A mine plow (plough in British English) is a device designed to clear a lane through a minefield, allowing other vehicles to follow. A mine plow is typically mounted to a tank or military engineering vehicle. Buried land mines are plowed up and pushed outside the tank's track path or tipped over. Since modern anti-tank mines rely on a focused explosion to destroy armored vehicles, they are useless when turned upside-down; as the tank runs over the mine, it will expend its blast down instead of upwards, causing insignificant damage, if any.
The first recorded combat use is by a "Bullshorn" plow on a Churchill tank of the British 79th Armoured Division, on Sword Beach during the Allied invasion of Normandy (this was one of "Hobart's Funnies" specialized vehicles). The "Bullshorn" was one of a number of plow designs which were tested and used by the British Army.
The mine plow is still in use by many combat engineering units. The Royal Engineers have deployed the Trojan to Afghanistan where it is usually fitted with a plow on the front, which enables it to clear mines, either detonating them on contact, or pushing them out of the way to clear a safe channel for following vehicles.
- Chamberlain & Ellis British and American Tanks of World War II (1969) Arco Publishing. p55
- "Trojan used for IED clearance"