Minesweepers destroy WWII minefield

  • 2006-08-16
  • From wire reports
VILNIUS - Experts of the army's Juozas Vitkus Engineering Battalion successfully destroyed the anti-tank minefield in a forest near Pravieniskes on Aug. 12

The entire field of 27 mines T mine-42 's the first minefield known in Lithuania 's was destroyed over the weekend, and the battalion's experts combed the territory around the minefield but failed to find any more explosives.
The battalion's commander, Major Rimantas Ceslovas Cerniauskas, told the Baltic News Service that the mines were preserved well in the sandy soil and the detonators were impossible to neutralize, which made the explosives highly dangerous and required destruction on the spot. Every mine contained 9-10 kilograms of dynamite.

The minefield was discovered on Aug. 11 after an anonymous call was made to the police. The field was probably laid in 1944 by the Nazi Reich's withdrawing army, which expected a breakthrough of Russian tanks in the location. The minefield is comprised of two lines, three meters apart. Over time the area was covered by a forest.
"It looks like the Germans expected a breakthrough of Russian tanks in this location and prepared a field of mines. Over the course of time, the area was covered by a forest," Cerniauskas said.
Lithuanian municipalities have declared an area of approximately 24,000 hectares possibly containing WWII-era explosives and ammunition.

In 2005, the Engineering Battalion destroyed 2,500 explosives of various types and caliber.