Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Cloudy 20° Cloudy
News >  Nation/World

Massive WWII bomb is defused in German town of Augsburg

Sand bags and a fence are securing the location of the bomb site next to a construction site in Augsburg, Germany, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2016. (Tobias Hase / Associated Press)
Sand bags and a fence are securing the location of the bomb site next to a construction site in Augsburg, Germany, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2016. (Tobias Hase / Associated Press)
By David Mchugh Associated Press

FRANKFURT, Germany – Explosives experts on Sunday defused a large World War II aerial bomb in the southern German city of Augsburg – clearing the way for thousands of evacuated residents to return to their Christmas celebrations at home.

City police tweeted that they had “good news at Christmas” just before 7 p.m. local time Sunday. They had earlier been unable to say how long residents would have to stay away.

Some 32,000 households with 54,000 residents in the city’s historic central district were forced to leave by 10 a.m. Christmas morning so experts could handle the bomb.

They had to clean seven decades of muck off the bomb so they could find and disable its three detonators. The munition’s large size – 1.8 tons – suggested it was a so-called blockbuster of the type dropped by British forces, with the aim of blowing surrounding buildings apart so that accompanying incendiary bombs could start fires more easily.

The bomb was uncovered last week during construction work in the city’s historic central district. Police said Christmas Day was the best time to defuse it because there was less traffic and it was more likely that people could stay with relatives.

Police rang doorbells and used vans with loudspeakers to urge procrastinators to leave ahead of a 10 a.m. deadline. Schools and sports facilities were opened as shelters but most people appeared to have left on Christmas Eve.

Finding World War II bombs is not unusual in Germany. Much of Augsburg’s historic center was destroyed on Feb. 25-26, 1944, when hundreds of British and U.S. bombers attacked the city.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.