Wonderful Engineering

Bomb From WWII Explodes In Germany, Leaving A Huge Crater

People residing in Limberg – a German town – woke up to a bizarre sight recently; a crate in a field that was about the size of a house. The explosion was caused by a bomb from World War II. Such bombs that didn’t explode during World War II upon impact remain a problematic issue for Germany and many other European countries.

This particular incident took place just north of Frankfurt. The residents have reported that they did hear a large explosion during the early hours of the morning on Sunday the 23rd. However, it would appear that no one actually saw the bomb go off. The inspection of the crater took place the following day, and it was determined that the crater, in the middle of a barley field, was about 33 feet wide and 14 feet deep. As per officials, a decomposing bomb detonator is to be blamed for the explosion.

The explosive ordnance demolition teams stated that the bomb was a 250-kg aerial bomb that was dropped by the Allies during World War II. The bomb was most likely an M43, AN-M64, or AN-M43 500 pound general purpose bomb. The general purpose bombs are designed so that they reach terminal velocity and penetrate three to four stories of a building before detonating themselves. That would explain why the bomb was able to bury itself so well into the ground.

The M65 was fourteen inches wide and five feet in length. It carried a payload of about 280 pounds of TNT. The bomb casing was designed to transform into lethal shrapnel about 0.3 inches in thickness. As per an explosive ordnance disposal guidebook, the purpose of M65 was to destroy ‘steel railway bridges, underground railways, seacraft such as light cruisers, concrete docks, medium-sized buildings, etc.’

During World War II, Germany was running many facilities in the area that were contributing towards its war efforts, including Limburg Field and a crucial railroad junction. Furthermore, it was not uncommon for bombs to miss their marks by miles. The bomb hit the soft ground at high-speeds and was buried into the ground never exploding up until Sunday morning. Even after seventy-five years of the second world war, these bombs are causing problems.

According to a 2016 article in Air & Space, one German bomb specialist said, ‘there will still be bombs 200 years from now’ while talking about the bombs that are unaccounted for from World War II.