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WW2 SOE Exploding Rat

Article about: This is my homage (reproduction) of an SOE 'Rats, Explosive'. As you can see there was obviously a little bit of artistic licence used when the diagram was drawn, either that or they had ver

  1. #1

    Default WW2 SOE Exploding Rat

    This is my homage (reproduction) of an SOE 'Rats, Explosive'. As you can see there was obviously a little bit of artistic licence used when the diagram was drawn, either that or they had very big rats in WW2 (my rat is over 8" long excluding the tail!).
    The Switch No.10 commonly referred to as the a 'time-pencil fuse / pencil time fuse / P.T.F' is an original and is marked red so it has a 30 minute delay. I have crudely mocked up a standard No.6 primer, however, as I cannot find what an original looks like it is probably totally wrong - if anybody has an image please show. I have used green plasticine for the plastic explosive as it closely resembles Nobel 808 / Explosive 808 which was the used a lot by the British, especially early in the war (I could have used cerise plasticine as it was used for demonstrations to replace actual plastic explosives).

    The history of the exploding rat:

    The idea for the exploding rat was developed in 1941. The plan was that when the dead rat was discovered in the boiler room of a locomotive, factory, power station, or similar installation, the stoker tending the boiler would dispose of it by shoveling it into the furnace, causing the booby trapped rat to explode. A rat could contain only a small amount of explosive; however, a penetration of a highly pressurized steam boiler could trigger a devastating boiler explosion. A rat bomb could also be set with a delayed fuse (as per my reproduction)
    The explosive rats never saw use, as the first shipment was intercepted by the Germans and the SOE plan was dropped. The Germans were fascinated by the idea, however, and the rats were exhibited at top military schools. The SOE files show that the Germans actually organised searches for these rodent explosives concluding that; "The trouble caused to them was a much greater success to us than if the rats had actually been used."
    The source of the dead rats was a London supplier, who was under the mistaken belief that it was for London University!
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
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    A very unusual and interesting item, thank you for showing it.

    I wondered if you had considered cutting away the green 'explosive' so that the fuse was more in the centre of the rat, so to speak? Not easy to do (not so easy to obtain a rat and prepare it...) but then the fuse would not seem to rest on the surface.

    Regards,

    Philip

  3. #3
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    That is awesome excellent job on the reproduction
    I can see how these would have caused some grief logistically after the initial shipment was intercepted I can only imagine the man power and equipment that would have been tied up in the search pulling valuable resources away from there posts and or other duties does make one wonder if this was the real intention of the SOE and they were never meant for use at all.

    Regards Mark
    Always on the look out for WW II Canadian Helmets and Cam nets to add to my collection.

    Found a Canadian Mk II Medics Helmet and yes I know they are about as rare as hens teeth !!!!!

  4. #4

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    Quote by DrPMC View Post
    A very unusual and interesting item, thank you for showing it.

    I wondered if you had considered cutting away the green 'explosive' so that the fuse was more in the centre of the rat, so to speak? Not easy to do (not so easy to obtain a rat and prepare it...) but then the fuse would not seem to rest on the surface.

    Regards,

    Philip
    It's harder than you think packing a dead rat full of plasticine!!! I agree with you, it's still a work in progress, I'm hoping to fing out what a No.6 primer looks like so that I can make a better one and then I will try a pack it a bit better with the P.T.F deeper into the body

  5. #5
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    I Love SOE stuff, in my collection I have an Original SOE Manual as shown, I understand that there are only 4 or 5 known originals of this. The Manual shows both British and German Dets, switches and "bombs" so I have included a few photos.
    The last photo from the manual shows SOE/OSS Tire bursters. the colour photo at the end shows several original dug up ones I have, not in the best of shape, but they are real!!!
    I have a few other SOE and OSS dug up switches ect in my collection

    Dean O
    Ajax Canada

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  6. #6

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    Very interesting replica!

    I once head that this Rat, Explosive was planned to use for assassinate Reinhard Heydrich.

    Cheers!
    Taka

  7. #7

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    A Guns of Navarone survivor!

    Excellent reconstruction, and bravo.

  8. #8

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    Hello!we have such items in the Invalides, Musée de l'ordre de la libération, but it's closed until 2015...

  9. #9

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    [QUOTE=CampX;1126559]I Love SOE stuff, in my collection I have an Original SOE Manual as shown, I understand that there are only 4 or 5 known originals of this. The Manual shows both British and German Dets, switches and "bombs" so I have included a few photos.
    The last photo from the manual shows SOE/OSS Tire bursters. the colour photo at the end shows several original dug up ones I have, not in the best of shape, but they are real!!!
    I have a few other SOE and OSS dug up switches ect in my collection

    Dean O
    Ajax Canada




    That is an amazing book, whilst I have the modern equivilant (the secret agent's handbook), I have not seen an original. The tyre bursters are nice too.

  10. #10

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    Hi Grimmy,

    Take a look at these 1oz primers that were used by SOE during WW2. I think they may well be what you're looking for. The details regarding them can be found at this website, British mines and charges :
    although you may already be familiar with it. Hope this helps.

    Regards, Ned.

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    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

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