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1 dell*nix  Jun 8, 2015 10:49:14pm

I lived in one of the yellow zones just outside Laon, France in 1957. We were always finding expended munitions, duds and equipment. Even dug up a dud mortar round while playing.

2 HappyWarrior  Jun 9, 2015 11:17:02am

Fascinating article and thanks dell for the personal insight and thank you DF for sharing it. I read about how artifacts from the first world war are found in the French and Belgian country side are dug out all the time. And i expect that will be the case long after you and I are gone. It’s sad really to think about how whole villages were wiped out during the war. Villages that had been around for generation and even sadder are the villages that lost all of their men. I’ve been reading and watching a bit on WWI given we had the centennial last year.

3 ckkatz  Jun 9, 2015 12:55:19pm

Fascinating article, Dark Falcon, thanks for posting it! And, I ditto Happy Warrior on the thank you to dell*nix.

Some years ago I read the book “Aftermath:Remnants of War” By Donovan Webster about the toxic detritus of the past century’s industrial wars.

It does have a chapter the French Battlefields of World War 1 and their cleanup. It also has chapters on Vietnam and Kuwait.

Most interesting for me were the tours he made to Russian World War 2 battlefields when the FSU opened up in the 1990’s.

4 CriticalDragon1177  Jun 9, 2015 6:59:28pm


Its shocking that people still have to worry about the munitions used in a war that ended nearly one hundred years ago.

5 The War TARDIS  Jun 9, 2015 8:03:10pm

re: #4 CriticalDragon1177

Might get in trouble for saying this, but the 30 years war had the same effect across a much wider area.

So great was the devastation brought about by the war that estimates put the reduction of population in the German states at about 25 to 40 percent.[79] Some regions were affected much more than others.[80] For example, Württemberg lost three-quarters of its population during the war.[81] In the territory of Brandenburg, the losses had amounted to half, while in some areas an estimated two-thirds of the population died.[82] The male population of the German states was reduced by almost half.[83] The population of the Czech lands declined by a third due to war, disease, famine and the expulsion of Protestant Czechs.[84][85] Much of the destruction of civilian lives and property was caused by the cruelty and greed of mercenary soldiers.[86] Villages were especially easy prey to the marauding armies. Those that survived, like the small village of Drais near Mainz, would take almost a hundred years to recover. The Swedish armies alone may have destroyed up to 2,000 castles, 18,000 villages and 1,500 towns in Germany, one-third of all German towns.

This probably, in terms of proportion of population lost, was one of the biggest bloodbaths in history. And the the first War that could be categorized as a World War. It involved every major power in Europe, including the Ottomans. And fighting occurred as far afield as India and the Americas.

6 Dark_Falcon  Jun 10, 2015 9:58:29pm

re: #5 The War TARDIS

Might get in trouble for saying this, but the 30 years war had the same effect across a much wider area.

This probably, in terms of proportion of population lost, was one of the biggest bloodbaths in history. And the the first War that could be categorized as a World War. It involved every major power in Europe, including the Ottomans. And fighting occurred as far afield as India and the Americas.

Thing is, TWT, explosive projectiles weren’t in use in the 1600’s, and the expenditure of munitions was far less. So German lands might be ravaged, but their growing potential and habitability was restored in a few decades. With WWI, its been over a century and even with that we’re still looking at land too poisoned and with too much UXO to be safe to enter for decades more.

The 30 Years War was a horror, but the limited technology of the time limited its damage By the time of the First World War, advances in military technology had made far greater devastation not only possible but likely.

UXO: UneXploded Ordnance

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