What is a 'Bouncing Betty'?

This was a name given to a particular type of mine. The mine is a small cylindrical device that was buried in the ground, with a set of wires sticking up. When the wires were tripped, the mine exploded and shot up a charge about 4 feet into the air that exploded. The charge was not very large and contained small steel balls or metal that would inflict injuries to soldiers. Since it jumped up into the air, this allowed the secondary explosion to cause more damage.

This type of mine first seen in WW2 and is still in use today. The Germans developed one called the "S" mine or the Schrapnellmine 35 (SMi-35). The SMi 35 was buried with just its igniter's protruding above ground or connected to trip wires. When tripped, the SMi 35 ejected a small cylinder that scattered some 350 small steel balls over an area of 164 yards. They were also called the "Schu mine" based on the German name for it (however, some references mistakenly spell it 'shoe mine').

Quotes from Veterans

"I witness the entire battalion cross over one such obstacle, except for the last man, who is unfortunate enough to have his foot blown off by a shoe{Schu} mine. How 450 men have crossed over the same path and avoided stepping on that mine is almost unbelievable!"

Quote from Captain Klaus Huebner, medical officer with 351st Regiment, 88 Division

"All in all, even though limitations of time had prevented full implementation of the Fuhrers order of early June, the work accomplished by the end of August represented no mean achievement. A report submitted to Kesselring on 3 September revealed the state of completion of the defenses in the Tenth Army's sector on 28 August. Most impressive were the figures for the minor types of installations - 2,375 machine-gun posts, 479 anti-tank gun, mortar and assault-gun positions, 3,604 dug-outs and shelters of various kinds (including 27 caves), 16,006 rifleman's positions (of trees and branches), 72,517 "T" (Teller, anti-tank) mines and 23,172 "S" mines laid, 117,370 meters of wire obstacles, and 8,944 meters of anti-tank ditch. Only four Panther turrets however had been completed (with 18 still under construction and seven more projected), 18 out of an intended 46 smaller tank gun turrets (for 1-cm and 2-cm. guns) were ready, and of 22 Organization Todt steel shelters being constructed, not not one was finished."

A description of the German defenses at the GOTHIC Line, from "The Canadians In Italy, 1943-1945" - by Lt.-Col. G.W. Nicholson.

Link with photos:


When you trip the "BETTY" it does not detonate until you step off of it then it bounces up about three feet into the air behind you, thus Blowing you half into at the mid section; your bottom half will be strudel and your top half will still be alive. these were used in NAM. They used tanks to clear out these mines and Hummers would follow while carrying personell, thus this is why the Hummerand Humvee are made so wide to drive into the tracks that the M1 Tank has made due to there still may be mines left active in the center.