Mine Warfare

The first wake-up call in relation to mines came to the FST a fortnight after we had arrived. On the 15th of April Khamsin Salim stepped on an anti-personnel mine which blew his left lower leg to pieces and peppered his right leg with debris of one sort or another. It was not the type of injury that we were familiar with at BMH Rinteln or the military hospital at Tidworth.

Mines are mentioned in “Where Soldiers Fear to Tread”, In the Service of the Sultan”, Dangerous Frontiers” and in many other books about the war in Dhofar. It is clear that both sides used mines extensively which were sourced from captured stock from Aden and from newly manufactured mines from the soviet bloc countries who were supporting the dissidents. Locally manufactured mines both anti-personnel and anti-camel mines were found. The dissidents would also “lift” mines laid by the government side and set them against the Sultan’s side. No IEDs were laid and although telegraph wires were cut no wire was taken that could be taken to a vantage point for detonation.. No anti-lift devices, by late 1971, had been found although some mines had pockets to fit them in. The R.E. laid mines in association with the Hornbeam line as well as in other places either as a defensive measure or to interdict known dissident routes.

The MOD sent a representative from the RARDE to Oman in 1971 to assess the threat. His report is included below.

There were many different mines laid in Oman but they can conveniently be divided into two types;  anti-personnel designed to maim but not to kill and larger mines designed to destroy vehicles and those inside them.   Khamsim Salim was injured by the first type and Captain Hugh Jones was killed by the second type. An incomplete list of mines used by both sides is given below with descriptions of them taken mainly from Wikipedia.

PMN Series
British Mk 2
"Carrot" or "Elsie" mine
Soviet and Chinese TM Series
British Mk V Mine

John Blashford-Snell in his book “A Taste for Adventure” goes into some quite considerable detail of the use of various types of mine on the Hornbeam Line by the R.E. including the ‘jumping jack’ mines. He also mentions the use of booby traps and electrically detonated mines.