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Zimmerit paste and magnetic mines

Discussion in 'Information Requests' started by Kai-Petri, Nov 1, 2006.

  1. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Actually I was curious if someone knows what against ( name/picture ) Zimmerit originally was developed and also if Zimmerit worked? Any stats on that? Thanx!

    [​IMG]
     
  2. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    Been running a thread on this on another forum as it always slightly puzzled me too.
    David Fletcher implies in his recent book on the Churchill that it was a case of ensuring a countermeasure to a weapon that only Germany & Japan had really seriously developed or deployed. There were thousands of British 'Clam' charges supplied to the Soviets with magnetic attachment but they're not really an effective anti-tank weapon. Maybe this is why the coating was withdrawn in late '44, an over the top response to a type of weapon that wasn't being used much by the enemy?
    The same Fletcher book shows a surprising picture of a very late war British development of an equivalent paste applied to a Churchill VII (which is displaying an extremely effective camouflage pattern), he implies that if the war continued then this paste was to be moved into full production for use on allied vehicles.
    In short, like quite a bit of German tank design, Zimmerit doesn't make much sense to me.
    Cheers,
    Adam.
     
  3. Otto

    Otto Rested & Resupplied with MREs. Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    I actually did quite a bit of research on Zimmermit during my modelling days Kai.

    From what I remember, it was applied as a countermeasure to magnetic anti-tank weapons. There was no antimagnetic property in the paste itself, it was simply intended as a barrier against the magnets themselves. The idea was that most magnetic anti-armor weapons were designed to focus their blast at one point, and thus need to be an exact distance from the hull to do optimal damage against armor, (ie the cone-shaped German Panzerhandmine/Hafthohlladung). Therefore it was believed that an extra layer of paste would either make the mine fall of the tank or detonate out of the optimum range for penetration.

    Im unaware if any specific Russian weapons prompted the development of the Zimmermit, rather it seems it was developed "just is case" the Russians had developed such weapons, or had captured German versions of these mines.

    Apparently the paste was made from sawdust and glue, so considering how cheap it was to make I'm guessing some German engineer decided "Why not?" and started applying the Zimmermit since it just might help save a panzer or two here and there...

    Sorry no sources, as this is just what I can remember right now...
     
  4. Fortune

    Fortune Member

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    thats quite interesting, sawdust and glue, i wouldnt have thought....
     
  5. Otto

    Otto Rested & Resupplied with MREs. Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Actually Fortune, I said "apparently" because the sources I read didn't actually know exactly what it was made of. Souces for the exact composition are scarce, but this glue+sawdust is the most likely recipe for the Zimmermit.
     
  6. Otto

    Otto Rested & Resupplied with MREs. Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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  7. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    OK, thanx for the info, Otto!!
     
  8. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    Afraid not, the idea was to create a surface to which magnetic mines would have difficulty in sticking. First of all, a magnet will stick better if you put it directly against the target steel or iron plate, if you put in between a layer of non-magnetic material, the magnetic attraction force will decrease with the distance squared.

    Besides, your mine will have a number of magnets (three at least) which are naturally designed to adhere to a flat plate. If you make it a rough surface, the magnets will have irregular adhesion say like a four legged chair with one short leg, so this will imbalance the mine and make it hard to cling on to the target.
     
  9. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    Although, (rather strangely I thought) British tests of assorted paste compounds of a resinous zimmerit nature finally decided that it could be applied smooth or textured, they certainly advised the Aussie government that this was the case. They indicated that one of the problems of texture was that it made fitting waterproofing gear tricky though it did help to 'matt' the tank down and add to the camouflage effect.
     
  10. Otto

    Otto Rested & Resupplied with MREs. Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Oh I'm afraid so Za, re-read my post, look for the italicised section below. ;) I never said it was intended solely to refocus the blast, I said:

    So, not to get semantic, and I do understand the principle of magnet-mine, (thanks for the chair analogy though :p ) but I was simply offering research that was in addition to the common theory that the paste was intended only to dislodge the mine.
     
  11. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    Sorry, I didn't read your post carefully enough, then.

    This is only my conjecture, but Zimmerit as we all know was applied with a variety of textured tools, and also if it was applied smooth its surface was made irregular in some way or other.

    As von Poop said above this was for visual purposes, but I would also say it could also be useful in order to create fracture lines. Say if a bit of Z. was hit it would peel off to the next break line instead of removing the entire panel. As I said, conjecture only but seems logical.
     
  12. chocapic

    chocapic Member

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    link I found this

    "Normandy, late 1944. Zimmerit coating, an anti-magnetic mine paste was applied to the vertical surfaces of the hull and turret to prevent magnetic mines from sticking to the hull. This practice was later discontinued when there were reports that it ignited fires when hit by a shell."

    and here's the picture : [​IMG]
     
  13. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    Just thought I'd include that picture of a Churchill with the British 'Zimmerit' applied as it cropped up elsewhere recently and I thought I'd already posted it here? :confused:
    The British went to great lengths to obtain a 'wet' sample and were rather disappointed after all the effort to find out it was just a resin paste and had no clever anti-magnetic properties at all.
    Still, I reckon their research led to one of the most interesting bits of vehicle Camouflage I've seen:
    [​IMG]
    (From David Fletcher's excellent 'Mr Churchill's Tank', Best book on the Churchill's development you'll find anywhere in my opinion.)

    Cheers,
    Adam.
     
  14. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Looks something like what the French tried pre-war on a Char B1 bis. They applied a very elaborate camoflauge pattern mimicing trees and brush and had used various materials to give it a three dimensional look and feel. The idea was discarded as overly complex to apply and because the finish tended to attract and hold mud and dirt ruining its effect.
     

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