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Anti-vehicle land mine (AVL)

Definition Anti-vehicle land mine (AVL) refers to a type of land mine specifically designed to target and incapacitate or destroy vehicles, typically armored vehicles or tanks. They are larger and contain more explosive material compared to anti-personnel mines. These mines are strategically placed along roads, bridges, or other key transportation routes to disrupt enemy movement […]


Anti-vehicle land mine (AVL) refers to a type of land mine specifically designed to target and incapacitate or destroy vehicles, typically armored vehicles or tanks. They are larger and contain more explosive material compared to anti-personnel mines. These mines are strategically placed along roads, bridges, or other key transportation routes to disrupt enemy movement and supply lines.

Key Takeaways

  1. Anti-vehicle land mines (AVL) are explosive devices specifically designed to target and destroy vehicles, including military and civilian transports, rather than individual personnel.
  2. AVLs typically contain a larger explosive charge compared to anti-personnel mines, and they require a greater amount of pressure to be activated, ensuring a vehicle triggers the explosion and not a person or animal.
  3. While AVLs play a significant role in modern warfare for area denial and force protection, they also pose a long-term danger to civilians in conflict zones, as unexploded mines pose a lingering threat.


The term Anti-vehicle land mine (AVL) is important in military operations because it signifies a critical and strategic tool used primarily to disrupt, immobilize, or destroy armored vehicles such as tanks and armored personnel carriers (APCs) employed by enemy forces.

AVLs, when properly deployed, can stall enemy advances, protect critical areas, and create advantageous positions for own forces.

Additionally, AVLs can be used as force multipliers, allowing a smaller or less technologically advanced force to effectively counter a more powerful enemy.

The use of AVLs also serves as a psychological deterrent limiting enemy mobility, inducing caution, and potentially forcing adversaries to alter their tactics.

Therefore, anti-vehicle land mines play a crucial role in shaping the outcome of various military operations and contribute significantly to a nation’s overall defense capabilities.


Anti-vehicle land mines (AVL) serve as a critical component in modern military operations, designed specifically to impede enemy vehicular movement, protect strategic locations, and provide a tactical advantage on the battlefield. The primary purpose of an AVL is to either destroy or immobilize armored vehicles, like tanks and personnel carriers, thereby disrupting the enemy’s supply routes, reinforcements, and ability to execute coordinated maneuvers.

These landmines play a vital role in shaping the battlefield by creating obstacles that force opposing forces to rethink their strategy and employ alternative routes or methods of attack. In addition to their direct impact on the enemy’s troop mobility, AVLs also serve as a psychological weapon that sows confusion and apprehension among opposing forces.

The fear of encountering these hidden threats can cause a delay in an enemy’s advancement and divert critical resources towards detection and demining operations. Furthermore, AVLs can be used in tandem with offensive military operations to guide enemy vehicles into pre-designated kill zones or areas saturated with additional mines or ambushes.

By combining the physical stopping power of AVLs with strategically planned assaults, modern militaries can effectively disrupt and neutralize an enemy’s ability to operate, ultimately tipping the balance of power in their favor.

Examples of Anti-vehicle land mine (AVL)

Operation Desert Storm (1991): During the Gulf War, Iraq heavily used anti-vehicle land mines to protect their positions and impede the movement of Coalition forces, particularly US and British armored units invading Kuwait and Iraq. Many Iraqi mines were of Soviet origin and included types such as the TM-46, TM-57, and TM-62 that specifically targeted vehicles. The deployment of these mines resulted in the difficulty for Coalition forces to maneuver through certain areas, with several being injured or killed during mine-clearing operations.

War in Afghanistan (2001-Present): Both the NATO forces and the Taliban continuously employed anti-vehicle land mines throughout the conflict in Afghanistan. The Taliban often used improvised explosive devices (IEDs) capable of functioning as anti-vehicle mines. In response, the US and NATO forces utilized specialized mine-clearing vehicles, such as the Buffalo, to safely remove and disarm these threats, attempting to provide security to their ground forces and local civilian populations.

Angolan Civil War (1975-2002): During the Angolan Civil War, the MPLA, UNITA, and other factions used anti-vehicle land mines extensively. These mines were often sourced from the Soviet Union, China, and other global suppliers. The use of anti-vehicle land mines, such as the TMA-3, TMA-4, and TMA-5, rendered numerous roads and highways unsafe for travel and caused long-lasting collateral damage to the country’s infrastructure. Demining efforts have been ongoing in Angola since the end of the conflict, with many international organizations working to assist in the clearance of these mines.

Anti-Vehicle Land Mine (AVL) FAQ

What is an Anti-Vehicle Land Mine (AVL)?

An Anti-Vehicle Land Mine (AVL) is an explosive device designed specifically to target and disable vehicles such as tanks, trucks, and other military and civilian vehicles. They are usually placed below the ground surface and are triggered by the pressure or presence of a vehicle.

How does an Anti-Vehicle Land Mine work?

AVLs are typically pressure-sensitive, meaning they are triggered when enough force is applied to the top of the mine. When a vehicle passes over, the weight of the vehicle causes the pressure plate to activate, detonating the explosive and damaging or disabling the vehicle.

What is the purpose of an Anti-Vehicle Land Mine?

The primary purpose of an AVL is to immobilize, damage, or destroy enemy vehicles in order to delay, disrupt, or halt their advance. This strategic placement of mines creates obstacles for opposing forces and can make certain areas impassable, forcing them to choose alternate routes or abandon their plans.

Are there any safety features on an Anti-Vehicle Land Mine?

Some modern AVLs come equipped with safety features such as self-destruct mechanisms or built-in timers to render the mine inactive after a certain period. However, older models may not have these features and can remain dangerous for years after being placed.

Why are Anti-Vehicle Land Mines controversial?

Landmines, including AVLs, are controversial because they can cause unintended harm to civilians. Frequently, landmines are not sufficiently marked or mapped, leading to accidents long after conflicts have ended. Additionally, landmines can impede post-conflict reconstruction and stabilization by limiting access to key resources, infrastructure, and agricultural land.

Related Military Operation Terms

  • Explosive device
  • Military vehicle target
  • Pressure-activated trigger
  • Countermeasure tactics
  • Mine clearance operations

Sources for More Information

  • Jane’s Information Group: A leading provider of military, aerospace, and security information, including AVL mines, their specifications, and uses.
  • RAND Corporation: An independent research organization that provides objective analysis and effective solutions on various military topics, including anti-vehicle land mines.
  • French Ministry of Defence (MoD): The official website of the French MoD, which provides information on their military equipment and operations, including the use of AVL mines.
  • Army Technology: A military and defense industry website featuring news, articles, and products related to military technologies like anti-vehicle land mines.

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