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Author Topic: The Poisoned Dart Bomb  (Read 3035 times)
MontyB
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« on: 28 April 2010, 05:37:08 »
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Poison dart 'bombs' developed by Second World War scientists

Poison darts to be dropped from planes in cluster bomb style weapons were developed by Porton Down scientists in collaboration with a sewing machine company during Second World War, newly released files show.
 
The scientists asked Singer Sewing Machine Company to provide needles to equip the darts, to be laced with a poison that could cause death "within 30 seconds".
Military planners believed mass deployment of the darts, each weighing just 0.15 ounces (4g), could be more effective against troops on open ground or in trenches than bombs or mustard gas spray.
 
In January 1942 Dr Paul Fildes, probably Britain's top bacteriologist, wrote to Singer asking for sewing machine needle samples.
He stated it was "a little difficult to explain what I want sewing machine needles for" but wrote: "The knife-shaped point is definitely essential."
The letter was also addressed from 'Biology Section, Experimental Section, Porton, Salisbury'.
The files, held by the National Archives, show a coordinated project between Britain and Canada to develop millions of darts, to be dropped from aircraft in "500lb cluster projectiles" each containing 30,000 units.
The "grooved zinc alloy dart" would contain a small poison deposit in the hollow needle section, kept in place by a cotton and wax seal, while a paper tail would keep it flying straight at up to 250ft per second.
Under the heading "Lethality" the "Top Secret" note explained: "If penetrating into the flesh, will cause death if not plucked out within 30 seconds. If plucked out within this time will cause disablement by collapse. Collapse occurs within 1-5 minutes, and death within 30 minutes."
Filed trials were conducted at an experimental station in Suffield, Alberta, Canada.
A number of poisons were trialled but planners decided against full-scale production, concluding that taking cover "affords almost complete protection" from the darts.



Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/defence/5636956/Poison-dart-bombs-developed-by-Second-World-War-scientists.html
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