This is a war story that is literally as old as war stories.
When Abimelech was told Shechem Preparing for the harvest, he divided his men into three companies and went into the fields to wait. When the people came outside the walls of his city, his men turned against the people of the city Shechem and killed them. Abimelech and the men who were with him advanced and blocked the entrance to the city, while the other two parties pursued and killed those who were in the fields. At the end of the battle, Abimelech departed Shechem, killed the remainder, burned the city, tore down its walls, and strewed the ruins with salt. — Judges 9, 42-45
Stories in which one side in a war tries not only to capture a town or territory, but to make the territory completely habitable, go back as far as the first clay tablets recorded. The Assyrian king Adadnirari I destroyed the city of Taidu and covered it”kudimmu” Which appears to be some kind of poison. The great conquering king Tiglath-Pileser I boasted of covering the fields of Hunusa with something sipu– stone I don’t know what they are, but it looks bad.
Of all these stories the oldest story may be recorded The proto-Hittite ruler Anita, who sometime around 1700 BCE, destroyed the city of Hattusa and spread hard, hardy weed seeds across her fields (Hittite biowarfare. Who knew?). Meanwhile, the most famous event is definitely when At the end of Rome’s last war with Carthage in the mid-2nd century BCE, Scipio Aemilianus not only burned the city, but plowed the surrounding fields with salt to destroy their fertility.
Nowadays, the military doesn’t settle for just ruining an area for future habitation. They want to make it impossible for the enemy to camp there or even pass through. This is why much of Ukraine is now plagued by something that seems as old as salting the earth – mines.
When people think of mines, their minds usually turn to either large metal spheres, covered in casings, floating just below the surface of the ocean, or high explosives planted in the ground. to plate-shaped containers, from which they can be sniffed. The world’s favorite bomb detector.
When it comes to farms, mines are definitely affecting Ukrainian farmers. Earlier this week, the Euromaidan press reported on Russia’s “war on farms” in which farmers suffered damaged or destroyed houses and barns, fields riddled with blast craters, bomb fragments, and most commonly unfired artillery. Dealing with Shell But many of them are also spread over fields with mines. Despite Patron and his human handlers, and thousands of other Ukrainians now engaged full-time in demining, many farmers have already been injured, and some killed, when their farming equipment was run over by Russian invaders. Abandoned mines were encountered.
Mines are, and have been, for centuries, one of the most effective, and most insidious, weapons of war. So much of that is a guess 80 million Landmines from past wars are still buried on battlefields around the world. Many of them have been there for decades, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still waiting to take the life of a farmer, or a curious child.
When it comes to why things often seem to move slowly in Ukraine, and why much of the original frontline between Ukraine and the territories occupied by Russia in 2014 still remains intact, the answer is not so much that either side are locked An artillery battle that neither can break. It is that the ground between them is so tightly packed with mines – mines planted by both sides, often without anyone noticing the location of these mines – that anyone and anything can cross the land safely. can’t When someone describes a location in Ukraine as “fortified,” they usually don’t mean that it has high stone walls, or reinforced concrete bunkers. They mean if it is completely surrounded by a mass of explosives that are more dangerous than all the bullets and shells flying in the air.
Both Ukraine and Russia have made extensive use of landmines in Donbas, and around Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, Zaporizhzhia and Kyiv. Many of these devices are similar to the Russian TM-62M land mine, which packs high explosives into a plastic case. These are deliberately “low metal” mines, meaning that they are very difficult to detect using the usual sensors deployed to locate old mines. They can be scattered on the surface, buried in soil, placed in debris, or strung as booby traps. Millions of these mines are currently deployed in Ukraine, and removing them from areas no longer considered an immediate threat is a full-time occupation for a very small army of Ukrainians.
But these are not the only things that make a walk in Ukrainian territory, or a street, far more deadly than one might expect. New forms of mines, some of which were discovered in the past year, have been deployed.
Some of these are forms of directional mines, such as the sixty-year-old claymore. But whereas the original directional mines were anti-personnel devices launched by someone walking a tripwire, some of the newer mines in this category are so-called “off route mines” that fire anti-tank weapons guided by fiber optics. are capable or infrared sensors. A good example of these are the German DM-22 mines.
What appears to be someone attacking from the woods with a man-carried anti-tank weapon could easily be a piece of equipment in this class.
Here is a video on the DM-22 that shows how it works and how effective it can be.
Therefore, Ukrainian roads and fields are full of places where any pressure can create an explosion strong enough to rupture a tank’s belly plate, and Ukrainian forests are crossed by all-but-invisible lines. has been done so that workers can release anti-spraying pills. or an armor-piercing missile. These are exceptionally good reasons to slow down any potential advances.
But wait! There is more! Antipersonnel weapons such as the Russian POM-2 mine are still being deployed by the thousands. Russia is also using these mines to build traps, including carefully placing them under the bodies of fallen Ukrainian soldiers or civilians, so that when forces come out to retrieve those bodies, Let the mine explode. This is a war crime, by the way. One is that Russia has already been guilty of this war hundreds of times (at least).
Everything we’ve talked about so far (except war crimes booby traps) is a form of “security minefield”. It is a minefield placed in an area not currently occupied by the enemy, and which is built with the hope of keeping them out. As terrifying as it is illegal, as many people want to build them, these mines are often considered “defensive weapons”. Don’t step into our jungle, and you won’t touch any of our ultra-sensitive fiber optic lines that are going to direct a feast of explosive missiles your way. right?
There is another type. These are called “suspense minefields”. They are “placed” in areas where the enemy is already present. The lead is in quotes here because these mines are often deployed either by being dropped from aircraft or launched into the area using a multi-launch rocket system. That’s right, an MLRS doesn’t always bring the gift of an instant blast. It can also open up like the military’s most twisted version of a piñata, littering the area with small explosive devices.
Russia has systems for this that can be fired from the BM-21 GRAD, replacing it Tornado-G, from From BM-27 Uragan, and TOS-1 Thermobaric Launchers Such mines can also be delivered using ballistic missiles and other types that can be dropped from aircraft. No matter how they arrive, these are all examples of “cluster weapons” responsible for many civilian casualties in modern wars.
The US, it should be noted, also has mines that can be deployed by aircraft or launched by MLRS. But for bonus points, Russia has been known to deploy these types of weapons that are extra colorful, or even shaped like toys, to encourage children to pick them up. If you guessed “this is a war crime,” you win again.
Not only does Russia have these systems, they are using them. This is especially true when it comes to areas that have been taken and retaken many times. Towns and villages south of Izium, such as Dolina and Dibrovne, are practically surrounded by thickets of these things, making them a nightmare for forces advancing in any direction. Something similar seems to have happened to the town of Pisky, along the front lines in Donetsk Oblast. Russia has been fighting to take Pisci for weeks, and there are reports that Ukraine pulled out a few days ago. However, it does not appear that Russia has moved in. This reluctance appears to be at least in part, as Pisci now hosts every member of the mine family, including many of the MLRS-deployed mines that Russia sent to the former site. of the Ukrainian forces. They have the piss … if they can figure out how to avoid being owned.
Why are some areas along the front line so incredibly stable? the mines Why are most advances by Ukraine or Russia so slow when it looks like they have a chance to penetrate the enemy’s backfield and make a run for the end zone? the mines Why are some villages not just “in dispute” but essentially empty after being fought for weeks? the mines
They don’t talk much. They are not at all “sexy” compared to tanks, or drones, or missiles, or long-range artillery. But mines are doing much to shape the battlefield in Ukraine. Because they are almost always there, and anyone who forgets it for too long will get a reminder.
Russia is salting the earth in Ukraine, and getting that land back is a dangerous task.