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  #1  
Old 25 December 2016, 05:22 AM
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Germany Germans must leave homes Xmas morning as WWII bomb defused

More than 54,000 people in the southern German city of Augsburg must leave their homes Christmas morning while authorities defuse a giant 1.8-ton aerial bomb from World War II.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/germans-...-bomb-defused/
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  #2  
Old 25 December 2016, 01:34 PM
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The timing is unfortunate, but the finding and defusing of WWII bombs is still a common - I would say weekly - occurence in Germany.
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  #3  
Old 25 December 2016, 02:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Enrico View Post
The timing is unfortunate, but the finding and defusing of WWII bombs is still a common - I would say weekly - occurence in Germany.
As they just discovered it on the 20th, it appears that the rule is to defuse the bomb the first Sunday after discovery, as otherwise it is too disruptive to businesses. That said, having to find some place to go on such short notice, on a day that most people have planned weeks in advance, is certainly no fun. As of this moment (almost 16:45 pm), it appears the bomb disposal unit is still working, and the people have not yet received the all clear.
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Old 25 December 2016, 03:40 PM
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You'd think they'd at least wait until Boxing Day, being the customary day for disposal of left-over waste...
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  #5  
Old 26 December 2016, 12:46 AM
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Do the Germans celebrate Boxing Day? Thought that was something only the Brits, Canucks, and Aussies celebrate. Thought the Germans celebrated "Krampus Didn't Kill Anyone I Cared About" on the day after Christmas.

Last edited by Mouse; 26 December 2016 at 12:47 AM. Reason: Thought of a joke after I pressed post.
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  #6  
Old 26 December 2016, 02:58 AM
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Do the Germans celebrate Boxing Day? Thought that was something only the Brits, Canucks, and Aussies celebrate. Thought the Germans celebrated "Krampus Didn't Kill Anyone I Cared About" on the day after Christmas.
Yes they do. In fact, that's the reason Alsace and Moselle celebrate it too (although not the rest of France ; right now, I'm getting ready for work), because they were part of Germany from 1871 to 1918 and kept a lot of rules and traditions dating from that period.
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Old 27 December 2016, 12:53 AM
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Well, hey, I learned something today. I honestly thought this was just something with Britain and former satellites like Canada and Australia.
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  #8  
Old 28 December 2016, 03:15 PM
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In Germany, it isn't Boxing Day. We do celebrate the First and Second Day of Christmas - the 25th and 26th of December, respectivly. Both are federal holidays.
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  #9  
Old 28 December 2016, 03:59 PM
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So Germans are hobbits then.

But what about Second Christmas?
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  #10  
Old 28 December 2016, 05:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kermor View Post
Yes they do. In fact, that's the reason Alsace and Moselle celebrate it too (although not the rest of France ; right now, I'm getting ready for work), because they were part of Germany from 1871 to 1918 and kept a lot of rules and traditions dating from that period.
Hijack time! Alsace and Lorraine have a few quirks due to their unique history. For example, the Concordat was never repealed like it was in the rest of France, because the provinces were a part of Germany at the time. I also noticed that certain holidays like L'Armistice are celebrated rather differently (more subdued).

Strasbourg has a statue labeled "a nos morts" (to our dead), of a mother holding her two dead sons, one who fought for France, the other who fought for Germany.
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  #11  
Old 10 January 2017, 03:48 PM
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At this very moment, about 1000 employees are evacuated from offices in the center of Hamburg because of two WWII bombs, one of which needs to be defused immediatly due to a damaged and active acid detonator.

http://www.mopo.de/hamburg/polizei/5...-city-25513308
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  #12  
Old 10 January 2017, 10:54 PM
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It's been 71 years since WW2 ended, and they're still finding unexploded munitions on a regular basis. Shows you just how much of this stuff was dropped during the war.
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  #13  
Old 11 January 2017, 04:28 AM
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Originally Posted by DrRocket View Post
It's been 71 years since WW2 ended, and they're still finding unexploded munitions on a regular basis. Shows you just how much of this stuff was dropped during the war.
... and how incredibly unreliable the stuff was.
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  #14  
Old 11 January 2017, 08:38 AM
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In the end, 630 people had to leave their appartments (and two kindergardens), and 3000 employees went home early.

Quote:
According to some newspapers, the police had some difficulties to make people leave their offices...

The defusing of the bomb went just fine and took only 20 minutes (after seven hours of preparations). Thank you, Hamburg Fire Department bomb squad!

The part of the city where the bombs were found (Hammerbrook) was completly destroyed by the firestorm created by the Operation Gomorrah bombing in the last week of July 1943. Operation Gomorrah killed 42,600 people, left 37,000 wounded and caused some one million German civilians to flee the city (cite in Wikipedia article, footnote 3).

Last edited by Don Enrico; 11 January 2017 at 08:45 AM. Reason: added links and thanks
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  #15  
Old 11 January 2017, 09:10 AM
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One of many forgotten Hiroshimas. Forgotten because they used a whole bunch of bombs instead of just one.
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  #16  
Old 11 January 2017, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by jimmy101_again View Post
... and how incredibly unreliable the stuff was.
Very true. In some instances, up to 7% of munitions malfunctioned. Give that millions were used during the bombing campaign (let alone artillery in the field), 7% gives thousands of pieces of unexploded ordnance waiting to be found.
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  #17  
Old 11 January 2017, 12:45 PM
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In connection with the event in Augsburg in the OP I read somewhere* that about 5.500 bombs are still found every year in Germany.

That's 100 each week.


*ETA: The cites I found seem to go back to this newspaper article (pdf. see page 4), that doesn't cite a source.

According to it's yearly report for 2015 (pdf. see page 19), the bomb squad of the Hamburg FD did dispose of 11 bombs > 100 lb and 27 incendiary bombs - among other amunition like grenades, handgrenades and so on - in that year.

Last edited by Don Enrico; 11 January 2017 at 01:05 PM.
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  #18  
Old 11 January 2017, 02:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Enrico View Post
The part of the city where the bombs were found (Hammerbrook) was completly destroyed by the firestorm created by the Operation Gomorrah bombing in the last week of July 1943. Operation Gomorrah killed 42,600 people, left 37,000 wounded and caused some one million German civilians to flee the city (cite in Wikipedia article, footnote 3).
I visited Hamburg about a decade ago. I was actually surprised at how old many of the buildings looked. My wife went to University in Hannover (which was also catastrophically bombed during the war). My impression of Hannover was that it reminded me of cities in the Western U.S. like Denver or Salt Lake City. This was because so many of the buildings in downtown Hannover had been built in the 1960's and 70's, just like Denver and Salt Lake (except greener). Except that Hannover is something like a 1000 years old and has been economically and politically powerful for 400 years.

Compared to Hannover, Hamburg seems to made a better effort at preserving it's historic feel, despite the bombing damage. Perhaps because it is much larger, I don't know.

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Originally Posted by UEL View Post
Very true. In some instances, up to 7% of munitions malfunctioned. Give that millions were used during the bombing campaign (let alone artillery in the field), 7% gives thousands of pieces of unexploded ordnance waiting to be found.
I don't know about other bombing operations, but in the bombing of Hamburg many of the bombs, especially the biggest ones, were designed to penetrate down into the ground a meter or two or three and had delayed fuses set to go off hours or even days after the raids. I wonder if those bombs were more likely to fail to detonate compared to bombs that detonated on or moments after impact.

As bad as the unexploded ordnance issue is in Germany, it is dwarfed by the problems in SE Asia.

In Europe, the generally know which areas were bombed, so they know where the risks are. Fighting was everywhere, but the air raids were often focused on cities. The war-time fire departments sometimes kept records of where each bomb hit. Modern fire departments can use these maps to sometimes predict where the un-exploded ones are. There were different types of bombs and different types of aircraft dropping them, producing different patterns from each combination. The most common combination was for the bomber to drop its bombs in a line, maybe about eight bombs. The departments look for a line of hits with a gap in it. The gap could be a bomb that didn't go off.

In SE Asia, they were often bombing supply routes through relatively unoccupied jungle, dropping millions of much smaller bombs that had much higher failure rates. Rather than big bombs buried a meter or three below the surface (requiring some digging to detonate), they have little grenade-sized bombs just sitting under a few decades of leaf litter. There was not such precise record keeping. Just walking around can get a person killed by a bomblet, 40 years after the war ended.
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  #19  
Old 12 January 2017, 04:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crescent View Post
I visited Hamburg about a decade ago. I was actually surprised at how old many of the buildings looked ...
Compared to Hannover, Hamburg seems to made a better effort at preserving it's historic feel, despite the bombing damage.
Many European cities rebuilt many of the destroyed historic structures to look like they had before the war. I was in Warsaw a few years ago and the old part of the city, which was completely leveled during WW2, looked like it was hundreds of years old.
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  #20  
Old 12 January 2017, 05:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crescent View Post
My wife went to University in Hannover (which was also catastrophically bombed during the war).
... and burned down because a lot of it's firefighters were in Hamburg helping to put out the firestorm from the bombing days earlier...

Quote:
Compared to Hannover, Hamburg seems to made a better effort at preserving it's historic feel, despite the bombing damage. Perhaps because it is much larger, I don't know.
In Hamburg, some areas weren't bombed at all, especially the living quarters of the middle and upper classes. It's been said that that was because the Allied officers wanted to keep the nice houses for themselves, but I think that it was because you can disrupt war production much better by bombing the working class houses. Still, there are parts of Hamburg where only the occasional church suvived the war, with all the houses aroundbuild after 1945.
Quote:
As bad as the unexploded ordnance issue is in Germany, it is dwarfed by the problems in SE Asia.
That's true - and not only because of unexploded bombs and bomblets, but because of mines that all parties placed across wide areas, sometimes dropping them from airplanes as well. That's true not only for Viet Nam and Korea, but for Afghanistan, Pakistan and lots of countries in Africa, too.
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