(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)
Today we begin a four-part series concerning Britan's response to Germany's use during WW II of delayed-action bombs.
In Their Finest Hour Churchill records:
In the middle of September, a new and damaging form of attack was used against us. Large numbers of delayed-action bombs were now widely and plentifully cast upon up and became an awkward problem. Long stretches of railway line, important junctions, the approaches to vital factories , airfields, main thoroughfares had scores of times to be blocked off and denied to us in our need.The Germans had first began using delayed-action fuses during WW I and the British quickly countered in kind.
These bombs had to be dug out and exploded or rendered harmless. This was a task of the utmost peril, especially at the beginning, when the means and methods had all to be learned by a seriess of decisive experiences
I have already recounted in Volume I the drama of dismantling the magnetic mine, but this form of self-devotion now became commonplace while remaining sublime.
At the outbreak of WW II, Churchill advocated dropping mines with delayed-action fuses into Germany's vital and heavily trafficked Kiel Canal, something he mentions in Their Finest Hour.
Tomorrow - How Britain set about reducing the problems presented by delayed-fuse bombs.
Winston S. Churchill, Their Finest Hour. (The Riverside Press, 1949) (pgs. 360-361)