TAB E - Iraq’s Land Mines

Before the Gulf War, the Defense Intelligence Agency, based on two events, assessed that Iraq’s ground forces possibly had chemical mines.[146] In the first, a Canadian soldier assigned to a United Nations’ peacekeeping force after the Iran-Iraq War thought he identified a mine that Iraq had filled with chemical warfare agent in a conventional minefield along the Iran-Iraq border. It was recovered, however, and positively identified as a conventional mine.[147] The second circumstance that caused concern in the US intelligence community began with an explosives shortage in Italy in the mid-1980s, a shortage that led to producing unfilled mine bodies. The US intelligence community was concerned nations such as Iraq, which had used many Italian-produced mines, would fill these mine bodies with chemical warfare agents. This fear proved unfounded; UNSCOM discovered no chemical mines in its post-war inspection and destruction of Iraq’s chemical weapons.[148,149]

After the war, contractors for Kuwait collected and destroyed more than 3.5 million mines, none chemical, inside Kuwait. Table 1 lists the mines found in Iraq’s minefields. In addition, Coalition forces captured and translated many of Iraq’s documents. Except for theoretical discussions, none addressed chemical mines.[150] One of Iraq’s captured engineering publications discusses clearing an area of enemy chemical mines, using a US M21 chemical mine as an example.[151]

Iraq’s engineers strictly implemented their doctrine for mine-laying operations. A US expert on foreign mines stated he felt very safe in an Iraqi minefield due to Iraqi engineers’ discipline in following doctrine. Minefield density was consistent and followed the pattern shown in Figure 12 (also see Figures 13 and 14).[152]

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Figure 12. Representative Iraqi minefield layout

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Figure 13. A captured Iraqi minefield schematic. The black dots represent anti-tank mines, surrounded by three anti-personnel mines.

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Figure 14. Iraq mines in Kuwait. The large center mine is an anti-tank mine surrounded by three anti-personnel mines.

Facing the enemy, Iraq placed three anti-personnel mines one meter from an anti-tank mine; four to five meters separate each anti-tank mine. During the Gulf War, Iraq consistently followed this doctrine across its entire 400 kilometers of minefields.

After traveling 300 kilometers of this front, the US expert, looking for signs of booby traps or chemical mines, found none. According to this expert, Iraq rigidly followed this doctrine and laying any chemical mines would deviate from it.[153]

Finally, in his and a colleague’s expert opinion, chemical mines are "a dumb way to disperse chemicals" because such a mine inadequately disperses chemical warfare agents into the environment. Artillery and aircraft-delivered munitions exploded above ground do a considerably better job.[154]

Table 1. Iraq’s landmines[155]


Nomenclature and Type

Fuzing Type

Belgium PRB M409 anti-personnel Simple pressure
United Kingdom Bar Mine anti-tank L89 Single impulse
China Type 69 (plastic) anti-personnel

Type 72 (plastic) anti-personnel

Type 76 (plastic) anti-personnel

PMN anti-personnel

Blast resistant

Simple pressure

Simple pressure

Simple pressure

Czechoslovakia PT-MI-BA-III anti-tank Simple pressure
France MI AC HPD F-2 anti-tank Magnetic
Italy Valmara VS 1.6 anti-personnel

Valmara VS 2.2 anti-personnel

Valmara VS 50 anti-personnel

Valmara 59 daisy-chained anti-personnel[156]

Valmara 69 daisy-chained anti-personnel

P-40 anti-personnel

VAR/IG illumination mine

VS-T illumination mine

Blast resistant

Blast resistant

Blast resistant

Simple pressure/trip wire

Simple pressure/trip wire

Trip wire

Trip wire/pressure

Trip wire/pressure

Iraq P-25 anti-personnel Trip wire
Jordan PRB-05 anti-tank Single impulse
USSR TM 46 anti-tank

TM 57 anti-tank

TM 62M anti-tank

Simple pressure

Blast resistant

Blast resistant

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