During World War II, the U-boat fleet, which dominated much of the battle of the Atlantic, was small at the beginning of the war and much of the early action by German forces involved mining convoy routes and ports around Britain. German submarines also operated in the Mediterranean Sea, in the Caribbean Sea, and along the U.S. coast.
Initially, contact mines (requiring a ship to physically strike a mine to detonate it) were employed, usually tethered at the end of a cable just below the surface of the water. Contact mines usually blew a hole in ships’ hulls. By the beginning of World War II, most nations had developed mines that could be dropped from aircraft, some of which floated on the surface, making it possible to lay them in enemy harbours. The use of dredging and nets was effective against this type of mine, but this consumed valuable time and resources, and required harbours to be closed.
In 1868, the Hertz horn was, and by 1914 these had become the most reliable way to detonate contact mines. During the Franco-German War of 1870, the Jode, Elbe and Weser rivers were defended by mine fields. Soon after the war and union of the German states, Germany began a large mine development program and by the time of World War I was well able to wage mine warfare. Large stocks of reliable Hertz horn contact mines were available, all equipped with automatic anchors that used hydrostats to set mine depth and lock the mooring cables. Most of her capital ships and cruisers as well as many destroyers and auxiliary vessels were able to lay mines. On-going research included a program for laying mines via U-boats.
German mines had a high reputation in both World Wars for reliability and innovation. The British paid perhaps the ultimate compliment in 1917 by copying a captured German Hertz horned mine to produce their first reliable contact mine. Following World War I, Germany established a mine warfare research and development command in 1920.
Made of solid lead and steel, this item is in VERY NICE used condition. I have not cleaned it, and it features some scratches and marks due to the age. Features much of its original paint and finish. I have indicated the exact locations in the last images. Would make an EXCELLENT addition to any collection or display!
Please note that as I have multiple quantities, the one you receive may look slightly different than the one depicted in the listing photos.