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A mine flail is a vehicle-mounted device that makes a safe path through a minefield by deliberately detonating land mines in front of the vehicle that carries it. They were first used by the British during World War II.
The mine flail consists of a number of heavy chains ending in fist-sized steel balls (flails) that are attached to a horizontal, rapidly rotating rotor mounted on two arms in front of the vehicle. The rotor's rotation makes the flails spin wildly and violently pound the ground. The force of a flail strike above a buried mine mimics the weight of a person or vehicle and causes the mine to detonate, but in a safe manner that does little damage to the flails or the vehicle.
A number of experimental flail tanks were produced, including the Valentine Scorpion, based on the Valentine tank and several designs based on the M4 Sherman – the Sherman Mark IV and Mark V Scorpions and the "Sherman Lobster". Eventually one of these, the Sherman Crab, went into full production at the request of General Hobart and saw active service.