A WWII bomb dropped in 1945 was discovered in Poland and is scheduled for defusion on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. It is described as a “world-first” to defuse the Tallboy or earthquake bomb. The device is embedded 12 meters in the bottom of a channel near the Baltic Sea.
The WWII Bomb Known as Tallboy “Earthquake Bomb”
Divers discovered the WWII bomb in 2019 during dredging, removing sediments and debris from bodies of water, in Swinoujscie, Poland. Swinjoujscie was formerly a part of Germany.
The nose of the 5.4-ton bomb from WWII is nestled 39 feet deep and can be seen protruding from the channel, according to Grzegorz Lewandowski, a spokesman for the Polish navy.
The underwater WWII bomb was designed by Barnes Wallis, a British aeronautical engineer. Initially, Wallis designed a weapon weighing 20,000 pounds, but it proved too heavy to be carried by plane.
He altered the design and came up with the 12,000 pounds Tallboy. It was 21 feet long, with a diameter of 38 inches. The detonation of the bomb could be postponed up to 1 hour. The weapon was filled with 5200 pounds of Torpex explosive, a combination of Royal Demolition Explosive (RDX), TNT, and aluminum. The massive WWII bomb has an earthquake effect and was known to destroy infrastructures. The first Tallboy, deployed in June 1944, caused a landslide when dropped in France.
The Process of Defusing the WWII Bomb
The process of defusing this 75-year-old WWII bomb will prove to be quite delicate.
It will take up to three days to prepare for the defusion. Lewandowski said,
The tiniest vibration could detonate the bomb.
This will be the first time a WWII bomb burrowed underwater will be defused. They are concerned about destroying a nearby bridge.
The divers will use deflagration instead of detonation to defuse the WWII bomb. Deflagration is the act of heating a substance until it quickly burns away.
The WWII Bomb Will Displace Residents; Some With COVID-19 Concerns Refuse to Evacuate
Residents within 1.6 miles around the location of the WWII bomb have been asked to evacuate. Some of the nearly 750 residents will not heed the warning due to concerns of COVID-19.
Those affected will be displaced inside a sports hall during the defusion process anticipated to last up to five days.
Halina Paszkwoskwa, a 50-year resident, stated she cares for her 88-year-old mother and expressed that her main concern is COVID-19. She further stated other bombs were previously found, but this is the first time there has been an evacuation.
The Royal Air Force (RAF) dropped the WWII bomb attacking a Nazi warship in 1945. During the war, 12 Tallboy bombs were deployed, but one failed to explode.
The German World War II steamer Karlsruhe was bombed by Soviet planes and sunk in the Baltic Sea in April 1945. A team of Polish divers claimed to have discovered the wreckage in October 2020, mostly intact.
WWII was initiated on September 1, 1939, when Germany invaded Poland. Six long, dangerous years and 24 hours after the start of the war, it ended on September 2, 1945. The United States entered the war after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. WWII, the deadliest war in history, claimed nearly 80 million lives.
Written by Sheree Bynum
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
DW: Polish divers to defuse WWII ‘earthquake bomb’ on German border
CBS: Divers attempt to defuse WWII “earthquake bomb” off Poland
National Ocean Service: What is dredging?
Chronicles: The Tallboy Bomb – A Lancaster Delivered Earthquake
Featured Image Courtesy of SK9679’s Geography Page – Creative Commons License|
Inset Image Courtesy of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License