Musings From A Military Welding Manual Final Installment

After searching for highlights from my father’s old Military welding manual, I could not help but be impressed by its thoroughness and simplicity.  Admittedly it covers mostly Oxy Acetylene use, and “electric arc welding procedures”  it does a good job of equipping the new recruit with the basic skills and knowledge for welding in war time, even how to weld crack sensitive armored plating.  In fact it goes into details about how to perform the correct weld in the shop, but then admits that it isn’t likely that armor plating would be replaced in a shop and then gives a “what will work” in the field lecture.  It covers other useful aspects like hard facing.  Interestingly the well known  name brand “Stoody” was mentioned along with some of their hard facing rods for different applications.   Certainly hard facing was a large part of the military weldor’s repertoire as about every machine used in the military that engaged the ground needed it at some point or the other.   Then, a rather long section on old fashioned black smithing followed.  I am sure the writers of the manual were keenly aware that in the areas that many of the soldiers would be deployed would be in old European settings where modern welding skills and tools would be low in availability.   One of the excellently detailed sections of the manual is the section on weld testing, with all the common methods of testing used today, including  tensile testing, guided bend tests, free bend tests, nick break tests, Magna-fluc, Hyrostatic, acid etch, hardness,  and even mentions gamma and X ray testing.  Though ultrasound was not around then, Xray would have been cutting edge in that day and would a useful tool if available to perform non destructive testing. Toward the last pages, where the quick references were listed along with tidbits of helpful information, the manual briefly discusses welding symbols.   Welding symbols certainly have changed and become more complicated.  The original symbols listed are still in use today, and you can definitely get the gist of it, but many refinements in the welding symbol system are missing.  Though these were definitely functional then and would be a good foundation for anyone reading a welding diagram for the first time.  Overall, I am glad for modern advancements in welding.  Being able to only weld with Oxy Acetylene or Stick would have had its limits, but what was accomplished without modern MIG and TIG processes is sheer genius couple with sheer man power.  The simplicity and functionality of the manual would definitely teach a lot of modern technical manual writers a lesson about how to convey these modern advancements.

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