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Tanks! Builders Unearth Giant Unexploded Bomb On Construction Site Near WWII Nazi Panzer Factory

A thousand-pound explosive that had been dropped by U.S. Army Air Forces was defused and removed. 

An unexploded bomb dropped by the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II is not a threat to anyone now.

The bomb, which was discovered during excavation at a construction site near a former Nazi tank factory in St. Valentin, Lower Austria, weighed an estimated 1,102 pounds. It was unearthed on Aug. 10, detonated by Federal Army experts and removed.

The explosive was an M100 fuse bomb, according to ammunition recovery company EOD Munitionsbergung.

The Federal Army defused the bomb by removing the rear detonator. (EOD Munitionsbergung/Zenger)

Stefan Plainer, EOD Munitionsbergung’s managing director, said St. Valentin was bombed at least eight times by Allied forces since it was home to a tank factory during the war.

After a detailed analysis of specialist literature and archived data, Plainer said: “The bombings came from the 15th Air Force of the United States Army Air Forces and the UK’s Royal Air Force.

“The most important strategic goal was the area around the Nibelungenwerk plant, where the first attack was carried out by the 205 Squadron of the Royal Air Force, whose units dropped over 180 tonnes (198 tons) of high explosive bombs.”

As the only German tank production facility that had a well-structured production line, the Nibelungenwerk produced over half of all Nazi Germany’s Panzer IV tanks.

Eight Blockbuster bombs, each weighing 4,000 pounds, were deployed in the area during the most intense Allied bombings in October 1944 and March 1945, according to the U.S. Air Force Historical Research Agency.

Plainer said the most serious attack took place on March 23, 1945, when almost 490 tons of bombs were dropped on and around the tank factory.

This unexploded U.S bomb was discovered during work at a construction site in St. Valentin, Lower Austria. (EOD Munitionsbergung/Zenger)

The Federal Army defused the bomb by removing the rear detonator, Plainer said. The bomb “was still hot and had the same explosiveness as back in those days,” he said.

There is a railway line 984 feet from the site, so the defusing was carried out when there was no train traffic.

Other bombs were also defused this summer in Germany.

Around 260 people in Cologne, Germany, were evacuated in June while seven World War II U.S.-style bomb duds were removed. The evacuation zone covered more than a 1,500-foot radius, according to an analysis by the Bomb Disposal Service. Four of the bombs weighed 500 pounds and three weighed 100 pounds.

Thousands of unexploded bombs — which may be able to detonate — are discovered every year, particularly in Germany.

Edited by Judith Isacoff and Fern Siegel

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