The M14 mine is a small (56 mm [2.2 in] diameter) anti-personnel land mine first deployed by the U.S. circa 1955. The M14 mechanism uses a belleville spring to flip a firing pin downwards into a stab detonator when pressure is applied. Once deployed, the M14 is very difficult to detect because it is a minimum metal mine, i.e. most of its components are plastic. Because of this, the design was later modified to ease mine clearance via the addition of a steel washer, glued onto the base of the mine.
In order to activate the M14, the base plug is removed and discarded and a stab detonator is screwed into the base of the mine. Then the mine is placed into a shallow hole in the ground and the pressure plate is carefully rotated from its safety position to the armed position using the special arming spanner supplied in each crate of mines. Finally, the U-shaped safety clip is removed from the pressure plate and discarded. At this point, the mine is fully armed.
The top of an M14 has a simple arming indicator (an arrow embossed on the pressure plate) which can point to either A(rmed) or S(afe), giving a clear indication of its status. When the arrow points to "A", the M14 will detonate if stepped on. Disarming the M14 requires the arming steps to be performed in reverse. However, due to the possibility of a booby trap or some other type of anti-handling device being fitted underneath, it is often standard demining practice to destroy land mines in situ, without attempting to remove and disarm them.
The M14 has not been in active US service since 1974. However, as of 2010 the United States retains a stockpile of 1.5 million mines held in reserve for emergency use on the Korean peninsula. This mine has been widely exported and used by various countries, so uncleared minefields containing M14s do exist. The M14 has been found in Angola, Cambodia, Chad, Chile, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Laos, Lebanon, Malawi, Mozambique, Somalia, Vietnam and Zambia. Additionally, copies of the M14 design have been manufactured locally by countries such as India and Vietnam. There are indications that as of 2008, an unlicensed copy of the M14 landmine was being manufactured in Burma by Myanmar Defense Products Industries at Ngyaung Chay Dauk, in Bago Division. The mine is extensively used by the local Burmese Army.
The amount of explosive in the M14 mine is comparatively small in relation to other anti-personnel mines because it is designed to disable victims, not kill them. Although the blast wound from an M14 is unlikely to be fatal (assuming that prompt emergency medical care is provided) it usually destroys a significant part of the victim's foot, thereby leading to some form of permanent disability regarding their gait. However, in situations where the victims are barefoot or wearing sandals (e.g. in Burma), wounds inflicted by M14 mines can be more severe. Due to the relative simplicity of the firing mechanism, the M14 mine is not resistant to blast-clearing methods, unlike more modern antipersonnel mine designs such as the VS-MK2 mine.
- Weight: 100 grams
- Explosive content: 29 grams (1 ounce) of Tetryl
- Diameter: 56 mm
- Height: 40 mm
- Operating pressure: 9 to 16 kilograms
- MD-82 mine—a close copy of the M14 mine manufactured by Vietnam
- List of land mines—provides extensive details
- Nov 4, 2006 (2006-11-04). "Asia Times Online :: Southeast Asia news - Myanmar, the world's landmine capital". Atimes.com. Retrieved 2009-11-02.
- "KHRG Photo Gallery 2008 | Landmines, mortars, army camps and soldiers". Karen Human Rights Group. Retrieved 2009-11-02.
- Free Burma Rangers Report: "Pictures of oppression: attacks, displacement and oppression in Karen and Karenni States - Karen State, Burma, 19 January, 2009". Retrieved on March 23, 2009
- FM 20-32 APPENDIX A at GlobalSecurity.org—Additional details about the M14 mine
- Color diagram of M14 components
- Photo of an M14 held in the hand to illustrate its small size
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