Jump to content
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Aerial dart/flechettes


kmad
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi Guys

I have been digging round and at last found my example of the above and was wondering were there many types available and if i was looking to pick up a few more examples what sort of money would they be. the one i have is copper at the tail and steel tipped (uk in origin as it has patt. appl. stamped onto the tail where it is flared out). seen a few on e-bay but no idea what is an ok price and are they reproduced?

many thanks

ken

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There were quite a number of diferent types as both Britain and France made them in a number of patterns. There are collectors and I've seen site somewhere that covered them among other things (try a google). Also there were special containers for them (again a number of patterns) Singularly ineffective as I've yet to find a verifiable example of anyone being killed by one. Do not confuse with the Rankin dart a more complex anti Zepp weapon (although equally inefective).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There were quite a few varieties from various countries - normal anti-personnel as well as incendiary etc. Most of the cast type are ok but the two piece brazed ones are re-made and sold in France. Worth a search for previous discussions - seem to remember there have been a few topics on this in years gone by.

Couple of pics here ('Rain of steel'):

flechettes.jpg

rainofsteel.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great photos Max.

I saw a variant of the flechette (top left) in the Caudron Museum at Rue. It had a finer head and the vanes ran the whole length of the body. French made that one.

Gunner Bailey

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi All

thanks for the replies

I carried out a few searches on the forum before i posted the question and did a few google searches and have not found much on the topic (most hits are on Israel buying fletchet artillery shells and the legality of same). has anyone got an idea of a supplier and what i would be expected to pay?

the one i have is similar to the one on the top right of Maxes picture but with the end flared out. well made as well with an very neat join between the copper and the steel , not braized, can't see any join realy as the steel is a bit blued and blends into the dirt of the copper.

thanks again

ken

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cheers GB. This one below is probably the most common design (not my hand):

Spot on Max! The two I saw were bright steel though.

GB

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ken,

Usual places - militaria fairs here and over the Channel - they come up on eBay (search UK and France) - caveat emptor of course.

The ones pictured are original pics from the French seller I bought mine from some years ago - one each of British, German and French.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 years later...
This one below is probably the most common design (not my hand)
The December 5th 1914 edition of the British Medical Journal contains the following account of a German unit that was struck by aerial darts. The photograph of a dart is identical to the picture above. Two fatalities are described.

"ARROWS FROM AEROPLANES.

DUGALD DALGETTY scoffed at the bows and arrows used by the Children of the Mi8t. But as a scientific soldier he would doubtless have been interested by tlhe new form of arrow now discharged from the sky. German surgeons have already gained some experience of arrow wounds inflicted by the Allies. In the Feldaerztliche Beilage of the Muenchener medizinische Wochenschrift for September 15th, Dr. J. Volkmann has published a paper, recently read at a special meeting of the Stuttgart Medical Society, devoted to surgical experiences of the war. Soldiers were resting at 5 in the afternoon of September 1st, three companies bivouacking at an interval of about eight paces. Two aeroplanes were circling overhead at a height of about 1,200 to 1,500 metres. Suddenly one of the soldiers felt a stabbing pain in the right foot just above the heel. At first he thought he had been pricked inadvertently by one of his fellows, but this illusion was quickly dispelled when he heard cries of pain all around him. The horses, too, became restive, and two were subsequently found to be wounded. Looking at his foot the soldier found an iron arrow which had penetrated to a depth of 1.1 cm. He plucked it out at once. About fifteen of his comrades were also hit, and one of them was pinned to the ground by an arrow which had passed through one foot.

The source of these arrows was quickly detected, and cover was taken under wagons. It was subsequently estimated that about fifty arrows had been discharged, and that thus every third arrow had taken effect. The importance of these weapons, particularly when dropped on resting soldiers, is therefore considerable, and the fact that about half the casualties consisted of wounds of the lower limbs, shows how vulnerable the resting soldier is to arrows from above. Apparently the arrows were of two sizes. One shown by Dr. Volkmann was about 10 cm. long and 8 mm. in circumference. It was of steel, its lower third solid, tapering to a sharp point. The upper two-thirds were drawn out to a mere skeleton, composed of four flanges, so that on transverse section this portion of the arrow was star-shaped. Evidently these arrows scatter considerably, for in one case four companies were simultaneously hit. As the weight of this arrow was 16 grams, very many cannot be carried by an aeroplane at the same time. Discussing the casualties in detail, Dr. Volkmann stated that in one case an arrow penetrated both calves, an incision being necessary for its removal. In another case an arrow passed through the sole of the foot just below the Achilles tendon; a haematoma developed at the point of entry. At another wound of the foot, below the ankle, some of the tarsal joints became inflamed. One arrow passed through the scalp without injuring the skull, but another caused instant death by entering the left temple and passing out again by the right coronary suture. One arrow passed though the cheek into the mouth, another passed between the index and middle finger, and a third penetrated one finger. The soldier who was pinned to the ground by an arrow pulled it back, dirty as it was, through the wound. Yet, during the following four days, while he was under Dr. Volckmann's observation, He did well. Treatment consisted of the application of dry dressings with or without a preliminary application of tincture of iodine. On the whole the cases treated with iodine did best; in fact, most of the wounds thus inflicted did well, bones and large blood vessels were seldom hurt, and apparently the only case that proved fatal, in addition to that mentioned above, was one in which the arrow entered at the shoulder and passed through the chest.

The drawing shows an aeroplane arrow which has been placed at our disposal. It consists of two parts, a head and a short flanged shaft. The head measures 5.7 cm. (about 2 in.), the total length of the. arrow is 1117 cm. (about 41 in). Both the head and flanged shaft appear to be constructed of steel, the flange being formed of two flat pieces of metal set at right angles, the ends of the four flanges thus produced being let into the steel head. The diameter of the head is 8.5 mm. (about 5 in.) tapering to a fine point. The weight of the whole arrow is 320.8 grains (about 21 grams)."

Robert

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Greetings Ken, while aerial flechettes are not my collecting forte, I have always found them fascinating. Recently, I have seen this “French Language” Reference Book out there and have thought about buying as I keep bumping into flechettes at arms shows. Currently, I would not know original from repro and thought it might be interesting to get into without having to start from scratch. Anyway, thought I’d share this link http://www.amazon.co.uk/fl%C3%A9chettes-davion-Grande-Guerre-jours/dp/2354221053/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1305640404&sr=1-1 so you were at least aware of this work out there on the subject. Best of luck with your collecting/collection.

Regards,

Lance

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi All

thanks for the replies

I carried out a few searches on the forum before i posted the question and did a few google searches and have not found much on the topic (most hits are on Israel buying fletchet artillery shells and the legality of same). has anyone got an idea of a supplier and what i would be expected to pay?

the one i have is similar to the one on the top right of Maxes picture but with the end flared out. well made as well with an very neat join between the copper and the steel , not braized, can't see any join realy as the steel is a bit blued and blends into the dirt of the copper.

thanks again

ken

See this thread which also contains links to earlier ones

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=111712&view=findpost&p=1061844

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...