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Bombers' Training and Application of Same in Trench Warfare

Bombers' Training and Application of Same in Trench Warfare
Author: Ferris J. R.
Title: Bombers' Training and Application of Same in Trench Warfare
Release Date: 2019-02-15
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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The Project Gutenberg eBook, Bombers' Training and Application of Same inTrench Warfare, by J. R. Ferris

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Title: Bombers' Training and Application of Same in Trench Warfare

Author: J. R. Ferris

Release Date: February 15, 2019 [eBook #58895]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8



E-text prepared by Brian Coe, David E. Brown,
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
from page images generously made available by
Internet Archive


Note: Images of the original pages are available through Internet Archive. See https://archive.org/details/bomberstraininga00ferr






Bombers’ Training


Application of Same
In Trench Warfare

63rd O. Bn., C.E.F.



Copyright, Canada, 1916, by



This work is intended to be used as a guide forofficers and N.C.O.’s in training bombers. The lecturesgiven at intervals as the men advance in the trainingwill emphasize the features to be observed. A syllabusfor a bombers’ school covering a period of six days isshown on page 37 as a further guide to instructors. Alist of material and equipment necessary to carry outthe syllabus is shown on page 38.

Prior to the adoption by the British War Office ofthe present method of fighting on the Western front,namely, the use of bombs and grenades (which for practicalpurposes require the same care as high explosives),it was not necessary for the rank and file of theInfantry to have any great knowledge of explosives, anywork that entailed the extensive use of explosives beingleft to the Engineers.

In the Manual of Field Engineering, 1911, there isa chapter devoted to Explosives, but as this work waswritten before the adoption of the bomb method offighting it could not be expected that the subject, astreated there, applies fully to the requirements of thisarm of the service under present-day conditions. TheInfantry being called upon to make use of explosives inthe form of bombs and grenades, makes it necessarythat they have instruction in the matter of handling,shipping and storage of them in order to avoid accidents;and a knowledge of their characteristics and propertiesto enable them to make the best use of thesealtogether necessary and useful agents.

The author is indebted to Capt. G. S. Laing andCapt. G. D. Powis for valuable assistance in this work.

J. R. F.




Lecture I.—Explosives (Working Knowledge)7
Lecture II.—Explosives (Classification, Characteristics and Properties)10
Lecture III.—Study of a Few Types of Rifle and Hand Grenades17
Lecture IV.—Bombers’ Training, Parts I. and II.23
Lecture V.—Frontal Attack32
Lecture VI.—Consolidating the Ground Gained34
Lecture VII.—Enfilade Attack35
Syllabus (Six Days’ Training)37
List of Material and Equipment for Class of 50—(Six Days’ Training)38
Oral Examinations39



Diagram 1.Diagram 2.
T-shapedIsland Saphead

Diagram 1.

(a) Bombs can only be thrown from narrow trenchesin the direction to which the trench is running. Inorder to have complete command of foreground with thistype of Sap. it is necessary to make the cross-head toowide.

(b) The total area of Sap. may become effectivezone from the fire of one bomb.

(c) Only two men can be employed at one time inconstructing this type of Sap.

Diagram 2.

(a) Offers complete range of foreground with thenarrowest possible width of trench.

(b) Cannot become effective zone from the fire ofone bomb.

(c) A greater fighting area is possible in the sameextent of frontage.

(d) When connected up to form line of trenchesfrom which to make assault, takes the place of anisland traverse and relieves congestion of traffic atjunction of communicating trench and fire trench.

(e) More men can be employed in constructing samethan in the T-shaped type.


Bombers’ Training



Working Knowledge.

Handling. In moving cases containing explosivesgreat care should be taken that they are not placed onanything or in such a position that they might toppleover or be knocked over, or placed in such a positionthat other objects might fall on them. Men who areentrusted with the handling of these materials shouldbe most reliable and careful.

The Thawing of Frozen Explosives. Some explosivesfreeze in a temperature considerably above freezingpoint, and it is necessary that they be thawed beforeusing. The two recognized methods of thawing frozenexplosives are as follows:

1. Place in a steam heated room, but not onthe steam pipes. It is desirable that the roomhave an even temperature.

2. By the use of a double heater; the outervessel to contain water at a temperature of125 deg. F., or not hotter than can be borne bythe hand; the inner vessel contains the explosive,care being taken that there is no fire inthe vicinity.

A Few Causes of Accidents with Dynamite. The followingare a few of the causes of accidents with explosives,as taken from statistical information compiledby the Ontario Bureau of Mines, and circulated for thepurpose of preventing accidents:—


1. Forcing primer into hole which is toosmall for it.

2. Presuming that the charge has a mis-fire,and going too soon to investigate it.


3. Tamping too tightly near the explosivecharge.

4. Forcing cartridge into too small a holeor using a metal tamping rod.

5. Thawing dynamite before an open fire,blacksmith’s forge, in an oven, or by the heatof the sun’s rays through window glass.

A Few Causes of Accidents with Detonators.

1. Attempting to draw a wire from an electricdetonator.

2. Attaching a fuse to a detonator carelessly.

3. Trying to destroy a detonator by strikingit with a stone.

4. Finding a detonator and tapping it to seeif it is good.

5. Holding an electric detonator in a gasflame.

6. By treading on a detonator a number ofthem have been known to be exploded in thesame room.

7. By pricking the composition in a detonatorwith a pin.

8. A spark from a miner’s lamp falling intoa box containing fuses and detonators has beenknown to explode them.

Shipping. When it is desired to ship explosivesfrom point to point by wagons or other vehicles, it isnecessary to inspect the wagons and ascertain thateverything is in order and good repair, to make surethat the platforms of the wagons and inside of thewagon-boxes are free from protruding nails or piecesof metal that would tend to cause friction on the cases.A bed of straw should be prepared and the cases placedon their flat side, right side up, without any space leftbetween that would permit of displacement or causefriction by the moving of the wagon in transportation.Horses used for this purpose should be quiet and wellbroken, and care taken that harness and accoutrementsare in a good state of repair. Roads should be chosenas far as possible that do not lead through towns or[9]thickly inhabited parts of the country. In wet weatherit is necessary that the load be covered with tarpaulin,and in hot weather with white canvas to minimize theeffect of the sun’s rays. On reaching the destination,wagons should be carefully unloaded and straw removedto a safe distance and burned. In arranging fortransportation by rail or boat, the car or the boat, asthe case may be, should be thoroughly examined andnot entrusted to the dangerous load unless you areabsolutely sure it is in good order. In unloading makesure that no vacant spaces occur between cases thatwould permit of shifting or friction, and should theentire floor of the car or boat be not occupied withthe cases the load should be fenced or blocked insuch a way as to prevent it shifting and ensure againstfriction. Should any packages of explosives, whenoffered for shipment, show outward signs of oily stainor other indications that the absorption of the liquidpart of the explosive in the absorbent material is notperfect, or that the amount of liquid part is greaterthan the absorbent can carry, these packages mustunder no consideration be loaded, and must be immediatelyremoved to a place of safety and the partieswho supplied them immediately notified thereof. Thecar containing explosives must be labelled as such ina conspicuous manner and must be hauled as near themiddle of the train as possible, and must not be placednext to a car containing oil or inflammable material.A flying switch must not be taken with explosives. Incase of a wreck every precaution must be taken to preventfire. While most of the high explosives burnquietly when lighted in small quantities, and withoutcausing disastrous explosions, it must be rememberedthat it is not a safe experiment.

Storage. Local conditions have much to do withthe type of structure to be built for an explosives’magazine. In general, it may be said that the lighterthe construction the better. The laws of some countriesrequire that all magazines be built of suchmaterial, and in such a manner, that in the event ofan explosion the building will be completely disintegratedand no pieces thrown to any great distance.Storage in caves, tunnels, earth or stone-covered vaults,and in log structures, should under no circumstancesbe tolerated. The chief objection in all these cases is[10]that the structure will hold dampness, and any dampnessin a magazine containing explosives into whichnitrates enter as an essential or accessory ingredient,is certain to affect its quality and render it more orless dangerous in subsequent use. This applies to gunpowderand to practically all dynamites, especiallythose made in America. It does not apply to KieselguhrDynamite of foreign manufacture. When it is desiredto protect a magazine from rifle fire, the magazine maybe banked with earth to an extent that would be proofagainst bullets, and to a height well above the casesas arranged in the magazine; arrangements being madefor perpendicular air-shafts through the embankmentnext to the outer wall at intervals necessary to givethe required ventilation; ventilating shafts beingscreened with fine wire netting to exclude vermin andconstructed in such a manner that water cannot enter.Explosives should be stored in tiers, box on box, withlaths between to prevent dampness accumulating. Nocases must be opened in the magazines, a separatebuilding being provided at a safe distance for thatpurpose. Gunpowder and dynamites in unopened cases,and fuses securely boxed, may be stored in the samemagazine, but no fulminates in the form of caps, orotherwise, or loose coils of fuse, should ever be storedin the same building with gunpowder and high explosives.It is important that the magazine be keptclean, and that no men with nails in their boots beallowed to work in a magazine. No fires should belighted or smoking allowed in or about a magazinecontaining high explosives.


Classification, Characteristics and Properties.

General Classification. Explosives are classifiedgenerally as follows:—

1. Explosive mixtures of the nitrate class.

2. Explosive mixtures of the chlorate class.

3. Explosive compounds of the nitro-substitutionclass.[11]4. Explosive compounds of the nitric-derivativeclass.

5. Explosives of the Sprengel class.

6. Fulminates and Amides.

7. Ammunition.

Of the seven classifications of explosives, we aredealing with but four in the subject of Bomb Fighting,namely, as classified above, 1, 3, 4 and the Fulminates.

Nitrate Class. Explosive mixtures of the nitrateclass. The best known example of this class is gunpowder,the characteristics of which are that it consistsof a mechanical mixture of nitrates

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