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British WWII bomb forces evacuation of Koblenz
Photo: DPA

British WWII bomb forces evacuation of Koblenz

Published: 28 Nov 2011 08:42 GMT+01:00
Updated: 28 Nov 2011 08:42 GMT+01:00

Plans are being made to evacuate nearly half the residents of Koblenz next weekend so that a 1.8 tonnes British WWII bomb found in the Rhine River can be defused. Two hospitals and a prison are within the evacuation zone.

The enormous bomb, dropped by the Royal Air Force, was only discovered thanks to the unusually low level of the Rhine, due to a severe lack of rain over the last few weeks.

The bomb disposal situation has been complicated by the discovery of two more, smaller bombs in the mud nearby.

The Koblenz city council said around 45,000 people will have to move, that is around 42 percent of the city’s population, in what will be the biggest evacuation in its history.

An evacuation radius of 1.8 kilometres has been decided upon. This means 700 patients at two hospitals will have to be moved, as well as the residents of seven old people’s homes and prisoners in a jail. The city’s main train station will also have to be emptied as well as several hotels.

The evacuation zone will have to be empty from 9 am, while the bomb should be defused between 3 pm and 5 pm, after which people will be able to return to their homes.

The low level of the Rhine is exposing unexploded World War II bombs which have lain under water for decades.

Police closed a road and a stretch of railway near Rhein bei Vallendar near Koblenz on Saturday so that three smoke bombs found in the river could be blown up. An artificial traffic jam was created on a nearby autobahn to slow traffic while the explosion work was underway.

A day later and just a few kilometres downriver the bomb disposal crews had their work cut out for them in Neuwied where a 500-kilo aerial bomb was spotted in the river. This required the evacuation of around 1,000 people living in the nearby area of Neuwied.

DAPD/The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:07 November 28, 2011 by auniquecorn
you know, if you find a ton of gold buried the gov´t screams, it´s mine, it´s mine.

Find a fkn bomb? its the brits, its the brits.
14:30 November 28, 2011 by Alofat
Are you high?
15:39 November 28, 2011 by rutledm
@auniquecorn.......Maybe they're screaming "it's the brits it's the brits" because it was the Brits? I think there was a bit of a scuffle between the two countries back in the 40's, or maybe the "made in England" label is still visible, who knows?
16:39 November 28, 2011 by tobyjug
its rather easy to say it was the Brits!!! the only bomber in WW2 in the Europe theatre capable of carrying a single bomb of that weight was the Lancaster bomber.

B17 and B24 had heavy bomb loads but only multiple smaller bombs i think the B25 could but it was was not deployed in Europe during the war
19:58 November 28, 2011 by finanzdoktor
@auniquecorn...Think both rutiedm and tobyjug have you there. Unless it was the Free French or Polish Air Forces.
21:13 November 28, 2011 by candianrider
You sure it doesn't have a "Made in Canada" stamp with a maple leaf beside it?

The Royal Canadian Airforce flew more Lancasters than the Brits.

But for arguments sake we'll call it a bomb dropped but the allies.

I agree that it must have been carried by a Lancaster though, despite the notoriety of the American B17 the Lancaster was the real workhorse during the war.

Let's hope that kind of nonsense doesn't happen ever again, and my best wishes to the poor guys who have been charged with diffusing that thing.
22:39 November 28, 2011 by Whipmanager
You know, they should just leave it where it stands. It has been there for so long, how dangerous can it be if you dont mess with it. If it goes uff, you will now lose the lives of teh EOD guys (UXO for the brits, right?) and a great deal of damage to teh surrounding community and the actual economic driving force of the River itself.

As for responsible parties, if Adolph hadnt have started it, it wouldn't be there, so, it is ultimately the fault of the country where the UXO is actually found. The finders keepers rule applies, as well as the Bend over and Kiss your Bottom Goodbye rule.

Wow, you have a 1.8 ton bomb, a safety circle of 1.8 kilometers, I wonder if the Authorities are over reacting? Unless there are gas lines, NATO Oil Lines or soemthing else around it. Wish I were there to see this operation. As I remember it, there may be a certain Base around Germany, with two car loads of Un exploded munitions from WWII sitting on it, burried in a moound, because it was so unsafe and unstable, they couldnt do anything with it....can't wait until that one gets fixed....
01:32 November 29, 2011 by wood artist
@Whipmanager

So, using your logic, if the water weren't quite so low, no one would notice it. Then, when a small boat happens to go over it, and the propeller strikes and detonates the bomb, and a major section of the city is destroyed exactly what governmental official will you blame?

And...since you seem to have some issues with the protective space required, exactly who does the family member of a person killed should something go wrong go see? Is there a Department of Governmental Stupidity? Are they much good at helping?

In a perfect world, this gets done without a hitch and everybody goes back home. We don't, in case you haven't noticed, don't live in a perfect world. The precautions are not only reasonable but prudent. You'd be the first one in line to criticize if they didn't clear the area and somebody other than those doing the work were injured or killed.

Although I'm nowhere near there right now, I'd much prefer to be safe. I've been close enough to detonating ordnance before, and it's not much fun.

wa
06:53 November 29, 2011 by JCBearss
What an interesting bit of news. As stated the UXO will need to be defused and removed as soon as possible because it has the POTENTIAL at this point due to erosion and low water levels to be a hazzard once again. Inconvenient for some, yes, but so is a major disaster in the beautiful city of Kolblenz. I am MORE than certain that Germany has trained EOD diver experts well suited to deal with this matter because it is not the first time having to adjust to such a problem.
08:49 November 29, 2011 by tobyjug
@candianrider

RAF Lancaster Squadrons in WW2 60+

RCAF Lancaster Squadrons in WW2 15

RAAF Lancaster Squadrons in WW2 3

Unexploded Ordnance is Extremely dangerous if struck!!! so no they cant leave it there! as for exclusion zone that's the maximum distance plus some that shrapnel could travel!!! Better over reaction than some poor sod being hit!

but i think we will all agree that lets hope no major air power starts indiscriminate bombing of the scale of WW2 ever again.
17:05 November 30, 2011 by Englishted
@tobyjug

Yes I hope you are right that is never needed again but don't rule it out because it worked .
03:29 December 2, 2011 by yuri_nahl
"but i think we will all agree that lets hope no major air power starts indiscriminate bombing of the scale of WW2 ever again."...You mean like in Libya? Or , what was that place, "Yugoslavia"?
16:38 December 2, 2011 by tonybot
It's only there because the Germans bombed London
16:08 December 3, 2011 by Bruno53
Well, the same German bombs can still be found in England and many other parts of Europe. So what's new?
13:44 December 4, 2011 by Mossie
@tobyjug

- Correction. The Lancaster was not the only bomber in WW2 in the Europe theatre capable of carrying a single bomb of that weight. The De Havilland Mosquito could also carry a single 4000 lb (1,800kg) "Cookie" or "Blockbuster" bomb!

It has been calculated that a Mosquito could be loaded with a 4,000 lb bomb, fly to Germany, drop the bomb, return, bomb up and refuel, fly back, drop a second bomb, and return, and still land before a Stirling (the slowest of Bomber Command's four-engined bombers) could strike Germany with a full bomb load.
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