German officials evacuated 50,000 citizens (about a tenth of the population) from their Hannover homes on Sunday while five suspected British bombs from the second world war were diffused and made safe for removal.
Two of the bombs were found at a new construction site near the evacuated area this past week and were part of a total of 13 suspicious findings in the area. The country’s weapons clearance service told reporters from a local news outlet that only three of the five devices were actual bombs, and that the other two were just scrap metal. The weapons clearing service used explosives to destroy the firing pins in two of the recovered bombs and then used a pressurized water jet cutter to defuse the damaged third bomb, which had a bent fuse. While the service determined the bombs to be duds, the risk of explosion was still very much present all the way up until the firing pins were removed. Officials say that while they are unlikely to explode, unexploded bombs from the second world war should be taken very seriously.
“It is rather rare that three bombs are so close together,” said explosive engineer Marcus Rausch.
Cities all across Europe have recovered several unexploded bombs over the years from the attacks of the second world war. It is widely thought that Allied forces alone dropped more than 3.4 million bombs during World War 2. This particular situation is the biggest evacuation in the history of the city of Hannover and marks the biggest reported findings since May of 2015 when 20,000 people in Cologne forced to leave their homes after a one-ton bomb was discovered.
Officials in the area were prepared for the worst with emergency soup shelters at three area schools, as they made the call to evacuate an area that included seven care homes, a clinic, and a Continental tire plant. The city decided to set up several special events in the area including museum tours, children’s films, and sporting events for the evacuated individuals to participate in while waiting for the bomb situation to be cleared up. German authorities claim that some of the area around the building site at Wedelstraße, where the new construction unearthed two of the bombs, have already been cleared as of Sunday afternoon.
Once the bombs were deemed harmless, they were loaded onto the back of two moving trucks and taken to an undisclosed location. Bus and train services were expected to restart without an issue as the city will look to return to normalcy as quickly as possible after having to leave the comfort of their area for most of the day.
Unexploded bombs from WWII are still an issue all across Europe
Cities all across Europe have recovered several unexploded bombs over the years from the Allied forces of the second world war. England, in fact, has several findings centered in London every year. This particular situation is the biggest evacuation in the history of the city of Hannover and marks the biggest reported findings in all of Germany since May of 2015 when 20,000 people in Cologne forced to leave their homes after a one-ton bomb was discovered.
The bombs that were found in Hannover likely came from one October night in 1943 when 1,245 people were killed and 250,000 were left homeless by 261,000 bombs, as Allied forces were trying to literally blast Hitler into submission. According to the BBC Online, the largest evacuation due to unexploded bombs since the war happened on last year on Christmas Day, in Augsburg when 54,000 citizens had to be shifted to another area after a nearly two-ton bomb was recovered.
[Featured Image by Alexander Koerner/Getty Images]