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"German Blast Drive Rod, D.K." from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following U.S. report on the German blast drive rod (Donnerkeil) was published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 27, June 17, 1943.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


A German blast drive rod has been designed for the rapid production of small-diameter, vertical holes in the ground. The letters D.K. are an abbreviation for Donnerkeil or "thunder wedge." The equipment consists of a drive rod, two tubular hand levers, a long thin steel rod, a propellant charge with safety fuze and igniter, and a detonating fuze with prepared igniter. It is used for the erection of telegraph poles and similar supports.

a. Description

The drive rod (1-see sketch) is of steel, 5 ft. 9 in. long and with a diameter of 1.5 in. At its upper end is attached the pot or firing chamber (2), which is cylindrical in shape, 1 ft. long and with an external diameter of 4 3/4 in. The over-all length of drive rod and pot is 6 ft. 10 1/2 in., and the weight 70 lbs. The pot houses the propellant charge (3). Two projections (4) near the top of the pot receive the two hand levers (5), which are of tubular steel, 1 ft. 3 3/4 in. long and a diameter of 1 3/8 in., each lever weighing approximately 2.2 lbs. The thin steel rod (6) is 5 ft. 9 in. long and has a diameter of 1/4 in., with one end forked and the other provided with a loop. The propellant charge (3) is cylindrical, 6 1/2 in. long and with a diameter of 3 5/8 in., and contains 2 lbs. 7 oz. of black powder. A small charge (7) is also included; this has the same diameter as the propellant charge (3) but is only 4 3/8 in. long and weighs 1 lb. 7 oz. The propelling charge is initiated by 1 ft. of safety fuze (8) giving a delay of about 30 seconds, and fired by a Zdschn. Anz.* 29 or Zdschn Anz.* 39 friction igniter (see Tactical and Technical Trends No. 26, p. 21.) The explosive charge consists of seven 5-foot lengths of instantaneous fuze (9), with a total weight of 11 ounces, tied together in three places; this charge is fired by a "demolition set" (10) consisting of a detonator, 6 inches of safety fuze, an adaptor, and a Zdschn. Anz. 39 igniter, and giving a delay of 15 seconds.

[WW2 German Blast Drive Rod D.K. -- Donnerkeil]

b. Method of Use

The drive rod (1) is set vertically over the spot where the hole is to be drilled, and is pushed in by hand until securely held. The propellant charge is then inserted in the pot (2) (the large charge (3) being used for hard and the small (7) for soft ground) and fired, driving the drive rod into the ground. The lever rods (5) are placed over the projections (4) and worked until the drive rod (1) is free and can be withdrawn. The bundle of instantaneous fuze (9) is then placed in the hole by means of the rod (6), sufficient fuze being left above ground for attachment of the demolition set. Firing of the instantaneous fuze enlarges the hole to a diameter sufficient to take a telegraph pole.

* Abbreviation for safety-fuze igniter.


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