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French Wwi Battlefields Still Dangerous After 100 Years

WWI chemical warfare red zone

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#1 sunday

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Posted 27 May 2015 - 0515 AM

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.messyness...oisoned-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?:

 

oliviersainthilaire_musee_du-deminage-14


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#2 EchoFiveMike

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Posted 27 May 2015 - 0518 AM

France had a 52cm RR gun.  S/F....Ken M


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#3 RETAC21

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Posted 27 May 2015 - 0529 AM

By comparison to the other projectiles, it's about 400mm in caliber which would fit with the French 400mm railroad gun Mle 15 or 16.


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#4 Markus Becker

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Posted 27 May 2015 - 0626 AM

"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.

 

 

774555412038220.jpg


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#5 sunday

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Posted 27 May 2015 - 0818 AM

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


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#6 X-Files

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Posted 27 May 2015 - 0835 AM

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.co...g/dp/067975153X


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#7 Markus Becker

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Posted 27 May 2015 - 1250 PM

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.  


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#8 Guest_Jason L_*

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Posted 27 May 2015 - 1331 PM

"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.

 

 

774555412038220.jpg

 

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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#9 Markus Becker

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Posted 27 May 2015 - 1345 PM

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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#10 Guest_Jason L_*

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Posted 27 May 2015 - 1438 PM

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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#11 BillB

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Posted 27 May 2015 - 1858 PM

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.

 

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#12 Corinthian

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Posted 27 May 2015 - 2329 PM

 

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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#13 zaarin7

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Posted 19 June 2015 - 2057 PM

It's not just WW I but WW II left tons of unexploded ordenance across Eurpope too.


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#14 Ken Estes

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Posted 20 June 2015 - 0233 AM

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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#15 zaarin7

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Posted 20 June 2015 - 1600 PM

Cassino, Hurtgan Forest, Achen, Stalingrad, Kursk, Normandy, all of these saw fighting as intence as W W I and some lasted for several weeks.


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#16 Ken Estes

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Posted 20 June 2015 - 1738 PM

Several weeks? Wow.


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#17 Ken Estes

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Posted 21 June 2015 - 0326 AM

"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.

 

 

774555412038220.jpg

 

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

 

220px-80cm_Gustav_shell.jpg

 

Or, a possible propaganda pic:

 

kAIthG.jpg

 

http://rarehistorica...er-used-combat/

 

http://worldwar2data...allery/wwii0213


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