This article will speak about two vital weapons that served U.S. Special Forces during their service in the Vietnam War. They were the M-14 Anti-Personnel mine, more commonly known as the “Toe Popper,” and the V40 Mini-Fragmentation Grenade. Over the course of the conflict, these miniature terrors drew much blood against the North Vietnamese Army (NVA), and Viet Cong (VC), with the V40 even serving beyond into the Iraq War as an effective room clearer. Though both are officially gone now from active duty, they possessed a lethality that outweighed their physical appearances.
The first weapon, the M14 mine, looked like a small, thick disc that was olive drab in color, 2.2 inches in diameter and 1.5 inches in height. It contained 1 ounce of Tetryl explosive to make up its 3.5 ounce weight. This lightness came from its mostly plastic construction, and, to set it off, required a pressure of between 20 to 35 pounds.
The mine could be placed in a shallow hole, under a leaf or in the open if in a hurry. Special Forces teams often used this last tactic when breaking contact or protecting a perimeter at night.
Field manuals showed that to activate the mine a soldier would remove a base plug and screw in a detonator. After setting the mine in position, its pressure plate was rotated from Safe to Armed using a special spanner. The last step was to remove the safety clip. At this point the mine was armed.