What Shape Is a Minefield?

One of the persistent misperceptions of minefields is that they are like a flat, rectangular, clearly-bounded football field. I’m not exactly sure who to blame: perhaps Hollywood, perhaps the computer game Minesweeper, perhaps simply the word “minefield”. But reality is far more complex.

A minefield often replicates the shape of the conflict that produced it. Contemporary battlefields are rarely like the neatly divided board of the game Risk or chess. Ambushes, improvised explosive devices, remote aerial attacks and the shifting allegiances of fragmented factions mean there are no clear divisions between “safe territory” and the “war zone”.

For more of my reflections on the shape of minefields, read this article I wrote for MAG America’s latest newsletter.

~ by Matthew Bolton on 28 August 2014.

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