Smoking is good for you, under very limited circumstances


Round shot? Does anyone here who knows more about bangy shooty things know in what kind of situations you might see round shot in WWI? I had thought they were all bullet shaped by then?

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I think you mean “carrying around metal boxes is good for you”?


So my “Two Tin” a day Altoids habit may one day save my life if someone shoots at me with WW1 era ordinance?


My thoughts exactly. Shot by shotgun?

So…the message is: smoking can save your life.

I think there’s something in The Long Earth which talks about a WWI soldier having a metal covered bible and how they were more likely to cause injury than protect you.

Not sure if that’s true, though.

And round shot that is still nice and round. Old-school round shot would be unjacketed lead of pretty dubious hardness(dictated by indifferent purities and the fact that metallurgy was more art that science until quite recently).

I’d be inclined not to authoritatively discount it (muskets and ball-type ammo were obsolete pretty much as soon as rifling hit the scene; but teething issues and sheer logistical inertia kept muskets from being wholly supplanted until well into the 1800s, so god knows what ‘home guard’ and/or colonial cannon fodder raised on the quick and cheap were using. It isn’t uncommon to find multiple-decades-old-and-maybe-modernized-in-part junk hanging around in the nooks and crannies long after it is ostensibly replaced.)

Given how much aircraft cost, and how The Red Baron was pretty serious business, any fire taken from him would presumably have been 7.92x57mm Mauser of some flavor. If the fire was taken from ‘standard’ german infantry, it should actually have been the same thing(in lower quantities) from Gewehr 98 rifles.

9MM parabellum? Broomhandle Mauser, f’rinstance?

There’s a rather splendid scene in the much-overlooked 70s comedy ‘The Glums’, where Pa Glum is showing Jr. (played by the same feller as Pvt. Pike), a metal-covered bible with a bullet hole:
Son: Wow, it saved his life, then?
Pa Glum: Nah, son. it ricocheted up his nose and blew 'is brains ahhht

The episode where he gets a sixpence stuck up his nose, for the very logical reason that he had nowhere else to put it, is comedy gold as well.

Shrapnel, most likely. Check this out.


7.63x25mm, jacketed, also not spherical. Certainly another plausible alternative for ‘angry German infantry are shooting at me’ outcomes; but doesn’t look any more like a musket ball.

Reminds me of that scene in ‘Support Your Local Sheriff’ (from IMDB):
Jason McCullough: [Fingering dented badge] That must have saved the life of whoever was wearin’ it.
Mayor Olly Perkins: Well, it sure would have, if it hadn’t been for all them other bullets flyin’ in from everywhere.

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The parachute anecdote is bogus, and casts doubt on the rest of the story.

The RFC refused to issue heavier-than-air aircraft crew with parachutes until very late, due to fear that it would encourage cowardice in the face of the enemy. “It was not until 16 September 1918 that an order was issued for all single seater aircraft to be fitted with parachutes, and this did not eventuate until after the war.”

Tertiary Source.

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Have any of these stories been verified? I have a little pocket Bible that my dad told me saved his great-grandfather’s life in the civil war. It’s been hit by something. It sounded impressive when I was a kid, but later I learned families around the south have these left over from the civil war, and later still that it’s a very common legend in many wars. Hence, I’m pretty skeptical of individual story or anecdote.

I did find a reference to my great-grandfather in a “Who’s Who in Texas” book from the 1890s that said he had been hit by a “spent bullet” at the end of the war (and then further misfortune–when he got home he found all his slaves were freed!)

Well well. Thought they were ball ammo.

Bertrand Russell famously claimed in an interview that smoking saved his life. He was on board an seaplane, the Bukken Bruse, when it crashed during a water-based landing in Norway. The only survivors were those sitting in the back of the plane - the smoking section.

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The only use I’ve ever found for smoking materials is that a cigarette makes a decent ten-minute fuse. (I think that was a “Steal This Book” item. Not that I ever stole, or bought, Steal This Book but I leafed thru it a few times.)

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Craven? Why those cigarettes are positively heroic!

Also, the fuse trick no longer works - cigarette paper has been reformulated so the damn things go out.

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Could have been some farmer with his trusty muzzleloader taking pot shots