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Hybride research seminar „Naval mines in the Baltic Sea”

For centuries, the Baltic Sea has been a battleground between several great powers and empires. Both total and limited wars have taken place in this region. During the 19th and 20th centuries, technological innovations in naval weaponry brought about significant change in naval warfare. Therefore the advances in technology also led to corrections in naval tactics and operations. With the introduction of underwater weaponry, such as sea mines, torpedoes and depth charges, warfare at sea became even more dangerous. Not only for fighting warships but also for civillian shipping. Submarine weaponry offered the possibility of a different kind of war, the main characteristics of which were unobtrusive rapid attacks, stealth and the potential to sink any type of ship in deep or shallow waters. The geographical conditions of the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland, such as numerous shallows, narrow sealanes, relatively shallow depths along with numerous archipelagos favored the development of mine warfare. In essence, mine warfare essintially involves the use of sea mines for strategical, operational or tactical purposes. The other reason as to why mine warfare flourished in this region was its relatively low cost compared to, for example, costly capital ships. Therefore many smaller countries with limited naval capabilities had also the opportunity to protect themselves against naval invasions.
Since these self-contained explosive devices were not laid singulary, but in extensive minefields they could cover vast areas. The size of their explosive charges, the spacing of the mines and their fixed depth depended on the military-strategic objectives of the countries, their geographical characteristics, the direction of movement of the potential enemy and his capabilities. Minefields are further divided into three types: defensive (to ensure safe operational activities for ones forces in their territorial waters), protective (to protect their own harbours, coastline and shipping lanes) and offensive (minefields laid in enemy waters to disrupt or destroy their shipping and prevent naval manoeuvres).

In this seminar we are inviting naval historians and experts to discuss on the following subjects:
• what was the operational planning for conducting mine warfare in the Baltic Sea Region during WW I and WW II
• how did the use of underwater weaponry affected naval planning during the 20th century
• what were the innovations in underwater weaponry and how they were ment to be implemented by various navies situated in the Baltic Sea Region
• what role did naval warfare play during the Cold War era.

The purpose of this seminar is to give the historians of the Baltic Sea Region and abroad the opportunity to discuss between themselves this specific aspect of naval warfare.

Therefore you are kindly invited to participate in a research seminar „Naval mines in the Baltic Sea” which will be held by the Estonian Maritime Museum and will take place in Tallinn City Archives (Tolli 6) on June, the 2nd 2023.

It is also possible to participate online. Join us here: (Meeting ID: 851 8254 4243, Passcode: 801250)


9.30–10.00 Gathering and morning coffee 

10.00–10.05 Opening words from Urmas Dresen, Head of the Estonian Maritime Museum

10.05-10.15  Dr Hele Kiimann, Head of Research Department of the Estonian Maritime Museum, introduction of the project „Seamines at the Estonian Maritime Museum”

First panel: Historical Perspective of Seamines  (moderator Arto Oll, PhD)

10.15–10.45 MA Michael Hesselholt Clemmesen (participating over web), Brigadier general (retired). Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Military History, Cultural Understanding and War Studies at the Royal Danish Defense College „A Sketch of Danish Naval Mine Warfare 1870-1939: From defense of Copenhagen to Appeasement of Germany“ 

10.45–11.15 MA. Mikko Meronen, Curator of Finnish Naval History in Forum Marinum „Development of Mine Warfare by the Finnish Navy from 1918 to 1944“ 

11.15–11.45 Dr Arto Oll, Researcher at the Estonian Maritime Museum „Sea Mines in Estonian Naval Defense Concepts 1919-1939“ 

11.45–12.15 Concluding discussion of first panel

12.15–13.00 Lunch

Second panel: Contemporary Seamines (moderator Hele Kiimann, PhD)

13.00–13.30 Jukka Venermo, Principal Engineer, Electromagnetic Environment at Surma Ltd Finland „Modern Sea Mine Technology“ 

13.30–14.00 Commander Ott Laanemets, Estonian Navy, „Mine Warfare in the Baltic Sea: Operational Challenges“

 14.00–14.30 Dr Mirja Arnshav (participating over web), Archaeologist (Stockholm University) and Research Coordinator at the Swedish National Maritime and Transport Museums „The “afterlife” of Naval Mines“ 

14.30–15.00 Concluding discussion of second panel

15.00–15.15 Future collaboration at Baltic Sea Region and closing words  


The event is free of charge, but registration is compulsory.

Registration is open until May 30. Online participation doesn’t require registration. Join us here: (Meeting ID: 851 8254 4243, Passcode: 801250)

Please feel free to get in touch with us at with your questions.

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