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"Destruction or Salvage of Enemy Munitions" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following report on British handling of captured enemy munitions was originally published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 18, Feb. 11, 1943.

[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.]


British experience in North Africa has shown that, before an advance is made, a plan must be drawn up for the salvage or destruction of enemy munitions. If destruction is decided upon, action should be completed as soon as possible after capture.

Engineer salvage units should be in possession of the following information before an advance is started:

(1) Types and calibers of munitions to be salvaged;

(2) Munitions to be destroyed;

(3) Munitions required for examination.

In spite of the absence of a complete plan in one of the North African campaigns, it is learned that 4,000 tons of bombs were destroyed by engineering units during the course of a withdrawal. On one occasion 300 tons of high-explosive bombs, of which 50 percent were 110 pounders, 40 percent 550 pounders, and 10 percent 1,100 pounders, were collected in 1 day into 2 groups, each of 4 dumps, from various parts of an airdrome 1,000 yards in diameter, by 70 men using 8 trucks with tow-ropes. The demolition charges were laid in 3 1/2 hours, and firing took three-quarters of an hour.


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