Massive British "Tallboy" bomb from WWII explodes in Poland while being defused

Do earth movers/excavators at least get some hazard pay when they’re in areas likely to contain some leftover German/Soviet presents?

Also, I’ve read accounts that in many of the forested areas in Poland, it’s not that unusual to come across a steel helmet or a rusted rifle bolt or other detritus from the armies passing back and forth every so often–is that still the case?

Paying for the sins of our ancestors.

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I also have a bomb-centric family story. (My mom’s family was from Schlesien [Silesia], on the Oder near Breslau, and saw lots of action before being expelled to western Germany.) Apparently a bomb fell through the barn roof but didn’t explode, so my Opa very carefully moved it – on a wheelbarrow lined with pillows – to the village trash pit and dumped it in, where it subsequently exploded.

I have no idea whether this story is true, but the eastern front moved back and forth through their village, so it’s at least plausible. My mom has lots of such stories, with varying degrees of horror and absurdity.


This makes more sense. I can’t imagine anyone being near it living other wise. Nor why there would be cameras posted at 3 angles with drones in the air. If they were just underwater working on it.

So “We meant to do a small boom, got a big badda boom!”

Impressive it could still explode after all these years.

ETA ^^^ That’s what she said.


It is, at least in region near the Belarus border, where my hometown is located. It’s all kinds of equipment, helmets, German “Gott mit Uns” belt buckles, rusted machine guns, bayonets, and lots of human bones.

If you visit Europe someday, I highly recommend touring Silesia, there’s lots of interesting stuff to see, like early 1900 hydroelectric dams, ruins of secret German infrastructure, Książ castle with its underground tunnels going 40 m deep. I have lots of photos from my last visit if you are interested.

Sadly it was probably because my grandfather didn’t value his life very much. He was an awesome person, but had health problems and his whole life doctors were saying that he has at most few years to live. Despite health problems and doctors prognosis he died at 69 years old, if I remember well not so much from health problems, but from complications after close encounter with a circular saw.


In the article on the successor to the Tallboy, wikipedia notes:

Medium Capacity (M.C.) bombs were designed to address the shortcomings of General Purpose (G.P.) bombs, which had a charge-to-weight ratio of about 27 per cent (contemporary German bombs had a ratio of fifty per cent). M.C. bombs were to have a charge-to-weight ratio of at least forty per cent and use explosives of greater power, although shortages led often to inferior explosive types being used. High Capacity (H.C.) bombs had a charge-to-weight ratio of up to 75 per cent. M.C. bombs had greater blast effect than G.P. bombs but had casings which were robust enough to confer a considerable capacity to penetrate.[7]

A bomb ins’t just a load of high explosive. It’s high explosive, wrapped in metal that is designed to fragment into shrapnel. It’s not the high explosive that does the most damage. It’s the heavy pieces of metal being propelled at great speed into the general vicinity of the target… The 3000 kg metal casing is part of the design.

In particular

The materials used were costly, with precise engineering requirements in casting and machining. To increase penetrative power, a large, specially hardened, steel plug had to be precisely machined and mated to a recess in the nose of the bomb. The ogive had to be perfectly symmetrical to ensure optimum aerodynamic performance.

No need to spend all that time and effort machining the “specially hardened steel plug” if the plug doesn’t have some size and weight to it…

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Not to my knowledge. The stuff is still all over the place. And sometimes in places you wouldn’t expect. Carpet bombing isnt’t that precise to begin with. Night raids doubly so. Any bomber developing a technical fault like losing an engine on the way in would drop its load there and then and try to limp back to base.
In the boots-on-the-ground phase, combat action was potentially nearly everywhere at some point.

The district authorities have data from all kinds of sources and collate maps. You can get an initial assessment based on that, telling you whether it’s likely or unlikely to find bombs from air raids, or whether the site is a known battle ground, and so on. After that, someone has to decide whether to hire specialists who’ll check the site to make sure - or just go ahead.
That’s not as risky as it may sound, there usually is enough data to make that call.
Although there can be surprises. I know cases where bombs have been found under pre-war buildings - hit a spot with, say, soft clay at a flat-ish angle and slid under the foundations. The bombs always move horizontally as well as vertically as they have the same momentum forward as the plane when they are dropped.

Another lesson in “don’t start no shit, won’t be no shit” as far I’m concerned.

Another interesting facet: places that were not bombed, intentionally. Like the Ford factory at Cologne. That only was hit accidentally by two or three grenades when the Allies got there and eventually crossed the Rhine.


They were designed to penetrate before exploding, so we’re pretty thick steel, plus it’s not been disturbed. Not too surprising, really.
Pity it hadn’t been a Grand Slam, they were twice the size!

Uh… phrasing?


This should sell the danger of minefields to everyone, too. It was a popular cause back in the 1980s that you don’t hear much about anymore. The problem remains, though- huge swaths of the world are covered in devices specifically designed to hide in the earth for long periods and maim you at random. Whole sections of war-torn countries remain unsafe to even farm on until someone goes through the dirt inch by inch with a knife to find and dig up all the mines. Mines are an unadulterated pure evil.


Yeah, I do feel a bit bad for the fish, and mussels, and worms, bugs, and other creatures living within the blast’s kill zone for their specific species. Hopefully no threatened or endangered species were harmed.

I feel bad for the water fowl, too, except for the seagulls.

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Tall"boy": Worst gender reveal yet.


Such a great series! Binged it last year,

Yup, that’s a thing here.


Well, that’s one way to defuse it, I guess.

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Armor. Tallboys were designed to penetrate the concrete fortifications of submarine pens and dry docks.

Thank God no one was hurt!

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