More Conclusions on Scatterable Mines

Just wanted to pull up the rest of our conclusions from page 43 of the “Military Consequences of a Complete Landmine Ban” report. I had left this out of my last post for the sake of keeping the post sort. The entire report is here:

There were seven conclusions and three recommendations in the original report. I shortened conclusion 3 in my write-up yesterday. The full conclusion is here:

3) The banning of antitank SCATMINE systems is a more difficult issue. There is no question that there will be some loss of capability, although the degree is not easy to measure.

a) US Army ground and helicopter-deployed SCATMINE systems (Volcano, Flipper, and MOPMS) are fundamentally defensive in nature and are only assigned to divisions and brigades which do not have a robust anti-armor capability. Banning them would effect the anti-armor defensive capability of those units. However, the capabilities of these systems may be replaceable by Hornet. The advantages gained would be a reduced logistical tail (definitely a critical issue for future Army planning), a reduced threat of fratricidal use, and a reduced chance of encountering the same or similar systems in the inventory of opposing forces, a very definite advantage.

b) US artillery launched SCATMINE systems (ADAM and RAAM) have both theoretical offensive and a practical defensive use. Since the rounds in the artillery basic load have a four-hour self-destruct, it is effectively an anti-armor system with a persistent effect, rather than a long-term barrier system. Its interdiction value is short-term. To be used most effectively it must be used in conjunction with other antitank weapons. Therefore, a complete antitank mine ban may result in some reduction in anti-armor capability. However, the actual armor killing capability of RAAM can be replaced by existing systems. The main advantages lost are the capability of temporarily freezing an opposing unit in place and persistence of its effect (up to 48 hours).

c) US airdropped SCATMINE systems (GATOR) have utility in interdicting an enemy. There does not appear to be another weapon system that would provide a complete substitute for that capability, especially for long term use (48 hours or 15 days). The downside of that capability, as was found in the Gulf War, is that this system interdicts both sides. GATOR may also be useful in freezing an opposing unit, which is then attacked with other assets in deep battle. However, SCATMINEs tactical defensive value is limited due to the method of deployment and the difficulty associated with marking and recording their location. They may also have some offensive value in protecting flanks.


Again, this was a snap shot of the issue in 2001. We have not done any further work on the subject since then.

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Christopher A. Lawrence
Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience.
Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation.
His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024).
Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

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