I’ve been thinking a lot about landmines lately. They seem to serve two purposes: as tactical barriers to an advancing army and as a way to deny access to an area (for an unspecified period in the future). These weapons seem particularly unpleasant because they affect civilians directly and keep doing so for years after the latest crazy warfest has abated.
I’m working on ways to neutralise mines themselves, but today’s invention is an approach which restricts the military benefit of laying the damn things in the first place.
Local people can defend their territory from minelaying by creating multiple smooth-earth paths across their land. These could be created using a multishare plough and lots of footstamping (some water might also help, if available).
The smoothness of these paths would make it impossible to conceal mines beneath the surface, leaving clear routes along which people could move and rendering the sowing of mines in the normal land to either side futile. The paths could be sunbaked and straw-packed, making them rainproof to an extent and more durable to foot traffic.
If achieveing smoothness were a problem, the surface could have elaborate patterns impressed on it (during the ploughing and stamping process) which would be difficult to duplicate at short notice by an invading army. Imagine a Bayeux Tapestry depicting local history. Afterwards, the land can be returned to normal use by breaking up and digging-in the baked mud.