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Went walking in the woods today

Discussion in 'Battlefield Relics' started by BWilson, Apr 18, 2009.

  1. BWilson

    BWilson Member

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    Well, okay these woods were around the Westwall . . . :cool:

    My "walk out" wasn't very satisfying. I have a 1/50,000 map that showed the locations of bunkers and from experience I expected them to be ruins. The vegetation has already grown fairly high and it was raining off and on today. I was getting discouraged and turned around. Then, to the left, I saw a chunk of concrete between vineyards. Aha! Going up the rise, sure enough, a former Westwall bunker was in ruins with bushes growing all around it. Wasn't too much to see there but massive pieces of reinforced concrete. I poked around with my metal detector but it wasn't finding anything and was a pain to use in the intermittent rainfall.

    Coming back along the trail, I saw an unnatural rise to the left that I had noticed on my way out. I went up to it and couldn't find anything but felt like it was a bunker or ruins thereof that had been covered with dirt. Going down the slope, I noticed old foxholes between the dirt mound and the trail. Again, the metal detector was quiet except for one spot where I found some kind of metal band that was buried too deep to easily remove. However, by a foxhole, I was stunned to see a grenade laying on top of the ground.

    Normally, this is the kind of thing that would make me back off and call the local police to come dispose of it. But I noticed the screw cap of the grenade was missing and that one could see inside of it. The grenade was empty. I cleaned it up a bit and claimed it as a find. The metal is so rusted that it does not trigger the metal detector. Fragile, too, when I was cleaning the inside with a stick, some of the bottom metal broke out -- too bad.

    After I got it home, I was able to identify it as an early version of the German Eihandgranate. (Information on these at German Mod.39 "Egg" Grenade, WWII - Inert-Ord.net )

    Unfortunately, I don't have a camera handy so I couldn't get a sharp picture of it, but I did get an image of it with my scanner, which is attached.

    Seems odd that it laid there near the trail for over sixty years. Another thing I find odd about my visits to battlefields is that whenever I find anything, it is of German manufacture. I have never found anything left behind by the Allied forces, almost like the Allies never fired a shot! Anyway, enjoy the image.

    Cheers

    BW
     

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    PzJgr likes this.
  2. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    Interesting find. Thanks for sharing.
     
  3. bigfun

    bigfun Ace

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    Nice! I would love to do this sometime! Finding something like that, sitting there for all those years! Great fun!
     
  4. ChaoS

    ChaoS Member

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    Nice find. Aren't you a little scared walking around these woods? I would think there is tons of undiscovered mines etc....

    Was it Hurtgen forest by any chance?
     
  5. paratrooper506

    paratrooper506 Member

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    that looks like a lemon grenade that was phased out fairly early during the vietnam war
     
  6. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Nice find. I'd be a bit worried that if I went on one of these hikes and found something, started digging-that I might set off an explosive of somekind. I wonder how many times that has happened in the past?
     
  7. jagdpanther44

    jagdpanther44 Battlefield wanderer

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    I find it strange that you haven't found any allied stuff. When I was in the Hurtgen forest, last year. I found loads of Garand cartridges and clips, along with a few other US items.

    Scott, I'm currently in discussions with my friend, Pegasus about returning to the Hurtgen forest area in July of this year...so what are you waiting for?...get on that plane and get yourself over here !!!....:)

    Carl, the same thought is always in my mind when I start digging at battlfield sites.

    I tend to dig gently and slowly...;)
     
  8. Cj3022

    Cj3022 Member

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    I wish I was close to any WW2 battlefield , you dont find many WW2 grenades lying around here in South Florida lol.

    Cool find.
     
  9. jagdpanther44

    jagdpanther44 Battlefield wanderer

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    Maybe not...but if you go diving off the Gulf coast of Florida i'm sure you would find plenty of ordnance...

    Back in the 1990s I was on holiday at St Pete Beach where I saw a map on a bar wall which showed the locations of WW2 military ordnance dumping grounds out at sea.

    There were loads of sites scattered off the coast that had been used for the disposal of surplus weapons...although I suspect they were probably deep water areas so as to prevent retrieval.
     
  10. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    If I did that Mate-i'd also walk like I was walking on egg shells-very carefully ;-))
     
  11. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Good find BW, it's always nice to come home with a relic, even a modest one. It's the thrill and the fact of finding a small part of history, I know the feeling.
     
  12. Herr

    Herr Member

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    Nice find.

    Coming from Flanders where millions of tons of explosives are still in the soil and every year some farmer gets blown up when ploughing his field.
    Or I remember an ordnance collector/relic hunter who went hunting for explosives and defused them himself. Well nothing left of him or his house.

    Justy be carefull

    Herr
     
  13. paratrooper506

    paratrooper506 Member

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    yeah this is what happens hey look what I found boom holy **** he is dead
     
  14. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    On the same note that Herr was talking about. A few months ago, a US Civil War shellcollector was killed when a shell of a large calibre exploded while he was tryig to defuse it. This one was as freakish as any freak accident could get because the powder in it should have been rendered useless by time and wear.
     
  15. BWilson

    BWilson Member

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    Thanks to all who expressed concern regarding the dangers of digging around on old battlefields. There are risks involved, although I believe they can be minimized by following basic precautions.

    Mines -- AFAIK, the last person killed by a mine in the area I've been around was in 1946 -- some poor German kid in the forest found a mine that was missed by the crews who cleared it. Other ordnance -- normally wouldn't touch anything that I find unless it is something that is obviously expended. The only live item I've found so far was a Kar98 round of ammunition. I left it alone for the reason that the gunpowder from WW2 is very unstable. I have seen spots in the Huertgen where people have brought in stuff they've found to points to be collected (by authorities I assume) -- but I would not have touched some of it -- old mortar rounds, etc. I have also seen an ex-USAF EOD fellow unearth a German rifle grenade on the Schnee Eifel and nonchalantly toss it into a fenced off bunker ruin -- which I thought was a risky thing to do. Even with the bunker ruin to shield the blast, a grenade still sets off a large blast at close range.

    I also refuse to dig more than 3 to 4 inches into the ground for a couple of reasons. One is that I enjoy the forest environments and don't like to do a lot of damage to the root systems of the plants. The other reason is that anything heavy enough to have buried itself deeply may well be dangerous.

    I have found one odd item that perhaps I should post a photo of. It looks like a standard Mauser rifle shell, except that it necks down twice and if I'm reading the manufacturer data correctly, it was made in 1908 or so. The projectile fired from it would have been about .22-caliber.

    What I've been surprised by are the items that were not buried, like the grenade I posted the photo of. It was all of six to seven feet away from a well used walking path in the forest near a foxhole. I've also found old Mauser shells lying on the surface of the earth, and like the grenade, so badly rusted that the metal detector doesn't sense them as being metallic objects.

    Cheers

    BW
     
  16. Rubberman

    Rubberman Member

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    There was a school someone in Florida(I think getting old ya know)that was built on a old ammo dump/range and they found shells and stuff buried under the school play ground.

    edit found a link http://www.clickorlando.com/news/14992012/detail.html
     
  17. luketdrifter

    luketdrifter Ace

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    What are the laws concerning digging in the forests where you are, BW? Do you have to have a permit or can you just go at your own risk type of thing? I've always wondered. I assume many WWII battlefield areas are restricted from metal detecting....mainly for safety reasons.
     
  18. paratrooper506

    paratrooper506 Member

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    I remember seeing a video about these russian guys they unearthed all this ordanence
    flak 88 shells
    mortar rounds
    k98 ammo
    mp-40 mag still in the well and was still completely intact
     
  19. BWilson

    BWilson Member

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    I believe France has explicit laws against it, not sure about other countries. Digging in forests in general is discouraged if not outlawed because of the potential for damage to the environment -- but that doesn't stop people from digging up mushrooms and some plant roots for personal use. It seems to be a situation where one is rewarded for one's moderation.

    Cheers

    BW
     
  20. paratrooper506

    paratrooper506 Member

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    yeah digging up root plants and mushrooms next thing you know dong what the boom
     

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