Aviation and Aeronautical Engineering Volume 6

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This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1919 Excerpt: ...incendiary bullets. These bullets owe their inflammability to the presence of phosphorus which when mixed with the oxygen of the air will ignite any explosive mixture with which it come in contact. These bullets were fired within a fraction of a second alternatively with armor piercing and tracer bullets, the order and number of each depending upon the kind of attack that was to be made; for example, we may consider the following order. The tracer bullet, leaving a fine trail of smoke, guided the gunner's aim. The armor piercing bullet put a hole in the gasoline tank, causing the fuel to be spilled and to be ignited by the incendiary projectile which followed. This method of attack was very effective and the allied casualties increased alarmingly. The compartment tank used by the French airmen was now of no avail because if one compartment was set on fire the others soon exploded, due to the heat. In the meantime the British had availed themselves of another French invention which consisted in enveloping the gasoline tank with some 'elastic material. This minimized the tear caused by a striking bullet but proved only small protection against the incendiary projectile. To get an idea of the vicious character of these bullets, cases have been known where some of the phosphorus became imbedded under the gasoline in the tank and hours afterward when the fuel ran low and the phosphorus became exposed to the air an explosion took place. This was the state of affairs when the United States entered the war and the problems were immediately taken up by the Bureau of Standards at Washington. The Bureau in turn took the matter up with a Detroit automobile engineer, Fred Weinberg, who had invented a new leak and explosion proof tank and it was demonstrated to the Washi...
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