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UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECT


tootrock
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Hi all,

I have just unearthed the object shown from a pile of rubble at the bottom of my garden.

It seems to be the casing of an aerial bomb. IT IS VISIBLY EMPTY!

It is 22 inches long, and 9 inches in diameter at the widest part. It has a 2 inch hole at the front (fuse?) end.

At the rear there are 3 stabilizing fins, one of which has some sort of pin through it. Between the fins there is a 2 inch long protrusion with a screw in its side.

There is a single fin in line with the one with the pin, near the fuse hole. It suggests that these two were used to carry/mount the device horizontally.

The other side of the device has been flattened at some time

So what is it, and from which conflict.

This area was requisitioned by the military in WW2, and bombs were dropped by a Zeppelin in this area on the night of 16/17th March 1917.

Is there also a WW2 forum where I might ask these questions?

Regards,

Martin

post-2425-1237299559.jpg

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Its a WW1 aircraft bomb C1915/16 Carbonit I think , I'll take a look when I get home

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Yes its a German aircraft bomb manufactured by Sprengstoff A G Carbonit-Schlebusch. Probably a 20kg . There was a broad ring around the tail and the hole in the tail fin would have secured this. The rod in the tail would have mounted a propeller that fused the bomb (percussion fuse in the tail end). These bombs were hung nose down and their use discontinued in mid 1916. There was a Zeppelin raid on the night of 16/17 March 1917 but as far as I can tell no bombs were dropped in Sussex. So yes its WW1 but looks unlikely to have been dropped by a Zep. Can you be more precise as to your location?

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Thanks for that.

Local intelligence has it that on the night in question Zeppelin L39 commanded by Kapitanleutnant Robert Koch crossed the coast near Margate, went south westwards over Kent and out to sea again over St Leonards. Over the village of Pett, near Hastings, 6 bombs were dropped. No casualties and only £163 worth of damage to property. I will check out local newspapers in Hastings reference library to see if I can find more detail. L39 was shot down over France on the way back to base.

I live in Pett Level, close by. The item I have found is quite flattened on one side, such as would be caused by falling from a great height and hitting something sideways on.

What was the purpose of the flange near the front of the bomb, which I now notice has a small hole through it? Also only one of the three fins seems to have any means of attaching something to it.

Was there a fuse in the front end, or was that just a means of filling the device with explosive.

Regards,

Martin

Pictures of stud? in one fin, and flange at front

post-2425-1237332628.jpg

post-2425-1237332647.jpg

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Flange at front a mystery - none of the Carbonit bombs I have seen photos of have it. As I said percussion fuse in the tail end of the bomb - front is for filling. I have no details as to how the tail ring was fitted as it went round the end of the fins and I've seen no shots looking down the tail of the bombs.

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If its a Zepp bomb its historicaly very important I wonder if it would be the only one in existance in the UK. Also should it be reported to the police just in case there is still some explosive residue or fuse?

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Hi all,

I intend to report it to the authorities, once we have all finished discussing it! It has been at the bottom of the garden for many years, and a couple more days won't hurt (and it is a very long garden).

I don't think it fell where I found it, because it is amongst some building rubble that is more recent than 1914-18, and I am sure that human hands have dealt with it, eg. removed the nose plug, emptied the contents etc.

I will keep you all informed.

Regards,

Martin

EDIT -afterthought. Does anyone have a photo or diagram of one of these for comparison?

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The raid on the 16/17th March was a general failure - the figure of £163 refers to the total damage caused by 4 airships (L42 turned back with mechanical problems) over quite a wide area of Britain so any damage caused in the Pevensy area (where L 39 is recorded having exited Britain after entering at Thanet) would have been small scale. The Air Defence of Britain does not record any bombs dropped there but as L39 was shot down over France there would be no records from the German end (and in any cases the airships were somewhat disorientated through cloud cover, high winds and British jamming of their wireless navigation).

What I find strange is that this type of bomb was discontinued from service almost a year before. The airships involved in this raid were brand new 'height climbers' so one has to wonder why any of them would be carrying obsolete bombs.

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EDIT -afterthought. Does anyone have a photo or diagram of one of these for comparison?

Will post photo tonight

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I have 2 books and I am reading through them to see if I can find any further information. (No photos I'm afraid). One is the Zeppelin Fighters by Arch Whitehouse and the other is Zeppelin Adventures by Rolph Harben printed as long ago as 1932. Rolph Harben was a Zeppelin crew member during the Great War.

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Hello,

I don't recognize a Crabonit bomb in this object.

Also a Carbonit bomb had not what looks to be small fins.

I looked by now at more than 100 drawings of WWI bombs, and I cannot find this one!

Regards,

Cnock

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Hello,

I don't recognize a Crabonit bomb in this object.

Also a Carbonit bomb had not what looks to be small fins.

It did when the round tail was knocked off.

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Still doesn't look like a carbonit bomb to me

Not the same pattern of fins.

Regards,

Cnock

post-7723-1237491910.jpg

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I'm having trouble with my scanner tonight but in the meantime I attach a photo of a small Carbonit bomb (there were various sizes all fairly similar) being fitted to a German aircraft. You can just see the small fins inside the round (ring) tail which they supported in some manner. Cnocks drawing is, I think, incorectly labled and represents the 50 Kg bomb which did indeed have a different form of tail fitting

post-9885-1237492049.jpg

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Hi,

Nono, not incorrectly labelled, and they all had the same manner of attaching the round (ring)

I only can agree that I also doubt that this kind of bomb was still used a year after it was discontinued from service

Cnock

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Hi,

Nono, not incorrectly labelled, and they all had the same manner of attaching the round (ring)

Cnock

No they didn't, see the photo I posted. In fact the 50kg and the 10 kg had external straps from the tail to part way down the bomb casing whilst the 20kg did not.

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I don't know what You want to prove, but the bomb in the first pic is still not a carbonit bomb.

Can You show the inside of the round in Your pic?

Cnock

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Photo of three Carbonit bombs - as can be seen there was significant variation including the way in which the tal was fitted but the tear drop shape is typical of Carbonit. Rater than simple repeating that the first bomb is not a Carbonite perhaps Cnock would like to nominate any other bomb manufacturer who made this shape. As far as I am aware only Carbonit made this shape,

post-9885-1237565054.jpg

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Still no indication of the fins shown in the first pic, and that is what it is about!

Cnock

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the first drawing I showed, not a 20 kg Carbonit bomb?

from another source :

Cnock

post-7723-1237570043.jpg

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Here is a sketch of the object. The tail end is not as pointed as in the sketches/photos above. In fact the diameter is 95mm just above the fins. This part is bolted onto the end of the body with 6 bolts.

If there was a ring, there is no sign of broken welds etc. on the 3 fins where it might have been fitted, and there is no sign of straps having been welded onto the sides of the body.

However it seems to me that the fins are too small to have been much good for stabilising on their own, suggesting something is missing.

The stud in one fin and the hole in the nose flange (which are in vertical alignment) suggest to me that it would have been supported horizontally.

Martin

post-2425-1237570214.jpg

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I can add nothing to the discussion about the 'bomb' but I can confirm that L 39 flew in over Margate on the night in question. It flew out over St Leonards about 1 hour later.

The information is contained in "Captain Joseph Morris' book The German Air Raids on Great Britain 1914-1918".

Sadly the book contains no information on bombs used.

Garth

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Hi,

having seen the sketch, as I said from the start, not a Carbonit bomb.

Regards,

Cnock

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