Paravanes were developed 1914-1916 by Lieutenant Burney and Commander Usborne as a direct result of the War, due to the need to destroy oceanic mines. The paravane would be strung out and streamed alongside a towing ship, normally from the bow. The wings of the paravane would tend to force the body away from the towing ship, placing a lateral tension on the towing wire. If the tow cable snagged the cable anchoring a mine then the anchoring cable would be cut, allowing the mine to float to the surface where it could be destroyed by gunfire. If the anchor cable would not part, the mine and the paravane would be brought together and the mine would explode harmlessly against the paravane. The cable could then be retrieved and a replacement paravane fitted. The method was still in use in the Second World War. 

These design drawings detail how they were used and show the different types.

Learn more about defence during the First World War.