The Fatal Bullet’s Path

(Permanent and Temporary Bullet Path Cavities)

The term Permanent Cavity refers to the tissue that lay in the immediate path of the bullet. Basically, it is the bullet hole all the way from start to finish as found after the event. Once the skin has been penetrated, the diameter and shape of this

Below left and right: Male torso indicating entrance and exit points, and showing the axillary lines on the left.

Bottom: Permanent and Temporary Bullet Path Cavity.

cavity depend far more upon the shape and the metallic composition of the bullet which made it than upon its diameter; 0.45" or 0.303" for example.

After an initial penetration which can be anywhere between two and six inches, depending upon several factors, a Spitzer Mark VII 0.303" British army type rifle bullet begins to tumble. As the bullet transitions from the point-forwards attitude to side-forwards attitude, the ‘tunnel’ inside the body being bored by it will be progressively enlarged up to at least 1И” diameter

The Fatal Bullet’s PathThe Fatal Bullet’s Path

Подпись: 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 INCHES TRAVELLED



The Fatal Bullet’s PathThe Fatal Bullet’s Path

the bullet measures I X<th" from top to base). Any tbsue in its way is literally turned into pulp, which is why probing a wound on a corpse beyond four inches is not recommended. As the bullet continues changing attitude from side-forwards to base-forwards, the diameter of the permanent cavity (the correct name for what we have termed the ‘tunnel’) progressively decreases back to about (>.303" although the bullet may exit the body before this state is reached.

Top left: Diagram of deflected bullet’s path.

Below left: Diagram of non – deflected bullet’s path.

latter expands as the bullet passes along and thereby compresses the surrounding tissue. If said tissue is elastic in nature, it eventually returns, undamaged, to its original shape.

However, if the tissue surrounding the permanent cavity is hard in nature (such as the liver) and cannot absorb the compression, severe damage, generally of a permanent nature, occurs.

The Two
Possible Paths
Of The
Fatal Bullet

To avoid congesting the bullet path illustrations with lines, the temporary cavity is not shown. It is not difficult to imagine it as being there, and thus to comprehend the severe nature of the wound, straight or deflected, incurred by von Richthofen.

/. The permanent canity as might be caused by deflection from the front of the spine as suggested by Lieutenant Downs and confirmed by Colonel Sinclair and Colonel Nixon (See Chapter 13). then later re-confirmed by Colonel Barber. (See Chapter 14)

The bullet is depicted tumbling clockwise horizontally. It could just as easily have tumbled vertically or anti-clockwise in any combination. The effect would‘be roughly the same.

2. The permanent canity as might be caused by a straight through path as per Captain Graham’s opinion.

The bullet is depicted tumbling anti-clockwise The term Temporary Cavity refers to the tissue horizontally. Clockwise and/or vertical are equally surrounding the permanent cavity. The wall of the likely, and with similar effect.