Are these dents from bullets?
September 30, 2017 5:09 AM   Subscribe

I'm working on a new room in my boat and noticed a couple of unusual looking dents in the steel. What are the odds of them being bullet dents?

The boat is from 1910 and lived in and around the Netherlands for almost all of its life.
So... Two world wars, it could reasonably have been hit by a stray bullet? Maybe defending people from Nazi's?
Or am I just romanticising it being bonked by a dock.
Some pictures here.
posted by Just this guy, y'know to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
They look kinda the same size as the rivets? I don't know how old times boat rivets work but maybe the riveter misfired a couple times?
posted by ian1977 at 5:42 AM on September 30, 2017

Best answer: I would need more information to make a definitive claim, but I am actually leaning towards bullet strikes. What leads me in that direction is that the marks are very uniform in shape and consistent with each other. Both were definitely made by a round object, as opposed to a dock corner or beam edge. Also the apparent lack of deformation anywhere around the mark site would lead me to believe that this was probably a high rate event, rather than something slower like the boat careening towards a dock. The real question is how thick is the hull plate at that location and what is the diameter of the pock marks. If we knew what size the munition is that fits the marking at thickness of the plate, it could fairly easily be determined if the projectile was likely to penetrate or be arrested (as it apparently did). FWIW I'm a professional in projectile design and ballistics.
posted by incolorinred at 7:11 AM on September 30, 2017 [30 favorites]

Response by poster: That's exciting.
The dents are 18mm diameter, and both identical.
The hull is I think 6mm steel.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 7:52 AM on September 30, 2017

I will need a photo of this vessel. I have no idea what those dents are, But I want a glamour shot of her.
posted by lobstah at 5:28 PM on September 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Well, not exactly glamour, but here's a relatively recent full length pic during painting.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 11:45 PM on September 30, 2017 [3 favorites]

Ah, she's a beauty !
posted by lobstah at 5:20 AM on October 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

18mm is more like cannon rounds than 'bullets', and given the amount of ammunition around that size that was used against shipping in WW2, both at sea and in harbours, it is entirely possible. Do you know specifically where the boat was during WW2, and what it was being used for? Have you looked around for any more dents? What a fascinating 'mystery'!
posted by GeeEmm at 2:43 PM on October 1, 2017

Response by poster: Well, 18mm is like the whole bulge.
I sort of assume that the impact point is smaller and it has pulled some material forward. I'll take a closer look and see if I can measure just the area of the "bullet" itself.
Is there any info anywhere on how to relate caliber to indent on steel?

The rest of the interior of the boat is already batoned and insulated. I don't remember seeing anything else like that when we were doing it though. There are plenty of bigger bumps and dings that look more like impacts with docks or boats or whatever over the years, but nothing this pronounced.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:08 AM on October 2, 2017

(I am Mrs Just this guy, y'know)

It's a Luxemotor, 21 metres long. It's a cargo ship, built to take cargo along the Dutch canal system, but seaworthy enough to head out to meet seagoing vessels and load up. (It crossed the Channel on it's own power to come to London.)

We don't know exactly what the boat was doing in WW2, but it seems likely that it was transporting cargo somewhere in the Netherlands.
posted by teaspoon at 4:42 AM on October 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

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