Did the US drop booby-trapped toys in WWII?

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Sid Guttridge
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Re: Did the US drop booby-trapped toys in WWII?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 04 Dec 2014 11:21

Hi Naga,

Thanks.

However, that doesn't bring us any closer to the subject of the thread.

Firstly, this presumably refers to the southern end of the Eastern Front and has nothing to do with either the US, or toys.

Secondly, the reporting party had not seen the "exploding mechanical pencils". It is a second hand report from a neighbouring unit.

Thirdly, it is not altogether clear whether the "pencil" refers to the general shape or an actual disguise as a pen. The early Do17 bomber was nicknamed "The Flying Pencil" for its slim shape, without actually being disguised as a pencil.

Finally, I am not at all sure that such disguises were against the then laws of war. For example, the British reportely developed mines disguised as donkey droppings for the Italian Campaign, jokingly referred to in quatermater records as something like "Turd, Calabrian, Mark II".

Cheers,

Sid.

flakbait
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Re: Did the US drop booby-trapped toys in WWII?

Post by flakbait » 04 Dec 2014 11:39

As far as the "random" dropping of various items, it could be possible that some Allied aircraft on designated covert delivery missions to SOE or partisan groups experienced mechanical trouble and/ or flak damage and/ or weather issues and to lighten the plane and to try to get back to at least friendly territory what is the crew going to do ? The same exact thing an inbound bomber crew in trouble is probably going to do: immediately JETTISON the cargo of what ever their carrying especially if it`s EXPLOSIVES. Where ever that cargo lands is where it lands with deliberate malice towards none, just a simple basic attempt by the crew of a faltering plane to survive. Crash landing is bad enough, but doing it with a cargo of explosive devices still aboard is not generally deemed desirable for continued longevity. As far as the explosive `dolls` cannot help but think of the "mini paratroopers" dropped over Normandy and several other locations the early morning of D-Day. Correct me if am mistaken, but as part of that rather successful effort to simply sow utter confusion and deceive the defenders and just semi- exhaust them running hither and tither on wild goose chases as well as burn up some petrol there were large numbers of these "dolls" dropped in various areas of France, as well as deception bombing raids to even briefly divert attention from Normandy. Am not saying these "dolls" were the exact same thing but it DOES show a well known documented example...

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Re: Did the US drop booby-trapped toys in WWII?

Post by NagaSadow » 04 Dec 2014 11:40

Hello!

You're right of cause on the Eastern Front part. But I think the use of "Drehbleistifte" is too specific. IMHO the IC doesn't mean pencil shaped explosives but mechanical pencils with hidden explosives in them.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Did the US drop booby-trapped toys in WWII?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 04 Dec 2014 12:26

Hi flakbait,

Any number of things are theoretically possible, but this is a historical forum requiring hard evidence.

Do you have any?

The rest of this thread so far lacks it and it is a decade old!

Cheers,

Sid

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Did the US drop booby-trapped toys in WWII?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 04 Dec 2014 12:42

Hi Naga,

There is already a drawing of such a propelling pencil on this thread:

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 7&start=60

We seem to be getting off the specific subject of the thread, which is "Did the US drop booby-trapped toys in WWII?"

Cheers,

Sid.

flakbait
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Re: Did the US drop booby-trapped toys in WWII?

Post by flakbait » 05 Dec 2014 00:07

8th AF history alone is chock full of examples of damaged combat loaded aircraft particularly bombers jettisoning their bomb loads willy nilly over many parts of Europe, believe it was standard war time SOP. A damaged covert mission aircraft would be no different; no pilot or crew in their right mind is going to want to try to lug that extra weight back home except in extraordinary circumstances, especially if a crash/ forced landing is probable. The risk of a fire is great enough without adding a cargo of explosives to further liven things up...

ChristopherPerrien
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Re: Did the US drop booby-trapped toys in WWII?

Post by ChristopherPerrien » 05 Dec 2014 03:24

So far , I have seen one photo of one 'pen-bomb"(apparently it is the onlyphoto) and one photo of one kid with his hand bandaged. If bomb pens and toys had been dropped in any number more than "one" , there would be many photos of them and many detailed atrocity stories with them including various photos. Maybe some 1940's era "Unabomber" who was also an Allied pilot made a few of these "amusements" and tossed them out himself; But an organized plot? no, Manufactured in any numbers? no, Dropped in any multiple numbers, no; If they had, they would have been photo'ed a-lot more, more pictures of other injured children/people would be around, and examples of these pens/toys would be scattered across museums, today.

coroviev
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Re: Did the US drop booby-trapped toys in WWII?

Post by coroviev » 08 May 2015 16:51

Hello! I`m from Bulgaria. The same stories are spread here too. Recently I found an article about these booby-trapped toys, the author attached a scan from the archives as an evidence. Also he claims that a friend a of his lost a hand because of booby-trapped pen. This is the scan of the document. I translated it. Sorry if there are some terms that sound funny. I`m not sure how they sound in English, also some of them are outdated in Bulgarian too.

Confidential

To: Ministry of war
Army headquarter-I
General staff- intelligence office
Commander of his majesty air force
Commander of air defense
Commander of chemistry defense
Commandant of the palace
Chief of police
German air mission

Reporting that on 17th this month,enemy did new terrorist assault on Sofia using about 200 4 engine bombers, escorted by the same amount fighter planes.
After taking off from south Italy-probably from Brindizi- the planes headed to the region of Kataro-Shkodra, where they regrouped about 10-15min. and following direction east-northeast, headed Sofia, appearing exactly in 12.18 PM.
Rout of incoming flight is shown in the scheme with red, outgoing in blue.
Except high-explosive and incendiary bombs, there were dropped plenty of items and children toys filled with explosives.
Readiness for Sofia district was alarmed in 11.55.
Alarm was sounded:
Skopje and 5th radio-warning zone in 11.40
Sofia and 1st radio-warning zone in 12.04
Vratsa and 4th radio-warning zone in 12.04
Beat a retreat in 14.47
Attachment: 1 scheme
/ not readable under the stamp/ 18 of April 1944, Sofia
Capitan- temp. of command air alerting service / not readable signature/
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Trustme
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Re: Did the US drop booby-trapped toys in WWII?

Post by Trustme » 18 Sep 2016 06:00

I've never visited this website before now.
Yesterday, I was talking to a coworker from Istanbul and he mentioned something about Russians dropping booby-trapped toys in Afghanistan. I thought to investigate what he said online today. That's what led me to this website and discussion.
I've never read anything about exploding pens before reading this article. So, I was surprised when I found this discussion. And I felt compelled to add a story.
My father was a child in Dachau during WW2. He lost his hand during that time. He told me many times how he lost his hand. He described finding a pen which exploded after he picked it up. This pen may have been one of the exploding pens mentioned in this discussion.
Last edited by Trustme on 18 Sep 2016 16:46, edited 1 time in total.

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seaburn
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Re: Did the US drop booby-trapped toys in WWII?

Post by seaburn » 18 Sep 2016 13:10

From the book 'Frauen', German women who recall the third Reich' Alison Owing, Penguin book 2001.

"'Frau Sasowka claimed that once when she was ice skating with her children during the war, an English fighter plane shot a child. She also claimed that the English dropped poisonous candy and explosive dolls and pen holders, all to attract German children. She said the daughter of a woman she knew lost three fingers opening one pen holder. No attempts of mine to question even the logic of the purported actions swayed her. (no attempt to find corroboration was successful either)".

Page 226 (recollections of Margarete Sasowski)

HelloNewman
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Re: Did the US drop booby-trapped toys in WWII?

Post by HelloNewman » 12 Jul 2021 20:38

My mother-in-law lived with her family in Karlsruhe, Germany during WW2. She remembers being warned by other children not to touch anything that looked like a pen lying on the ground after an allied dive bombing raids - because these were known to explode….

Just sayin’.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Did the US drop booby-trapped toys in WWII?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 12 Jul 2021 21:58

My money is on an undetonated flare. Some of these had the general appearance of a pen or pencil, though somewhat larger, notably the Aircraft Illuminator Flare No.1 Mks I and II (Service):

http://ww2data.blogspot.com/2017/01/bri ... s-and.html

Cheers,

Sid.

Volyn
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Re: Did the US drop booby-trapped toys in WWII?

Post by Volyn » 13 Jul 2021 03:23

Sid Guttridge wrote:
12 Jul 2021 21:58
My money is on an undetonated flare. Some of these had the general appearance of a pen or pencil, though somewhat larger, notably the Aircraft Illuminator Flare No.1 Mks I and II (Service):
Sid -

Do you know if these British flares were also used in the US day raids, or were they only for night attacks using bombers like the Lancaster from RAAF 463 Squadron?

I found 2 bombing runs against Karlsruhe on 5 SEP and on 8 SEP 1944 conducted by the US 392nd Bomb Group using the B-24 Liberator.
https://www.b24.net/MM090544.htm
https://www.b24.net/MM090844.htm

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Did the US drop booby-trapped toys in WWII?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 13 Jul 2021 06:03

Hi Volyn,

I don't know but, given that the USAAF bombed in the day, at the very least it would have had far less need of flares than the RAF at night. However, as they both often bombed the same target in 24 hours, it is likely that British undetonated flares would on these occasions still be lying around during and after American raids.

Cheers,

Sid.

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