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"The Luftwaffe's last laugh" Topic

13 Posts

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1,403 hits since 10 Feb 2023
©1994-2024 Bill Armintrout
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Warspite110 Feb 2023 2:27 p.m. PST

A WW2 550-pound bomb detonated in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, UK, while attempts were being made to defuse it.


Luckily no-one was hurt but the local glaziers may be replacing a few windows.


RittervonBek10 Feb 2023 3:26 p.m. PST

A whole neighbourhood in Yarmouth was levelled causing £3.47 GBP worth of damage.

pmwalt10 Feb 2023 5:37 p.m. PST

A couple of soiled trousers from the defusing team perhaps

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP10 Feb 2023 8:03 p.m. PST

Well, to be fair they did make the bomb safe

Personal logo Artilleryman Supporting Member of TMP11 Feb 2023 4:38 a.m. PST

Many years ago I knew an ex-tree surgeon. He explained that he decided that, after having seriously fallen out of trees three times, the third with the still operating chainsaw thudding into the ground a mere foot from his head, he would change his career to something less dangerous. He joined the Army and became a bomb disposal officer! God bless them all.

steve dubgworth11 Feb 2023 12:12 p.m. PST

bit harsh RittervonBek quite like Great Yarmouth went there on holidays as a child but the valuation may be fair.

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP11 Feb 2023 12:24 p.m. PST

That just shows how the sand berm they built directed the blast out to the water. I guess the guys who laboured to build it are happier now!

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP11 Feb 2023 2:53 p.m. PST

Not last. Latest. I understand the Belgians are still retrieving WWI shells. I doubt any of us will be alive when the last WWII bomb is disarmed--and how would we know?

Blutarski15 Feb 2023 10:26 a.m. PST

The French Ministry of the Interior has, to this day, a special department devoted to collection and disposal of WW1 (as well as some WW2-era) munitions along the old Western Front. The freeze/thaw cycle causes long buried duds to slowly make their way to the surface. Many are plowed up by French farmers, who then place by the roadside for regularly scheduled collection.

Smithsonian Magazine published a remarkable essay on the subject some years ago. The campaign has been ongoing for a hundred years with still no end in sight.


Warspite115 Feb 2023 1:45 p.m. PST

I once went out with the UK Territorial Army (similar to the U.S. National Guard) and was told the story of the TA soldier who was involved in throwing thunder flashes at an opposing unit. He held on to one rather too long and blew off one of his fingers.
The sergeant telling me the story said: "He got fed up with us and transferred to the Sappers. The next time I saw him he was lugging satchel charges around. Doesn't bear thinking about, does it?"


Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP15 Feb 2023 2:10 p.m. PST

The idea that fuse still functioned and the chemicals stayed effective after so many decades is just incredible. Or did they choose to trigger the detonation of what was already a very degraded charge? It was a big bang, but over 500lbs? Lots of smoke and dust, a 500lb blast? I guess so if in sand and no secondary debris.

Volleyfire16 Feb 2023 1:33 p.m. PST

Years ago I worked on a farm which had some land inside Thetford Battle Area.
I got a call on my radio to go down there and see the guy who was loading the firm's lorry with sugar beet. So I drove down pretty quickly in my Landrover and pulled up next to the beet cleaner loader which was working away removing soil from the beet with metal belts and pouring the beet into the lorry via an elevator.
The lorry driver was standing on the side of the machine, casually picking off what looked like clods of earth to me as they bounced up the elevator, and placing them on the side of the track next to my vehicle, about 20 of them in all.He then informed me that these lumps of earth, which I thought were sugar beet, were in fact unexploded mortar bombs and would I mind awfully calling the Bomb Squad out to deal with them? I was so glad I hadn't accidentally driven over any.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP17 Feb 2023 3:58 p.m. PST

I think the history of explosives establishes that there is no age after which they can be counted on not go off--only an age after which they can't be relied on any more.

They're like people that way.

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