Trench Detectives / Reversing Bullets

#1
Anyone else watch Trench Detectives about tank F6 ?
I'd never heard of taking the bullet head out and refitting it the wrong way round to aid armour penetration, you learn something every day..... :D
 

Alsacien

MIA
Moderator
#3
ugly said:
What a load of bollox
That is what I thought - but the tests seem to indicate some truth in this.
I heard the same story in French museums about the heavily reinforced trenches in the Vosges (the last couple of years of WW1 were totally static there).
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#4
Possible but not officially sanctioned in any army, there is a bigger chance of the bullet just ending up in backwards through tumbling through something. If you have been daft enough ever to have loaded even a pistol bullet backwards then you would know that the accuracy is pants.
 
#5
I can see how it would work, but surely the round would be highly unstable in flight, as the air pressure on the base of the round would make it oscilate loads?
 

Alsacien

MIA
Moderator
#6
Outstanding said:
I can see how it would work, but surely the round would be highly unstable in flight, as the air pressure on the base of the round would make it oscilate loads?
Hollow point bullets work.
I guess range and velocity become the issues - but these are powerful rounds often used at relatively close range.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#7
How would an exposed lead core base or even flat base copper jacket have any greater penetration than an FMJ?
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#8
Yes but a pointed base and flat front?
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#10
Hesh isnt really penetration is it, its more scabbing of inside of the armour!
 
#11
Having watched the program I don't think it was suggested that any real penetration was achieved. The idea being that German snipers would use plates of steel with slots allowing a rifle to aimed and fired through it. The apparent idea of firing a round of this nature into it was to send small metal fragments into the eyes of the German sniper.

I doubt it's effective-ness, perhaps this could an early Army urban legend??
 
#12
Might the bigger surface area increase spalling inside the tank?
 

Alsacien

MIA
Moderator
#13
ugly said:
Hesh isnt really penetration is it, its more scabbing of inside of the armour!
I'm no expert, but that is the same understanding I have.
I guess the scab could end up big enough to be a hole. When I look around the battlefields in my area, the plates, key holes and OP's are scarred by all sorts of holes. Some are obviously scrapnel, but some are circa 1-2cm diameter "bullet holes" - I don't recall seeing "bursting" metal on the insides from a direct penetration, but never really paid close attention to that I must admit, the space inside is tight though and I think I would have noticed such a hazard.
 
#14
Bravo2nothing said:
Having watched the program I don't think it was suggested that any real penetration was achieved. The idea being that German snipers would use plates of steel with slots allowing a rifle to aimed and fired through it. The apparent idea of firing a round of this nature into it was to send small metal fragments into the eyes of the German sniper.

I doubt it's effective-ness, perhaps this could an early Army urban legend??
This seems fairly pointless, wouldn't .303 ball spall into shards in just the same way hitting the steel plate pointy end first?
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#16
cometcatcher said:
Bravo2nothing said:
Having watched the program I don't think it was suggested that any real penetration was achieved. The idea being that German snipers would use plates of steel with slots allowing a rifle to aimed and fired through it. The apparent idea of firing a round of this nature into it was to send small metal fragments into the eyes of the German sniper.

I doubt it's effective-ness, perhaps this could an early Army urban legend??
This seems fairly pointless, wouldn't .303 ball spall into shards in just the same way hitting the steel plate pointy end first?
100% correct and accurate, a darned sight more than messing with issue ball!
 
#17
Agree with the others - does not seem to make sense. Though that does not mean that some bright spark never tried it... As is well known, the big problem with the early tanks was not so much spalling of the plate per se, but rather of the rivets - which is why the tank crews were issued goggles and sometimes chainmail aventails to protect the face. Normal rifle rounds were perfectly capable of causing this. My late great uncle was a WW1 sniper and never mentioned reversing rounds - I am sure that he would have deplored it for the loss of accuracy - but he did wear trench armour in the latter part of the war, including "eye-slit" goggles (he and his colleagues were known in the Brigade as the Black Gladiators as a result).

Funnily enough, on more than one occasion, he (as a British sniper) was tasked with shooting up knocked-out/bogged-down British tanks to deny them as potential OPs. Said it was the worst job ever, since they were essentially plinking tracer rounds into the rear fuel tank in the hope of brewing it up - you can imagine his enthusiasm at having to use tracer... Apparently the ferocity of the German response was always a good indicator of whether or not they had their eye on using the tank; and if they called in a full-blown artillery stonk, chummy had almost certainly already moved in.
 
#18
ugly said:
What a load of bollox
Nope it was a trick that British troops used to shoot at sniper plates. The round would be stopped by the plate, of course, but would throw spoil from the rear side of the plate in to any German shielding behind it.
 
#19
IndianaDel said:
ugly said:
What a load of bollox
Nope it was a trick that British troops used to shoot at sniper plates. The round would be stopped by the plate, of course, but would throw spoil from the rear side of the plate in to any German shielding behind it.
Yes, saw a documentary some time back where they were digging a WW1 trench and found a sniper's plate.The Tommies did reverse the bullets in the hope that the sniper would be injured by spalling, rather than penetration. I can't recall what programme it was; I fairly sure they got some bullets with the bases flattened but I'm not certain. I think that historian chap with the 'tache was in it (RMAS staff?).

It might have worked, by the bullet delivering all its energy at one instant, rather than progressive application of force as the bullet point deformed. Even if it was a WW1 urban myth, they would probably still have tried it in the hope that it worked and since there was nothing else available.
 
#20
I have to say I have never heard of it. The old .303 was a big round anyway. If it hit a piece of metal the right way around, it would still have an effect. I also don't think the trenches would have been a particularly good place where you could mess around with ammunition like this. I have serious doubts about the story.
 

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