My thanks go to Karl Mason for kindly letting me photograph his mine detector to allow it to be included on the blog.
During the Second World War there was a desperate need for a portable method of detecting mines buried under the ground that could hold up an advance as they were laboriously located by men on their knees with bayonets. The answer came from a Polish lieutenant who had fled his native land for Britain. Jozef Kosacki designed a detector that used two coils, one of which was connected to an oscillator which generated an oscillating current of an acoustic frequency. The other coil was connected to an amplifier. When the coils came into contact with the magnetic field of a piece of metal, the frequencies were upset and a sound was heard suggesting there might be an object underneath the ground.
A number of different marks of mine detector were produced of increasing complexity and differing weights. We have previously looked at the post war Mk 4c, but this is the Mk 6a which was introduced late in the war:
The main detector had a head with an oscillator coil in it, attached to a wooden handle and with an arm brace to allow it to be held comfortably by the operator. This was attached by wiring to an amplifier unit:
The control box could be worn on the belt using the large clips at both ends of it and the headphones attached. These have a pair of rubber ear guards and an elasticated band to go over the user’s head:
In operation the detector was powered by the battery unit carried in a pack on the user’s back:
The Mk 6a has a webbing pack to hold it with a large box lid secured with a quick release tab:
Shoulder straps are fitted to the rear of the pack with hooks to allow it to be attached the 37 Pattern webbing:
Note also the waist strap to help distribute the load better. The total weight of the detector was under 30lb and could be easily handles by one man. Over the course of the war a total of 100,000 detectors of the different marks were produced and used by British and Commonwealth troops.