A number of rotating blades in a diffuser at a sugar beet processing plant fabricated from rectangular bars cut from rolled carbon-manganese steel plate fractured brittlely. However, apparently identical blades underwent significant plastic deformation without fracture. Inspection of both fractured and bent blades revealed similar preexisting cracks at the toes of bar attachment welds. Metallographic examination of the bent and the fractured bars revealed they had been cut parallel and transverse, respectively, to the rolling direction of the steel plate. Due to the combined effects of the low fracture toughness of the plate on planes parallel in the rolling direction, the presence of the preexisting cracks, and the relatively large section thickness of the bars, the bars whose lengths were transverse to the rolling direction fractured brittlely when subjected to impact loads. Had the poor transverse properties of thick-section plate been recognized, and all the bars properly cut with respect to the rolling direction, the premature fractures would not have occurred.