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City evacuates 45,000 to defuse massive WWII bomb (Germany)

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Dover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-03-11 11:04 AM
Original message
City evacuates 45,000 to defuse massive WWII bomb (Germany)
Source: AP

BERLIN (AP) Officials in Germany's western city of Koblenz say some 45,000 residents have to be evacuated as officials try to defuse a World War II era bomb discovered in the Rhine river.

City officials said Saturday the massive British 1.8 ton bomb will be defused early Sunday, requiring all residents within a radius of about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from the bomb site to leave their homes for the day.

Officials say seven nursing homes, two hospitals and a prison are also being evacuated. Train and road traffic in the area, some 130 kilometers northwest of Frankfurt, will come to a halt.


Read more: http://www.boston.com/news/world/europe/articles/2011/1... /
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monmouth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-03-11 11:13 AM
Response to Original message
1. Germany: Doing things the smart and careful way. nt
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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-03-11 11:14 AM
Response to Original message
2. Now imagine a bomb ten times bigger sitting under your farm . . .
In January, 1916, thousands of British miners began tunneling out of the Ypres Salient towards the German lines on the Messines Ridge.

The plan was to plant 25 enormous mines under the enemy trenches and then blow them shortly before a major offensive, planned for the summer of that year. The operation was postponed until the summer of 1917, but when it took place the results were spectacular.

More than 1,000,000lbs of high explosive were packed into underground chambers along a seven-mile front. On June 7, 19 of the mines detonated in the space of 30 seconds in the biggest series of controlled explosions yet seen. Buildings within a 30-mile radius rocked on their foundations, and the bang was heard in Downing Street. In Switzerland, seismographs registered a small earthquake.

As many as 6,000 German troops perished in the inferno and Messines Ridge quickly taken by General Sir Herbert Plumers Second Army. The Battle of Messines was regarded as the most successful local operation of the war.

But it left a legacy: six mines were not used. Four on the extreme southern flank were not required because the ridge fell so quickly, and another, a 20,000lb mine codenamed Peckham, was abandoned before the attack due to a tunnel collapse.

The sixth, and one of the biggest, was planted under a ruined farm called La Petite Douvre. It was lost when the Germans mounted a counter-mining attack, and never used.

After the war La Petite Douvre was rebuilt by its owners, the Mahieu family, and later renamed La Basee Cour. The mine is beneath a barn, next to the farmhouse.

EDIT

http://www.1976design.com/blog/archive/2004/04/18/large...
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PatSeg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-03-11 12:01 PM
Response to Reply #2
7. That was a fascinating story
Thanks for posting.
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CJvR Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-03-11 12:24 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. Making matters worse...
The explosives used will become both more unstable and more energetic with time... I wonder what the insurance premium for that farm is.

IIRC one of the surviving mines went off following a lighting strike after WWII.
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PatSeg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-03-11 12:31 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Hard to believe that after almost a hundred years
a bomb could be more dangerous than when it was created. The sad legacy of war just seems to go on and on.
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stockholmer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-03-11 04:34 PM
Response to Reply #2
16. I love history, merci beaucoup!
:toast:
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tabasco Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-03-11 11:33 AM
Response to Original message
3. Koblenz is a beautiful city
at the confluence of the Mosel and the Rhine.

Greatly overlooked by tourists.
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Chipper Chat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-03-11 04:36 PM
Response to Reply #3
17. Absolutely beautiful.
I visited Koblenz in 1981. The downtown is so clean you could eat off of the pavement (or cobblestones). There was a sculpture in the plaza with water running over concrete balls - fascinating.
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Tesha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-03-11 11:34 AM
Response to Original message
4. War: The gift that keeps on giving.
This is why we should agree to the bans on cluster
munitions and land mines. I wonder why we don't?

Tesha
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malthaussen Donating Member (413 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-03-11 11:45 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. Because Americans love blowing things up
It is ingrained in our psyche. Well, it is if you're male, anyway.

-- Mal
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Cid_B Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 04:51 PM
Response to Reply #5
25. Hey now...
I know some perfectly lovely females who are absolutely thrilled when they get to blow something up...

Mmm... memories...
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pasto76 Donating Member (835 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-03-11 12:02 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. the straightforward strategic and tactical answer is singular: N Korea
The DMZ is heavily mined, and universally recognized as THE major deterrent to N Korean aggression.

Im no fan of mines. I was happy to go to Iraq rather than afghanistan, because afghanistan was/is heavily mined.

The lack of training us lowly, lowly reservists received didnt prepare my soldiers well enough. We were put on Task Force Trailblazer(the initial effort, even before "phase I". No armoured vehicles, 100% OJT. Google TF Trailblazer) I led a team of operators to work under 1st PLT, A/14 ENG. There was another team sent to attach to someone in Samarra, the rest of my company a few weeks later was sent as it's own force to Taji. Those guys, specifically my squad leader and guys from my platoon, encountered an area of cluster bombs. They thought they were just munitions, _not_ UXO. There is a huge difference. So they stacked them up and waited for the civilian contractors to come demo them (something that frequently held them in exposed areas for 8 hours or longer). They could have all been killed doing this.

I do not support "the gift that keeps on giving" in the sense of mines or UXO laying in wait for decades waiting to blow up some child. The fact is however, the US will never sign on to a landmine ban, unless we are given an exemption for the DMZ in korea. It is what it is.

I also think that it is a sign of the times. People clinging to extremist ideals and completely unwilling to compromise. Give the US an exemption, and viola, you have aa very huge signatory on that ban.
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RaleighNCDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-03-11 12:32 PM
Response to Reply #8
12. Except it is unnecessary. Do you really think N Korea doesn't
have a plan on how to clear that strip in about 10 minutes in the case of hostilities? Those land mines are no more of an obstacle to the N Korean army than the 15k US soldiers there are. They'd deal with it the same way the Red Army dealt with German minefields in WW2 - saturate the ground with artillery, then throw a few thousand expendable troops across it to detonate anything that survived.

All it really does is somewhat hamper infiltration across the DMZ, and today's electronic monitoring and infra-red imaging cameras and all do a far better job of that.

The Korean minefields, and US clinging to them, are an anacrhonism from a previous century.
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era veteran Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-03-11 07:04 PM
Response to Reply #4
20. We should quit using Depleted Uranium as well.
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Tesha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 05:12 AM
Response to Reply #20
22. Yes, thanks for adding that! (NT)
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Pachamama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-03-11 11:46 AM
Response to Original message
6. I have family in that area...
Makes them wonder how many more of these still remain around Germany, in the rivers in particular.

I hope they are able to difuse & dispose of without any harm. I also hope that there is an active effort to locate others that may still be out there in the rivers of Germany.
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JackRiddler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-03-11 12:16 PM
Response to Original message
9. 65+ years later. Imagine what this means to Vietnam and Iraq especially, and many others...
Not just unexploded ordnance (from the air and from cluster bombs) but also Agent Orange and depleted uranium. So many decades still to pay the price for the pointless wars of imperialism.
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demicritic Donating Member (25 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-03-11 12:40 PM
Response to Original message
13. A city of bombs
After so many years they will finally unearth the whole place full of vintage bombs.
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MisterP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-03-11 03:34 PM
Response to Original message
14. thanks so much, Emilio Douhet
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dipsydoodle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-03-11 03:47 PM
Response to Original message
15. Last one that size which showed up in London was June 2008
Turned up in a river in east London near a tube station.

Think that might have been a German one.
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lovuian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-03-11 05:21 PM
Response to Original message
18. how did they find it?
Whoah
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Dover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 01:51 AM
Response to Reply #18
21. The article says it was revealed due to the receding waters of the river caused by extreme drought.
The past comes back to haunt!

:nuke:
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DeSwiss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-03-11 05:32 PM
Response to Original message
19. I wonder how many fishermen.....
...hit that bomb with the weights tied to their fishing lines over the years???

- Talk about the BIG ONE that got away!

K&R

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dipsydoodle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 12:28 PM
Response to Original message
23. WWII bomb in Rhine near Koblenz successfully defused
Bomb disposal experts in the German city of Koblenz have successfully defused two bombs from World War II found in the riverbed of the Rhine.

They were discovered when water levels fell because of a prolonged dry spell.

The bigger of the two bombs weighed 1.8 tonnes and was dropped by the Royal Air Force between 1943 and 1945.

Nearly half the city's population - 45,000 - has been evacuated, including the inhabitants of two hospitals, seven nursing homes and a prison.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-16018659
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Old Troop Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 04:39 PM
Response to Original message
24. Maybe this gives us an idea of the enormity of the problem
For every square meter of land along the Western front from the Channel coast to the Swiss border it is estimated that a ton of explosives fell during WW1 (the Iron Harvest)

Belgian UXO (unexploded ordnance) experts estimate there are 450 million pieces of UXO in Belgium alone. At Verdun in France the estimate is that 12 million pieces of UXO remain.

Belgium 450 million pieces

Verdun 12 million pieces

Verdun II

Belgian EOD

French UXB info

630 French UXO personnel have been killed since WWII working on this stuff. Currently in France the UXO specialists recover about 900 tons per year, with 30 tons of that being chemical munitions (mustard gas shells, phosgene shells, etc.), and they estimate theres enough work there to keep them busy for another 900 years.
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