Talk:Black Tom explosion

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to do[edit]

I'm putting this on my "to do" list. Rickyrab | Talk 03:59, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I started to expand this story. I hope some others can contribute. - Tim Masterson, 11:10 PM, July 29, 2005.

  • Good work. BTW, I wonder if we might want to move this to simply "Black Tom Island", which, for what it's worth, gets just about the same number of google hits as "Black Tom explosion".--Pharos 05:55, 30 July 2005 (UTC)Google hits are not an idication of the visitors to this page as many come here directly from the Wikipedia article on the statue of liberty.Other come from other references and believe it or not Bing, Yahoo, meta-crawler also point to this article..75.17.210.153 (talk) 20:13, 4 July 2009 (UTC)Google This

Smudge Pots?[edit]

Two of the guards who had lit the smudge pots were immediately arrested. What does this mean? I know what a smudge pot is, but there is no mention of why they would be used. PrometheusX303 21:00, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

Spies[edit]

The article contains no mention of flame. Lothar Witzke and Kurt Jahnke who according to this article were the oners who set the blast. [1] Rmhermen 06:09, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

You're the bomb?[edit]

How does this compare to the Halifax Explosion? TREKphiler hit me ♠ 14:18, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Magazine tag added[edit]

Added "magazine" tag to draw attention to blatantly non-encyclopedic narrative style ("Walk the harbor today and you'll find . . .", "My guidebook says that . . . " etc. etc.) --Smithfarm (talk) 13:27, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

I agree. Also, it was clearly not an "act of terrorism". It was an act of war.JPBarrass (talk) 15:48, 8 May 2009 (UTC)


The "Bath School House Bombing" is clearly a worse act of terrorism.Sammyofish (talk) 07:23, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

TO DO LIST?[edit]

This article needs verification in so many places it should almost be started over. Bits and pieces have been cut-and-pasted followed by a total lack of many of the important facts that were in the article the information was taken from. It is clear the USA may have been free to sell ammunition to whomever they wanted but that has nothing to do with Freedom of the Seas no matter how you twist it. Please finish this article or find some who will remain committed to it.75.17.210.153 (talk) 20:21, 4 July 2009 (UTC)Abandoned Article Sniffer

In the section titled 'Act of Aggression' the bombing is characterized as a terrorist act, but since terrorism is usually defined as violent acts attempting to achieve political ends more by frightening the populace than by their practical impact, the term is misused here. This action was clearly ordinary military sabotage and not terrorism. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.241.211.163 (talk) 07:29, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

Short count[edit]

"one of the three covert attacks on mainland U.S." Somebody's (correctly) added the '20 Wall Street bomb, & then there's the '93 WTC bombing... Clearly not only 3. Anybody have a better number? TREKphiler hit me ♠ 02:50, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

I changed the phrase to "covert attack by another nation" and dropped the terrorist incidents. The number of of covert terrorist attacks (e.g.30 anarchist bombings in 1919) would be too difficult to count--and too ambiguous to define. --134.140.153.162 (talk) 15:27, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. If it's sabotage (by definition, action by foreign power), it's not terrorism anyhow. QED. TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 16:00, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Effects of blast: shattering of windows[edit]

Warning: the following is OR and should not be inserted in the article. I noticed that accounts have windows being shattered all over lower Manhattan. Out of curiosity, I simulated a nuke attack via a nuke attack simulator (yeah, I know, Black Tom was conventional, oh well), and noticed that an explosion at Black Tom with overpressure sufficient to do that damage might have been somewhere in the 9 to 10 kt range, although the seismic waves thus caused might have contributed to the damage and atmospheric dynamics might have come into play. (Also, being a conventional munitions pile explosion, the shape of the blast/ fireball/ whatever it was would've been different from that of a nuclear weapon, affecting the damage area.) Depending on where relative to Black Tom the explosion was, the Statue of Liberty may have been pretty lucky that she didn't suffer worse damage. 192.12.88.7 (talk) 22:48, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

Huh. An interesting result, indeed. (Would you happen to know of one to compare Black Tom to Halifax and Port Chicago?) AFAIK, the blast effect is the same (hence rendering in "kilotons", i.e TNT-equivalent); it's the thermal pulse that differs. TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 23:05, 4 February 2010 (UTC)
I've heard that the Black Tom explosion involved something like 900 tons of explosives - an 0.9 kt explosion would (assuming spherical explosion, level terrain, etc.) have shattered a lot of windows in the Bayonne/Jersey City area (0.25 psi) but not necessarily too many windows in NYC with overpressure alone. Thus the shattering may have been due to seismic waves, rather than overpressure. 192.12.88.7 (talk) 23:09, 4 February 2010 (UTC)
BTW, here's Halifax. 192.12.88.7 (talk) 23:18, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

The Black Tom explosion, being a nonnuclear explosion involving fire, numerous pieces of explosives, and a somewhat haphazard distribution, was not necessarily completely spherical in effect. (I suspect it looked something like the FOB Falcon incident of October 10, 2006, occurring at night and lighting up the sky with an orange glow - and involving a lot of "fireworks" and smaller explosions. Accounts have it that things were apparently exploding for several hours after the initial Black Tom blast.) 198.151.130.54 (talk) 23:50, 10 March 2012 (UTC)

Perhaps one of the closest things to a (real life) reenactment of Halifax that I could find on Youtube (so far) was Operation Sailor Hat, a 500 ton explosion (detonated deliberately) on the shore of Kahoolawe. There is a movie reconstruction of Halifax out there on Youtube as well, but that uses special effects and is a duplicate of copyrighted stuff (which is presumably used under fair use), so I won't link to that here. 198.151.130.54 (talk) 00:59, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

Woodrow Wilson[edit]

The investigation results (sabotage) were kept secret partly because Woodrow Wilson was running for re-election on a platform calling for America to stay out of the war, and the investigation results would have essentially brought them into it. This isn't mentioned anywhere in the article, though. Why? --98.232.176.109 (talk) 02:59, 21 August 2010 (UTC)

Despite what "History Detectives" says, this seems to be more the stuff of conspiracy theory than fact. The logic runs: "Wilson should have known, therefore he must have known." And: "It served Wilson's interests to keep it secret, therefore he kept it secret." Evidence is scant. "History Detectives" quotes author John Cooper saying: "they didn’t want to get into the war; it’s simply you want to keep it quiet. That’s why there is no official response to the Black Tom." No official response? Wilson gives it to the Interstate Commerce Commission to investigate -- nothing secret, it's widely reported.
Cooper also says the U.S. had good intelligence, which is questionable for this period. If there was a cover-up, too many people would have had to participate for us to be left with no contemporary evidence of it. Makes me want to have a closer look at what Cooper has actually written, rather than just his off-the-cuff remarks quoted by "History Detectives." Bmclaughlin9 (talk) 02:00, 22 August 2010 (UTC)

Franz von Papen[edit]

Denied his involvement well into the fifties and it is rather unproven only alleged--Tresckow (talk) 10:40, 2 June 2012 (UTC)

Found a related![edit]

"suspicion at the time fell solely on German saboteurs such as Kurt Jahnke and his assistant Lothar Witzke" - Kurt Jahnke was the brother of my grandfather ... and I am very pleased to read about his heroic action!! Is there any more information about him? Just filling gaps in our family's history ... --77.6.97.163 (talk) 12:45, 21 December 2014 (UTC)