Skip to comments.The Amazing Rusting Aluminum (WWII commandos may have sabotaged Nazi planes with this trick)
Posted on 08/26/2008 11:54:33 AM PDT by LibWhacker
Bump to read later. Looks interesting.
Better living through modern chemistry.
So you could just fly over parked enemy aircraft and spray them with a mist, instead of dropping explosives?
Thanks PM for upping the threat matrix level from islamofascists!
Looks like something for the military history ping list.
Scans are so last-century...
Not to mention all the rusty ol’ Mercurys you see around...
We have our aluminum parts anodized or cad plated or alodined to stop corrosion............
It aint rust.
Well I learned something new today.
I don’t believe the commando story. If they got close enough the spread mercury on the planes, then they would get close enough to put a small bomb in the plane that would explode when the altitude reached 500 feet or so. Killing the pilot with the plane. Or if they feared the bomb would be discovered, just place a bomb in the plane with a timer to explode in half an hour or so.
The aluminum hasn't been wasted; it hasn't "vanished." It's still there, waiting to be recovered chemically.
So mercury filled paintballs could really wreak havoc .
Indeed, but something that took a fair amount of work to create has been destroyed and made a HazMat zone...
Me, too! Makes me want to go out and break an old thermometer over some tinfoil and see what happens.
Good point! I agree.
Yeah, saw that, it’s interesting. I vaguely remember it from PopSci (2004).
I have my doubts about the WWII sabotage story. By the time there could have been mercury-totin’ guerrilas swarming the countryside, the Luftwaffe was almost finished as an effective fighting force. The massive gamble Hitler made — a winter offensive, known to history as the Battle of the Bulge — was only possible at all because of the overcast. Late war aircraft design even used wood because it wasn’t considered a critical material; a lot of metal was used in the militarily dubious construction and use of V2 missiles. Much of the remaining German air power was being used in the east, while Hitler interfered with ground forces strategy and tactics and helped the Red Army annihilate German forces.
publicizing this in an era of terroism isn’t the smartest thing the West has ever done.
Which is why they didn't spray the exterior of the plane, which would just blister the easily replacable sheet aluminum skin.
Instead , mercury [actually, a compound of mercury and a metallic salt] was used to attack the aluminum propeller blades of the aircraft. Which the failure of, particularly during full-power takeoffs or combat maneouvering, would indeed often eliminate the pilot as well.
Mercury compounds were also used to contaminate certain lubricants, and had one other real specialized sabotage use that I don't think I'll mention in a public forum. It's WAY too easy for somebody to get a real naughty idea.
BTW, the *small bombs* were used too, with timing devices that hopefully allowed the first explosions to begin just as the last bombs were being planted, letting the raiders escape in the ensuing noise and confusion. There was too much chance that a bomb might be found and removed, alerting the enemy that all the planes needed to be cleaned out.
They had a heckuva time coming up with a bomb both explosive enough to cause immediate damage and also being incendiary, ensuring that a plane would be completely ruined and mostly unsalvagable for parts and components. Plus, they had to be no more than a couple of pounds each, so that a dozen or more could be carried for each raider, making the complete destruction of aerodromes with 60 or 80 aircraft possible.
They did it: the resulting device became known as the *Lewes Bomb*, and employed by David Stirling's Special Air Service raiders in their early days, between SAS and another raider group *Popski's Private Army,* they cost Rommel's Luftwaffe forces more aircraft than the RAF shot down.
Good doggy ....here's a cookie !
Good doggy ....here's a cookie !
Naw, mate. That pic is over here....
The problem with mercury paste or other such sabotage tricks is that a commando has to touch each aircraft...when much better solutions were available such as spiking the fuel in the depot in order for a single commando action to take out an entire squadron...sometimes more.
Planes were often well-guarded...fuel, not always so.
If not for the toxicity, mercury would be one of the best toys ever.
Planes were well-guarded against sneaky guys putting bombs in them, or knocking parts off with axes or chainsaws.
That was less the case for a mechanic or mechanic's helper, who could be wiping the mud and debris off landing lights or taping over the gun ports, and in the process casually *wipe a little corrosion away* from a propeller spinner or blade.
The guy who told me the story was my airframe and powerplant mechanics instructor, who had formerly held Braniff Airlines ID card #3, hired as a mechanic even before the Braniff boys started hiring pilots. During WWII the OSS had consulted with him and some other folks, including tech reps from the Hamilton Standard propeller manufacturing company, to determine both the best means for those in occupied territories to sabotage German aircraft and what we should be most wary of.
maybe the “commandos” gave the mercury to the resistance.
When the planes melted - over time, the nazi’s would not know who to shoot. That is not the case with a bomb.
They would know it was sabotage and the Nazis had no problem with trying to determine who to shoot. They would just shoot whomever they wanted to as punishment.
Because of the political nature of this site I can only comfortably post a link with a caution that this is unverified and wryly amusing.
The article was written in 2004.
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