Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

The Amazing Rusting Aluminum (WWII commandos may have sabotaged Nazi planes with this trick)
periodictable.com | Popular Science ^ | 10/1/04 | Theodore Gray

Posted on 08/26/2008 11:54:33 AM PDT by LibWhacker



TOPICS: History; Military/Veterans; Science
KEYWORDS: aluminum; commandos; mercury; rusting

1 posted on 08/26/2008 11:54:33 AM PDT by LibWhacker
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: LibWhacker

Bump to read later. Looks interesting.


2 posted on 08/26/2008 11:57:19 AM PDT by techcor
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: LibWhacker
I'm surprised that the environmentally hysterical Popular Science editors were willing to waste aluminum for the mere benefit of a demonstration.
3 posted on 08/26/2008 12:01:03 PM PDT by ConservativeMind
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: LibWhacker

Better living through modern chemistry.


4 posted on 08/26/2008 12:01:29 PM PDT by Cvengr (Adversity in life and death is inevitable. Thru faith in Christ, stress is optional.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: LibWhacker

So you could just fly over parked enemy aircraft and spray them with a mist, instead of dropping explosives?


5 posted on 08/26/2008 12:07:30 PM PDT by LZ_Bayonet (There's Always Something.............And there's always something worse!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: LibWhacker

Thanks PM for upping the threat matrix level from islamofascists!


6 posted on 08/26/2008 12:08:49 PM PDT by catman67
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: indcons

Looks like something for the military history ping list.


7 posted on 08/26/2008 12:12:28 PM PDT by Kevmo (A person's a person, no matter how small. ~Horton Hears a Who)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: LibWhacker

Scans are so last-century...

http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2004-09/amazing-rusting-aluminum


8 posted on 08/26/2008 12:13:15 PM PDT by chrisser (The Two Americas: Those that want to be coddled, Those that want to be left the hell alone.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

Not to mention all the rusty ol’ Mercurys you see around...


9 posted on 08/26/2008 12:14:46 PM PDT by Hegemony Cricket (Vigilantism will arise where the justice system is viewed as overly lenient and/or ineffective.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: LZ_Bayonet
Hogan!


10 posted on 08/26/2008 12:16:20 PM PDT by edzo4 (Vote McCain, Keep Your Change)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Hegemony Cricket

We have our aluminum parts anodized or cad plated or alodined to stop corrosion............


11 posted on 08/26/2008 12:22:48 PM PDT by Red Badger (All that carbon in all that oil and coal was once in the atmosphere. We're just putting it back.....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: LZ_Bayonet
Mercury is extremely heavy - I read where German U-Boats used it for ballast. They would move it forward or backwards to help the boat dive faster. I doubt you could mist it either. At any altitude the droplets would crash through most material. Good point on this is “The Day Of The Jackal” where the guy put mercury in the bullet to increase its shattering power inside the body. Closets thing to that today are Glaser Safeties.
12 posted on 08/26/2008 12:23:07 PM PDT by SkyDancer ("What Our Enemies Couldn't Do To Us Our Liberal Democrat Politicians Will")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: LibWhacker

It aint rust.


13 posted on 08/26/2008 12:31:47 PM PDT by Dead Dog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: LibWhacker

Well I learned something new today.


14 posted on 08/26/2008 12:39:14 PM PDT by stevio (Crunchy Con - God, guns, guts, and organically grown crunchy nuts.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv

Ping-a-ling


15 posted on 08/26/2008 12:42:18 PM PDT by MHGinTN (Believing they cannot be deceived, they cannot be convinced when they are deceived.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: LibWhacker

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.


16 posted on 08/26/2008 12:57:53 PM PDT by Blood of Tyrants (G-d is not a Republican. But Satan is definitely a Democrat.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ConservativeMind
I'm surprised that the environmentally hysterical Popular Science editors were willing to waste aluminum for the mere benefit of a demonstration.

The aluminum hasn't been wasted; it hasn't "vanished." It's still there, waiting to be recovered chemically.

Regards,

17 posted on 08/26/2008 1:07:22 PM PDT by alexander_busek
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: LibWhacker

So mercury filled paintballs could really wreak havoc .


18 posted on 08/26/2008 1:18:08 PM PDT by aruanan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: alexander_busek

Indeed, but something that took a fair amount of work to create has been destroyed and made a HazMat zone...


19 posted on 08/26/2008 2:47:50 PM PDT by ConservativeMind
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: stevio

Me, too! Makes me want to go out and break an old thermometer over some tinfoil and see what happens.


20 posted on 08/26/2008 3:14:06 PM PDT by LibWhacker
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Blood of Tyrants

Good point! I agree.


21 posted on 08/26/2008 3:16:09 PM PDT by LibWhacker
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: MHGinTN

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.


22 posted on 08/26/2008 3:29:54 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/_______Profile hasn't been updated since Friday, May 30, 2008)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: chrisser

Lol, thanks.


23 posted on 08/26/2008 3:45:27 PM PDT by LibWhacker
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: LibWhacker

publicizing this in an era of terroism isn’t the smartest thing the West has ever done.


24 posted on 08/26/2008 4:19:22 PM PDT by wildbill
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Blood of Tyrants; Squantos; Travis McGee
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.

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.

25 posted on 09/04/2008 6:41:47 PM PDT by archy (Et Thybrim multo spumantem sanguine cerno. [from Virgil's *Aeneid*.])
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: archy
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.

Good doggy ....here's a cookie !

26 posted on 09/04/2008 6:54:15 PM PDT by Squantos (Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: Squantos
It's WAY too easy for somebody to get a real naughty idea.

Good doggy ....here's a cookie !

Naw, mate. That pic is over here....

27 posted on 09/04/2008 6:57:05 PM PDT by archy (Et Thybrim multo spumantem sanguine cerno. [from Virgil's *Aeneid*.])
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: archy

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.


28 posted on 09/04/2008 7:07:43 PM PDT by Southack (Media Bias means that Castro won't be punished for Cuban war crimes against Black Angolans in Africa)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: LibWhacker

If not for the toxicity, mercury would be one of the best toys ever.


29 posted on 09/04/2008 7:15:06 PM PDT by Yardstick
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Southack
Planes were often well-guarded...fuel, not always so.

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.

30 posted on 09/04/2008 7:31:19 PM PDT by archy (Et Thybrim multo spumantem sanguine cerno. [from Virgil's *Aeneid*.])
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: Blood of Tyrants

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.


31 posted on 09/05/2008 9:37:54 AM PDT by Triple (Socialism denies people the right to the fruits of their labor, and is as abhorrent as slavery)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: Triple

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.


32 posted on 09/05/2008 10:18:45 AM PDT by Blood of Tyrants (G-d is not a Republican. But Satan is definitely a Democrat.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: LZ_Bayonet

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.

http://www.sciencemadness.org/talk/viewthread.php?tid=2931&page=2


33 posted on 09/05/2008 11:00:30 AM PDT by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: catman67

The article was written in 2004.


34 posted on 09/05/2008 11:01:12 AM PDT by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson