Sunday, 2 November 2014

Poles Destroyed by Lightning Attack

Mea Culpa. I am contrite. I have brought you here under false pretences. Perhaps you arrived at this blog expecting a fascinating account of the Battle of Konitz (1454) when the Polish army almost literally had its back doors smashed in by the Teutonic Knights? Mayhap you were expecting a riveting tale of Germany's Blitzkrieg on its valiant but outnumbered neighbour in 1939?

I fear I must disappoint. My story concerns poles, but those of the mundane telegraph variety:


But it also concerns the astonishing power of lightning:

So - Nothing of a military or wargaming nature here, but hopefully you will find this tale interesting enough nonetheless....
A very good friend of mine, who works for a telecom company, was recently called to investigate the loss of telephone signal to a fairly isolated farm in West Sussex, here in England. The farmhouse's signal came via a strung telephone cable supported by a series of (what we in the UK archaically refer to as) telegraph poles, in this fashion:
The farmer explained that from a clear evening sky a single bolt of lightning had struck one of the poles leading to his property, travelled across three others, and reduced the telecom box on the side of his house to a black smudge. Apparently lightning will occasionally take out a telegraph pole, but the loss of three or four is extremely rare.
The strung cable that the poles normally support consists of a copper core sheathed in plastic. After the strike, those bits of cable that could be found were burnt and jagged, resembling a 'plastic barbed wire' and the copper core had completely vaporised.
The metal rungs that engineers use to climb the poles (see the topmost photo) were also missing completely - either destroyed or blown to the four winds. And what about the poles themselves I hear you cry? Well, thank you for your patience - here are the remains of the poles:




Apparently the moisture in the wooden poles turned instantly to steam, bursting the poles apart and showering the immediate area in deadly splinters. One would not want to be in the vicinity of such an event, I'm thinking.

I hope you found that interesting, I did, when I first heard the story, and so this is me just passing it on!

Until next time (when normal service will be resumed)...............

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