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First World War battlefield in Verdun still a danger
ITV REPORT ^ | 7 August 2018 at 5:50pm | ITV News Europe Editor James Mates

Posted on 08/07/2018 4:43:59 PM PDT by robowombat

First World War battlefield in Verdun still a danger with thousands of exploded shells 100 years on

Nearly 100 years since the end of the First World War and there are still areas of France unsafe to be visited because of unexploded shells.

Some 300,000 soldiers were killed in the Battle of Verdun between France and Germany from February to December 1916.

During the onslaught, around six million shells - including many containing mustard gas - were fired by the opposing sides. One million of those failed to explode. Dozens of unexploded shells are unearthed every day.

At the end of The Great War, France bought the battlefield land from villagers and designated it a "red zone", and since then it has been inaccessible to the public.

For years, bomb disposal experts have slowly been removing the ordinances, finding dozens of shells a day, but experts fear the work may yet require another century to be completed.

The Battle of Verdun cost 300,000 lives. The land on which Verdun was fought was originally agricultural land, fields upon fields.

But except for shell removal squads, nobody has set foot there since the war's end, and the area now resembles a forest.

Pierre Moreno, one of the bomb experts, told ITV News he thinks it will take years to clear the land.

"There are still tonnes and tonnes," he said.

"There will be decades, centuries, of work for us, because the ammunition is buried and every year it is rising naturally to the surface."

Experts believe it may take another 100 years to clear the forest. This year alone, some 500 tonnes of shells have been removed from the ground, and are currently being stored until they are disposed of by way of controlled explosion.

Experts fear that the land make never be able to be used again - certainly not for agricultural purposes.

While those who died in the Battle of Verdun are remembered 100 years on, the legacy it inflicted upon the land on which it was fought continues to be felt too.


TOPICS: VetsCoR
KEYWORDS: battleofverdun; france; germany; germanyempire; godsgravesglyphs; jamesmates; thegreatwar; verdun; worldwarone; ww1; wwi
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This is not the only WW1 battlefield that contains large amounts of unexploded ordnance.
1 posted on 08/07/2018 4:43:59 PM PDT by robowombat
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To: robowombat

The guns of August. There’s unexploded bombs, grenades, gas canisters on that battlefield. Likely a few bones still laying around here and there.


2 posted on 08/07/2018 4:49:34 PM PDT by virgil (The evil that men do lives after them)
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To: robowombat
First World War battlefield in Verdun still a danger with thousands of exploded shells 100 years on

Great editing job there.

3 posted on 08/07/2018 4:57:14 PM PDT by plain talk
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To: robowombat

...but how many of the shells detonate on their own?

Is the battlefield actually dangerous assuming one doesn’t go banging on rounds with a sledgehammer?

Sequestering chemical rounds is still probably a good idea.


4 posted on 08/07/2018 5:00:20 PM PDT by lepton ("It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into"--Jonathan Swift)
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To: robowombat

My french wifes great grandfather died at Verdun two weeks before her grandfather was born. Her grandfather was taken by the Germans in WWII for farm labor. They don’t care much for the Germans.


5 posted on 08/07/2018 5:00:52 PM PDT by Jolla
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To: robowombat

A member of my Father’s platoon in WWII, had an 88mm shell hit two feet from him and not explode.


6 posted on 08/07/2018 5:03:15 PM PDT by yarddog
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To: robowombat

Petain was promoted to Marshal and later command of the Army as he hero of Verdun. We know how that turned out.


7 posted on 08/07/2018 5:03:42 PM PDT by colorado tanker
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To: plain talk

No need for the Danger UXB crowd from the second war then....


8 posted on 08/07/2018 5:05:22 PM PDT by wally_bert (Just call me Angelo or babe.)
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To: virgil
Likely a few bones still laying around here and there.

More than a few. 72,000 British and Commonwealth missing and never found from the Somme alone. Soldiers in the trenches could shake the protruding hands of dead comrades before going over the top. MIA numbers for WWI Apparently, it was considered "good luck". Horrible war that led to British and French aversion to another one and their appeasement of Hitler.

9 posted on 08/07/2018 5:05:48 PM PDT by katana (We're all part of a long episode of "The Terrific Mr. Trump")
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To: lepton

I think I read somewhere that at the Ypres battlefield there are underground piles of explosives that were meant to be exploded along the German line, that were placed there by sappers during the war, and never detonated or removed. Back in the 1950s one of caches detonated due to a lightning strike, and it was a huge explosion. There still one other cache that they know about.


10 posted on 08/07/2018 5:09:20 PM PDT by virgil (The evil that men do lives after them)
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To: lepton; robowombat
This year alone, some 500 tonnes of shells have been removed from the ground, and are currently being stored until they are disposed of by way of controlled explosion.

I wonder how long they store these explosive shells.

TNT becomes less stable with age. One shell stored with dozens of others self detonates setting off the others would be bad.

11 posted on 08/07/2018 5:09:24 PM PDT by Pontiac (The welfare state must fail because it is contrary to human nature and diminishes the human spirit.)
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To: robowombat

Question: Did they work on ridding it of explosives while they were Vichy France under the thumb of the Nazis?


12 posted on 08/07/2018 5:09:37 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (You cannot invade the mainland US. There'd be a rifle behind every blade of grass.)
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To: katana

Field Marshall Montgomery was shot through the body during WWI. He was a Lieutenant. After a year he returned to his men instead of taking a well deserved retirement.

I believe that had something to do with his being so careful in WWII.


13 posted on 08/07/2018 5:11:10 PM PDT by yarddog
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To: yarddog

Thanks to slave labor I would guess


14 posted on 08/07/2018 5:11:19 PM PDT by Pontiac (The welfare state must fail because it is contrary to human nature and diminishes the human spirit.)
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To: yarddog
Interesting. While living in Detroit a fiend at work mentioned the same thing happening with his uncle who was part of a SP 155 crew. They were taking counter battery fire and an 88 round landed directly in front of their gun vehicle. Cautious examination of the round revealed instead of explosive it had been filled with grayish sand.A lot of German artillery shells were manufactured in plants in former Poland and Czechoslovakia. Many of the workers were slave laborers.
15 posted on 08/07/2018 5:11:36 PM PDT by robowombat (Orthodox)
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To: robowombat

Log the forest with drones. Plow up with drones. Remove bombs with drones.


16 posted on 08/07/2018 5:15:02 PM PDT by Cold Heart
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To: lepton

Visited the battlefield with my dad in 1958, it was still dirt and dead trees with barbed wire strewn about. We dug in the dirt finding bullets and ended up getting slightly gassed from ruminant chemicals in the dirt...never forget my eyes burning and tearing.


17 posted on 08/07/2018 5:15:54 PM PDT by Paratrooper
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To: katana

It’s just astounding how many lives were poured into those battlefields.


18 posted on 08/07/2018 5:18:07 PM PDT by virgil (The evil that men do lives after them)
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To: robowombat

The senseless slaughter of WWI boggles the mind. But goes a long way in explaining British caution under Montgomery. The Brit public wouldn’t have accepted such losses again.


19 posted on 08/07/2018 5:19:12 PM PDT by Seruzawa (TANSTAAFL!)
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To: robowombat
I read somewhere that a memorial for just the Ypres battle with the same dimensions for each KIA as our Vietnam memorial would be 8 miles long.

Sobering.

20 posted on 08/07/2018 5:20:59 PM PDT by Last Dakotan
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