Air Force Colors 1926-1942 by Dana Bell

By Dana Bell

Air strength shades Vol 1: 1926-42

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Gunpowder was power, but to get your share of that power, you needed to be able to make the stuff; in time, you needed to be able to make good gunpowder, and that meant pure ingredients and careful measurement of amounts. It needed chemistry, the grandchild of alchemy, but even the old alchemists had something to contribute. Rockets Text Pages 28/5/03 12:18 PM Page 27 3 THE ALCHEMISTS Unslekked lym, chalk and gleyre of an ey, Poudres diverse, asshes, donge, pisse and cley, Cered pokkets, sal peter, vitriole, And diverse fires maad of wode and cole; Sal tartre, alkaly, and sal preparat .

They ducked, but the cannonball struck the lintel of a window, dislodging an iron bar which struck Salisbury and removed half his face. He died eight days later, in terrible pain. Such indirect deaths were also a characteristic of fatalities from cannonballs in eighteenth and nineteenth century naval battles, where many were maimed or wounded by the splinters thrown out by cannonballs crashing into wooden ships. Spalling of the inner surface of armour plate would also kill many German tank crews in World War II, when the outer surface was hit with shaped charges, most of them delivered by rocket.

Kraft was hardly likely to give his expensive secret away for free, certainly not to that famous London chemist Robert Boyle, who was known to have purchased other ‘secrets’ from other people, and who might be persuaded to pay for this one as well. If that was his hope, Kraft was foolish to have offered an enigmatic hint: that phosphorus derived from ‘somewhat that belonged to the body of man’. Brandt (and Kraft) had been using large amounts of human urine. When this is boiled and evaporated, urea reacts with a phosphate salt to produce phosphorus vapour, which can be condensed under water to form white phosphorus.

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