Unprecedented neutralization under the water of a huge bomb dating from the war
Warsaw - On Monday morning, Polish Navy clearance divers launch an unprecedented operation to "neutralize" one of the biggest bombs of the Second World War, discovered at the bottom of a shipping channel in Swinoujscie, on the edge of the Baltic.
Unleashed from a British plane in April 1945, during a raid on a German cruiser, the enormous craft of more than five tons, called Tallboy and capable of causing an earthquake, was located last year during the dredging of the access road to the port of Szczecin, in the north-west of Poland.
"This is a world first. No one has ever neutralized such a well-preserved Tallboy, lying on the bottom of the water," Grzegorz Lewandowski, spokesman for the 8th Polish Coastal Defence Flotilla stationed in Swinoujscie,
Some 750 residents of the 2.5 km safety zone were called upon to leave their homes during the day, during a high-risk operation that can take five days in total, according to the navy.
- Eighteen Lancasters against the Lützow -
Swinoujscie (Swinemünde in German) was during the two world wars one of the most important bases of the German navy on the Baltic, recalls the historian Piotr Laskowski, author of a detailed book on the raid of the British Royal Air Force (RAF) against the cruiser Lützow, which was then anchored on a canal in the city. The guns of this building serve as a formidable support to the defense against the advances of the Soviet army.
On 16 April 1945, the RAF raised 18 Lancaster bombers from the 617 division stationed at Woodhall Spa, 225 km from London, bound for Swinoujscie.
After a few hours of flight, twelve Tallboys were dropped on the Lützow.
"One of them didn’t explode. One of the pilots, US Lieutenant W. Adams, reported that he had not seen an explosion after his visit,' Laskowski told
One of the Lancasters crashed on the island of Karsibor, taking away the seven members of his crew.
Seized by the Red Army, the Lützow served as a training target for the Soviet Navy and sank in the Baltic Sea in September 1947.
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