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Safety chiefs target German craze for 'bazooka' spud guns (HOLD MEIN BIER!)
The Times ^ | January 29, 2003 | Allan Hall

Posted on 01/28/2003 3:20:37 PM PST by MadIvan

GERMAN youths have taken up a dangerous new pastime: firing potatoes as fast as a rocket from “bazookas” made from drainage pipes.

One man almost lost an eye, a woman had her leg broken and one teenager was badly burnt when the hairspray used as the propellant exploded in his face as he prepared to fire.

A 16-year-old in the university city of Göttingen lost part of his ear when the firing chamber ripped open as he pulled the trigger.

The so-called Kartoffelkanone are made from piping and masking tape bought at any hardware store. With a range of 200 metres they could split a man’s head at 15 metres and penetrate a wooden wall at 90 metres.

The guns are not governed by the usual strict firearms regulations in Germany, but prosecutors in the republic’s 16 states are passing emergency rulings to try to outlaw them.

Horst Przbyla, a munitions expert for police in Brandenburg near Berlin, said: “What started out as an extreme form of paintball has become deadly dangerous. Certainly, anyone caught in the path of the projectiles can expect to sustain very serious injuries indeed. It can only be a matter of time until the first death.”

Police are considering asking leading hardware chains to sell piping only to adults.

Local stores that sell hairsprays and pressurised lighter fluid, the favourite propellants for the DIY weapons, may also be asked to sell them only to adults. Failing that, police suggest that youngsters should have to explain why they are buying them.

A website used by the Kartoffelkanone enthusiasts was receiving only 20 hits a day just three months ago: now there are more than 700.

German police fear that the youths will turn to more lethal ammunition than potatoes. Tests have shown that such a bazooka firing an empty film canister filled with sand and the cardboard centres of toilet rolls filled with cement could penetrate brickwork.

An apple fired from one of the guns almost took out the eye of a middle-aged man near the Baltic coast.

In Bavaria a 55-year-old woman suffered severe injuries when a potato smashed into her thigh as she walked near woodland with her dog. A school in Weinstadt in Baden-Württemberg recently came under a potato barrage from children playing truant, while in the Taunus region several windows of a block of flats were smashed.

The hairspray is ignited using a battery which provides a spark. Some youths have made multi-barrelled potato cannons, resembling the Soviet Katyusha rocket launchers of the Second World War and capable of firing at a phenomenal rate.

Thuringia in the east has imposed a ban on the guns and four youngsters in the town of Schlotheim caught by police had their weapons destroyed and were sentenced to 25 hours community service. Police also caught two teenagers with a cannon nearly 6ft long in one Rhineland town. A spokesman for the police in Brandenburg said: “Woodland on Sundays echoes to the thump-thump of these guns. It is a growing social problem that needs to be tackled.”


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Germany; Government; News/Current Events; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: banglist; germany; gun; holdmuhbeer; launcher; outlaw; potato
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Here's a picture of this public menace:

Remember, when potatoes are outlawed, only outlaws will have potatoes. ;)

Regards, Ivan

1 posted on 01/28/2003 3:20:38 PM PST by MadIvan
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To: carl in alaska; Cautor; GOP_Lady; prairiebreeze; veronica; SunnyUsa; Delmarksman; Sparta; ...
Bump!
2 posted on 01/28/2003 3:20:52 PM PST by MadIvan
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To: MadIvan
It's only fun until somebody gets an eye put out...
3 posted on 01/28/2003 3:21:57 PM PST by Poohbah (Four thousand throats may be cut in a single night by a running man -- Kahless the Unforgettable)
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To: Poohbah
It's only fun until somebody gets an eye put out...

Everything you do in life involves risk. Yes, people have accidents with potato guns. But people also have accidents with cars, kitchen knives, sandblasters, you name it. The question is, where to balance risk with safety? And really, if kids are misbehaving with potato guns, isn't that an issue for their parents?

Regards, Ivan

4 posted on 01/28/2003 3:24:12 PM PST by MadIvan
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To: clamper1797
Spudguns? Bah!

Wait until the German kids learn about Anvil Firings.

5 posted on 01/28/2003 3:24:55 PM PST by The KG9 Kid
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To: MadIvan
I know. That's why I'm quoting parental wisdom.
6 posted on 01/28/2003 3:25:29 PM PST by Poohbah (Four thousand throats may be cut in a single night by a running man -- Kahless the Unforgettable)
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To: MadIvan
Horst Przbyla, a munitions expert for police in Brandenburg near Berlin, said: "What started out as an extreme form of paintball has become deadly dangerous . . ."

For the record, I have NEVER loaded my paintball gun with a spud. I'm not even sure one of them little bitty new potatoes would fit.
7 posted on 01/28/2003 3:26:59 PM PST by Xenalyte
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To: MadIvan
Kartoffelkanone

Why is it ALL weapons sound ten times cooler in German?

8 posted on 01/28/2003 3:29:55 PM PST by John H K
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To: Poohbah
In other news, the Iraqi army just announced its new main army rifle:
9 posted on 01/28/2003 3:29:58 PM PST by Desecrated
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To: MadIvan
Was listening to a radio talk show in West Palm Beach a few years back. A caller mentioned potato guns and the talk show went wild. About 100 folks called to offer tips.
The best one was a guy that was an engineer out west at Pratt Whitney. He said they had a lot of time on their hands and tried to engineer and find the best propellant and projectile.
Golf balls had the best aerodynamics and put that together using galvanized steel. and use acetelyne and oxygen as the propleeant and at about 500 yards it would go through a concrete block wall.
I don't know if you could use it as a antipersonnel weapon but I'd love to see it hit a vehicle.
I say this only for conjecture of course.

10 posted on 01/28/2003 3:31:28 PM PST by Joe Boucher
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To: MadIvan
More Germans die from EATING potatoes than are ever going to be killed by a potato gun.

The German prosecutors would improve the quality of life and save more lives simply by banning gravy!

11 posted on 01/28/2003 3:31:50 PM PST by muawiyah
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To: Xenalyte
I know someone who rigged up a spud gun in a residential neighborhood (Huntington Beach, CA).

The proof firing sent the spud through his fence, through the neighbor's sliding glass doors, and through the neighbor's front window...AND caused the tube to blow apart on a second firing attempt.

OK, a little less acetylene...

12 posted on 01/28/2003 3:32:57 PM PST by Poohbah (Four thousand throats may be cut in a single night by a running man -- Kahless the Unforgettable)
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To: Poohbah
... then you have to institute rules, a scoring system, and a national championship.
13 posted on 01/28/2003 3:34:23 PM PST by discostu (Life sucks, humans are fallible, feces occurs... deal)
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To: Joe Boucher
FORE!
14 posted on 01/28/2003 3:36:23 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck
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To: The KG9 Kid
They need gunpowder for Anvil levitation.

Ahhhh...Europe. Land of the free.
15 posted on 01/28/2003 3:36:44 PM PST by PoorMuttly ("Ask not for whom the Muttly digs under the birdbath in the backyard...he digs for thee.")
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To: Poohbah
I know. That's why I'm quoting parental wisdom.


"A Potato Cannon? You'll shoot your eye out, kid"

Regards, Ivan

16 posted on 01/28/2003 3:36:46 PM PST by MadIvan
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To: MadIvan
they are preparing to invade France. The spud gun will be effective!
17 posted on 01/28/2003 3:36:52 PM PST by sheik yerbouty
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To: MadIvan
I stuck a potato up the exhaust pipe of my junior school bus once. The bus had to go into the shop. That may have been related to a broken window in the vehicle yard building.

Another great one is a three-man slingshot made from surgical tubing, using a pad made of a sewed-together towel. We tried it out on the archery range and hit the target with a filled water balloon the first time from 50'.

Finally there is the home-made UFO. WARNING - DO NOT TRY THIS ON A MILITARY AIRFIELD UNTIL THINGS HAVE CALMED DOWN A BIT.

Components: a large plastic laundry bag, a pair of balsa strips about 12" long and 1/2" wide, scotch tape, a small nail or large tack, a small candle, a roll of aluminum foil and scissors. Make a cross of the balsa strips, stick the tack/nail where the strips intersect, and scotch the balsa cross to the open end of the laundry bag with the sharp point of the nail/tack pointed up.

Cut some 6-10" really thin strips from the aluminum foil and scotch tape those to the balsa strips. Don't overdo the tape or maybe try some glue - as little as possible because you want this sucker to fly.

Some friends and I went to a military airfield at night during our mis-spent youths, got to about 30-40 yards from the fence near the end of a runway, fluffed the laundry bag out, stuck the candle on the tack, lit it, waited for the hot air to fill the bag and launched it into the night air. Then we retreated to a nearby road about a mile away.

One F-4 launched about 15 minutes later and another after another 15 minutes. The aluminum strips acted as radar reflectors so our UFO made a nice blip on the tower's radar screen, but they couldn't pinpoint its location and thought it was a much bigger UFO some distance away. The gentle swaying of the laundry bag balloon in the night breeze appeared to be the most amazing inertialess dartings to and from given the controllers' opinion it was a big UFO much farther away.

18 posted on 01/28/2003 3:37:52 PM PST by Thud
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To: MadIvan
That's not a potato gun... THIS is a potato gun!!

I would think that those German kids might like to dress it up in tiger-stripe camoflage paint. ;-) Pneumatic is *definitely* the way to go... much more powerful than the ignited aerosol guns. If the simpler gun is preferred, a nice squirt of cinnamon Glade (air freshener) works better than hair spray, and smells better when it burns.

It's a good idea to wrap a bit of course screen wire around these things. Plastic pipe fatigues and will eventually burst, so some sort of barrier layer will help preserve the shooter's good health.

I've always wanted to try one of these things with paintball "cannister shot".

19 posted on 01/28/2003 3:37:54 PM PST by Charles Martel
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To: The KG9 Kid
How about the Eastern North Carolina kids. I love and have used spud guns for 10 or 15 years, but I have never seen or heard of anything called an Anvil Firing. Please send a sketch, plan, model, or anything that will help me understand and perhaps replocate an anvil firing.

Thanks
Tom D.
20 posted on 01/28/2003 3:39:13 PM PST by Tom D.
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To: Who is John Galt?
Ping
21 posted on 01/28/2003 3:39:22 PM PST by capitan_refugio (Charter Member, American Association of Spud Hunters)
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To: MadIvan
Google turns up a whole passel of hits on "kartoffelkanone". Looks like the main website got taken down. Google cache
22 posted on 01/28/2003 3:40:47 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck
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To: MadIvan
These are good, but I am partial to trebuchets myself.
23 posted on 01/28/2003 3:41:21 PM PST by capitan_refugio (Charter Member, American Association of Spud Hunters)
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To: Thud
Frozen grapes make a nice projectile for your 3-man slingshot...so I've heard.
24 posted on 01/28/2003 3:42:34 PM PST by Sid Rich
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To: MadIvan
More proof that "German pacifist" will always be an oxymoron.
25 posted on 01/28/2003 3:43:52 PM PST by Argus
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To: Thud
Just flying a conventional diamond kite with the skeleton covered with foil should have a similar effect I would think....
26 posted on 01/28/2003 3:44:06 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck
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To: Sid Rich
Yep, and over-ripe kiwifruit fly like you would not believe. :-)
27 posted on 01/28/2003 3:44:40 PM PST by Charles Martel
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To: Joe Boucher
You should have heard Russ Martin on 105.3 in Dallas when they lit a potato gun off LIVE on the air and took out the dual pain glass in the studio. Funny, very funny! Then there was the time they were launching it at the sheet rock at the end of the hall...
28 posted on 01/28/2003 3:47:51 PM PST by Karsus (TrueFacts=GOOD, GoodFacts=BAD))
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To: Sam Cree
I guess it's a good thing you don't live in Germany!
29 posted on 01/28/2003 3:49:57 PM PST by Bear_in_RoseBear (thought you would be interested....)
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To: capitan_refugio
trebuchets

Wile E. Coyote used these for trying to catch Road Runner, didn't he?

30 posted on 01/28/2003 3:51:07 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck
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To: The KG9 Kid
They have no idea do they ??? !!!!
31 posted on 01/28/2003 3:57:05 PM PST by clamper1797 (Per Caritate Viduaribus Orphanibusque Sed Prime Viduaribus)
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To: MadIvan
Field Expedient bump


Some youths have made multi-barrelled potato cannons, resembling the Soviet Katyusha rocket launchers of the Second World War and capable of firing at a phenomenal rate.

Damn, we hadn't even thought of that here.

They should see what a half inch bolt taped to the end of a plastic coke bottle does, then again maybe it's better not.

". It is a growing social problem that needs to be tackled.”

Typical liberal answer.
32 posted on 01/28/2003 4:02:11 PM PST by tet68
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To: The KG9 Kid
OK, I will bite. How do you fire an anvil. Does this involve gunpowder and barrels, or what???
33 posted on 01/28/2003 4:03:02 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck
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To: HiTech RedNeck
Just flying a conventional diamond kite with the skeleton covered with foil should have a similar effect I would think....

Oh, and disclaimer "don't do this at home kids." I can't imagine a better way to get in trouble right now.

34 posted on 01/28/2003 4:04:40 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck
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To: tet68
Sounds like people have been watching McGvyer reruns again.
35 posted on 01/28/2003 4:06:00 PM PST by Thud
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To: Poohbah
It's only fun until somebody gets an eye put out...

That's why they were outlawed in California. They claimed hundreds of kids were going to be maimed and killed by these dangerous devices.

These things have been around since I was a kid, a mighty long time, and I have never heard of anyone losing an eye or getting killed by one.

Awesome fun!!!
36 posted on 01/28/2003 4:07:35 PM PST by radioman
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To: Poohbah
OK, a little less acetylene...

I like propane, myself. Of course I find high pressure steel pipe works better than PVC

37 posted on 01/28/2003 4:11:46 PM PST by Ford Fairlane
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To: HiTech RedNeck
Anvil shoots require two anvils of known good quality, some
black powder, cannon fuse, and perhaps some papertowls and a little window putty.

One anvil is laid upside down on a nice solid LEVEL ground and leveled with a spirit level then since most anvils have a concavity in the base, a quantity of black powder is wrapped in a tissue a fuse inserted and put in this depression. a line of putty is put around the cavity and the other anvil set on top.

the fuse is lit and boom up it goes, depending on the
charge, as high as 150 feet or better.(Since the anvil
may weigh as much as 125 lb or more, it IS spectacular!)

Long fuses are the order of the day and spectators are urged to keep well back.

Shooting Anvils has a long tradition among blacksmiths,
and goes back to a time when small towns that didn't own cannon wanted to celebrate the 4th of July.

Note. There was a time when small towns OWNED cannon,
but that was long ago in a land far away.
38 posted on 01/28/2003 4:17:46 PM PST by tet68
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To: Thud
"Another great one is a three-man slingshot made from surgical tubing, using a pad made of a sewed-together towel. We tried it out on the archery range and hit the target with a filled water balloon the first time from 50'. "

Growing up, we had a similar device that used a funnel for the pouch. We could shoot a water ballon from our street, over 2 houses and hit the street on the next block.

When the ballons ran out we'd load rotten mangos and for close range shotgun effect we'd use sea-grapes.

39 posted on 01/28/2003 4:19:20 PM PST by Rebelbase (Rock with Celtic roots at http://www.sevennations.com)
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To: Karsus
Reminds me of the Jerky Boys tennis ball/potato shooting prank call.
40 posted on 01/28/2003 4:21:35 PM PST by Rebelbase (Rock with Celtic roots at http://www.sevennations.com)
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To: HiTech RedNeck
This is a good page for Anvil Firing.

It's not authentic ECV anvil firing, but it's good enough for beginners.

41 posted on 01/28/2003 4:27:07 PM PST by The KG9 Kid
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To: Charles Martel; MadIvan
Great. Some German kid's gonna mount that on a Volkswagen, call it a panzer, drive it to Paris, and take over France. You know how those French are, they see a German vehicle with a barrel sticking out and those hands just go up by reflex...

}:-)4
42 posted on 01/28/2003 4:28:56 PM PST by Moose4 (der Panzerkampfwagen VII Ausf A "Beetle")
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To: tet68
You want to be cautious about selecting some brands of window putty. Some of the denser plastic mixtures of window putty can practically turn into plasma on firing, and splatter onlookers with bits of napalm.

Better to use old worn out playing cards.

43 posted on 01/28/2003 4:29:35 PM PST by The KG9 Kid
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To: Moose4
What a bunch of Cheese eating surrender monkeys!!!
44 posted on 01/28/2003 4:31:27 PM PST by mylife
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To: HiTech RedNeck
booiinngg
45 posted on 01/28/2003 4:38:58 PM PST by capitan_refugio
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To: Charles Martel
No, no, no... THIS is a spud gun...


Ah, the good ole days...


Check this out

46 posted on 01/28/2003 4:39:19 PM PST by LayoutGuru2
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To: capitan_refugio
...one teenager was badly burnt when the hairspray used as the propellant exploded in his face as he prepared to fire.

Definitely time to do something about that deadly hair spray. What does the inimitable G.D. (your governor ;>) have to say about this critical issue? Do we ban hair spray, or simply tax it?

47 posted on 01/28/2003 4:43:59 PM PST by Who is John Galt?
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To: MadIvan
5 day waiting period on potatoes?
48 posted on 01/28/2003 4:55:31 PM PST by nonliberal (Taglines? We don't need no stinkin' taglines!)
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To: Charles Martel
Mine has a solinoid valve actuated firing mechinism, all shedual 80 P22, I have it tied into the starting air compressor from a peaking gas turbine, I can put a Frozen potato out to Deer Island from Southie, 75 mm.
49 posted on 01/28/2003 4:56:30 PM PST by Little Bill (No Rats, A.N.S.W.E.R. is a commie front!!!!)
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To: The KG9 Kid
Some folks like to do away with the bottom anvil and use a
3 or 4" thick plate with a kind of hollow that the base of the anvil sits down in, this type of mortar base can send them up several hundred feet. I mean just a tiny dot in the sky!

We don't do that just a good boom.

Spectators are urged to keep WELL back!

This pastime has even led to a split in the blacksmiths
organizations as some of the west coast leadership
decried the practice as too dangerous to perform and
so many chapters have split off to continue the traditions
of our past.
50 posted on 01/28/2003 4:59:49 PM PST by tet68
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