Disarming Hitler's Weapons.

AuthorO'Connell, John F.
PositionBook review

Disarming Hitler's Weapons. By Chris Ransted. South Yorkshire, UK: Pen & Sword, 2013. Photographs. Illustrations. Appendices. Footnotes. Index. Pp. 268. $39.95 ISBN: 178159386-8.

This is an interesting book for a reader who wants a great deal of detail about the efforts of UXB (unexploded bomb) personnel and squads that learned their trade dealing with German Luftwaffe bombs dropped in England in 1939 and 1940. They also dealt with aerial mines, particularly magnetic mines. The equivalent American term is EOD (explosive ordnance disposal). Author Ransted caught me by surprise when he noted that British UXB personnel were not all necessarily volunteers for this line of work!

In 1944 two new weapons started landing in England and on the continent. The first was the V-1, a flying bomb, the earliest operational cruise missile. It was dubbed the "buzz bomb" because of the sound of its pulsejet engine. It was also known as a "doodlebug." V-1s flew at fairly low altitudes--around 4,000 feet--at a speed of about 400 mph and could be seen and shot down by anti-aircraft artillery and fighter aircraft. They also could be knocked down by barrage balloon cables. The missile was also referred to as a "diver," because it dove towards the ground when its range-counter determined that the preset range had been reached. The warhead (about 1,850 pounds of high explosive) was designed to go off on impact with a solid object. However, not all V-1s exploded on impact. They had a nose fuse and two side fuses; occasionally, impact on a soft surface left the warhead intact and, frequently, buried. Fortunately for UXB personnel, there were...

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