A small warship specialised in the neutralisation of underwater mines. During the First World War, early minesweepers were often wooden trawlers whose fishing gear was modified to tow a mechanical sweep. The aim was to cut the anchor cables of contact mines to bring them to the surface and then destroy them by cannon or gunfire. It was not until the Second World War that specialised minesweepers appeared, capable of exploding magnetic or acoustic mines by triggering their detonators. Unlike subsequent minehunters, minesweepers could not detect mines and were thus working blindly.