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A PFM-1 training mine, distinguishable from the live version by the presence of the Cyrillic character "У".

PFM-1 schematic

PFM-1 (Russian: ПФМ-1, short for противопехотная фугасная мина - anti-infantry high-explosive mine; NATO name: Green parrot, also known as butterfly mine) is a land mine of Soviet production, very similar to BLU-43 US Army landmine. Both devices are very similar in shape and principles, although they use different explosives.


The mine is, in essence, a plastic bag containing explosive liquid. The mine is stored with a pin restraining a detonating plunger. Once the arming pin is removed, the plunger is slowly forced forward by a spring until it contacts the detonator, at which point it is armed. This takes between one and forty minutes, allowing the mine to be deployed manually, or air dropped.

Deformation of the soft plastic skin of the mine forces the arming plunger to strike the detonator, detonating the mine. Because the body of the mine is a single cumulative pressure primer, it is extremely dangerous to handle the mine: A single press of 5 kg or more will make it go off. The charge is usually nonlethal, although sufficient to destroy part of the foot if stepped on. Frequently, this mine is mistaken for a toy by children and handled, with the result that the victim's hand is blown off. A variant of the mine, PFM-1S, self-destroys after one to forty hours, with 85% of the mines destroyed by 80 hours.

The mine can be deployed both from helicopters and by infantry. In the latter variant, a number of mines are spread over a circle with a diameter of ~15 meters.

Once the fuze on a PFM-1 mine is armed it cannot be disarmed. The standard render-safe procedure is to destroy the mine in situ by detonating a small explosive charge next to it.

Military use

PFM-1 was mainly used during the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, resulting in a high number of casualties among children since it was often mistaken for a toy due to its shape and coloring.[1] As the mine exploded, it often resulted in hand and head trauma, which was frequently lethal. This characteristic made this particular type of land mine a principal target for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. Due in part to anti-Soviet sentiment and the high casualties among children because of this mine, there are widespread rumors in Afghanistan that the mine was deliberately designed to attract children; in reality, the mine's shape was dictated by aerodynamics.[2]


  • Weight: 75 g
  • Filling: 37 g of VS6-D or VS-60D liquid explosive
  • Fuze: MVDM/VGM-572
  • Length: 120 mm
  • Width: 20 mm
  • Height: 61 mm
  • Operating pressure: 5–25 kg

See also


  1. Tanner, Stephen. "Afghanistan: A Military History"
  2. McGrath, Rae (1998). Landmines: Legacy of Conflict: A Manual for Development Workers. pp. 39–40. ISBN 0-7881-3280-6. 

External links

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