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After 70 Years In A Bog

Subdeacon Joe

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A follow up on the thread about the Spitfire found in an Irish bog.


Spitfire redux: The WWII guns firing after 70 years buried in peat


Thanks to a "wild idea" from Lt Colonel Dave Sexton, ordnance technical officer in the Irish army, it was decided an attempt would be made to fire one of the Browning guns that had spent 70 years in the bog.


His team painstakingly cleaned the weapons and straightened pieces bent by the impact. Finally, on Tuesday we were able to stand on an old British Army range just north of Athlone for the big day.


The machine guns looked as good as new. Soil conditions were perfect for preservation. Beneath the peat there had been a layer of clay. Clay is anaerobic, it forms an airtight seal around all the parts, so there is no oxygen, which limits corrosion.


Had they been in sandy soil, which lets in water and air, the metal would have been heavily corroded.


The Irish specialists had chosen the best preserved body and added parts from all six guns, like the breech block and the spring, to assemble one that they thought would fire. They made the decision to use modern bullets, to reduce the risk of jamming.


Wearing helmet, ear protection and body armour I crouched in a trench a metre away from the Browning, which I would operate remotely.


Every part of the gun, to the tiniest pin, had been under a peat bog for 70 years, to the month.


There is a video showing the gun being fired.

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Impressive doesn't quite cut it...

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That might be a really tall order after a 300MPH crash landing, Dusty :rolleyes: Wonder how many Mk II versions are extant? I believe they fished one out of the Channel a bit back that was restorable, but don't remember which Mark it was :blush:

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