Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Self-detonations


No, no, no - I'm not talking about Command Pins, this is a bit different.

Among the many other blessings that come with being born an American, another thing we have is the fact that besides the spare Japanese bomb and German torpedo, no war has been fought on our land since the 1860s. As a result, we don't have to deal with things like this;
Two anti-tank mines from World War II exploded spontaneously along a road in the eastern German state of Brandenburg in the past week, confirming warnings that unexploded bombs are becoming increasingly unstable.

Last Wednesday, Dec. 14, a detonation tore a crater 10 meters (33 feet) wide next to a road between the towns of Gross Ossnig and Neuhausen, some 100 kilometers (62 miles) southeast of Berlin, Brandenburg police said. No one was hurt. One eyewitness, Gerhard Willing, said a schoolbus had just driven past the spot. "It was damned lucky that no one was hurt," he told the Berliner Zeitung newspaper. The area had been a storage site for a nearby bridge construction project. "Metal struts weighing tons were dumped there, big trucks drove past and workers were constantly walking around," said Willing.
A stretch of the road subsided and the police cordoned off the area. Bomb disposal experts found two more mines nearby. They were too unstable to remove and had to be blown up where they lay on Friday. Some 400 residents living within one kilometer of the area were evacuated and told to leave their doors and windows open to prevent the glass shattering from the shockwaves.

Then, on Saturday, another mine exploded of its own accord. "Self-detonations are very rare," Torsten Schwieg, a local council official, said. "But having two go off at such a short interval is highly unusual."
...
"Germany will have to deal with the munitions problem for a very long time to come," Hans-J├╝rgen Weise, the former bomb disposal chief for the west of Brandenburg, now retired, told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "Unexploded bombs are becoming more dangerous by the day through material fatigue as a result of ageing and through the erosion of safety elements in the trigger mechanisms."
Oh wait - Carolina shrimpers are still waiting for this critter though....

16 comments:

Tregonsee said...

Several years ago, I and a British Airways crew were getting our weather briefing at the old Munich airport.  The briefer also mentioned that a taxiway was closed while they cleared an unexploded bomb.  She smiled brightly to us, and looking from one crew to the other, said "We don't know if it is yours, or yours."

wolfwalker said...

Aren't there areas of Belgium and France where UXO from the First World War is still found occasionally? 

I know I recall reading recently of unexploded German bombs being found by construction crews in London.

Adversus Omnes Dissident said...

I might feel bad for them........if they hadn't been responsible for machine gunning members of my family in France for the fun of it.  Neigh, these ass clowns are always going to be one step removed from closing up the Swastika and trying to restart the Third Reich again.

AW1 Tim said...

France has some areas that are a special type of hell.  Farmers are constantly turning up artillery and mortar rounds, and the truely horrific part is that a sizable portion of these are chemical weapons.

I've seen images of these rounds in huge piles, all awaiting destruction by the French military, and there are times during the year when more rounds are discovered than can be disposed of the unit tasked with the destruction.

One report I read stated that as many as 1/3 of all the artillery and mortar rounds fired on the Western front may have been faulty, and that would amount to millions of rounds of unexploded ordinance.

AW1 Tim said...

  Apparently, there are still a couple of magazines with aircraft ammunition and bombs under Tempelhof that have not been dealt with since the war ended.  The German and American authorities are unsure exactly how to deal with this situation.

  Additionally, there are unopened magazines and bunkers with live ordnance found on an almost continuous basis throughout Germany, as well as other areas of Eastern Europs and even the former Soviet Union.

Guest said...

Here in California, after all these years, they are STILL cleaning up parts of the old HUNTERS POINT NAVAL SHIPYARD, as well as the old MARE ISLAND NAVAL SHIPYARD. And developers are still eagerly waiting to get there builders started on the huge site of the old NAVAL WEAPONS STATION CONCORD.

Cleanup is rough here in the San Francisco Bay area. BRAC never really saves any money in the short or medium time frames.

I read that the former LONG BEACH NAVAL SHIPYARD was quickly "cleaned up", so that the Chinese can offload their countless incoming cargo ships at that old US NAVY station. Perhaps Southern C alifornia is more pragmatic than our Northern Bay area.

LT B said...

Hmmm, it seems there is an admiral or two that have access to survey vessels w/ sonar, etc that might be able to find that "shrimper's delight."

ewok40k said...

Sorry to hijack, but in a most damaging incident since Polish contingent entered AFG, 5 soldiers were killed today in an IED attack. There weould be some sad Christmas in the families of 20th Mech Brigade barely few dozen klicks from my home. (Yes, the timing seems obvious...)
As for the unexploded ordnance, loads and loads gets uncovered in my own "county" equivalent every year. Last year during road repairs osmeone dug up entire Pantherturm (tank turret pillbox)...

G-man said...

The nuke is not "missing".  It is on the right side of Frankie's Hot Franks N Country Store. Everbody knows not to park on that side of the building.  Been there for years.

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

I have read that even to this day, France loses at least one farmer a year to plowing old Western Front fields, and hitting an unexploded shell with his plow.

pk said...

if you call 4-5 yrs to do the cleanup at LBNSY "quickly"  i guess you're right. otherwise.......

c

Sean said...

Back in the late 80's I toured Normandy Beach and visited Point du Hoc to take a look at where the Rangers scaled the cliffs under fire to take out the guns (that I believe had been moved...but still an impressive feat when you personally stare down the side of the cliff and imagine what it must have been like to do this under fire...).

The guide carefully explained to us NOT to deviate from the clearly marked paths as they were still finding un-exploded ordance on the site.  I thought they were making it all up to scare the tourists until she pointed out that they had recently had something turn up as soon as the previous summer.....OKAY - how are these paths marked again??!!??

Mike M. said...

I've been there.  "Impressive" is an understatement.

pk said...

i hope that you have not set of an invasion of the blue suiters with backhoes to frankies parking lot.

C

Grandpa Bluewater said...

The guns were never emplaced.  An artillery battery was concealed in a orchard or grove of trees nearby.  After the "aw, shit" moment, the CO put out patrols promptly, if somewhat short handedly.  A couple of his corporals/privates came across the gun with the battery falling in for muster a short distance away. The soldiers tiptoed over to the guns and destroyed the breech mechanisms with thermite grenades, which they had because they had been landed after being trained to destroy artillery. I assume all hands had them because heavy casualties were expected.

Mission accomplished. Ilove it when a plan comes together.

Grandpa Bluewater said...

Mud bottom. Deep mud. Good luck.