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"German Metal Spikes (Crowsfoot)" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following U.S. military report on metal spikes dropped by the Germans on roads and airfields was originally published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 11, Nov. 5, 1942.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


German metal spikes of the kind known as "Crowsfoot" (German name, "hedgehog") are reported to have been dropped on motor transport roads, landing fields, and airdromes.

 [German Metal Spike]

The particular object is made in the shape of a pyramid, each side in the shape of an equilateral triangle recessed in the center. Each side is 3 inches long, and the apex of each triangle is sharply pointed giving 4 spikes in all. The triangle edges are serrated, giving a "fish-hook" effect, so that once the spike has penetrated a tire it would be difficult to remove without tearing the cover.

a. Construction

The spike is made from two pieces of thin-gauge steel (1 mm) welded together, the whole being camouflaged light brown, with olive green stripes. The letters "R" and "L" are stamped on two of the sides, and may refer to the method of packing. There is a hole in the center of the pyramid, which presumably takes a holding rod for packing. (See accompanying sketch.)

A further type has been found of exactly similar construction, but with a base of only 2 1/2 inches instead of 3 inches.

b. Method of Use

The spike is so designed that, theoretically, whichever way it falls, it should rest firmly on its base with one point up. It would appear in practice, however, that when dropped on the ground, there is a good chance of a point penetrating, thus presenting a flattish surface.

c. Container

The container in which the spikes are dropped is a thin-gauge, sheet-metal "bomb" painted dark green and marked with two thin red stripes. The container is 5 feet 6 inches long, including the fins, has a circumference of 4 feet 10 inches, and is fitted with lugs which indicate it can be carried externally by the Ju-87, Ju-88, He-111, and Me-110. Apparently 1,000 to 1,500 spikes can be carried in the container.

A time fuze is fitted so that the spikes are scattered from the air over the road or airfield.


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