There used to be a show called Danger UXB which told the story of the bomb defusers in the UK fighting the legacy of World War II. But here’s an interesting piece from the German side of things, published today in Der Spiegel.
In the whole of Germany, more than 2,000 tons of American and British aerial bombs and all sorts of munitions ranging from German hand grenades and tank mines to Russian artillery shells are recovered each year.
Kind of interesting is the reason some didn’t go off. Soil conditions and gravity prevented some of the chemical triggers from activating 60 years ago.
An estimated 20,000 delay-action bombs were dropped on Oranienburg during the war because it had a suspected atomic bomb research site, the Heinkel aircraft factory and a pharmaceutical plant. They were designed to explode between two and 146 hours after hitting the ground, to disrupt clearing up work and cause chaos.
But many failed to go off because Oranienburg has soft soil with a hard layer of gravel underneath. That meant bombs would penetrate the earth, bounce off the gravel and come to rest underground with their tips pointing back upwards. In that position gravity stops the chemical detonators from working. They contain a vial of acetone which bursts on impact and is meant to trickle down and dissolve a celluloid disk that keeps back the cocked firing pin.
But when the bomb is pointed upwards, the acetone seeps away from the celluloid, leaving only the vapors to wear the disk down.
But what gets really funny is how the Europeans want to substitute for this ‘non-needed’ special forces–they want to send great big hulking AWACs aircraft. Planes designed to steer combat aircraft into Russian fighters and other hostile air forces are going to be sent to Afghanistan to defend against…the Tabliban Air Force? Ummm…does that make sense?
But wait, it gets better. France say no, there is no Taliban Air Force–don’t send German AWACS, because… we want to send our French AWACs to Afghanistan instead.
Yea, this will help….
As a gesture of goodwill, Steinmeier said he would consider replacing the KSK soldiers with NATO AWACS reconnaissance planes for Afghanistan that are based in Germany and have largely German crews.
NATO’s decision on whether to deploy the planes has been delayed because of a bizarre attempt to block the move by the French. First, Paris claimed the mission would be too expensive. Then they said it made no sense because the Taliban has no air force that the flying radar facilities could be used against. At the same time, however, Paris offered to deploy its own AWACS aircraft.
I was really just looking for a story to go with this picture
Der Spiegel is reporting the Germans are up in arms about what’s on their legs.
Bavarian purists have warned that Bavaria’s proud heritage is under threat from cheap imported Lederhosen and Dirndl dresses made in China, India and Eastern Europe.
And indeed, Munich’s department stores and fashion boutiques admit that many of the outfits on sale are made from imported leather and fabrics or manufactured abroad to save costs.
While they haven’t gotten to the point of burning the imported goods, they are taking some jabs at those in Bavaria who are not wearing locally made outfits.
The folk costumes worn by many locals to the Oktoberfest are “yuppie outfits” that have nothing to do with original Bavarian dress, says Otto Dufter, chairman of the Bavarian Federation of Folk Costume Societies. “Our societies only use the domestic Lederhosen makers, we don’t use any pseudo-costumes made abroad.”
Der Spiegel is noticing a change in Germany’s relationship with Georgia in light of the Russian invasion last month. Never a warm ally of Georgia and not a fan of NATO membership, it now seems the Russian’s have overplayed their hand such that Angela Merkel is now being forced closer to Georgia whereas she was once Russia’s best contact in Europe
The Russians had won the short war and were now rolling their tanks through the Georgian heartland. Merkel watched the TV with dismay as Russians looted and did everything they could to destabilize the country.
Her attitude changed. It was no longer dominated by annoyance over Saakashvili. Now she was enraged at the highhandedness of the Russians. It seemed to her that they wanted to oust the Georgian president from office. Merkel is extremely sensitive to the issue of regime change. She knows how long and difficult it was to bring democracy to Eastern Europe. Merkel sees Saakashvili, for all his faults, as a democratically elected, legitimate president. Georgia became for the chancellor a country that has to be helped.
Nevertheless, she remained skeptical when she flew to Tbilisi. She spoke with Saakashvili, and something must have happened during their two-hour meeting because, afterwards, Merkel gave a press conference that made headlines around the world.
Just another example of former Eastern Europeans (Merkel is from East Germany) being a bit more worried about the Russian’s actions than some in the West.