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UK killed its own citizens during the Blitz

Article about: Hi Guys I came across this video on YouTube suggesting that the British used naval and artillery guns for anti-aircraft use in our cities during the Blitz of WW2, and these (not surprisingly

  1. #1
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    Default UK killed its own citizens during the Blitz

    Hi Guys

    I came across this video on YouTube suggesting that the British used naval and artillery guns for anti-aircraft use in our cities during the Blitz of WW2, and these (not surprisingly) mostly missed their targets and exploded when they landed, often in populated areas, resulting in many casualties (the video claims half of those officially killed in the Blitz). But due to propaganda purposes, this was never admitted by the government, and all such explosions and fatalities were blamed on German bombs.

    How Thousands of Civilians Were Killed by British Shells in the London Blitz | History Hit

    I was shocked to hear this, but have no idea how much credence to give this.

    Does anyone know if this is factually correct, or is it YouTube urban myth time?

    The Channel 'History Hit' this appears on is generally quite credible...

  2. #2
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    This Simon Webb man appears to be a very strange fellow. I don’t think what he has said can be taken serious. Using the word massacre as well seems to be a poor choice as well towards the end of the article

    Did unexploded shells kill people in these places. Yeah probably but I don’t think it’s anyway near to be half overall. If people were in bomb shelters during air raids and the average AA projectile is way smaller and less explosive than a bomb ( these shells being made rather to cause shrapnel damage) I think he is just trying to be “shocking” to be get attention. Also lack of sources linked in these sorta articles , he might as well be saying “ it came to me in a dream” - also no link or back up evidence to fuze failure rates. Proof is lacking overall

    That and he doesn’t seem to understand how flak works from his article he sounds like he interprets it as the shell as a whole hitting the plane?


    If you are bored check out this man’s (Simon webbs, the articles authors) Twitter. It’s a very eerie echo chamber where he spammed many posts a day to apparently no one listening

    Also I can’t find proof he has any studies anywhere either? Overall some sorta armchaie historian imo


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    Also his YouTube channel is very strange

    - “ History Debunked “

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    I agree the guy is slightly 'off-centre', but History Hit is quite a credible website, thus my curiosity on this one.

    Maybe it is all nonsense, because the premise of using artillery shells against aircraft is nonsensical.

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    Maybe the government and military knew they were ineffective against aircraft, but were using these artillery pieces as a form of morale booster. Eg if civilians hear 'big bangs' from their own side, they will feel safer and less threatened.

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    Not really it’s just different fuzes. Rather than percussion it’s timed ( or later/after the war VT proximity fuzes)

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    Thousands killed? Seems unlikely to me.

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    Complete Bollocks! Yes Britain have had a history of using Naval guns as AA Guns. The first used were the 3 inch on a high angle mount placed on the back of a lorry and drive around in front of Zeppelins. During WW2 we used the 3.7 In and 5.25 In modifying them to get ever higher to counter that tactic to avoid flack. We did mount 6 Inch HV Naval guns in a belt around Hounslow and the now M4 corridor these were linked and radar guided and later became part of the Green Archer system that continued on into the Cold War.

    AA Guns of the time fired Time Fuzed Rounds E.G. the No 208. These Fuzes would function at a set time or upon impact with a target if sooner. The incidence of failures in these were very little, (Less than .1 %) In addition if the fuze fails upon impact it may function on the graze element if fitted, but very, very rarely.

    If deaths occurred (and there were) it was usually people trying to move these blind shells. The total during the war was in the 10's not higher. So the answer to the question is Mr Webb is a fantasist of the worst kind, and would me much better off being quiet and not spreading nasty little false rumours.

  9. #9

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    Quote by Willmore View Post
    Maybe the government and military knew they were ineffective against aircraft, but were using these artillery pieces as a form of morale booster. Eg if civilians hear 'big bangs' from their own side, they will feel safer and less threatened.
    Even the Germans had to admit to firing about ten thousand shells for every downed Allied aircraft. With such ratios FlaK was almost entirely psychological in WWII for all sides concerned.

  10. #10
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    The key issue is how good the fuzes were in British flak guns. Webb quotes a scientist giving a failure rate of 50 percent. The shells exploded but on the ground, not in the air.

    Annoyingly he does not provide a reference.

    Do we have any more reliable data such as tests? One user above referred to a fail rate o 0.1 percent. Where is that estimate from?

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