The Unearthing of a WWI Tank

It’s not exactly new, but this page has some information (including pics) of a WWI tank that was discovered in France in 1998.

I wonder how the restoration is going?

That’s the amazing thing about history…how the land kinda reclaims the stuff. Unearthing war artifacts from 40 years ago, unearthing mummies, the Sphinx…

What a flippin’ rush it’d be to be one of the people digging it up.

Aaaand something more alarming just got unearthed in London, but aint nobody gettin’ sentimental about that!!!

:eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:

I dunno, I think you can get sentimental about it. After all, something that was used to pyhsically break you down was built over and ignored. In essence, you’ve conquered it.

Until it goes off underneath your ass! :smack:

That didn’t happen to that Russian grandmother who had one under her bed from WWII to the late 1980’s! :smiley:

As long as it aint a dragon , its all good.


What I’d like to know is how this stuff manages to get so deeply buried in such a relatively short time. That picture of the V-1 bomb makes it look like it was about twenty feet deep in the ground. Surely the thing couldn’t have been embedded that deep originally while still remaining intact. So did that area of London acquire several feet of sediment within the last 60 years, or what? Did a volcano erupt in that neighborhood? Are random objects suddenly subducted deep into the Earth’s crust in London?

Likewise for the tank in France. “For many years villagers had speculated that a tank was buried in the area–” What in the hell does that even mean? This is not legendary Viking treasure. WWI was less than a century ago! If these villagers ever wondered whether there used to be a tank sitting around somewhere, aren’t there older, wine-preserved villagers they could have questioned about it? “Say, Grizzled Louis, is there any truth to the rumor that there used to be a burned-out German tank parked near the Rue de Quicksand?”

How has anything in Europe remained above the Earth’s surface? At that rate of sinkage, Stonehenge should be like two miles underground by now.

  1. Bombs, falling from high altutude, at high speed, bury themselves quite deeply in soft soil.

  2. WW1 battlefields were dangerous, long after the War. Unexploded shells, barbed wire, earthenworks tunnels collapsing, etc. Avoiding them tends to make observations brief. Also, there were no trres left on most WW1 battlefields. Even entire hills were leveled by years of artillery barrages. So, no landmarks to judge areas.
    3)And WW1 is approaching the 100 anniversery mark. There ain’t nobody alive that fought in that War, hardly.

The article explains that the Germans were likely using it as a “dugout,” meaning, I presume, that they buried it and used it for shelter after it was disabled.

I just read an article today about some WWII bombers that were flying from the United States to England during the war. They ran into problems and had to do an emergency landing in Greenland. The crews were all rescued but the planes couldn’t take off and had to be abandoned.

The article said that the planes had been located and excavated. One of them was repaired and returned to flight status and they are flying it to England on its original flight plan with an 89 year old veteran, who’s the sole remaining member of the original crew, as a passenger.

How cool is that?

Actually, if you read the caption on the photo, it is of a different bomb, discovered in France, displayed for effect. A 500 lb. bomb (which is what the French bomb looks like, to me) falling from 23,000 feet would probably bury itself pretty deep if it failed to explode. Even deeper if the ground was soft. Free-fall bombs have only stabilizing fins behind them that would not have slowed them very much during a fall.

I suspect that a V1, (which carried a warhead of almost 2,000 lbs., but which only flew at an altititude around 2,500 feet), would not tend to bury itself as deeply. Part of the “targeting” process resulted in the engine quitting, so it would be in free-fall when it struck, from only 1/10th the altitude of a “normal” bomb with wings, tail empennage, and an engine shaped like and acting like a drogue anchor, slowing its fall.

Nevertheless, with an 1,800 lb. warhead, it could probably sink pretty far into peat or some other loamy soils.

(The bomb in France, pictured, might also be less deep than it first appears. I make the depth to be a bit over 15 feet–but some of that might be the excavation tailings that are piled up around the top of the hole. It is still deep, but perhaps not quite as deep as it seems.)

WWI munitions still kill a couple of people a year in France. The French Army has a sapper unit that exclusively disarms WWI explosive and gas munitions when they’re found, often by farmers plowing in their fields. Smithsonian magazine had an article about 'em a few years ago.

The report says it was found near a street named Millharbour. I’ve just checked it out on Multimap and it’s right next to Millwall Inner Dock - if the V1 went in there it would be under about twenty feet of water (at least). And there would be a fair bit of soft mud below that.

Some of the docks are being filled in at the moment to make room for new building work and I wouldn’t mind betting that a lot more German ordnance is going to come to light in the process, considering the tonnage that was dropped on the area during WWII.

Getting back to the article linked in the OP - what was the difference between a “male” and a “female” tank in WWI?

Male tanks had a cannon (or more than one), female ones only had machine guns, apparently.

That’s correct. There were also “hermaphrodites”, with a cannon on one side and machine guns on the other.

Thank you for the explaination of male and female tanks. I was wondering, too.

I doubt they’d get away with such chauvinistic terminology nowadays, but as it all happened nearly a century ago, it just seems… I dunno… sort of charmingly phallic.

I’m not sure that I agree that the terminology wouldn’t be possible today - after all, we use male and female for a number of other inanimate objects that don’t have genders, really. I see the logic behind cable and hose connectors being called male and female, but it’s still a bit chauvinistic. Of course the tanks in question really don’t fit the analogy quite as well.