces is difficult to determine. [another possibility is that these were openings to kill sacks] 9. The Chambley 5-6 map attached hereto shows the organization of the tank mine field extending from Charey…across the open country to Lachausee Lake and it is fairly typical of the methods employed by the Germans in the area confronting the 2nd [US] Army. This field is approximately 4 kilometers in length. The mines consisted principally of Types “B”, “C” and “D” [see table above]. They were placed in one continuous line at intervals from 6 ft. to 10 ft. and at a distance varying from 100 meters to 400 meters in front of the first belt of German wire. The mines were equipped with detonating devices and were ready for firing. 10. An auxiliary tank defense consisting of a barrier of rails was constructed at a distance from 400-500 meters behind the minefield. 11. About one kilometer to the rear of the first mine field work had been started on a similar system of tank mines of the same types with a line of barriers 300 meters to the rear as an auxiliary defense. 12. It appears from this that the German plan was to organize the tank defenses to considerable extent in depth in a manner similar to that employed in siting different trench systems. 13. It is easy to realize the value of such an organization for defensive purposes but it appears that the principal disadvantage of this system is that it deprives the occupants of the ground of the opportunity of resuming the offensive on a scale of any considerable extent as it would be extremely difficult to go forward over tank mines and through barriers with even the light field guns.
14. From the great variety of mines discovered it is evident that the manufacture of tank mines had not become standard but was still in a state of development. It appears that the devising of the machines was, to a considerable extent, left to the ingenuity of the troops occupying the sector. The fact that at least one testing field (Briey) had been established would lead one to believe that it was intended to test the different types and decide upon certain ones as standards for manufacture. 15. While the different types of mines so far discovered are varied in details of construction they are, as a general rule, similar in methods of detonation. 16. The mines generally consist of a wood or metal box containing either a H.E. shell or a quantity of perdite. The mines are arranged to explode under the weight of a tank or even under the weight of a field gun. 17. The detonating device usually consisted of a spring fuse lighter…In some instances mines were equipped with friction fuse lighters. 18. In addition to the mines actuated by the spring and friction fuse lighters a few types were found consisting of H.E. shells placed vertically in boxes and equipped with the regulation instantaneous fuses which would explode under the weight of a tank. A type of mobile charge to be ignited and thrown in front of an approaching tank was also discovered at one place. 20. Of the entire number of mines removed there were discovered many ingenious types. Some of them were extremely dangerous to dismantle due to the fact that they would be exploded [by an improvised antihandling device] when the box was either closed or opened.
The report describes over 20 different types of German AT mines. The principle types were as follows
Type A 40 X 15 X 10 wooden box Pressure (Shu mine type) 6” HE Shell
Type B 40 X 15 X 15 wooden box Pressure (Shu mine type) 6” HE Shell
Type C 18 X 14 X 6 sheet metal box Pressure (“yoke type”) 3 kg of Perdite German Flachmine 17
Type D 27 X 16 X 12 wooden box Pressure (Shu mine type) Perdite
Type E 144 X 10 X 10 wooden box Pressure (Shu mine type) 6” HE Shell
Type F 66 X 16 X 12 wooden box Pressure (Shu mine type) two 6” HE Shells A double Type A
Type G 60 X 18 X 15 wooden box Pressure (Shu mine type) 9.7” HE Shell
Type H 36 X 24 X 30 Pressure 12 kg of Perdite or 6” HE Shell Anti-disarming feature
Type I 19 X 13.5 X 16 wooden box Pressure (Shu mine type) 10” HE Shell
Type J HE Shell fitted with plunger igniter Pressure 6” or 8” HE Shell Cover w/ 4” wide board
Type K Wooden box Pressure (Shu mine type) two or three 6” HE Shells
Type L 19 X 13 X 7 wooden box Pressure (Shu mine type) 20 kg HE
Type M1 45 X 20 X 20 wooden box Pressure (Shu mine type) 25cm HE Shell
Type M2 40 X 16 X 16 wooden box Pressure (Shu mine type) 15cm HE Shell
Type N 102 X 20 fuze coupled to the main charge Pressure 10 kg HE “pit mine,” two variants found
Type O antipersonnel mine
Type P A pit-type trap, 3ft deep, 8-12ft dia. pressure HE Shell
Type Q 68 X 15 X 10 wooden box Pressure (Shu mine type) 15-21cm HE Shell
Type R 120 X 7.5 X 9.5 wooden box Pressure (Shu mine type) 15-21cm HE Shell
German AT minefields were often booby trapped
I could go on but it is evident that by 1939 the British army probably had more experience of dealing with AT mines in action than any other army