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Contact Mine on the surface of the water
The advanced 'Manta' mines that can be triggered either magnetically or acoustically

Introduction to Mining

Mines can achieve two main objectives. The first is 'sea denial'; this means that large areas of the sea are closed off, or denied, to the enemy. This can be as simple as one side claiming that it has mined an area when it actually hasn't. The threat of a mined area can be as effective as actually mining an area.

The second is to damage or sink enemy shipping. Targeting specific characteristics of a ship does this. The method in which mines are triggered allows them to do this:


Contact - This means the target ship must physically touch the mine. This is the oldest type of activation, but is very effective as the explosive charge goes off very close to the hull. The contact mine is normally moored to the seabed to make sure it does not float away.

Magnetic - These mines are activated by the magnetic signature given off by a ships hull as it passes the mine. These signatures are specific enough for the mine to be able to identify a class of ship. This means that 'High Value Units' such as supply tankers and aircraft carriers can be targeted.

Acoustic - Acoustic mines are triggered by the amount of noise that a ship, normally through her engines and propellers, put into the water. Again this can be very specific allowing individual units to be attacked and others to pass without incident.

Pressure - The amount of water that a ship displaces creates a pressure wave around it as she travels through the water. This can be detected or felt by mines and cause it to activate.

The Mine Countermeasure vessels of the Royal Navy can simulate all of the above methods, except for pressure, and allows areas of the sea to be cleared of mines without putting ships in unnecessary danger.