Why do sea mines need "horns" and is it dangerous to touch them

Why do sea mines need "horns" and is it dangerous to touch them

Categories: World

To disable a warship, tens and sometimes hundreds of kilograms of explosives are needed. And for several centuries, a sea mine has been the easiest and most insidious way to deliver it "to the place of use". There are many types of such mines, but almost all of them have a common feature — "horns" sticking out in different directions. Why are they needed and what will happen if a person touches them?

Why do sea mines need "horns" and is it dangerous to touch them

The first devices that can be called sea mines appeared in China in the 16th century. Their use required high skill and great courage from the miners. To hit an enemy ship, it was necessary to tow a wooden mine as close to its hull as possible, light the fuse and have time to retreat by swimming while it was burning.

Why do sea mines need "horns" and is it dangerous to touch them

For centuries, sea mines have been improved and become more complex, easier to install and more dangerous. For the last century and a half, the mine has been associated by everyone with a black metal ball, from which "horns" stick out in all directions. These long spikes have two purposes. Firstly, inside the "horns"-caps there are sensors that activate the detonator of the ammunition. And secondly, they stabilize the position of the mine in the water column.

Why do sea mines need "horns" and is it dangerous to touch them

PARAGRAPH}For humans, the detonators of a sea mine are almost safe. If you don't hit them with a sledgehammer (or beat them with knowledge), then nothing terrible will happen. You can safely touch them with your hands — human strength is not enough for the detonator to work.

Why do sea mines need "horns" and is it dangerous to touch them

The "whiskers" are designed to collide with a massive solid object capable of breaking them or at least bending them. Marine animals, fish, floating debris and even small boats cannot activate a mine, and this is good.

Why do sea mines need "horns" and is it dangerous to touch them

A sea mine is a strong steel ball with an explosive substance, the shell of which is resistant to the action of seawater. Until now, combat-ready mines from the Second and sometimes the First World Wars are found in the seas and oceans! The mine in the cocked position is below the water level and it is very difficult to notice it from the deck of the ship. It is held in place by an anchor, with which it is connected by a steel cable or a strong chain.

Why do sea mines need "horns" and is it dangerous to touch them

The installation of a sea mine is a very responsible and unsafe task. Today, the mining process is automated, but back in the early 20th century, some of the work had to be done manually. On the decks of World War I minelayers, mines were moved along rails on massive steel trolleys. On the frame of the device there was a drum with a cable, the end of which was attached to the body of the mine.

Why do sea mines need "horns" and is it dangerous to touch them

The mine was thrown overboard along with the cart, which served as an anchor, and the ammunition itself was fixed on the bed with the help of ... ordinary sugar. When the structure was submerged in water, the sugar dissolved and the mine parted with the cart, which continued to sink, unwinding the cable. So the mine became a combat platoon.

Why do sea mines need "horns" and is it dangerous to touch them

Sea mines of this design had a significant drawback — sensitivity to humidity. During storms, it was necessary to carefully hide ammunition from splashes, since a mine that had fallen from its sugar bed could hit the deck or other mines and then the ship was not destined to become even a diving object — there was almost nothing left of it. Modern mines are safer, but, like any lethal weapon, they still require delicate handling.

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