TM-E 30-451 Handbook on German Military Forces

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department Technical Manual, TM-E 30-451: Handbook on German Military Forces published in March 1945. — Figures and illustrations are not reproduced, see source details. — As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. — Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]



7. Igniters

a. PULL IGNITERS. (1) Bakelite Z.Z.42 (Zugzünder 42). The pin, the striker, and the actuating spring of this igniter are steel. The body and the collar are plastic mouldings, and the cap holder is brass. Between the lower end of the spring and the striker head are a metal washer and a felt washer which act as a guiding gland. The over-all length is 3 7/16 inches, and the diameter is 1/2 inch.

(2) Zugzünder 35 (Z.Z.35). (a) Description. This igniter is used with trip wires to operate S-mines, improvised mines, and booby traps. The heavy antitank mines have this igniter as a booby trap against lifting the lid, and it also is used as an extra igniter in Tellermines and as the main igniter in the drifting mine. The brass body of the igniter contains a sliding cylinder, a compressing spring, the striker, and the striker spring. In the unarmed position, the safety pin is prevented from falling out by a nut on the end of the pin and by a spring clip. When the nut is removed prior to arming, the clip still holds the pin in place until it is pulled away by a cord.

(b) Operation. In the armed position the striker is held only by two small cotters, which project into the groove behind the head of the striker. When the sliding cylinder is pulled up about 3/16 inch, the cotters are freed and move outwards, releasing the striker. The pull required to fire the igniter is 9 to 13 pounds.

(c) To neutralize. The igniter is made safe by pushing a small nail through the hole in the striker. The trip wire then may be cut.

(d) To disarm. When the igniter is fitted into a mine or charge, unscrew the igniter with the nail in place and remove the detonator.

(3) Zug-und Zerschneidezünder 35 (Zu. Z.Z.35). (a) Description. This igniter is used chiefly in places where tension wires are easily concealed. It functions in two ways—either by pull on a wire or by cutting the wire. In both cases it is set by securely fastening a wire through the hole in the head of the movable cylinder. The body of the igniter contains a movable cylinder, a striker spring, and the striker. The striker is held in position by two cotters. The movable cyIinder slides inside a sleeve fitted in the end of the main housing. This sleeve has two slots through which the safety pin passes. These slots allow for adjustment of the igniter when setting the charge. When the igniter is to be armed, the wire is attached to the cylinder and given enough tension to hold the safety pin near the center of the slot. This ensures easy withdrawal of the safety pin after the charge or mine has been laid. Before withdrawal of the pin the nut is removed from the end of it.

(b) Operation. When properly armed the igniter will function if the tension wire is pulled or cut.

(c) To neutralize. If the safety pin has been removed, and the tension wire is intact, push a small nail through the safety-pin hole, and, after determining that there is no igniter on the other end of the wire, the wire may be cut.

b. PRESSURE IGNITERS. (1) Druckzünder 35 (DZ.35 Type A). (a) Description. This is a mechanically-acting, push igniter, designed for use with improvised mines and booby traps. It is also the main igniter of the heavy antitank mine. It consists of an aluminum body and a plunger which carries the 1 1/4-inch pressure head. The plunger is held away from the cap by a strong spring. Within the plunger is a recess for the striker and spring. Two steel balls rest partly in two holes in the plunger and retain the striker in the cocked position. When in the safe position, the plunger is prevented from moving by a safety pin.

(b) Operation. After withdrawal of the safety pin the igniter is fired by pressure on the head, which depresses the plunger until the steel balls are free to escape into the space in the guide. The striker then is released and fires the cap. A pressure of 130 to 160 pounds (corresponding to a depression of about 1/3 inch) is sufficient to fire the igniter.

(c) To neutralize. Push a nail into the safety pin hole and secure it in place to prevent its falling out.

(d) To disarm. After neutralizing the igniter, unscrew it from the charge and remove the detonator.

(2) Druckzünder 35 (DZ.35 Type B). (a) Description. This igniter functions exactly the same way as type A, though its construction differs in a few minor details. The body is made of unpainted brass, and the diameter of the pressure head is 1 inch. The retaining steel balls are replaced by two small cotters, placed below the head of the striker. The cap is located in the base plug.

(b) Operation. After withdrawal of the safety pin, the igniter is fired by pressure on the head. When the plunger is depressed about 1/3 inch, the two small cotters escape from the guide into the space below. The striker then is released and fires the cap. The pressure required in some cases is as low as 50 pounds.

(c) To neutralize. Same as for Type A.

(d) To disarm. Same as for Type A.

(3) S-Minenzünder 35 (S.Mi.Z.35). (a) Description. This igniter is used to initiate the S-mine when set as a pressure operated charge. The body of the igniter is made of aluminum and holds a pressure spring, plunger, striker, and striker spring. A central part of the body acts as a distance piece and guide for the plunger. Three steel antennae, 1 1/4 inches long, are screwed to the head of the plunger. This hollow plunger takes the striker, which is held in position against its spring by two steel balls. The balls are held partly in two holes in the plunger and partly in a groove in the striker. The safety pin is retained in its hole by a spring-loaded and milled nut. When the safety pin is withdrawn, the mine is armed.

(b) Operation. Pressure on the antennae causes the plunger to descend, and after moving approximately 0.2 inch the steel balls fall away releasing the striker. The firing pressure is approximately 15 pounds.

(c) To neutralize. Push a nail into the safety pin hole. Care must be taken in handling this igniter as a slight steady pressure may cause it to function.

(4) Tellerminenzünder 42 (T.Mi.Z.42). This igniter consists of a simple steel striker retained against the pressure of a steel spring by a shear wire. The striker is in a steel casing. A percussion cap is at the base of the casing. The pressure necessary on the head of the striker is approximately 400 pounds.

(5) Tellerminenzünder 43 (T.Mi.Z.43). (a) Description. The chief feature of this igniter, which can be used in Tellermines 35, 35 (steel), 42, and 43, is that once it has been placed in the mine and armed it cannot be removed without exploding the mine. The head of the T.Mi.Z.43 is approximately 1/4 inch higher than that of the T.Mi.Z.42. The upper shear pin is 1/4 inch above the body of the igniter. The outer ends of the arming shear pins can be seen on the sides of the igniter body, either 1/2 inch or 7/8 inch below the top of the igniter body. The igniter consists of a body into which is pressed a cap retainer. Inside is a pressure sleeve, which protrudes above the casing. The upper part of the sleeve is fitted with a strong shear pin, and the lower part is connected to the igniter body by a weak brass arming wire. Inside the pressure sleeve is a plain tubular striker guide containing the striker, held in place by two retaining balls.

(b) Operation. The igniter is inserted in the normal manner, and the top of the mine is screwed on. This depresses the pressure sleeve, which in turn shears the weak arming pins with an audible snap. The anti-lifting device of the igniter now is armed. The igniter can be set off in either of two ways. When the pressure plate is crushed or depressed, the sleeve is pressed down until the strong shear pin is cut. The retaining balls escape into the recess above the shoulder of the sleeve, freeing the spring-loaded striker which fires the percussion cap. Any at-tempt to unscrew the pressure plate or cap of the mine will cause it to explode. Under pressure of the spring the sleeve follows any upward movement of the plate or cap and after about 1/8 inch upward travel the balls escape below the sleeve, again releasing the striker.

(c) Disarming. Since there is no way to determine whether a Tellermine is armed with this igniter, no pressure plate or screw caps should be removed from these mines. They should be lifted and destroyed. However, should it be necessary to determine the type of igniter, wind a rope or tracing tape counter-clockwise around the pressure plate or screw cap four complete times. Then pull from a safe distance to unscrew the plate or cap.

(6) T.Mi.Z.35. (a) Description. This pressure igniter has only been found in Tellermines. The brass body contains a floating striker assembly. The striker head is stepped to fit a projection on the spindle. This is a secondary safety device to keep the weight of the striker off the shear pin until the igniter is armed. A white mark with the word Sicher (safe) above it, and a red mark with the word Scharf (armed) above it are inscribed on the head of the igniter. When the screw head is turned so the red spot moves from the safe to the armed position, the projection moves clear of the striker head.

(b) Operation. In the mine the lower face of the guide compresses the ring situated above the adjusting collar. Pressure on the cover of the mine moves the body of the igniter down against the rubber on the collar and so exerts a force on top of the striker, shearing the pin. The striker then moves under the pressure of the spring.

(c) To neutralize. If the mines have been subjected to blast, unscrew the igniter gently. Hold the igniter clear of the mine with the cap pointing away. Turn the red spot on the screw head from Scharf to Sicher. Fix the claw attached to the wire, or a similar improvisation, into the slotted end of the safety bolt, and press the safety bolt home. Replace the igniter in the mine, screwing it in hand tight. If the mines are known to be in good condition, turn the red spot from Scharf to Sicher, using a coin, not a screwdriver. Fix the claw attached to the wire into the slotted end of the safety bolt and press the bolt home.

c. OTHER IGNITERS. (1) Pressure Release Device, E.Z.44 (Entlastungszünder 44). (a) Description. This device is intended primarily for booby-trapping Tellermines. Any attempt to remove the mine permits a plunger to rise, setting off an 8-ounce charge of TNT-PETN. A weight of 10 pounds is sufficient to hold the device in the armed position, and a built-in clockwork, time-delay protects the person setting it from premature detonation. The device is housed in a steel body crimped at the base. The operating mechanism fills one-half of the container, while the explosive occupies the remaining space. The operating mechanism includes the pressure release assembly, including plunger, plunger spring, and striker retaining arm; the clockwork mechanism; and the firing assembly, including striker, striker spring, percussion cap, detonator holder, and detonator.

(b) Operation. The clockwork mechanism is wound. A weight of at least 10 pounds is placed on the plunger. The safety bar is released, permitting the clockwork mechanism to function for 1 1/2 minutes with a loud buzzing sound, withdrawing the internal safety pin. The device now is armed.

(c) To neutralize. Once this device is armed it cannot be neutralized.

(2) Tilt Igniter, Ki.Z.43 (Kippzünder 43). (a) Description. The tilt igniter is designed to fire whenever the tilt rod is moved in any direction. This tilt rod is on top of the igniter, which contains a sliding pressure piece, pressure spring, hollow striker, striker spring, and two retaining balls. The detonator assembly includes percussion cap and detonator. An extension rod, 24 3/4 inches long, is connected by pushing the sleeve over the tilt rod.

(b) Operation. The igniter is armed by removing the safety pin. When the tilt rod is moved in any direction, the tilt-rod base is tilted inside the igniter body, depressing the pressure piece, thus freeing the striker. A lateral pressure of 15 to 23 pounds on the end of the tilt bar will fire the igniter. Use of the extension rod reduces the pressure needed to explode the igniter to 1 1/2 pounds.

(3) S-Mine Igniter 41. (a) Description. This igniter is a combination push-and-pull type, with the standard German igniter thread. It can be used in mines and charges other than the S.Mi. 44. The steel case of the igniter contains a spring-loaded striker above a percussion cap and detonator socket. The striker protrudes through the top of the igniter. Two flat, winged, actuating pieces are held together at the top by a safety pin. Holes in these pieces serve for the attachment of trip wires.

(b) Operation. The igniter is armed after the safety pin is withdrawn. A pressure of 21 pounds on the wings of the actuating pieces, or an outward pull of 14 pounds on the trip wires, opens the winged actuating pieces sufficiently to release the striker and fire the percussion cap.

(c) To neutralize. This igniter requires extreme care in neutralization. In place the igniter is completely covered, leaving only the wings exposed. Carefully locate the wings and remove enough earth to insert a safety pin or nail through the pin holes. If trouble is encountered in inserting the pin or nail, the mine is dangerous and should be destroyed in place. Unscrew the igniter, lift the mine, and remove the detonator.

(4) Clockwork long delay igniter (J-Feder 504). This igniter is a clockwork mechanism that may be set to function at any desired delay from 10 minutes to 21 days. It is used for special demolitions.

(5) Crush Type Chemical "Buck" Igniter. (a) Description. This igniter is a chemical, crush-actuated type, consisting of a thin metal drum, with circumferential grooves to reduce its resistance to vertical pressure. It contains a glass ampule half filled with acid, surrounded by a white, powdered, flash composition. It weighs 1 ounce.

(b) Operation. A moderate pressure on top of the igniter crushes the metal drum and the glass ampule inside it. The acid pours into the white powder, and a flash results, setting off detonator and mine.


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