The M18 claymore mine is maybe not a household name but I would bet it’s close to it now a days thanks to Hollywood , books and people with hands on experience in the population. The M18 is a command detonated mine that is directional. You set it up and aim it in the zone you want to blast to cover. When fired it projects about seven hundred 18-inch-diameter (3.2 mm) steel balls into the kill zone at 3,937 ft/s . very nasty. The effect range is 50 yards with a max wounding range supposedly out to around 250 yards.

I would argue it came to fame during the war in Vietnam where it was very effective.

My Dad was a Vietnam war vet and told me a story about the Claymore that is pretty impressive. One night while on watch with another soldier watching outward, a NVA soldier had crawled close to the razor wire and was about to pick up one of the claymore and turn it around to face back into the American line. Dad was beside the other guy who had the detonator. Dad said once the communist grabbed the claymore with both hands and lifted from the ground, the other guy hit the clacker. The mine went off when about 5 inches from the communists face.

After sun up, Dad and a few other went out to inspect the remains and report back. The attempted trickster was a giant red smear. There was an unexpected bonus though. He had a partner a few yards beyond him who had been watching him from behind a fallen log. He must have just had his head up enough to see over the log when the mine went off. Dad said it looked like some one had taken a sword and sliced the top of his head off from the bridge of the nose up. One of the other soldiers puked when Dad mentioned the exposed brains looked like scrambled eggs with ketchup. Dad was a huge fan of the Claymore. So much so that he had to have his own. That’s what you are looking at in these photos.

Countless books written about Vietnam by veterans tell stories about how effective the m18 was. I don’t doubt there are more than a few stories about it from the ongoing forever wars.

The mine comes with everything you need in the handy M7 bandoleer “Claymore Bag.” You get the electrical hand held firing device, or as Dad called it, the” clacker”, which in Vietnam required 3 squeezes to get the desired result. You get the legs to stick the mine in the ground and point it. You get the electrical wire for the firing device to the mine and a device to test the firing device to make sure it works.

It all packs up into the bag nicely. The flap even has instruction on how to use the mine printed on water proof fabric. Because its the military.

“Don’t point it at yourself”

I have no experience with one other than this one which sadly doesn’t work. I’m sure Kevin ( Hognose) would have lots to say about them if he were still with us. Dad told a few stories about them and how some of the locals would steal the C4 out of them to use as a fire fuel but his interest in the more technical minutia of the mine was non-existent. Maybe Howard got to use one against the haji or fellow Marines and will chime in.

The design is very popular because of its effectiveness and being command detonated. I supposed it makes the hippies of the world feel better since it’s unlikely a kid could accidentally step on it like older pressure mines. As far as I can tell around 20 countries use or produce their own copy of it,. Including Vietnam. When guys you used to blow up with it are impressed enough to adopt it, you know you had a winner.

3 Comments

  1. LSWCHP says:

    I was trained to hit the clacker 3 times as fast as possible. This wasn’t because it needed 3 presses to detonate, but because of the possibility of a failure to detonate under field conditions, particularly due to water ingress into the firing circuit caused by rain, which you get a lot of in the jungle. Keep pressing the clacker until you hear the bang, and boy oh boy, it was a helluva bang too. Those things are damn loud.

    I recall that in the John Wayne “Green Berets” movie there’s a scene where a claymore is deployed, but it’s blue…ie an inert training device.

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  2. Wild, wild west says:

    With det cord, you could blow more than one at a time.

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  3. SPEMack says:

    I was taught the three squeezes was to make sure you closed the circuit. Where the wire connects to the clacker and the mine itself is subject to moisture and stuff.

    But, on a whole, the M18 was pretty idiot proof. (I mean, hell, I used them)

    JAG mandated that we always recorded where we emplaced them and documented removal or denotation.

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