The Pookie mine detection vehicle proved highly effective at finding landmines during the Rhodesian Bush War in the 1970s

The Pookie’s F1 ‘slicks’ passed over landmines without detonating them
Pookie front- and rear-wheel assemblies were placed away from below the capsule, rendering the capsule almost totally safe from damage
South African-manufactured Milton mine-detector pans, connected by chains to the driver’s capsule, were initially fitted to the Pookie. The cylindrical fuel tank, mounted above the engine, was also situated a safe distance to the rear of the capsule

‘Between 1976 and the end of the counter-insurgency war in 1980, Pookies found over 550 landmines but never detonated a single one’

Acivilian Land Rover travelling at night in northeast Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in late August 1973 detonated a Soviet TM-46 anti-tank mine with the right front wheel. Miraculously, driver Dave Ward, his wife Margie and their two children survived the devastating blast but, apart from Margie, the others were either unconscious or semi-conscious. Fearing for the lives of her family in the event of insurgents arriving at the scene, she dragged them clear of the wreckage and into the bush at the side of the road to wait out the night. They were discovered alive the following morning by a schoolboy. Tragically, the valiant Margie died of severe internal injuries two days later in hospital.

Want to read more?

This is a premium article and requires an active subscription.

Existing subscriber? Sign in now

No subscription?

Pick one of our introductory offers