A massive World War II bomb at the bottom of a channel near the Baltic Sea is to be defused by the Polish military divers on Monday. This is going to be a super delicate operation for everyone out there.
It is a five-tonne device nicknamed “Tallboy” and also known as an “earthquake bomb”. It was dropped by the Royal Air Force in an attack on a Nazi warship in 1945. Though, it came to limelight last year during dredging close to the port city of Swinoujscie formerly Swinemunde, a part of Germany in the far northwest of Poland.
Grzegorz Lewandowski, the spokesman for the Polish Navy’s 8th Coastal Defence Flotilla based in Swinoujscie, told AFP that “It’s a world first. Nobody has ever defused a Tallboy that is so well preserved and underwater.”
Around 750 local residents are being evacuated from an area of 2.5 Kilometres (1.6 miles) around the bomb and the operation is expected to last up to five days. But, in contrast to this, some residents told AFP that they would be staying in.
Halina Paszkowska said the “main danger” for her was the risk of catching corona virus in a sports hall where residents are being sheltered during the operation. She also mentioned out that she also had to look after her 88-year-old mother. She said, “I have lived here 50 years and there have been other bombs, but this is the first time there is an evacuation! Before, we just had to stay indoors.”
Undoubtedly, this is going to be a very delicate job.
Maritime traffic on the navigation channel and surrounding waterways will be suspended in an area of 16 kilometres around the bomb disposal operation.
Lewandowski said, “The first two or three days will be preparations. Our bomb disposal divers will scrape around the bomb; which is embedded in the bottom of the channel at a depth of 12 meters. Only its nose is sticking out.”
“It’s a very delicate job…The tiniest vibration could detonate the bomb,” he said; pointing out that the option of a controlled explosion; has been ruled out for fear of destroying a bridge some 500 metres away.
Instead, the navy divers will use a technique known as deflagration to burn the explosive charge without causing a detonation, using a remotely controlled device to pierce through the shell to begin combustion. The bomb is meters (19 feet) long and has 2.4 tonnes of explosives; which is equivalent to around 3.6 tons of TNT.
Tallboys were designed to explode underground next to a target, triggering shock waves that would cause destruction.
During World War II the area was home to one of the German navy’s most important Baltic bases; and the area was subjected to massive bombardments; said historian Piotr Laskowski, the author of a book on the Royal Air Force raid; on Germany’s Lutzow Cruiser in April 1945.