“Pincushion” is the common term for the APM-18 Directional Anti- Personnel Mine used by the Union army. It is essentially a high powered magnetic device containing thousands of small steel darts or ‘pins’ which are repelled at great speed when activated. The weapon is similar to earlier explosive devices such as the claymore, but its advantages are that it has no back-blast (meaning that the operator can safely fire the weapon from directly behind it) and it can be set up and operated almost instantly. The weapon is passive, meaning that it gives off virtually no electronic signature until receiving a signal from its user. It can also be ‘synchronised’ to another operator over the platoon net, removing the need for command wires or firing switches. If necessary, however, the pincushion can be connected to a soldier’s datapad by optical cable and manually activated. The sudden and devastating effect of the pincushion makes it a particularly effective weapon for ambushes as well as defence, and if soldiers are well drilled in its use then it can also be used during a fighting withdrawal.