German Firm Uses Aerial Photos to Find Bombs


A small German firm offers a unique service to the country’s construction industry: It uses historical British and American aerial photography from World War II air strikes to determine the location of unexploded bombs. Thousands of tons of bombs still lie in the soil and the duds are becoming more dangerous.

In 1938, German General Werner von Fritsch made a prediction. “The military with the best photo reconnaissance,” he said, “will win the next war.” Barely six years later, he was proven correct. Between 1940 and 1944, 2.7 million tons of bombs were dropped on Germany and occupied Europe by British and American bombers. Each bombing raid was guided by extensive analysis of aerial photography that was cutting-edge for its time. The effect of each raid was measured by yet more aerial photos.

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