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<   No. 2512   2009-12-12   >

Comic #2512

1 SFX: Fwackoom!
2 Caption: Later: {Kerim Bey's office in Istanbul. A wall has been destroyed near his desk.}
2 Stud: What happened, Kerim?
3 Kerim Bey: Limpet mine on the wall. It's not like the Russians to break the peace like this. Fortunately I was over there having a dalliance with my mistress.
4 Stud: Having dalliances is my strategy for avoiding danger too.
4 Kerim Bey: You must be in danger all the time then.

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In the movie From Russia With Love, Kerim Bey describes the explosive device attached to the outer wall of his office as a limpet mine. Wikipedia, among other online sources, says that a limpet mine is a naval mine used to attack ships, and (stated by both those articles) is attached to the target magnetically. If this is true, then it poses the considerable conundrum of Kerim's office being implied to have steel walls (and they're clearly seen as masonry in the movie).

However, other sources that I looked up define a limpet mine merely as a mine that is attached to its intended target, without mentioning how it is attached.

Not being an expert in naval ordnance, I'm not sure which is correct. It would be easy to criticise Wikipedia as inaccurate, but it's certainly not unknown for movies to make mistakes like that, and Wikipedia does have a self-correcting mechanism. So it's actually a difficult call for me to make on where the error lies. One thing I do know, however, is that if limpet mines are not necessarily magnetic, those articles will be fixed by the time most of you read this.

2023-11-08 Rerun commentary: Well, it's now close to 14 years later, and Wikipedia still says a limpet mine is magnetically attached to the target. So I'm going to call that conclusive and say that it's most likely true. Though interestingly there is this inconclusive exchange on the articles Talk page, with the query dated less than a year after the first publication of this comic (so possibly inspired by it??):

How necessary is the stipulation of magnetic adhesion? While magnets are the most common for such purpose-built military devices, glues and other adhesive schemes have been used for substantially the same purpose (for example, the explosive charge delivered by the Turtle was to have been attached by a screw); likewise, I'm sure there are provisions for using such devices on wooden or fiberglass hulls. If an expert on the terminology reads this, please clarify. Wyvern (talk) 00:53, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

No expert, but glue has come a long way since the '30s (even since your own decade, probably). The association just stuck, pardon the pun, kind of like "the tube" still reminds people of flat rectangular TV. Tubes, magnets, gears, rakes and mirrors aren't exactly obsolete in practice, either, just not the most versatile tools in the shed. InedibleHulk (talk) 00:08, 20 June 2019 (UTC)

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