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View Full Version : The 'Red Zones' of France



kennymo
06-05-2015, 11:18 PM
Interesting little write up on the regions of France that still haven't recovered from the WWI battles that took place there.

http://www.messynessychic.com/2015/05/26/the-real-no-go-zone-of-france-a-forbidden-no-mans-land-poisoned-by-war/

blacksmithden
06-06-2015, 12:17 AM
VERY interesting. I've studied WW1 and 2 all of my life, but I've never heard about this before.

Candychikita
06-06-2015, 12:22 AM
Heh, this was on Reddit a while back. Sort of a macabre "treasure hunt" of sorts...

kennymo
06-06-2015, 07:08 AM
VERY interesting. I've studied WW1 and 2 all of my life, but I've never heard about this before.

I knew there were regions of the old front line that were unsafe due to all the unexploded ordinance still in the ground. Like around the Vimy memorial where they use sheep for groundskeepers to keep the cost of replacing lawnmowers down... But the regions poisoned by chemical warfare and extreme lead content, rendered nearly uninhabitable to life, are news to me.

The battle trowel looks like it could survive hitting a 100 year 18 pounder HE round in the dirt, you're not getting any ideas are you?

blacksmithden
06-06-2015, 09:46 AM
I knew there were regions of the old front line that were unsafe due to all the unexploded ordinance still in the ground. Like around the Vimy memorial where they use sheep for groundskeepers to keep the cost of replacing lawnmowers down... But the regions poisoned by chemical warfare and extreme lead content, rendered nearly uninhabitable to life, are news to me.

The battle trowel looks like it could survive hitting a 100 year 18 pounder HE round in the dirt, you're not getting any ideas are you?

Yep...I'm going to buy myself a trip to France so I can go metal detecting for unexploded ordnance buried in old battle fields. Ummmm....on second thought.....:rolleyes:

The whole of Europe is a blanket of unexploded everything. They're still finding bombs buried in London basements and streets. The shear scope of how much ordnance was uses is beyond most people's comprehension. I knew there had to be SOME level of contamination, but I had no idea there were areas that were this bad. Here's an interactive map I found a while back. It (allegedly) shows where all the bombs were dropped on London during the blitz. Start off by zooming way out before zooming in. Remember...that was just what what reported...that was just London...and that was just during the blitz.


I know of one place in Ontario where there was a WW2 plant that made smoke bombs and various other chemicals required to wage war. The place was built about a kilometer outside of my home town. It was only a few years ago that they finally knocked down what was left of the cement structure. Even into the 1990's, nothing but a few strands of thread thin grass would grow around this building. The area around it was back filled with some kind of very fine crushed black gravel. Other wartime buildings in the area that had the same fill were eventually reclaimed by nature. Not this one. I don't know what was made there, but I'm glad I didn't spend a lot of time in the immediate area as a kid. LOL.

Mobusten
06-06-2015, 11:37 AM
That's incredibly interesting. Hard to believe the size of some of those shells. Then you start thinking about the guns that fired them :cool1::pcow

kennymo
06-06-2015, 11:52 AM
That's incredibly interesting. Hard to believe the size of some of those shells. Then you start thinking about the guns that fired them :cool1::pcow

The Germans would have stormed through most of France in the opening months of the war if things had gone according to plan. They were counting on a quick capitulation from Belgium, peace in exchange for giving Germany free passage into France. The Belgians unexpectedly told them to f##k off and resisted. German command decided to stick around and destroy the Belgian forts instead of bypassing them. The only way to do this was with the top secret German siege artillery (largest the world had seen to that point) but the pieces could not fire without having a concrete foundation built capable of withstanding the recoil. This added weeks to the march into France, the French were able to relocate half of their army to counter the two pronged attack and the British Expeditionary Force made landfall with this extra time. The Germans would never make Paris, and the next four years are history. Violent, bloody history.
Also of note, the Belgians had ordered new heavy guns for all their fortresses in the years leading up to the war. From the Krupp works. Krupp conspired with the Kaiser to repeatedly delay the delivery of heavy guns to Belgium in anticipation of the war, as the invasion had been laid out for about a decade prior to 1914. And the operators of the heavy siege artillery in 1914 were engineers from the Krupp Works, which helped to keep their size and range a secret, even from much of their own military.
An arms race quickly developed for the biggest and baddest artillery on the planet, culminating in the completely impractical Big Bertha, best know for shelling Paris briefly. It's range was so great that for the first time the rotation of the planet had to be taken into account when aiming. The gun was nearly impossible to move and setup and the concept died out, except for a brief attempt by Hitler to bring back the concept in WWII.

Gunexpert007
06-06-2015, 11:57 AM
Interesting article , but I wonder how accurate the information is . It mentions that 544 municipalities had their water supplies banned in 2012 . It is hard to believe that 544 communities were drinking poison water up until 2012......?

kennymo
06-06-2015, 12:03 PM
Interesting article , but I wonder how accurate the information is . It mentions that 544 municipalities had their water supplies banned in 2012 . It is hard to believe that 544 communities were drinking poison water up until 2012......?

I read it as the contamination was worsening due to gas shells breaking down and leaching into the soil coupled with some poor disposal practises? Maybe some Googling is in order...

coastal
06-06-2015, 03:22 PM
Thanks for sharing, that's some neat stuff!

webster
06-06-2015, 09:11 PM
Interesting article , but I wonder how accurate the information is . It mentions that 544 municipalities had their water supplies banned in 2012 . It is hard to believe that 544 communities were drinking poison water up until 2012......?


I read it as the contamination was worsening due to gas shells breaking down and leaching into the soil coupled with some poor disposal practises? Maybe some Googling is in order...

And I read it as in 2012 they announced that, to date, 544 communities have had drinking water banned. Some of those bans may have been in place for a long time. Interesting how the exact same sentence can be so differently interpreted.

JustBen
06-06-2015, 09:31 PM
Looks like a bunch of old enbloc clips in the one picture. Interesting how much stuff is still out there.

Wonder if there are similar areas in the Pacific?

3MTA3
06-07-2015, 12:02 PM
Viet Nam

Gerald
06-07-2015, 12:13 PM
I wonder how many war profiters of 1914 are still in the 2015 gamehttp://www.firstworldwarstudies.org/publications.php?s=untold-war

kennymo
06-07-2015, 12:17 PM
Looks like a bunch of old enbloc clips in the one picture. Interesting how much stuff is still out there.

Wonder if there are similar areas in the Pacific?

I'm sure some of those islands in the Pacific are still coated with American ordinance and land mines. They'd be lacking the poisoning from chlorine and mustard gas though. I watched a program some time ago following a couple old Marines back to one of the islands searching for a buddy they never brought home. He was killed in one of the Japanese tunnels, and they couldn't root them all out so they'd taken a bulldozer and collapsed a cliff face on them, burying all the Japanese soldiers alive along with the body of their friend. They wound up opening a bunch of the old tunnels up and there were still Japanese boots, rifles, uniforms, etc...laid out on little shelves and nooks just as they'd been left in 44-45. Amazing stuff. There was a good one on some of the Canadian dugouts they opened up under France/Belgium too. Lots of trench art an graffiti carved into the chalk walls, Canadian insignias with dates. Amazing to think that's where two of my Great Grandfathers would've been spending their time when they weren't out on the firing wall looking over no man's land....

Ohno
06-07-2015, 10:49 PM
Finally some surplus 303 ammo. ;)