The British army used heavy artillery to kill thousands of Londoners in the early 1940s

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T. A. Gardner
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Re: The British army used heavy artillery to kill thousands of Londoners in the early 1940s

Post by T. A. Gardner » 18 Feb 2023 00:27

I'd agree with Rich--Horse pucky.

If the shells went off (90%+), they produced fragments weighing anywhere from several ounces to tiny fractions of an ounce. These would return to earth at low velocities dictated by gravity versus their air resistance. The vast majority were non-lethal as a result. Sure, one of the few from a shell weighing somewhere close to a pound could seriously injure or kill you, but those made up a tiny fraction of the total fragments falling.

If the shell failed to detonate, and it returned to earth intact, it was unlikely to go off on impact, since it didn't go off earlier, or so one would think. So, unless you were so unlucky as to be standing right where it landed, you didn't get hit.

More on Mythbusters shooting bullets in the air
https://www.wired.com/2009/10/more-on-m ... aight%20up.

Hop
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Re: The British army used heavy artillery to kill thousands of Londoners in the early 1940s

Post by Hop » 17 Mar 2023 17:19

The UK National Archives has a document titled Air Raids On London, September-November 1940, produced by the Research and Experiments Department of the Ministry of Home Security, presented to the war cabinet 5 May 1941. Table 4 analyses casualties by where and how they occured.

Dwelling houses and other buildings
2,671 "cards", 777 killed
Of which AA Barrage 13 cards, 3 killed

Street or open
899 cards, 90 killed
Of which AA Barrage 77 cards, 2 killed

Anderson shelters
443 cards, 220 killed
Of which AA barrage 1 card, 3 killed

Other shelters
459 cards, 233 killed
Of which AA barrage 2 cards, 0 killed

Total 1,320 killed, 8 by AA barrage, 0.6% of total sample

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wm
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Re: The British army used heavy artillery to kill thousands of Londoners in the early 1940s

Post by wm » 18 Mar 2023 00:08

Well, the coup de grâce to the story has been delivered.

Stiltzkin
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Re: The British army used heavy artillery to kill thousands of Londoners in the early 1940s

Post by Stiltzkin » 18 Mar 2023 07:04

Controversy sells better, and the best propaganda is always based on half-truths.

Carl Schwamberger
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Re: The British army used heavy artillery to kill thousands of Londoners in the early 1940s

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 18 Mar 2023 17:47

Richard Anderson wrote:
09 Feb 2023 20:47
So it took a physicist designing a new accelerometer to alert engineers testing fuzes on proving ground ranges that their fuzes were not going BANG? Good to know.

In reality, fuzes were tested regularly for functionality and reliability. For example, APG Firing Record No. 6693 tested powder-train time fuzes fired from the 3" AA Gun M1917. In 33 rounds fired there were two failures (94%) and time variability averaged about 0.79 seconds from the setting. The major reason for the development of the VT fuze was the lack of timing precision in mechanical and powder-train time fuzes rather than because they did not explode.

Aside from the ordnance people organizing tests the performance of ammunition used in trading is tracked. We observed all training ammunition fired, kept records, and reported any failures. Periodically the Range Control, the administrative group that ran the firing ranges swept the impact areas for undetonated ammunition and sent reports on what was found to the ordnance people.

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Re: The British army used heavy artillery to kill thousands of Londoners in the early 1940s

Post by Richard Anderson » 18 Mar 2023 18:05

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
18 Mar 2023 17:47
Aside from the ordnance people organizing tests the performance of ammunition used in trading is tracked. We observed all training ammunition fired, kept records, and reported any failures. Periodically the Range Control, the administrative group that ran the firing ranges swept the impact areas for undetonated ammunition and sent reports on what was found to the ordnance people.
Yeah, it always amuses me when people denigrate the basic intelligence of the military, especially field grade and general officers. Most of them spend much of their career in education, from specialty schools related to their branch to graduate, post-graduate, and doctoral degree-granting institutions. Ditto for the senior enlisted ranks. Thus the idea that it required a physicist to teach Ordnance officers how to test fuzes is simply breathtakingly stupid. While there were few actual physicists in the Ordnance Department, there was a wealth of practical engineers. One of the more interesting U.S. Army Ordnance officers I ran into while writing For Purpose of Service test - Stackpole has finally committed to publishing it BTW :thumbsup: - was Lieutenant Colonel Hermann Heinrich Zornig, who established the Research Division, Aberdeen Proving Ground in 1935, which eventually became the Ballistics Research Lab.
Hermann Zornig was born in Newall, Iowa on 19 January 1888. He graduated the Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts in 1909 with a degree in electrical engineering and was commissioned as a 2d Lieutenant in the Coast Artillery on 4 October 1910. On 20 June 1916, Zornig was assigned to the Ordnance Department and graduated from the Ordnance School of Technology in 1917. He transferred officially to the Ordnance Department on 4 September 1920 with the rank of major and was assigned to the Watertown Arsenal. He completed a master of science degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1923 while at Watertown and then was assigned to the Picatinny Arsenal. Major Zornig served as assistant attaché in Berlin from 1927 until fall 1930 and while there undertook studies at his own expense the Technische Hochschule, Charlottenberg under the famous ballistician Carl J. Cranz (1858-1945). Zornig was promoted to colonel on 1 November 1939 and then in May 1940 was sent back to Berlin on temporary duty, studying the German armaments industry, but returned after just three months, frustrated with his inability to get past German security restrictions. Colonel Zornig served as the head of the BRL until June 1941 when appointed Assistant Commander, Watertown Arsenal, in charge of the Research Laboratory conducting metallurgical studies. He held that post until fall 1944, when he was sent on temporary duty to the ETO as the head of the Ordnance Section of the Combined Intelligence Objectives Sub-committee. In December 1944 he was transferred to the ETOUSA G-2 and organized what came to be known as the “Zornig Mission”, exploiting German ordnance research, until the end of the war. He retired for disability in 1946. Colonel Zornig died in 1973.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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