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From the Ashes


stripeyman

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On 13 May I received a small hardback book entitled 'From the Ashes' which is a 2020 book regarding the reconstruction of the battlefields of Flanders. Its not too bad but one statement in a box on page 96 states;

' One fifth of all shells did not explode. During the First World War some 1.5 billion shells were fired. Of these roughly one-fifth failed to explode. Even today, some 200-300 tons of munitions are recovered and made safe each year ! '

Was it really 1.5 billion ?

Did 20% fail to detonate ?

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I found this in 2015 stating it was what France looked like then so imagine what it looked like in 1919 if they have been removing UXB's since then.

RZ.JPG

Edited by ForeignGong
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its not only the shells that we have stumbled across but also the hand grenades. presumably grenades (from both sides) are included? or not??

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I’ve read the 20% figure for duds in numerous books, and have even seen 25% quoted. Not sure about the 1.5 billion figure, but considering 2 million were fired by the Germans on the first day of Verdun, and 1.7 million in the week before the Somme, it’s conceivable that 1.5 billion were fired across all fronts.

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23 hours ago, mebu said:

Watched Peter Barton's prog last night, got distracted but I'm sure he said 90% of British Somme shells were duds?

 

 

 

Which one?

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The Somme from Both Sides of the Wire was repeated in 3 parts on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday this week, channel 91.

On Tuesday he commented on the failure rate of British shells.

I thought it rather high, Peter is usually very well informed.

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I was talking to an ex military diver once who had dived on a wreck full of shrapnel shells sunk en route to the UK from the US. They recovered several and found the flash tubes of several stuffed with fabric. So either the tubes were full of fabric for transit, the flash component came in fabric form, or there was sabotage on an epic scale.

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