Polish Navy Removing Second World War Tallboy Bomb

September 15, 2020 (Google Translation) – Two German sea mines from World War II were destroyed yesterday and today by mine divers from Gdynia in the Gdańsk Bay. Meanwhile, the navy is slowly making its way to remove Tallboy, a gigantic bomb discovered at the bottom of the Świnoujście canal. It is already known that the operation will be carried out in mid-October.

Bomber Command Museum photo

Mines, which specialists from 13 Minesweeper Squadron were working on for two days, were discovered during control hydrographic measurements conducted by the Gdynia Maritime Office. They rested in Gdańsk, at the bottom of the Vistula Śmiała canal. The first at a depth of almost 8 m, the second a little over 4 m. Each of them was over 2 m long and weighed about 1000 kg. Both contained hexanite. – Access to the mines was not difficult. The operation itself, however, required a lot of effort. First of all, the objects had to be lifted and hauled out to the open sea – explains Cdr. Jacek Barczak, commander of a group of miner divers from the 13th Squadron. The sailors used a mining pontoon, which was then attached to a motorboat. – For some time we moved along the river, in places where the depths change, so we had to be careful not to let the mine hit the bottom – explains Cdr. Barczak. – For safety in front of the towing boat, there was another one that checked the route – she adds. For the duration of the operation, the canal for shipping had to be closed, and people living within a half-kilometer radius had to be asked not to leave their homes. Both on Monday and Tuesday, a large section of the beach was closed for seven hours – from Gdańsk Brzeźno to Mikoszewo.

Both mines were dragged more than 2 NM deep into the Gulf of Gdańsk and re-placed on the bottom. – Before we proceeded with their neutralization, we took care of scaring off mammals and birds – informs Cdr. Barczak. Motorboats and two ships were in the area, and the sailors were throwing small explosives into the water. – About 200 seals live nearby. I was a bit afraid that they might come to the area where we worked. Fortunately, nothing like that happened. After the destruction of the mines, together with an environmental protection specialist, we checked the reservoir. We did not find any dead animals – says Cdr. Barczak.

The divers decided to destroy both mines by deflagration. It consists in placing special inserts that burn the explosive inside. – We remove as much as we can. We destroy the rest in the traditional way, i.e. by detonating a mine – explains the officer. On Monday, the explosive was only slightly fired. On Tuesday, the deflagration smoothly turned into an explosion. – You should be prepared for such things, especially if the find contains hexanite. This type of material burns very badly, admits the Gdynia miners’ commander. The mine clearance operation ended this afternoon. A total of nearly one hundred sailors (apart from miners, also the crews of the ORP “Czajka” and ORP “Wigry” ships), as well as representatives of the police, Border Guard and fire brigades participated in it.

Meanwhile, the sailors slowly prepare to remove Tallboy- a gigantic British aerial bomb, which was discovered last year at the bottom of the Piastowski Canal in Świnoujście. The unexploded explosion is over 6 meters long and weighs 5.4 tons. It contains 2,400 kg of explosives with a strength equal to 3 tons of TNT. The Voivodeship Office in Szczecin has just announced that the operation to destroy the bomb will be carried out in mid-October. Tallboy is also to be neutralized by deflagration, but without being moved elsewhere. – This method requires specialized preparation of the object, so the entire action will take several days. It will be the largest project in Poland related to the neutralization of post-war unexploded ordnance – emphasizes Paweł Rodzoś, director of the Security and Crisis Management Department of the Voivodeship Office in Szczecin. The burden of the operation will rest primarily on the shoulders of the miners’ divers from the 12 Minesweeper Squadron in Świnoujście.

In fact, all our units will be involved in it – announces Cdr. Grzegorz Lewandowski, spokesman of the 8th Coastal Defense Flotilla. In addition, there will be a number of offices and practically all uniformed services. – Germans were also invited to cooperate. The site where the unexploded ordnance was found is close to the border, and the safety zones will reach far, ‘explains Agnieszka Muchla-Łagosz, spokesman for the University of Warsaw. – Details are still being worked out. We will present them at a joint press conference scheduled for the turn of September and October. spokesman for the 8th Coastal Defense Flotilla. In addition, there will be a number of offices and practically all uniformed services. – Germans were also invited to cooperate. The site where the unexploded ordnance was found is close to the border, and the safety zones will reach far, ‘explains Agnieszka Muchla-Łagosz, spokesman for the University of Warsaw. – Details are still being worked out. We will present them at a joint press conference scheduled for the turn of September and October. spokesman for the 8th Coastal Defense Flotilla. In addition, there will be a number of offices and practically all uniformed services. – Germans were also invited to cooperate.

The site where the unexploded ordnance was found is close to the border, and the safety zones will reach far, ‘explains Agnieszka Muchla-Łagosz, spokesman for the University of Warsaw. – Details are still being worked out. We will present them at a joint press conference scheduled for the turn of September and October.

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