A barnacle-encrusted “rock” being used to decorate a garden in Orchid Island resort community near Vero Beach, Florida, turned out to actually be a rusted WWII rocket from beach assault training done in the area by the US Navy.
Someone apparently found the explosive relic on the beach last year and thinking it was just a neat looking piece of junk, brought it back to decorate a garden. Private contractors for the Army Corps of Engineers were in the area conducting an annual sweep for WWII munitions, when the rusted rocket was spotted – nose-down!
Luckily, the fuse had either rusted away or had been removed, else the gardener would have met a rather abrupt end. UXB experts from Patrick Air Force Base came and took the rocket to be safely disposed of.
The barnacle-encrusted munition was apparently a 4.5-inch Beach Barrage Rocket, and had been expended during amphibious assault training at a nearby base during WWII.
In WWII, naval bombardment of an enemy beach had to stop as the landing craft neared the shore. This allowed defenders to fire on the tightly-packed Marines in the unarmored landing craft without risk. The 4.3-inch Beach Barrage Rocket was used in rapid-firing mounts carried by landing craft, to give suppressing fire against enemy bunkers just prior to the troops hitting the beach.
It wasn’t long until the Marines found a way to carry these barrage rockets inland, as shown in this video of a BBR launcher mounted on a Jeep:
Full story at TC Palm.