German Mines

During World War II, the anti-personnel and anti-tank mines evolved into a highly effective weapons and combat multipliers.  Mines provided great utility at low cost to the defender.  The Germans led the way in mine quality, quantity produced and in their employed and battlefield innovation.  The text below describes the mines which are in the image of an American training tool  (click on the top button to the right).  It contains examples of German mines and was used to help combat engineers identify German anti-personnel and anti-tank mines of World War II.

Anti-personnel mines were used to injure humans and sometimes tires and tracks of moving vehicles. Anti-tank mines were more powerful and aimed at destroying tanks and vehicles. The main principle behind mines was the change in pressure which led to the detonation of the mines. Learn the facts here now, about various types of German mines.

Antipersonnel mines:

AP Mines came into broad-spread use for the first time during the war. Two types of which were commonly employed against the Allies: bounding mines and fragmenting mines.

Bounding AP Mines:  Modern bounding mines made their combat debut early in World War II.  French patrols on the Siegfried Line in 1939 and 1940 took unexplained casualties.  These casualties were later attributed to a jumping mine the French called “the silent soldier” which was the German “S” Mine.   “S” mines are about the size of a tin can.  They jump up about 2- 3 feet when stepped on and blast a 12 foot radius with ball-bearing shrapnel.  This mine is  commonly called the “Bouncing Betty” by the GIs.  The British called them by a different name, the “debollockers”.

Fragmenting AP Mines: The Schu or Shu-Mine is a small wood box fragmentation mine. It measures six-inch by six-inch and contains a detonator and a solid charge.  Another name or spelling of this mine is “Shoe Mine” or “Shoe Box ” mine. The “Shoe Box” was a favorite among the Germans.  Small in size and constructed primary of wood, the Schu is next to impossible to discover with a normal metal mine detector.  It seldom kills instead the sinister device mutilates the unfortunate victim.

The Topfmine (“pot mine”), is the Topf-Mi. 4531, a completely metal-free mine. The first Topfmines were uncovered by 44th Infantry Division 63rd Engineer Combat Battalion in the Vosges Mountains of France in November 1944. The casing material is made of a sawdust – tar combination, the fuse utilized glass parts.  It proved undetectable by Allied mine sweepers of the era.

Anti-Tank Mines

The standard anti-tank mine used by the Germans was the “Tellermine.”  The Teller is big and powerful and packs a nasty punch from its one pound of TNT.  This mine will rip off the tracks from any tank.
"Bouncing Bettys" by the GIs. TheGerman mines debollockers bouncing bettys teller shu schu mines
The Tellermine 42, the T.Mi.42, was triggered at 350 pounds pressure; the weapon weighed 22 pounds.

The Tellermine 43 is the T.Mi.43 Pilz (“Mushroom”), a simplified version of the construction of the T.Mi.42, replacing the spring-loaded top lid fuse for a simple extendable shaft construction.  When the protruding pin is pushed into the mine the mine detonates.


The Panzerhandminen were anti-tank mines using the Hafthohlladung (“attach hollow charge”) which is the same charge used in the German ‘”panzerfaust”. This feared weapon is the anti-tank equivalent to the American bazooka. The Hafthohlladung 3 (the “Magnetic hollow-charge mine upper right) has a shaped charge of over 3 pounds with penetrating power of over 5 inches of World War II armor. This mine is called the “magnetic hollow charge mine” in the mine training image.

Early in the war, the Germans employed large caliber anti-tank Panzerbüchse rifles.