Friday, 12 February 2016

Nazi thermitic candy & other such nonsense

Firing a burst of atrocity-propaganda, U.S. Secretary of War Robert Patterson

On Thursday, July 13, 1944, Patterson led a press conference in Washington D.C. during which numerous weapons were shown off to the journalists. Two Army experts in booby trap detection were present to give details of the latest diabolical creations dreamt up by the Germans:
"One was a box of deadly hard candy with thermite centers which the enemy left behind as he retreated in Italy. When first plumped into the mouth of an unsuspecting Allied soldier the candy tasted good. However, when the core was reached the moisture in the soldier's mouth set the thermite on fire—and thermite burns with one of the hottest flames known to man."1

I'm no chemist, and know nothing about thermite or the different types of it, but it requires temperatures upwards of 1200°C to ignite it.2 Whereas the average temperature of saliva in a human mouth is a mere 37°C.
Regardless of the facts, had Nazi thermitic candy been a real thing, in action it might have looked something like this:3

Patterson's booby trap experts also made claims of:
"Another German trick is to replace the liquid soap in common soap dispensers with concentrated sulphuric acid. The hands of many men have been badly burned when he rubbed the powerful acid into his skin.4

"Another gadget is an innocent looking cake of soap which can be used for some time and then, when the out coating is worn away, detonates an explosive to blow off the hands."5

1. The Milwaukee Journal, Thursday, July 13, 1944. The press conference was also reported in numerous other papers.
2. Board of Consultants & Engineers, National Institute for Industrial Research (India),Steel Rolling Technology Handbook, Delhi: Asia Pacific Business Press, 2006, p.20.
3. Gif made from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2axFXzRF-U
4. The Milwaukee Journal, Thursday, July 13, 1944.
5. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Friday, July 14, 1944.

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