How come that aerial bombs from WW2 are still found e.g. in Berlin nowadays? Weren’t they visible after having been dropped? Why did they build over them?


How come that aerial bombs from WW2 are still found e.g. in Berlin nowadays? Weren’t they visible after having been dropped? Why did they build over them?

In: Other

Many of them ended up being covered by the rubble from other bombs dropped in the same area. Bombs were often dropped in clusters and by groups of bombers, so overlapping blast debris isn’t uncommon. Once they ended up covered by rubble, nobody knew that they were there and they were bulldozed with the rest of the terrain when restoring the cities and ended up buried beneath the new structures.

Bombs drop from thousands of feet up. Most go boom. Those that don’t go boom might if they hit soft ground, embed themselves in the ground. Keep in mind that many bombs are also designed for some penetration – a bomb that goes INSIDE a building and then explodes will do way more damage than a bomb that explodes when it touches the roof of a building. Other bombs that don’t go boom might be buried under the rubble of a building that went boom, which means the boomless bomb is now not only buried under earth, it’s also buried under debris, not all of which will be cleared away. Additionally, if left for a while, these bombs may shift and move further underground.

Bombs are heavy objects which are aerodynamically shaped, if they don’t explode on contact it is very easy for them to bury themselves in soft sand or mud and then leave virtually no trace of them on the surface.

Simply put, the bombs embedded themselves in the soil; Meaning they literally buried themselves.

Bombs are very heavy and dense objects. The average weight of a bomb carried by the venerable B-17 bomber was 500 pounds. Dropping that from 30,000ft would definitely give the bomb plenty of time to reach terminal velocity and hit with force hundreds of times greater than its own weight.

The allies dropped hundreds of thousands of bombs over Germany during WWII. In all the chaos, a lot of these unexploded bombs went unnoticed. It would’ve been pretty easy to overlook a deep hole in the ground where a bomb entered.

The bombs were dropped in Germany in massive numbers. Lots of planes unloading lots of bombs in the same general area.

The general area they were dropped on was on fire due to the bombing and people on the ground were too busy with other stuff to try to keep track on where the individual bombs came down.

The planes dropping the bombs did take photographs of where they dropped the bombs and these photographs are regularly used today to look for bombs in the ground. Of course not all planes and all photographs they took survived, but the ones who did are a valuable resources.

The massive number of bombs also meant that there were quite a number of duds among the bombs. Quality control was more concerned with the bombs not blowing up when they shouldn’t, than with them failing to explode when they should.

So you had a situation where at night things were burning and exploding and death was raining down from above and the next day you had burned out ruins and craters. Some of these craters had unexploded bombs at their bottom but those weren’t necessarily easy to see.

After the war people just tried to rebuild as good as they could. Sometimes they build on top of an unexploded bomb.

In the decades since then whenever you dug down to build a new house in those areas there was a chance of finding one of these bombs.

On other occasions people study the pictures American and British bombers took on their bombing missions to look for craters that indicate unexploded bombs and go though records of bombs removed from the ground to figure out if one might still be there under some parking lot or whatever.

Some bombs set there undisturbed for decades and had building built on top of them several times.

The fact that they went though all this without exploding doesn’t mean that they won’t still explode now, so people are careful with them.

So the entire area is evacuated and some really brave specialist is going to work at making it safe enough to transport away without blowing themselves up.

It happens regularly.

The scary part is that in wars after that the US military ended up dropping far more bombs, we just don’t gear as much about what might still be lurking in those regions because nobody built a G8 country on top of them.