Unknown largebattle damaged panel, dug up in Normandy

Discussion in 'Technical Requests' started by steve3883, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. steve3883

    steve3883 New Member

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    Hi there,

    This my first post on the forum, I live in Normandy and regularily go metal detecting on the battlefields, I mainly find items related to the war on the ground but recently I found this large aluminium panel.

    It is 3 feet long by 2 feet high, semi-circular and has some sort of knob/catch at the top marked only with a "Z". There is someblack paint and red primer left in some places and there are four bullet/schrapnel holes in it.

    I found this lodged in a hedgerow near Sainteny in Normandy, I know that a P-47 was shot down a couple of fields away from where I found the panel, I have also een told by some of the local older people that a couple of German aircraft were shot down in the area in July 44.

    If anyone recognises the panel and which aircraft it was off I would love to know!

    Thanks in advance,

    Steve (France)
     

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  2. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Are there any other markings or stamps on it? Is there a hinge on it? Can you photograph the reverse side?
     
  3. Bill G.

    Bill G. Banned

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  4. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    I was going to say the same thing Bill. Just on Sunday my train from Hamburg was delayed near Hannover because they found an American WW2 bomb that had not exploded.
     
  5. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    Is that a stamp or engraving on the face of that bolt head?
     
  6. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    I believe that is the Z stamp he was talking about.
     
  7. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    That'll be me not reading the whole thread... :)
     
  8. rochie

    rochie Well-Known Member

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    could it be a outer panel from an aircraft wingtip ?
     
  9. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    It looks like it in form, but that 'Z' bolt..??
     
  10. Sweb

    Sweb Member

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    Every day it seems there's a report of the military disposing of WWII ordnance here in Orlando, Florida. It was a training bombing range and now urban sprawl is encroaching upon it, construction crews are discovering the ordnance and military demolition teams are disposing of it.

    When I was working in the Pacific an American 500 pounder was discovered and the Navy flew in a team. I asked the lieutenant in charge why they always exploded the bombs where they were found. It might sound like a dumb question but sometimes these bombs were discovered in the middle of a new construction site where foundations and building starts are in progress or under a community. Blowing up an unexploded bomb meant taking out the area. The lieutenant pointed out that the bomb firing pin up front was bent which rendered the front fuse inoperable. But, the rear (secondary) fuse consisted of a glass vial of acid with an impact-driven hammer that would break the vial on impact. That acid would eat away a retainer holding a spring loaded initiator similar to the front fuse. He said he had no idea if the vial was broken or if it was the acid still be corrosive and pooled away from the retainer. Movement might bring the two together. So, they always exploded them where they lay.

    Oh, I studied that piece of aluminum for quite a while. I would think it is from an aircraft but the shape is confounding. If it was a component of the airframe a piece that size would have a uniform fastener pattern that could be matched to a particular airplane with a little study. But, it only has the one fitting and it is marked with a Z-looking character. It has was appears to be 4 .30 cal holes in it in a close grouping (MG). The fitting appears to have a (clogged) center hole indicating it might be a drain bolt. If so, it might be what's left of some type of reservoir, possibly a fuel, oil or coolant tank and the (drain) bolt would be properly located if the curved shape was actually the bottom of the tank. Tanks were usually fabricated from panels with stamped-in stiffener reliefs, edge-welded only and with external hangers welded on for airframe mounting. No fasteners were used to prevent leaks. Wild guess bit that's all I've got.
     
  11. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Do we know it's aluminum? :D

    Any type of 24T (2024) aluminum unless completely submerged in water or completely buried would have been a lot more corroded. Just looking at the photo I'm thinking its made from mild steel but can't really tell unless I put my hands on it or a portion is ground away and photographed. The Z on the bolt is typical of many close tolerance bolts used in both armor and aircraft and as Steve describes, it being part of a latching mechanism, I'm thinking a ground vehicle rather than an aircraft. Steve, if you read this, besides the other requests, see if its magnetic.
     
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