a box of matches cracking up

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Mr Bones

Senior Member
España - Español
Hello,

I found this description of the explosion of a submarine after being hit by a torpedo:

If you can imagine a box of matches being squeezed into a hand and cracking up – that is the sound of another ship going down. It breaks up.

Could you tell me the exact meaning of cracking up here? I can't understad if it refers to it catching fire or breaking up.

Thank you,

Bones
 
  • Barque

    Banned
    Tamil
    No, it isn't. He's referring to the sound/general idea of a matchbox getting crushed and comparing it to a submarine breaking up.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    What is the source? It would be unusual for a submarine to be hit by a torpedo. The text is "the sound of another ship going down". Submarines are not ships.
     

    Mr Bones

    Senior Member
    España - Español
    The source is an article about the sinking of U-864 in WWII published in a Danish magazine, Bringing History to Life. Special Operations (Bonnier). It's originally written in Danish and translated into English.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Thank you. From the Wikipedia article on U-864:
    It is the only instance in the history of naval warfare where one submarine intentionally sank another while both were submerged.
    I hadn't realised it was that unusual!

    I do find the metaphor odd - I tried crushing a box of matches and it made very little sound, but I suppose the writer might have an old-style wooden matchbox in mind. It's also odd that the translator used "ship" to refer to a submarine: the Danish word is the equivalent of "boat", and English-speaking navies use the term "boat".
     

    Mr Bones

    Senior Member
    España - Español
    Hi, Andygc.

    Yes, I find many terms in this article a bit odd too, as well as the metaphor of the matchbox.
     
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