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Cold War Photos.

BRIXMIS turned up at 38 Sqn once with some interesting toys they’d picked up on a Soviet Dems range and they wanted an opinion.

One was a fuze from a piece of naval ordnance (identified by the ATO), the other was an ITALIAN anti personnel mine, the VS-50. What was even more interesting was that it was a very rare anti-handling version. We had no idea where they got them from.

Six years later I was employed on ‘outside areas’ in Kuwait. Saddam had left quite a few VS-50 there. He could have gifted a sample to the Sovs.

Here’s a pic of the VS-50 from the IWM site:

21749bacfe35a3e9964498122bea8a1f.jpg
 

Brotherton Lad

LE
Kit Reviewer
BRIXMIS turned up at 38 Sqn once with some interesting toys they’d picked up on a Soviet Dems range and they wanted an opinion.

One was a fuze from a piece of naval ordnance (identified by the ATO), the other was an ITALIAN anti personnel mine, the VS-50. What was even more interesting was that it was a very rare anti-handling version. We had no idea where they got them from.

Six years later I was employed on ‘outside areas’ in Kuwait. Saddam had left quite a few VS-50 there. He could have gifted a sample to the Sovs.

Here’s a pic of the VS-50 from the IWM site:

21749bacfe35a3e9964498122bea8a1f.jpg

It was very much a collector's job. Tens of thousands of photos and a fair few stolen items. Than hand them over to people who knew what they were looking at.
 
BRIXMIS turned up at 38 Sqn once with some interesting toys they’d picked up on a Soviet Dems range and they wanted an opinion.

One was a fuze from a piece of naval ordnance (identified by the ATO), the other was an ITALIAN anti personnel mine, the VS-50. What was even more interesting was that it was a very rare anti-handling version. We had no idea where they got them from.

Six years later I was employed on ‘outside areas’ in Kuwait. Saddam had left quite a few VS-50 there. He could have gifted a sample to the Sovs.

Here’s a pic of the VS-50 from the IWM site:

21749bacfe35a3e9964498122bea8a1f.jpg

Was the Sov sample of minimal metal spec?
 

Brotherton Lad

LE
Kit Reviewer
Did you ever use any cars that would not stand out, trabbies and wartburgs etc ?
park the big wheels up and swap to low key ?

No. Very much olive green paint, with a big UJ flag front and back. Big flags on the arms, too. No berets or puttees, less to lose, you see.

The low key stuff was done on foot. So I've been over a mile away from the car at dark o'clock with my WO in tandem doing top cover with thermal imaging gear and the driver left all on his lonesome in the wagon.
Stuff did happen after 1990 but I'm not in a position to talk about it.
 
@bob_the_bomb & @Brotherton Lad
This is absolutely fascinating stuff, I'll look forward to BLs book.
A question on the VS-50 and indeed similar stuff you pick up.
How risky was it picking up UXB/Ordnance? Clearly we're all told not to pick stuff up out on the ranges, indeed squaddies have been killed picking up bomblets etc on Ops.
So its difficult enough when you actually recognise what you are picking up. Did you have a "safe box" in the boot or similar or was it a case or wrap it in a blanket and hope for the best?
I know on the ForcesTV piece they were hunting ERA, which is essentially a big lump of HE, albeit pretty insensitive. But fuses, dets, mines, those can be fairly unpredictable.
 

Brotherton Lad

LE
Kit Reviewer
@bob_the_bomb & @Brotherton Lad
This is absolutely fascinating stuff, I'll look forward to BLs book.
A question on the VS-50 and indeed similar stuff you pick up.
How risky was it picking up UXB/Ordnance? Clearly we're all told not to pick stuff up out on the ranges, indeed squaddies have been killed picking up bomblets etc on Ops.
So its difficult enough when you actually recognise what you are picking up. Did you have a "safe box" in the boot or similar or was it a case or wrap it in a blanket and hope for the best?
I know on the ForcesTV piece they were hunting ERA, which is essentially a big lump of HE, albeit pretty insensitive. But fuses, dets, mines, those can be fairly unpredictable.

I'm already in a book. Called Tim, not my real name. Dave B picked up the ERA box.

Sensitive stuff I found would be parked in a wood and picked up on the way back home and stuck in the boot.
I'd place a marker on the fence and then it was 10 metres into the trees on the other side of the lane.
 
I'm already in a book. Called Tim, not my real name. Dave B picked up the ERA box.

Sensitive stuff I found would be parked in a wood and picked up on the way back home and stuck in the boot.
I'd place a marker on the fence and then it was 10 metres into the trees on the other side of the lane.
Any preference between the Gibson book or Geraghety?
I read the opening of the Gibson book on Amazon, its pretty gripping stuff.
I think I would have felt safer on the ground in XMG!
 
Was the Sov sample of minimal metal spec?

No. Not by proper definitions.

The VS-50 is a minimum metal mine in its normal configuration. There’s a small firing pin and IIRC a tiny bit of foil over the det.

This one was however the Eo3 variant, which has a mercury tilt switch and a watch battery in it, all mounted on a printed circuit board.

That being said, we still had the Mk 4c mine detector in the G10, which could just about pick up a buried VW Beetle on a good day. If it wasn’t buried too deep.
 
@bob_the_bomb & @Brotherton Lad
This is absolutely fascinating stuff, I'll look forward to BLs book.
A question on the VS-50 and indeed similar stuff you pick up.
How risky was it picking up UXB/Ordnance? Clearly we're all told not to pick stuff up out on the ranges, indeed squaddies have been killed picking up bomblets etc on Ops.
So its difficult enough when you actually recognise what you are picking up. Did you have a "safe box" in the boot or similar or was it a case or wrap it in a blanket and hope for the best?
I know on the ForcesTV piece they were hunting ERA, which is essentially a big lump of HE, albeit pretty insensitive. But fuses, dets, mines, those can be fairly unpredictable.

Just to be clear I wasn’t BRIXMIS.

I was part of 38 (Berlin) Field Squadron RE. I did get to go over the bridge to Potsdam once, but only because they needed some plumbing fixed :)

I just did a lot of flag tours, and my day job required me to know the ground in West Berlin very well.

In terms of risk picking stuff up...

From an EOD perspective there’s a series of rules.

First you ‘recognise’ it. There are five main groups of land service ammunition.

Projectiles
Mortars
Mines
Grenades
Rockets

These then break down into sub-groups, which then break down further into ‘role’. You learn the specific hazards by role. It’s about one day per group on a basic EOD course (just on recognition) so I won’t go into more detail.

The default option is blow in situ if you can.

If there’s an issue with that (such as location) you have to look at its condition, such as

Abandoned
Damaged
Misfire
Blind
Kick out

Depending on these, you might have some options, such ‘safe as move’ (it a bit by hand) or ‘safe to transport’.

The recognition technique is brilliant because you can get a lot of info just from eyes on, even if you don’t know the specific weapon. You can also gather enough data to look it up.

The Americans don’t (or at least didn’t) teach recognition: they expected their guys to learn stuff by heart.

If you want to move stuff a positive ID is better, especially of the fuze, as it can help you predict likely problems. The condition category is also really important.

Bomblets are a ‘no touch’ munition.

We do sometimes use boxes lined with sand in the back of the pickup to move some stuff, but only if the above rules say you can.
 
@bob_the_bomb & @Brotherton Lad
This is absolutely fascinating stuff, I'll look forward to BLs book.
A question on the VS-50 and indeed similar stuff you pick up.
How risky was it picking up UXB/Ordnance? Clearly we're all told not to pick stuff up out on the ranges, indeed squaddies have been killed picking up bomblets etc on Ops.
So its difficult enough when you actually recognise what you are picking up. Did you have a "safe box" in the boot or similar or was it a case or wrap it in a blanket and hope for the best?
I know on the ForcesTV piece they were hunting ERA, which is essentially a big lump of HE, albeit pretty insensitive. But fuses, dets, mines, those can be fairly unpredictable.

719c9e420bf724bd2cd1067a6fb54c51.jpg


7d8d53deaa5f870510402d0250b88a34.jpg

854ce7cbf6ab56f347d1ac33b183337e.jpg


Here’s a worked example, from a training course I ran in Vietnam about 2 years ago.

There was a report of a ‘bomb’ buried in a farm not far from ‘Hamburger Hill’.

The team were shown to the spot and set to work with their detector.

The first picture gives an idea of scale.

The second picture shows the object.

The team were scratching their heads. They had previously been taught by an American.

I told them to take some measurements, make a sketch and consult the Holy Book
Of Armaments.

 
The building in the background is the Dom, on Museum Island in what was the Soviet Sector. It is a Protestant Cathedral, seen here (1980) undergoing restoration. I was told that it was where Goering got married. Not sure what the statue arrangement in the foreground is.

The Dom a.jpg


A 360 degree tour can be seen here:
 

Brotherton Lad

LE
Kit Reviewer
The building in the background is the Dom, on Museum Island in what was the Soviet Sector. It is a Protestant Cathedral, seen here (1980) undergoing restoration. I was told that it was where Goering got married. Not sure what the statue arrangement in the foreground is.

View attachment 541078

A 360 degree tour can be seen here:
The statue is Neptune.
 

Brotherton Lad

LE
Kit Reviewer
Thanks - I was wondering why it was where it was. I'm sure the answer is in Google!

Bog standard duty for Capts in 1983. Guided tour for a coachload of Brits starting at Edinburgh House and then doing both West and East Berlin for about 2 and a half hours.
 

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