Relics from 1926 explosion at Lake Denmark Ammunition Depot


#1

According to a Historic Properties Report for Picatinny Arsenal, Dover, NJ prepared by U.S. Department of the Interior, the series of explosions on the afternoon of July 10, 1926 at the Lake Denmark Ammunition Depot began with an initial blast of 670,000 lbs. of various explosives followed by two large sympathetic explosions, one involving 1,600,000 lbs. of stored TNT and another involving 180,000 lbs. of loaded artillery shells. A building containing 2,500,000 lbs. of Explosive ‘D’ (Dunnite) that was only 500’ from the blast was not sympathetic and burned rather than exploded.
Dunnite was generally considered an insensitive substance and the Navy used it in armor piercing shells because it typically did not detonate on impact with heavy armor. As seen by the heat-burst effect on the shells in the pictures, these Dunnite-filled AP Shells were not sympathetic to the high order blasts that occurred on the afternoon of July 10, 1926.
As for the last picture: “On July 10, 1926 there was a severe electrical storm at Lake Denmark and about 5:15PM there were several lightning crashes within the ammunition depot. Immediately after these crashes black smoke was seen issuing from magazine No. 8. A fire alarm was turned in at once and personnel of the station responded, and at least one stream of water was turned on the fire. At 5:20PM a detonation occurred at the scene of the fire and a second detonation occurred about 5:25PM” (Report of the Secretary of the Navy.) The Navy tag is from the remains of the firetruck manned by the twelve Marines who responded to the initial fire.


#2

Wow! Thanks for posting this. Very interesting.
Zac