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    Uncovering WWII Bombs: Germany’s Continuing Battle with Hidden Threats

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    Every year, German land produces a chilling crop: roughly 2,000 tons of unexploded World War II bombs, leading to the need to evacuate tens of thousands due to the vast amount of these discoveries.

    During World War II, the Royal Air Force and United States Army Air Forces collectively released 2.7 million tonnes of bombs over Europe.

    In a testament to the enduring impact of the conflict, a staggering 1.8 million unexploded ordnances were painstakingly defused in Berlin from 1947 to 2018.

    German Assault” by Mr Mo-Fo is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    During construction projects, excavations, or while farmers till the land, buried explosives such as bombs, mortars, land mines, and grenades are frequently unearthed.

    Horst Reinhardt, the head of the Brandenburg state KMBD, revealed that despite commencing his bomb disposal career in 1986, he never envisioned continuing the task nearly 30 years later.

    His team routinely encounters over 500 tons of unexploded munitions annually, neutralizing an aerial bomb approximately every two weeks.

    Reinhardt emphasized the prevalent unawareness regarding the substantial quantity of bombs still lying dormant beneath the earth’s surface.

    In a city within his jurisdiction, the lingering repercussions of events from seven decades ago persist, with unexploded bombs posing a continual threat. Despite its seemingly ordinary appearance—comprising a nondescript main street, pastel-hued apartment buildings, a well-kept railway station, and a bustling McDonald’s with a cluster of bicycles parked outside—Oranienburg, as per Reinhardt, stands as the most perilous city in Germany.

    In 2006, the Brandenburg Ministry of the Interior enlisted Wolfgang Spyra from Brandenburg University of Technology to assess the potential presence and locations of undiscovered bombs within the city. Spyra’s analysis revealed that Oranienburg harbored 326 unexploded bombs, equivalent to 57 tons of high-explosive ordnance, concealed beneath its streets and yards.

    In the CIA’s secret war on Laos, more bombs were dropped than all the bombs dropped by the US during second world war on Germany and Japan, combined” by kev_walsh is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    The problem is not limited to Oranienburg, though. Upon the emergence of East and West Germany from the aftermath of the Reich’s devastation, vast quantities of unexploded aerial munitions lay dormant beneath their territories. The arduous task of neutralizing these bombs, in addition to clearing the multitude of hand grenades, bullets, and mortar and artillery shells remnants from the war’s conclusion, was entrusted to the police bomb disposal experts and firefighters.

    Bombs” by quinet is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Known as the Kampfmittelbeseitigungsdienst, or KMBD, these dedicated professionals assumed the critical responsibility in both East and West Germany. Since the turn of the millennium, Germany has tragically lost eleven bomb disposal experts in the line of duty. Among them were three individuals who perished in a single detonation while attempting to disarm a 1,000-pound bomb at a bustling flea market in Göttingen back in 2010.

    Relevant articles:
    Today I learned that Germany still uncovers 2000 tons of unexploded bombs from WWII every year. Disposing of the bombs often requires the evacuation of tens of thousand of residents from their homes.
    ‘Iron harvest:’ A Belgian team unearths unexploded ammunition from WWI, The World from PRX, Fri, 04 Aug 2023 07:00:00 GMT
    World War Two: Thousands of bombs still left unexploded, BBC.com, Mon, 26 Dec 2022 08:00:00 GMT
    There Are Still Thousands of Tons of Unexploded Bombs in Germany, Left Over From World War II, Smithsonian Magazine, Thu, 28 Sep 2017 19:01:36 GMT

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