A huge World War II bomb exploded in Poland on Tuesday (13), during an operation trying to disable it. According to the country’s navy, no one was injured during the incident.
The bomb, of the type nicknamed “Tallboy” (big boy, in English), is six meters long and was found in September last year in a canal near the Baltic Sea. It ended up there after a British Royal Air Force attack on a Nazi warship in 1945. In the episode, 12 “Tallboy” bombs were dropped – one did not explode and ended up being 12 meters below the surface until the days of today.
#Tallboy, the largest unexploded #WWII bomb detonated💣
Lt Cmdr G.Lewandowski, 8th Coastal Defence Flotilla: The deflagration process turned into detonation. The object can be considered neutralised, it will not pose any more threat to the Szczecin-Swinoujscie shipping channel. pic.twitter.com/xHkRzAaONn
– Poland MOD 🇵🇱 (@Poland_MOD) October 14, 2020
At over five tons, this Tallboy was the greatest remaining World War II threat to Poland. The country was one of the main stages of the battles of the conflict and, even today, still faces the hidden threat of bombs, mines and grenades of the time that did not explode.
The site of the explosion is close to the city of Swinoujscie, so 750 people who lived within a radius of 2.5 kilometers from the bomb had to be evacuated during the decommissioning operation. Initially, the Polish Navy dismissed the idea of making a controlled activation of the bomb, fearing that a neighboring bridge, which is about 500 meters from the site, would be destroyed during the explosion.
The technicians chose to try a procedure known as “deflagration” of the bomb, in which the explosive material is burned and destroyed without detonating it. For this, they used a remote device to pierce the outer layers of the pump, while the controllers were far away.
The procedure did not go well, and the bomb went off – but, fortunately, no one was injured and there was no damage to the city’s structures. As a result, the threat was considered to have been successfully “neutralized” by the Polish authorities.
The city of Swinoujscie (which was once part of German territory) was an important port of access to the Baltic Sea for the Nazis, and therefore also the stage for the British attack and other offensives. Tallboys, in turn, were used to explode in soil and water and cause mini earthquakes that destroyed the area around them.