Saturday, November 11, 2017
Er . . . oops?
I recently came across an article about South Africa's Munitions Defect Center. It's a museum of weapons and ammunition that proved defective, or were damaged or destroyed due to errors in either production or operation. Its purpose is to allow officers and production engineers to learn from the mistakes of those who went before them. Sounds like a good idea to me!
One of South Africa's "old faithful" artillery pieces was what it called the G2 cannon - Britain's 5.5 inch Medium Gun, developed during World War II. Here's one in the Western Desert campaign during that conflict. Basically, it's the functional equivalent of the US M114 155 mm howitzer from the same era. (Click both images for a larger view.)
Here's another 5.5 inch cannon, this one on display in the Munitions Defect Center.
As you can see, the barrel exploded - apparently because a bore cleaning brush was left in it! I bet that caused the gun's crew a few brown-trouser moments . . . It takes a lot of explosive power to shatter steel that thick, but a shell detonating inside the barrel will do it every time.
You can see what the bore cleaning brush looked like in the first picture above - one is being held vertically by the soldier on the extreme right of the photograph. I wonder what the rest of the crew did to the idiot who left the brush in the barrel?