Bomb from World War II Detonated in Munich – SPIEGEL ONLINE

Defusing leftover bombs from World War II hidden in the ground beneath German cities has long been routine. The area surrounding the dud is evacuated, experts arrive to defuse the explosive and before long, normality returns. Often, such operations hardly even warrant a mention in the back pages of local newspapers.

That, however, was not the situation in Munich on Tuesday night. Unable to defuse a 250 kilogram (550 pound) bomb found buried one meter (three feet) deep at the site of the former bar Schwabinger 7 in the heart of the Bavarian capital, authorities elected to detonate the explosive on site. The controlled blast, finally carried out just before 10 p.m., sent a fireball into the night sky, shattered windows in the vicinity and resulted in several small fires on surrounding rooftops. Nobody was hurt.

“Almost all the window panes in the immediate area were destroyed,” Diethard Posorski, from the Munich bomb disposal authority, told journalists. A fire department spokesman added: “It looked quite spectacular.”

via Bomb from World War II Detonated in Munich – SPIEGEL ONLINE.

Bomb from World War II Detonated in Munich - SPIEGEL ONLINE

Chemical time delay fuses were notoriously unreliable. Intended to detonate at random times after an attack to disrupt recovery operations, they are also almost impossible to defuse.

Germany and most European nations have quite a bit of experience handling this sort of thing. But everyone should beware any possible unexploded ordnance.

By the way, it isn’t just Europe that has this problem. The eastern half of the US is littered with Civil War era unexploded ordnance, and there are any number of places out west that may have UXO from training ranges or accidents. If you do spot UXO, don’t disturb it, make note of its location, and report it. It may be harmless, but better safe than sorry.

12 thoughts on “Bomb from World War II Detonated in Munich – SPIEGEL ONLINE”

  1. When camping with Boy Scouts on military bases, one could always count on some Scout pulling some brass he’d found in the woods out of his pocket. Hopefully, he wouldn’t be contemplating tossing it in the fire “just to see what would happen”. Not even three or four reflective belts would protect you….

    1. Nah, nothing big happens. Small arms cartridges going off without a barrel to channel the expanding gas just splits the side of the casing and makes a *POOF* sound. Might startle you, but a reflective belt – even just one – would be plenty to protect you from the (small) explosion.

      Now the wrath of the scoutmaster, on the other hand …

      1. Ah, good to know. I assume that something would be projected, but hadn’t thought the physics through.

  2. When xBrad was a wee lad, there was a UXB discovered on the beach below our house (on base); probably after a storm washed away sand and debris. I think it was a torpedo from long years gone by. It was removed, and properly disposed of before curious boys could dismantle and/or detonate it.

  3. Many years ago I saw a Barrett used to detonate/defuse what was I believe a 120mm mortar round. The Sheriffs office EOD team fired 4 rounds then they finally hit it. No bang but a fizz and some white phosphorus smoke. The Barrett was louder.

  4. I was walking around on the former Tempelhof airport a few weeks ago and ran into a private EOD business doing their thing. Makes you think how much ordnance RAF Bomber Command and the Soviet artillery and the 8th AF threw into the city that you can make a living in the private sector removing the stuff even now.

    Of course, long before that, Tempelhof was a Prussian artillery range before it was an airport.

  5. Regarding Civil War UXO….

    I work in Petersburg, VA, and my office is about 2 miles from the location of where FT Sedgwick sat during the siege of Petersburg.

    It was considered for a time the most heavily shelled place on earth.

    http://www.craterroad.com/forthell.html

    In the early 1960s a local business acquired the land (it was not a part of the P’burg NBP) plowed up the fort and built a mall. During the construction 3 pieces of construction equipment were destroyed when they struck UXOs.

    When I visited Vicksburg this last spring I saw they are clear cutting large swaths of the land so it looks as it did during the siege (i.e., not forest but open land). I spoke to the ranger about how much it improved the viewsheds. He told me how exciting it was when they did the final brush burn off…they had old rounds cooking off for about 3 days!

  6. Can you imagine if the SS ROBERT MONTGOMERY had blown up? Fully loaded with aircraft bombs for the RAF, the MONTOMERY was washed up on a sand bank off of Sheerness, Kent, in August 1944. Salvagers only uloaded half the cargo, when the hull cracked open, and flooded the holds. The RAF then abandoned the salvage effort, when the salvage stevadores wanted double time for working in the flooded holds.

    Of course, bombs are shipped unfused, and the steel used in US bombs of the era was rather porous, and the nitrate based explosives of the era are water soluable, so it’s probably a ship of empty 500 pound bomb casings, but one never can tell.

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