Make naval mine warfare glamorous post ww2

Monk78

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I think post ww2 more ships have been damaged and sunk by mines than any other weapon
Yet it’s barely talked about and most navies devote proportionally less resources to it
What can be done to change that post ww2 ?
 
There's no glory in it. It doesn't look cool, it's usually Airedales dropping mines and then the MCM gang cleaning them up after the fighting is over. (Friend of mine was an engineman on a minesweeper during Vietnam, his Minesweeper was one of the ships assigned to clean up Haiphong Harbor after 1972. Many mines they hauled up to the ship, some they had to blow in place. The EOD guys chain-smoked...)
 
I think post ww2 more ships have been damaged and sunk by mines than any other weapon
Yet it’s barely talked about and most navies devote proportionally less resources to it
What can be done to change that post ww2 ?

I spent a couple of years working MCM budget issues for USN. It's just an impossible sell within the service. There are several reasons, I think.

1) It's slow-acting, both offensive and defensive. Mines are delayed action and their effects are difficult to predict in advance. Clearance is even slower and less predictable.

2) Minelaying can consume a huge amount of resources before it has an impact. When the alternative was indiscriminate area bombing, minelaying could be resource efficient (see Operation Starvation) but compared to a direct strike with PGMs, it can seem very resource-intensive and uncertain.

3) Minelaying isn't as versatile as other weapons. With a few exceptions (like CAPTOR) it is mainly useful for relatively indiscriminate shipping interdiction.
 
I spent a couple of years working MCM budget issues for USN. It's just an impossible sell within the service. There are several reasons, I think.

1) It's slow-acting, both offensive and defensive. Mines are delayed action and their effects are difficult to predict in advance. Clearance is even slower and less predictable.

2) Minelaying can consume a huge amount of resources before it has an impact. When the alternative was indiscriminate area bombing, minelaying could be resource efficient (see Operation Starvation) but compared to a direct strike with PGMs, it can seem very resource-intensive and uncertain.

3) Minelaying isn't as versatile as other weapons. With a few exceptions (like CAPTOR) it is mainly useful for relatively indiscriminate shipping interdiction.
For a power that wants sea dominance yes they are not the ideal weapon
But for a mostly land power that needs to exert only sea denial they can be a godsend , force multiplier and cheap way of protecting your neighboring seas
 
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Is it possible that Soviet Union and communist China could have utilize mine, warfare more extensively?
As in having custom built surface and submarine platforms for minelaying
Better technology, including better homing, and rocket, assisted mines ? Like CAPTOR
Also, is there a way to sow mines in the deep ocean waters?
And maybe specialized tactics for attacking the minesweeping forces of the NATO navies
 
Is it possible that Soviet Union and communist China could have utilize mine, warfare more extensively?
As in having custom built surface and submarine platforms for minelaying
Better technology, including better homing, and rocket, assisted mines ? Like CAPTOR
Absolutely. I'm surprised that we haven't seen China in particular testing some of that.


Also, is there a way to sow mines in the deep ocean waters?
And maybe specialized tactics for attacking the minesweeping forces of the NATO navies
There's no good way to put mines in water over 2000ft/600m deep. 1000-2000ft/300-600m, you'd need long cables and good anchors, and those long cables mean that your mines will move around a lot more.

The best way to do mines is the old Mk67 Submarine Launched Mobile Mines, basically Mk37 torpedoes with an inertial navigation system to drive to a location with shallow water (~200ft or less!), settle to the bottom, and wait.

The other option is the non-subtle way, dumping a pile of JDAM-ERs with Quickstrike fuzes installed out the back of a cargo plane Rapid Dragon style, and having them fly to that place with shallow water where they sit and wait.
 
Absolutely. I'm surprised that we haven't seen China in particular testing some of that.



There's no good way to put mines in water over 2000ft/600m deep. 1000-2000ft/300-600m, you'd need long cables and good anchors, and those long cables mean that your mines will move around a lot more.

The best way to do mines is the old Mk67 Submarine Launched Mobile Mines, basically Mk37 torpedoes with an inertial navigation system to drive to a location with shallow water (~200ft or less!), settle to the bottom, and wait.

China has extensive mine forces, reported a decade ago to be on the order of 50-100,000 mines, including rising mines designed for laying in deep water. The Russian PMK-2 can be laid as deep as 2000 ft (with the case floating around 400). China makes its own EM-52 family designed with a case depth around 200 feet but the anchor depth isn't reported anywhere.
Couple of interesting, if depressing, sources:

https://www.jstor.org/stable/26397286?seq=3 (again, full disclosure, I worked for Dr. Truver when I worked on mine warfare issues)

 
Thank you, @TomS !

Guess I need to add a bit more basic theory.

Old school mines blew up when you physically ran into them. They'd slowly sink a ship because they'd knock a big hole in the side of the ship and let water into the people tank. Depending on the damage, you might be able to patch the hole and keep going, or at least stay afloat long enough to rescue all the crew.

In WW2, people figured out that if you have an explosion below the keel, you can do a lot more damage because you can break the ship in half. (ship flexes up, and then is only supported at the ends of the hull so it snaps in half into the bubble that the explosion made.) So newer mines are down about 100-200ft or so and blow up well below a ship, catching them in the bubble and breaking the keel. Torpedoes do the same thing.

This means you need a different way of setting off newer mines, since you're not making the ship bump into the physical mine anymore. Things like magnetic influence, engine sound, or even just the pressure from your ship moving through the water. And you can do tricks involving counting how many ships go past that mine before it blows up. And multiples of those triggers, so you're listening for the sounds of a Kresta-2 and going for a random delay count for good measure: that mine will now blow up after the (rolls dice) 6th Kresta-2 it detects.
 
I suspect as with land minefields the reluctance to use mines reflects the difficulty of clearing up afterwards and risks to your own side.
Defensive minefields in the approaches to key facilities or at choke points like the Gap were a feature of the Cold War.
 
Thank you, @TomS !

Guess I need to add a bit more basic theory.

Old school mines blew up when you physically ran into them. They'd slowly sink a ship because they'd knock a big hole in the side of the ship and let water into the people tank. Depending on the damage, you might be able to patch the hole and keep going, or at least stay afloat long enough to rescue all the crew.

In WW2, people figured out that if you have an explosion below the keel, you can do a lot more damage because you can break the ship in half. (ship flexes up, and then is only supported at the ends of the hull so it snaps in half into the bubble that the explosion made.) So newer mines are down about 100-200ft or so and blow up well below a ship, catching them in the bubble and breaking the keel. Torpedoes do the same thing.

This means you need a different way of setting off newer mines, since you're not making the ship bump into the physical mine anymore. Things like magnetic influence, engine sound, or even just the pressure from your ship moving through the water. And you can do tricks involving counting how many ships go past that mine before it blows up. And multiples of those triggers, so you're listening for the sounds of a Kresta-2 and going for a random delay count for good measure: that mine will now blow up after the (rolls dice) 6th Kresta-2 it detects.
It was Britain that first developed and deployed an influence mine - the Mark I (M) magnetic mine first deployed in August 1918. New development of magnetic triggers in Britain began again in 1936 with the first being laid in April 1940 about 6 months after the Germans began laying such weapons.

Acoustic triggers followed about 1940. The Germans were the first to deploy pressure mines (off Normandy in 1944) usually combined with a magnetic or acoustic trigger. Britain had been working on methods of countering these for some time in preparation for their appearance, and had built two displacement sweepers in anticipation.


Limiting ship speed according to water depth was really the only effective countermeasure to pressure mines in the WW2 era. The US laid many pressure mines in Japanese waters in 1945 as part of Operation Starvation.

The increasing complexity of the weapons and the near impossibility, at least in the WW2 era, of sweeping pressure mines, saw the move from minesweeping to minehunting in the post WW2 period using divers and then remote controlled ROV to place explosive charges to destroy them. This is the latest such vehicle in RN use.

If you want to read more about allied minesweeping in WW2 I would recommend this book.

Edit:- There has a history of RN minelaying in WW2 here, to which must be added the mine laying effort by aircraft of the RAF Bomber and Coastal Commands and the FAA.

Note the effort in 1943-45 in laying "deep" anti-submarine minefields in the various choke points around Britain.
 
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