45,000 Germans evacuated to make room for two-ton WWII bomb

Here's one of the perils of living in a country that had 1.3 million tons of bombs dropped on it during World War II: every once in a while, you run across one that hasn't decided to explode yet, and half your city gets evacuated so that they can go in and blow it up.

The half-submerged lump in the picture above is a 4,000 bomb that was dropped into the Rhine river near the city of Koblenz by the RAF sometime during the second world war. Lack of rain caused the river to drop to its lowest level since, well, the war I guess, and as you can clearly see, this bomb has yet to explode.

For reference, here's what it would have looked like before being dropped into the river:


Called "Blockbusters" or "cookies," these gigantic bombs were designed to cause blast damage over an entire city block (hence the name), breaking open buildings to allow smaller incendiary bombs (dropped at the same time) to go off inside. The bomb in the Rhine right now is actually the smallest version of the Blockbuster; up to three of them could be stapled together and dropped as one.

Zee Germans are taking absolutely no chances with this thing, and are evacuating everyone within a two mile radius from where the bomb lies. This equates to some 45,000 people, or about half the population of Koblenz, including two hospitals, seven nursing homes, and a prison. There's apparently also a smaller (275 pound) bomb chillin' next to the giant bomb, with a smoke bomb thrown in for good measure.

The plan is to set this monster off at some point on Sunday, so check back here (or hit up YouTube) to see the explosion.

Update: aw, looks like they decided to defuse it without blowing it up.

Via SFGate

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