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The Dangers of Battlefield Digging

Article about: We've all heard stories of the dangers of battlefield digging. Unexploded ammo, mines, etc.... As a relatively new enthusiast, i would greatly appreciate some advice on detecting and digging

  1. #71


    This must be a crystal clear application for the annualy Darwin Awards.

    He has a good chance to win if you ask me, looking at the amount of dangerous ammunition brought back to his shed.

    Collect ROA, Cossack, Schuma and other WW2 Volunteer militaria.

    "Be Humble and kind, for you may find that it was Odin you entertained"

  2. #72


    Most of what i see is deactivated. I think the big mortar rounds in the front are Soviet 82/81mm and they have been field deactivated. You can see he have removed the fuses and then burned out the explosives. Most likely in a camp fire. See the black noses. It's actually very easy if you know what you are doing and NOT try to open the ones which does not open easily. Some shells both Soviet and German should never be attempted to open. However i also see a lot that looks to be live. This guy is just an idiot. Think about he have been driving through towns and villages with this stuff on several occasions. You just DON'T bring back live ammo!!! He can't possibly be a serious digger when doing this. It gives us all a bad reputation.

    Regards, Lars

  3. #73


    Quote by bigmacglenn1966 View Post
    Always sad to hear, yet a tragic reminder of the dangers involved...We've had a few posters lately show off dangerously questionable ordnance, and they seemed to shrug off our advice and warnings...These incidents tend to give the authorities grounds to sharpen the laws as well...
    Just my 2 cents...
    cheers, Glenn
    Some people are beyond help Glenn!...
    It's a wasted trip baby. Nobody said nothing about locking horns with no Tigers.

    I'm Spartacus, not really i'm Paul!...

  4. #74


    Good advice in this (old) thread.

    In one location alone, Ive scooped up dozens of hand grenades and been digging only to find equally many mortar rounds having thudded into soft ground and not exploded.

    Else where huge mortar rounds lay unfired.

    Best advice is to leave that sxxt alone! Dont try to get clever.

    As with the others, this top one is simply not what you want to find, after getting a ping on the detector, digging and brushing aside the dirt!

    These much bigger babies can and WILL rearrange the immediate surroundings, if they go off!

  5. #75


    The artillery rounds are the worst of these, if they have been fired. The mortar does not look to be in a condition worth trying to deactivate. I looks to not fired? Did you know that the "cap" in the bottom is actually just the brass from regular shot gun rounds It sets off a gun powder charge in the tail section of the mortar.

    Is it Soviet F1 hand grenades?


  6. #76


    Lars, I didnt know for sure until just now, but having fired many MANY thousands of shotgun rounds, I couldnt help noticing the resemblance in passing. I didnt want to investigate too closely let alone pry at them.

    Deactivating any of that sxxt didnt enter my mind at all!

    That would have meant transporting/handling UXO any number of metres (or rather handling it at all) and I simply dont do that.
    Its just not worth the risk IMO.

    When finding the first buried mortar round with the detector, I jumped, turned and left.

    As you mention, many of these failed to go off either because of production QC or because they landed in soft ground...or a combination.

    After finding a few in the span of a few minutes, I quit jumping and just left!

    In just one day, there were dozens littering the ground and the surface earth layer. Both small and the bigger ones.

    There were mounds of earth cleary seen round foxholes and in the mounds, water and mud in the holes, it was possible to scoop out literally dozens of hand grenades.

    Not my field (Im not big on explosives and want no part of it let alone handle or take any of it home), but I believe you are correct; they are Russians grenades. At least the protruding tube and the fact that they were found in Russian positions lead me to think so.

  7. #77


    Well then now you know. I was quite amazed when i found out it was that simple. A shot gun brass and a tube full of gun powder for driving the round.

    I only mentioned the condition to state that items in this condition, one should not try to open. When we deactivate items they are normally found quite deep and in good condition. I am not recommending people to do so however! It's always spooky to find UXO's. I have some EMPTY mortar rounds that could do fine as garden lights/torches


  8. #78


    Quite clever to use proven methods of igniting them.
    Though of course many found didnt go off - I dont know how reliable these usually were under other conditions with not so soft ground (if its more of a QC issue)).

    As for UXOs; I am only speaking for myself - others will be able to judge what is worth handling or not handling in other cases. I just want nothing to do with it, as its not my deal.
    Im certain some will be in way better condition when found under other circumstances.

    I look forward to pics of your 'garden torches' in action, Lars

  9. #79


    I was in Halbe last week,very dissapointing to be honest it has been cleared beyond belief, however the dangers still lurk on the surface
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture DSC09808.jpg   DSC09803.jpg  


  10. #80


    The bottle necked cartridges at the top might be 7.6521mm Parabellum (.30 LUGER) or more likely the Russian bottle necked 7.6225mm Tokarev cartridge. Looks more like the latter to be honest.

    Any chance of seeing any stamps on them?

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