Saturday, September 01, 2012

Still finding stuff left over from WWII

in Germany. Other places too, I imagineLink


Marja said...

Last time I saw news about an unexploded bomb being found in the ground in the town where I live was a few months ago. I think there were something like ten bombing runs by Soviets here during the Winter War, and eight during the Continuation War (that's World War II, my country kind of managed to have three separate wars then, the third was the Lapland War with the Germans after peace was made with the Soviets and our erstwhile allies were still in the country).

Right now those old unexploded bombs seem to be found about once or twice per decade. And some soldiers and civilians hid guns, ammunition and other ordnance after the wars in case the Soviets would, in spite of the peace agreements, occupy the country. Some of them, but not all, got caught and sentenced, and not all the caches were found then so sometimes those still turn up.

Luton Ian said...

There are a couple of big high pressure gas pipelines which run through this area (36" diam!).

There have been several big developments near the pipes, and one of the conditions of going ahead, is to dig trenches either side of the gas pipe line, to act as cut offs for the shock wave if an old WW11 bomb is found and objects to being disturbed.

Speaking to the engineer on one of the sites, he was pretty confident they would find something, despite the area being one of the less heavily bombed.

In London, there are very strict rules about drilling in the river thames within a certain distance of any of the tunnels under it.

A colleague from several years back, used to go over to the Somme and Marne valleys, whenever he got the chance. He had photos of artillery shells which had been ploughed up, stacked allong the side of the fields each autumn, waiting to be collected by the bomb squad. The fuses in the nose were fantastic brass devices, with graduated dials.

Firehand said...

Ah, if only you could collect some without worrying about being converted to gas

Luton Ian said...

The innards of the fuses are pretty simple and they show up in curio shops. colleague had quite a few on a shelf in his office.

I'm not going to risk messing with one, but it looks like a relatively simple job to screw them out.

Several of them are covered from page 621 of this book (free download) and there's a good full page cross section diagram on p 661

machinery mag did a load of books during WWi in anticipation of the US joining the war

colvin & viall's "US rifles and machineguns" covering the manufacture of the 1903 Springfield was another in the series (there are scans of it on too.

Also books on cartridge manufacture

Luton Ian said...

Here's Colvin & Viall - download both as some pages don't show on one of them, and I can't remember which one it is.

and a selection of "cartridge manufacture"

Windy Wilson said...

I've seen Danger! UXB with Anthony Andrews. Some of those bombs with the easy-to-screw-out detonators were made to detonate when unscrewed, expressly to kill the bomb disposal workers.
I don't know which is worse; discovering unexploded ordnance, or all those wood shorings in the forgotten bunkers in Northern France quietly collapsing after 90 years under the weight of villages and towns.

Firehand said...

Yeek! I didn't know about the bunkers; that'd be a hell of a way to wake up