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Munich WWII bomb could have damaged buildings

The Local · 29 Aug 2012, 12:25

Published: 29 Aug 2012 08:45 GMT+02:00
Updated: 29 Aug 2012 12:25 GMT+02:00

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Although most of the more than 2,500 people living in the immediate vicinity were allowed to return home once the bomb had gone off and fires had been put out, some were on Wednesday still waiting for engineers to give them the go-ahead.

Straw and sand had been laid on top of the bomb to absorb as much of the blast as possible, but chunks of burning straw were thrown onto neighbouring buildings, setting several on fire. More than 100 fire fighters were deployed to put them out.

Munich mayor Christian Ude praised the way the detonation was handled. "I think the approach was absolutely free of errors. We could not have waited any longer."

The Süddeutsche Zeitung on reported Wednesday that those residents whose homes were subject to structural assessment had been permitted to briefly re-enter their apartments with fire fighter escort to collect a few necessities.

Munich's municipal utilities (SWM) has a special team on stand-by Wednesday in case water or power lines needed to be shut off during the day, according to the Müncher Merkur newspaper.

The bomb produced an Armageddon-like scene in the central Schwabing district, knocking out windows and creating a ball of fire over the city.

Older residents said it reminded them of the war.

"It's like the whole city is being blown to bits," an unnamed eyewitness told Bild.

Pictures of the fireball and its aftermath

The man who carried out the controlled blast, Günther Sobieralski, had handled more than 100 similar bombs, but that didn't matter when it came time to carry out the blast.

"Every bomb is a new challenge“, the 65-year-old Sobieralski told the paper. "You have to treat each one like your first one. Routine is deadly."

No injuries were reported after the blast, which happened at just before 10 pm on Tuesday.

Thousands of people had already been evacuated from their homes, and the city halted bus and tram services after it became clear experts could not simply defuse the bomb.

Munich bomb disposal officer Diethard Posorski and his colleagues had first assumed it was a ‘normal’ bomb – which although dangerous, can be handled with care.

Story continues below…

However on Monday it became clear that the 250-kilo bomb was not the normal kind.

“That is a chemical delayed-action detonator. I am not defusing that, I’m not suicidal,” he told the Münchner Merkur on Monday night.

In 2010 three people died in Göttingen trying to defuse exactly the same kind of bomb, which exploded when they lifted it up.

The Local/DAPD/sh

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Your comments about this article

10:05 August 29, 2012 by cheeba
Gotta luv those Americans.

Sure wouldn't want to live in Libya right now.
10:16 August 29, 2012 by Morseman
Bomb disposal specialists are a unique and courageous breed. The UK has lost many abroad and at home. Whatever decision they take, we need to listen; they have the expertise.
12:55 August 29, 2012 by wood artist

I'm not sure what your reference to Americans is about. I haven't found any place that specifies that the bomb was American, and although American WWII ordnance was somewhat notorious for a high percentage of duds, this type of fusing wasn't typical for most US weaponry. Delayed detonation bombs were most often mixed in with "regular" bombs during British raids. I haven't had the time to check the records, although I'm certain the US did hit Munich several times.

If you're suggesting that Libya is somehow similar to the experiences in Germany, I think I'd have to disagree, both because the fusing systems used today are completely different and because the actual quantities of weapons dropped in Libya were insignificant compared to the volumes dropping in Germany. Virtually all the American-made weapons used in Libya...and there weren't that many after the initial strikes... were precision guided and use a completely different fusing system than the WWII era weapons.

13:15 August 29, 2012 by markthegalea
Hats off to the EOD Guys! Well done!!
15:53 August 29, 2012 by Frenchone
And imagine receiving thousand of those on your head.
16:38 August 29, 2012 by stauderfan
Well said Wood Artist! Thx
16:43 August 29, 2012 by Navigator_B
"Straw and sand had been laid on top of the bomb to absorb as much of the blast as possible, but chunks of burning straw were thrown onto neighbouring buildings, setting several on fire." At least they didn't try to quench the flames with petrol. I guess that some city folks just aren't very fimiliar with straw.
17:40 August 29, 2012 by toysterNY
Truly sorry for the folks unconvinced in the area ­ be it US or UK ordnance. Great area to hang out, been there many times. At the risk of sounding too liberal, hope funds will be available at will for those affected regardless of the billpayer.
18:02 August 29, 2012 by coffeelover
Cheeba's comment makes no sense, bomb is repeatedly referred as 250 kilo, which indicates metric origin, which means not U.S. , which means, British origin.

Regardless, I feel sorry for those displaced by the blast. I wonder if there was another method to suppress the blast, or if time was too critical for more elaborate measures.
18:05 August 29, 2012 by toysterNY
@ coffeelover - they are Europeans, so they will report in Kg, Km, meters, cm ­ even if they must do the translation to get it right before reporting.
19:53 August 29, 2012 by Staticjumper
@Wood artist, for what it's worth, according to the BBC -

"Experts decided it was not possible to make the device safe because of its unusual fuse, which operated by means of a chemical reaction rather than the mechanical device that many Allied World War II bombs used.

The bomb was described as a highly explosive, a 550lb (250kg) device dropped by the Americans."

But I still don't get at what Cheeba's comment was supposed to mean.
21:16 August 29, 2012 by Landmine
Hey, leave cheeba alone, I had a chuckle form his statement, unlike the usual preachers and nay sayers on here who always have something to say about anyone who says their opinion.

You's think these f'ers are editors on the comment section as day in and day out are on here spouting or preaching about how much more they know or profess to know. Hiint hint Wood Artist... Can't wait for the response!
11:24 August 30, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Well said Landmine. I have also felt that a number of these commentators are very likely to be moderators from TT or TL. Thought police in force.

I also thought cheeba's comment was quite funny.
05:07 August 31, 2012 by jimfromcanada
At least no one was injured
05:51 September 1, 2012 by Harlan
The German experts used sand and straw to muffle the blast.

What about wire cable blasting mats?

The weave lets the gases through, the wire cable contains the metal , stone, etc.

Reusable. Available in the USA.
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