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Thread: WW1 Question - why bomb a pottery works?

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    Default WW1 Question - why bomb a pottery works?

    Not a standard question for this forum I know, but a bit of a brain teaser all the same. Please don't anyone spend too long thinking about this or digging around, as I'm only really curious - on the 31st May / 1st June 1917, 100 Squadron attacked railway targets at Orchies in France, but also the pottery works in the town. The pottery works wasn't a target of opportunity when they couldn't find the actual target for the night, but an aiming point the squadron had been tasked with.

    My curiosity is this - what advantage would be gained by attacking a pottery works? Did fine porcelain have some military use in WW1 that I have hitherto been unaware of?

    TIA to anyone who can solve this little conundrum for me!!

    L/O

    Greg
    "You can take the boy out of Wales,
    But you can't take Wales out of the boy!!"

    Greg Harrison
    100 Squadron and 100 Squadron Association Historian
    100 Squadron Researcher 1917 - present day
    1 Group Researcher 1940 - 1945

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    Greg, Oh Wise One!

    The coefficient of linear expansion of ceramics is much less than that of metals. So, if you want a base (relatively stable in most temperatures) upon which to mount bits of kit (formers for radio coils in WW1, and (maybe) very precise optical equipments) then you would mount them on ceramics rather than metals?
    So, I postulate, that some captured piece of German kit had some of its parts as ceramics, and these were labelled as being produced by this pottery factory at Orchies! QED!
    Incidentally, when 1 Sqn Harriers did a “Fog of Battle/Smoke of War” exercise up in the valleys between Scarborough and Filey (their ORB will give you the precise title/dates) the ‘boffins’ from Farnborough were using photo/cine cameras that came out of boxes still wearing the WW2 German ‘Eagle’!
    And with that, “Je reste ma valise”!
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Brilliant Peter!! I think there's more than a dash of "actuality" about that explanation. A friend of mine, seperate from this forum, has suggested that (as this was late Spring 1917, and the British High Command were about to embark on the slaughter that became the Battle of Messines and the Third Battle of Ypres) it could also have been to cause a shortage of ceramic insulators, as used in the trench telephone systems. Between you both, I think you've explained it quite neatly :)

    Thanks Peter, all the best as always,

    Greg
    "You can take the boy out of Wales,
    But you can't take Wales out of the boy!!"

    Greg Harrison
    100 Squadron and 100 Squadron Association Historian
    100 Squadron Researcher 1917 - present day
    1 Group Researcher 1940 - 1945

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    Dear Greg,
    I read somewhere recently that this was one of the reasons that Dresden was bombed in 1945. The ceramic industry made the insulators for telegraph lines that gave the Germans the communication system. Basically, knock out the factory and you cut the phone lines. I'm sure they could have though the same way in WW1.
    Best wishes
    James

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    Brill - thanks James. That ties up with what a couple of other folks have told me, so it seems more than plausible.

    All the best,

    Greg
    "You can take the boy out of Wales,
    But you can't take Wales out of the boy!!"

    Greg Harrison
    100 Squadron and 100 Squadron Association Historian
    100 Squadron Researcher 1917 - present day
    1 Group Researcher 1940 - 1945

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    Perhaps its simpler than the very feasible explanations already given.

    The squadron commander's family owned a factory in Stoke on Trent - sorry, I'll get my coat!!!!!!

    Colin Cummings

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    Colin - stranger things have happened in 100's history!! :)

    All the best,

    Greg
    "You can take the boy out of Wales,
    But you can't take Wales out of the boy!!"

    Greg Harrison
    100 Squadron and 100 Squadron Association Historian
    100 Squadron Researcher 1917 - present day
    1 Group Researcher 1940 - 1945

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