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-   -   Tourist brings unexploded WW2 shell to Vienna airport (http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=96801)

WildaBeast 10 July 2018 07:34 PM

Tourist brings unexploded WW2 shell to Vienna airport
 
Quote:

An American tourist brought an unexploded World War Two shell to Vienna airport in her luggage, Austrian police said on Tuesday.
The 24-year-old had found the bomb on Sunday while walking in the Dachstein mountains, according to police in Lower Austria state.
https://sg.finance.yahoo.com/news/to...141318943.html

WildaBeast 10 July 2018 07:40 PM

I wonder if she actually realized it was explosive when she took it. Since Americans don't have to deal with unexploded WWII ordinance on a regular basis she may have assumed it was just a solid hunk of metal, like a cannon ball.

overyonder 10 July 2018 08:14 PM

Some people lack a little common sense. It's one thing to want to bring an empty brass shell back, but a loaded one?

OY

thorny locust 10 July 2018 08:52 PM

I think she must not have realized it was explosive. The degree of cluelessness it would take, in the modern world, to walk into an airport with something one knew was explosive -- and then to declare it at the counter! -- is almost beyond belief. Assuming that it was just a hunk of inert metal is a whole lot more likely.

But then, I speak as a person who went something like the first sixty years of her life thinking that cannonballs were just heavy chunks of metal that were dangerous only because of their weight and because they got thrown at speed. This is true of some of them, but not all.


(Note: I found out otherwise by reading. Not by improper handling of cannonballs; with which my experience is pretty much limited to seeing them piled up at war memorials. Presumably the ones they do that with really are inert.)

overyonder 10 July 2018 09:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by thorny locust (Post 1982854)
Assuming that it was just a hunk of inert metal is a whole lot more likely.

What's the fun or interest in bringing "an inert chunk of metal", though?

OY

WildaBeast 10 July 2018 09:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by overyonder (Post 1982863)
What's the fun or interest in bringing "an inert chunk of metal", though?

OY

Because it's not just a random inert chunk of metal, it's a chunk of metal that she found while on vacation in Austria, and one that was fired from a big gun during a major war.

overyonder 10 July 2018 09:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WildaBeast (Post 1982864)
one that was fired from a big gun during a major war.

That goes back to what I said, lack of common sense if you know that it was fired from a big gun.

OY

Beachlife! 10 July 2018 10:01 PM

I don't think understanding how world war armaments worked is common sense. She probably figured it worked like a larger version of a bullet or like a basic cannonball, as TL points out.

thorny locust 10 July 2018 10:02 PM

Why would knowing that it was fired from a big gun automatically lead to knowing that it was explosive?

Bullets that have already been fired aren't explosive. The charge already went off, inside the gun.

Not all cannonballs are explosive; so it's not just the size of the gun that's at issue.

"Common sense" often seems to mean, in practice, "things that I learned so long ago that I've forgotten I needed to learn them."

ASL 11 July 2018 01:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by thorny locust (Post 1982871)
"Common sense" often seems to mean, in practice, "things that I learned so long ago that I've forgotten I needed to learn them."

I guess. I prefer to think of it as oversensitivity, though. Being so sensitive to the idea that unexploded ordinance may be... unexploded rather than inexplosive (unexplosive? whatever) makes it hard to conceptualize the idea of seeing an artillery shell and not thinking "zOMG!!!,!!UNEXPLODED ORDINANCE..?

(Please note my ironic punctuation errors are appropriate to an iPad. Right down to have "ipad" autocorrected to iPad. The ! is above the , on my keyboard, rather than the 1. Authenticity.)

thorny locust 11 July 2018 01:49 AM

What does and doesn't seem obvious does depend a great deal on what one's ordinarily around.

I sometimes have to rather determinedly remind myself, for instance, that no, it is not intuitively obvious to everyone that melons and sweet corn are not yet in season in New York State in the month of May.

Alarm 11 July 2018 01:50 PM

I'm not very knowledgeable in the ammunition department, but arent' bullets that have been fired mostly empty casings?

If a bullet retains it's tip, then it is "unexploded"...
So finding a whole shell, with the tip and everything, should clue someone in to the fact that the projectile could still contain some explosive material.
:duh::confused:

Hans Off 11 July 2018 02:41 PM

It doesn’t mention if she had an unfired shell or not. I imagine it was the warhead itself without the casing. Artillery rounds are (mostly) explosive so she might have thought it was like a bullet “slug” solid and inert.

I can fully understand the layman’s assumption she might have made.

ETA: there is an image of the shell on another site (sadly fox news, but you can’t win em all)

http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2018/0...-on-plane.html

erwins 11 July 2018 03:24 PM

I know what unexploded ordinance is, in terms of its danger, but, having Googled images, I don't know that I would recognize some of it as such. And it certainly is not obvious that there is a multipart shell that had failed to separate into its constituent parts. Some of them have an unfamiliar (to me) shape. Others have a very bullet-like (without the casing) shape.

The article doesn't specify what she said when she declared it. What she said might be pretty telling.

Hans Off 11 July 2018 03:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by erwins (Post 1982918)
Others have a very bullet-like (without the casing) shape.

I think the main problem lies with these type, a layperson may assume that it is just like a spend bullet, when it is very much not. In larger calibre ordnance that “Bullet” part is also designed to go BANG and throw red hot fragments of metal in all directions.

The laypersooften does not realise this.

UEL 11 July 2018 03:57 PM

The crux of the matter is simple: remnants of war should not be brought home as souvenirs.

As for the more complex part...

A trained eye (does not need to be an expert) can easily determine if the projectile is dangerous. I can easily understand how an untrained civilian can think that it is safe.

But it is hard for us to sit here and know the true state of the projectile:

- some large calibre rounds are designed to explode
- some large calibre rounds are designed with a sabot, and are a solid piece of metal designed to penetrate
- some large calibre rounds are carrier shells with no explosive, but carriage medium for smoke, illumination, pamphlets etc
- very few large calibre shells are wholly metal (used typically for testing and training nowadays, but at one time during WWII were used occasionally for penetrating walls in urban fighting)
- not all large calibre rounds are artillery. Some come from tanks and depending the location of the projectile, may even be Navy
- some aerial munitions look like artillery projectiles
- all old munitions can be dangerous
- there are some key markings on an artillery and/or tank round that indicate that it has been fired. However, these can disappear over time due to corrosion of the projectile

So, unless there are photos, I could not hazard a guess as to what she found. I trust that the airport staff know what they are doing.

GenYus234 11 July 2018 04:04 PM

The article Hans Off linked to has a picture of the shell. It is about 40-45 cm long and I'm guessing it is a 105 mm shell. The markings are almost completely gone but I do not believe it is an dummy or practice round. The color remaining would suggest high explosive but that's a guess.

UEL 11 July 2018 04:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GenYus234 (Post 1982926)
The article Hans Off linked to has a picture of the shell. It is about 40-45 cm long and I'm guessing it is a 105 mm shell. The markings are almost completely gone but I do not believe it is an dummy or practice round. The color remaining would suggest high explosive but that's a guess.

Egads. I don't know how I missed the link. :confused:

That is definitely a 105mm High Explosive blind. It has been fired. :eek:

That is the type of round that one does not touch. Can be very unstable.

GenYus234 11 July 2018 04:33 PM

Would fired be safer? (less dangerous?) than not fired? Not fired you have the additional worry of the propellant charge plus the (often not as stable) primer.

Quote:

some large calibre rounds are designed with a sabot, and are a solid piece of metal designed to penetrate
Wouldn't be an issue with a WWII shell, but nowadays that type of shell could be dangerous too since it could be depleted uranium.

NobleHunter 11 July 2018 04:42 PM

Is it ironic that explosives that were supposed to explode but didn't are among the most dangerous explosives?


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