NATEODA Historian Shares Explanation of Old Photos of Bomb Disposal School's "Show and Tell"

In response to the UXO Related History Remembered article posted in our December UXO E-Newsletter, NATEODA Historian, LTC Robert E. Leiendecker, USA Retired, provided UXOInfo.com with the following descriptions of the unidentified photos. A special thanks to him for sharing with our readers.

Mr. Leindecker explained, "The first photo is the TM-11/M-1 Thermal Discharger set up for operation. It was designed to discharge the condensers in German Rheinmetall electric bomb fuzes. In the background is the brass steam boiler placed on a portable field stove. It holds water that produces the steam and passes it through the rubber hose you see to the discharge head which is attached by magnets over the fuze head. The steam would penetrate the fuze head through the spaces around the electrical contacts, condense and short out the fuze. The bomb is a German 50 kg HE bomb with screamers, or flutes, attached to the fins, which were often called the Flutes of Jericho. The discharger would work on the (17), (17)A, (17) B, (49) series, 50b (or "Y" fuze), 59, (59)A, 79, 79(A), (89)and (89)B fuzes."

BD Equipment

The building in the background was a barracks for the enlisted bomb disposal students. The truck in the background is the WC-51 3/4 ton 4x4 Dodge, part of the BD authorization. Also in the background, on the ground behind the steam boiler, is the T-17/M-1 Grease Gun Pump. It was used to furnish No. 10 oil, under high pressure, that was used with the hydraulic clockstopper (T-3/M01), or with the transfer cylinder (A-11/M01 or A-11/M2), or with the dearmer (A-8/M10. Today's trivia, the hand pump was the Lincoln Lever Lubrigun, Model 176. The photo does not seem to have the 3,000 psi gage and Check Valve Attachment attached to the Lubrigun."

"The next photo is a field portable photo developing and printing set. It was not a bomb disposal peculiar set of equipment, just obtained from the normal supply system. Not much to say about it. It found use for official intell photos, unit history photos and in many cases photos from personal cameras."

BD Equipment

The third photo "shows the various hand tools for recovery of buried ordnance items, a coil of rope used in rigging and ordnance recovery, and what looks to be a WWII demo kit and wire. They wire is leading off to the bottom right of the photo. I hope it is not capped in to something!! I cannot tell if the tools were non-sparking or not. On the ground near the rope are the large pulleys used in the rigging."

BD Equipment

"Last is the pre-assembled tripod carried to retrieve bombs from shafts that had been dug to access and render them safe. It was designed to be set-up in a minimal time and then folded and easily transported. The rope was assembled in a two pulley arrangement, which required four times the length of rope for the distance the ordnance was buried. Standard set-up. They used this set-up or a gin pole arrangement. The bomb is a Japanese Type 97, No. 6, Navy bomb, about 40-inches long. You can also see the lister bag hanging from the back of the WC-51."

BD Equipment

According to Mr. Leiendecker, "The photos show part of what was the typical VIP show and tell once the Army and the Bomb Disposal School decided that they should not keep the trade from the public, as was the initial thought. It was finally thought that the American public needed to know there was a capability to protect them in case of an attack on America. Senior military staff members, Congressmen, senior industrial leaders and others were taken from station to station with briefings at each point. School staff members did the work and answered questions as needed. It was a hands on arrangement. Some demonstrations had a complete TO&A layout of vehicles, tools, equipment and a complete squad in combat gear with weapons."

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