The PFM-1S: why Afghans believed that these mines were designed for children

Weapons 09/03/20 PFM-1S: why Afghans believed that these mines were designed for children

Soviet anti-personnel mines of PFM-1S, were developed on the basis of the American mines, BLU-43/b, Only the first is called “petal” and the second “tooth of the dragon.” However, both of mine went bad rumors: it was rumored that as the PFM-1S, and BLU-43/B was designed specifically for killing children.

“dragon Tooth”

In fact, anti-personnel blast mine or PFM-1S was almost an exact copy of the American mines, BLU-43/B or “Dragontooth”, which can be translated as “dragon Tooth”. The mine was not officially adopted by the United States. However, according to Nikolai Kuzmin, the author of the book “Military intelligence officers in Afghanistan. Notes of the chief of the intelligence division”, mines, BLU-43/B was used extensively by the us military in the 1970s, during the Vietnam war. In particular the “dragon Tooth” was intended for aerial mining.

the Last assertion is due to the peculiar configuration of mines. The fact that the body of the BLU-43/B (and BLU-44/B and BLU-44A/B), which is made of plastic, had an asymmetric shape, which allowed literally to plan to the ground. In addition, according to Gordon Rottman in his book “Slang in Vietnam: the words of war” (“Grunt Slang in Vietnam: Words of the War”, Gordon L. Rottman), the mine was characterized by relatively small size (75 mm. x 45 mm. x 45 mm.) and weighed only 80 grams, of which half were explosive.

the Soviet copy of

For obvious reasons, these mines were rarely the cause of death of military personnel. However, to cause injury or serious injury to BLU-43/B still could. In this regard, the soldiers simply counted down, and with him and a couple of his teammates who tried to render aid to the victim. At least so say the authors of the edition “the Mi-8. Half a century in the ranks” Victor MArawski and Igor Prikhodchenko. It is therefore not surprising that the Soviet Union “Dragontooth” not only copied, but also have adopted.

However, among the Soviet soldiers PFM-1S received another nickname – “petal”. The fact that the first domestic anti-personnel mine were made from plastic green. Only after some time, the green mines changed the instances of “sandy” yellow-brown shade. In addition, Soviet mine was equipped with a mechanism of self-destruction. In other words she exploded 1-40 hours after installation. Due to this, according to Vladimir Zolotarev in his book “Russia (USSR) in local wars and military conflicts of second half of XX century”, the area of conflict became safe after the end of hostilities.

Mines are hurting children

However, if you believe Nikolai Kuzmin, the function of self-destruction of PFM-1S worked not always. All because of technical problems. So often the “petals” remained lying on the ground, waiting for the now not of the soldiers, and careless or curious civilians. The victims of PFM-1S, as well as BLU-43/B and BLU-44/B, belonged mainly to children. If you believe the author of the book ” Stories of intervention: Afghanistan, USA and the global war on terror (military culture)” Purnima Bose (“Intervention Narratives: Qatar, the United States, and the Global War on Terror (War Culture)” by Purnima Bose), due to the plastic shell and fancy shape children simply took the mines for toys.

meanwhile, in contrast to the harm that mines would hurt an adult, PFM-1S and “Dragontooth” was capable of inflicting the child’s injuries incompatible with life. It is for this and for the reasons given above among the people of Afghanistan there was a legend that the “petals” and “dragon’s teeth” was made specifically to kill their children. It is clear that these rumors nothing to do with reality had not.

Yulia Popova

© Russian Seven

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