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French Wwi Battlefields Still Dangerous After 100 Years


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As it said in thread's title, the WWI battlefields will be a closed zone for years to come. This article reminded me of the visit we did past summer to Verdun's Fort Douaumont. Very eerie place

 

http://www.messynessychic.com/2015/05/26/the-real-no-go-zone-of-france-a-forbidden-no-mans-land-poisoned-by-war/

 

Also I'd like to know what kind of shells are those two big ones. They seem larger than the 42cm Big Bertha ones. Decapped 80cm Dora's perhaps?:

 

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I read this originally as an article in Smithsonian Magazine when the where plates were still fresh. Some French dude takes his girlfriend off to a grassy little bowl to mess around and they both run out screaming, with burns. That mustard gas was still painful in 1995-ish.

 

Highly recommended.

http://www.amazon.com/Aftermath-Remnants-Landmines-Warfare-The-Devastating/dp/067975153X

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Guest Jason L

"French Battlefields especially dangerours after 100 years"

 

Explosives get more dangerous with age. Cordite come to my mind. With regard to the shells, the big one is from Dora.

 

 

 

Yes, and no. Aged (ie cracked and/or exeduded) explosives tend to be more sensitive such that major mechanical assaults would set them off, but other than a few notable cases they don't become exceptionally sensitive, so the primary risk always remains the fuse.

 

It's been well accepted that particularely hostile environments like jungle/tropics actually effectively inert many explosive devices like mines by just utterly destroying the fusing system via corrosion and infiltration of debris and fungal growth.

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Corroded fuses are a big headache for bomb removal teams. As long as they can simple unscrew the fuse and pull it out its just another day in the office. Problems start when the fuse can't be removed. And I thought that decomposing explosives don't make the job easier.

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Guest Jason L

Corroded fuses are a big headache for bomb removal teams. As long as they can simple unscrew the fuse and pull it out its just another day in the office. Problems start when the fuse can't be removed. And I thought that decomposing explosives don't make the job easier.

 

They don't help, but they are rarely a deciding factor.

 

Most of the serious issues are chemical fuse related where the firing pin might be holding on by a shred of metal wire or even a sticky spring. Even if you can remove it via remote unscrewing with a pneumatic driver, you may not want to.

 

You can obviously be a bit rougher unscrewing other fuse types.

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Corroded fuses are a big headache for bomb removal teams. As long as they can simple unscrew the fuse and pull it out its just another day in the office. Problems start when the fuse can't be removed. And I thought that decomposing explosives don't make the job easier.

I don't think the French and Belgian teams even try to dismantle the WW1 stuff that routinely crops up, AIUI they either cart it away and demo it somewhere else or do it on the spot if it's a remote enough location. I've seen loads of unexploded ordnance stacked up at the side of ploughed fields all across Belgium and France and where they've been forest clearing around Verdun and the shells are so badly rusted you can't see a fuse, never mind remove it. I suspect gas shells are more of a concern.

 

BillB

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No so much UXO but heavy metals in the soil, and poison gas residues, Markus.

 

Now that you say it, the sheer volume of shells fired along frontlines that barely changed.

 

 

Makes Manila and Corregidor look like placid plots of land where no battles occurred. Every now and then WW2 munitions are dug up in Manila at some construction projects. At Corregidor, at Battery Geary (IIRC) there's at least one UXO there. Corregidor and Bataan have pro'ly been scoured nearly clean of these stuff by scrap scavengers....

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  • 4 weeks later...

But WWII was much more a war of movement, more easily cleaned up except for the minefields on land and sea. No way to accumulate such concentrations of munitions in the ground. although the most heavily bombed cities would be a noteworthy exception. Apart from a few isolated sieges, there was no equivalent of Verdun, Passchendaele, the Somme and so forth.

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"French Battlefields especially dangerours after 100 years"

 

Explosives get more dangerous with age. Cordite come to my mind. With regard to the shells, the big one is from Dora.

 

 

 

Uh, this one would more approximate the Dora/Gustav caliber:

 

220px-80cm_Gustav_shell.jpg

 

Or, a possible propaganda pic:

 

 

http://rarehistoricalphotos.com/heavy-gustav-hitler-generals-inspecting-largest-caliber-rifled-weapon-ever-used-combat/

 

http://worldwar2database.com/gallery/wwii0213

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  • 3 years later...

World War One grenade among potatoes at Hong Kong crisp factory

41 minutes ago

A World War One-era German hand grenade has been found among a delivery of potatoes shipped from France to a crisp factory in Hong Kong, police say.

 

The muddy device, which was 3in (8cm) wide, was "in an unstable condition" because it had been discharged but had failed to detonate, officials said.

 

It was discovered at the Calbee crisp-making factory in the eastern Sai Kung district on Saturday morning.

 

The bombe de terre was safely detonated on site by bomb disposal officers.

 

"All the information to date suggests that the grenade was imported from France together with the other potatoes," Superintendant Wong Ho-hon told reporters.

 

He added that the device was defused using a "high-pressure water firing technique".

 

It is believed to have been dug up accidentally with potatoes planted in a field in France before being exported.

 

"The grenade was likely to have been left behind, dropped by soldiers there during the war, or left there after it was thrown," Dave Macri, a military historian, told the South China Morning Post.

 

[...]

 

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-47107609

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