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The M15 mine is a large circular U.S. anti-tank blast mine, first deployed during the Korean War. Essentially, it is a larger version of the M6A2 anti-tank mine, which it replaced. Although the M15 has been superseded by the M19 mine (a plastic-cased minimum metal mine of more modern design), the U.S. retains large stocks of M15s because they are still regarded as reliable and effective weapons.
The mine consists of a large, circular rounded steel case, with a central pressure plate. In the center of the pressure plate is the M4 arming plug, which has an arming lever which be can be set to "ARMED" or "SAFE". The pressure plate sits on top of a belleville spring, which in turn rests directly over the M603 fuze. When sufficient downward pressure is applied to the pressure plate (i.e. when a vehicle drives over it) the concertina spring is compressed. This action transfers pressure onto the M603 fuze which fires, triggering detonation. Because this mine has a metallic case, it is very easy to find it using even the most basic mine detector. However, a complicating factor is posed by the two secondary fuze wells. These enable anti-handling devices to be fitted: one on the side of the mine and one underneath. Additionally, a minefield containing M15 mines may also contain minimum metal antipersonnel mines of various different types (e.g. the VS-MK2, SB-33, TS-50 or PMA-3) which are specifically designed to be difficult to find using metal mine detectors.
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