The Claymore is perhaps the most famous mine of the latter half of the 20th century.  Making a name for itself during the Vietnam War, it was used to great effect by US forces to repel assaults and initiate ambushes. Over the years, allies and enemies took notice, and it has spawned many copies while remaining a highly effective instrument for literally shredding the opposition.

Unlike traditional land mines, which direct their explosive upward, the Claymore is what is called a “directional mine.” This means that the user points the mine by using a crude sight on top, and steadies it with twin scissor-like anchors which can be pressed into the ground, or stand free on their own. A wire is then unfurled a safe distance back to the user’s position were a detonator in the form of a clacker is squeezed to initiate the explosion.

Since the Claymore has a curved rectangular shape, once fired, plastic explosive hurls 700 steel balls out in a 60° radius. Anything exposed within a 50 yard distance is bound to become a casualty. This only increases by magnitude the closer to the detonation. The function is rather like dozens of shotguns going off at once. There is nothing like it on the battlefield.

The physical appearance of the Claymore is known throughout the world. Besides its physical shape, it is constructed of green plastic and has the famous words “FRONT TOWARD ENEMY” in raised letters, warning the user which direction to point the business end. This assures mistakes in this manner are nonexistent and that the mine will live up to its name, which comes after the Scottish Claymore sword which cut swathes through its enemies.