Somme ‘Iron Harvest’ will take 500 years to clear, say bomb disposal experts on centenary of bloody battle

It will take another five centuries to clear the Somme battlefields before the area is safe, bomb disposal experts warned on Thursday after collecting 25 tons of munitions this year alone.

Details of the potentially lethal “Iron Harvest” came as members of the Royal family including Princes Charles and Harry were due to arrive in northern France to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the bloody battle.

Michel Colling, head of the Amiens bomb disposal unit that handles the Somme, said: “Since the start of the year we’ve been called out 300 times to dispose of 25 tons of bombs.

  • simus1

    Much of the WW1 fail to explode on target artillery ammunition that constantly works its way to the surface in and near no man’s land was the result of early really bad British “smash and grab style” crisis management with regard to shortages, fuse specification, bad fuse design, and especially the panic mass production of all quantity, no quality, components.

    To make a hash of a quiet backwater like fuse development in peacetime seems a bit odd but then you have equally bad examples pre WW2. American Navy submarine and aircraft carrier doctrine was asinine and their torpedoes had critical fuse deficiencies thanks to admirals knowing better than wasting money testing great equipment.

  • UCSPanther

    Those Mauser and Enfield barrels and actions are no good now. 100 years buried in the dirt does not do steel any good.