A World War II M2 sea mine and anchor weight arrived at the MAC Lab for conservation earlier this year. Both were found by staff at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes, Delaware when Hurricane Hermine made its way through the state in September 2016.
The Cape Henlopen State Park grounds are home to the site of Fort Miles, an Army base that operated during World War II. In response to the German U-boat presence along the U.S.’s Eastern seaboard, a minefield was set up to prevent the enemy from entering the bay and the rivers connected to it. Each mine within that field was set up to be remotely controlled via a central cable that connected them all to a central hub within Fort Miles. (Associated Press 2019, “Hurricane Hermine”).
The M2 mine was first listed in the U.S. War Department’s Controlled Submarine Mine Material in April of 1942. The mine and anchor would have been connected by an adjustable tether and linked to the central distribution box via a cable (see Figure 2). This cable link would then transmit the signal to detonate from the distribution box to the linked mines within the field.
Reader, beware: should you find a most exciting piece of military history that was intended to contain explosive material, it could have dangerous results. Don’t try anything at home by yourself, and always consult an expert.
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