A 220-Kilo Bomb from World War II Caused a Mass Evacuation in France

By Kate Knibbs on at

A weapon from seven decades ago created a crisis in France this week. A team digging out a new metro line in Rennes, France found an enormous 226-kilo bomb from World War II lodged in the ground near City Hall. Over 3,000 people had to evacuate their homes.

According to mayor Nathalie Appere, a bomb squad successfully defused the device, which had over 60 kilos of explosives still inside. The people ordered to evacuate a perimeter of nearly 300 metres are now able to go home, safe from this particular munition but now aware of one of the scariest legacies of WWII: an untold number of bombs lie dormant and scattered throughout the continent.

Nearby Germany is basically a terrifying graveyard for Allied bombs; just last August Frankfurt Airport had to delay flights after someone discovered an undetonated explosive. And in 2011, over 45,000 people had to evacuate after a 1.8-ton bomb was found in the Rhine River. All in all, over 2,000 tons of old bombs are discovered in Germany every year.

To make matters worse, the bombs get harder to defuse as they degrade with age. While deaths from these relics of warfare are rare, they're not unheard of: an excavator died in Germany earlier this year. [AFP]

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