Two Polish Soldiers Killed By WWII Bomb

250kg aerial bombs found in 2018 in Poland. Photo: Press section of the Polish 8th Coastal Defence Flotilla
250kg aerial bombs found in 2018 in Poland. Photo: Press section of the Polish 8th Coastal Defence Flotilla

Two Polish soldiers were killed when a WWII  bomb detonated while they were disarming it. Four other soldiers were injured in the blast and were admitted to the hospital. Two of the injured soldiers are in serious condition.

The tragic accident occurred in a forest near the town of Kuznia Raciborska in southern Poland. The soldiers were all with the 6th Airborne Battalion stationed in Gliwice, Poland.

It is believed that there are still more unexploded ordnance in the forest.

Finding unexploded ordnance in Europe is a common event. According to Spiegel Online, there hardly passes a week in Germany without someone uncovering a leftover bomb from the war. According to Spiegel, there are an estimated 2,500 unexploded bombs yet to be located in Munich alone, drop by RAF and US bombers.

In 2012, a 1.5 ton mortar bomb was found by construction workers in Warsaw, Poland. 3,000 people were evacuated while the bomb was safely removed by a bomb disposal team. In 2017, a bomb found in Bialystok led to the evacuation of 10,000 people.

This year, a 12,000 pound bomb was discovered in the Szczecin-Świnoujście waterway (also referred to as the Piastowski Channel) in northwestern Poland. That bomb was located only 100 meters from a ferry crossing. It had been dropped by the RAF in an attempt to sink the German cruiser Lützow.

ww2 unexploded bomb
Disposal of a 4,000-pound blockbuster bomb dropped by the RAF during WWII. Found in the Rhine near Koblenz, 4 December 2011. A linear shaped charge has been placed on top of the casing. Photo: Holger Weinandt / CC-BY-SA 3.0

Also this year, four 100-kilogram bombs were removed from the center of Kraków without evacuating anyone.

Belgian and French farmers uncover shells, ammunition and grenades in their fields so frequently they have created the term “iron harvest” to describe the act of finding them.

In 2011, it is estimated that Germans found an average of 15 bombs per day for the year. Often these dangerous explosives are discovered by construction crews as they dig foundations for new construction projects.

Vietnam farmers who cannot afford to have their fields searched and cleared of leftover explosives from the Vietnam War are forced to deal with the estimated 80 million unexploded bombs in that country. It is estimated that only 1 million of the bombs have been cleared in the 40 years since that war.

ww2 bomb
Unexploded 250kg WWII bomb found in Hannover, Germany. Photo: Karl-Ludwig Poggemann / CC-BY-SA 2.0

The oldest unexploded ordnance still being found date back to the US Civil War. In 2008, a man was attempting to restore a cannonball from the 1860s. The cannonball exploded, killing him and sending shrapnel through the porch of a home that was a quarter mile away.

Poland was invaded by the Nazis on September 1, 1939. Due to an agreement with the USSR, the country was carved in two with the Soviets moving into their portion on September 17. Citizens were relocated, imprisoned or killed as the country was annexed by the Germans and the Soviets. In 1941,  Germany broke its non-aggression pact with the USSR and took all of Poland for itself.

another Article From Us: Hidden WW2 Bombs Still Causing Fatalities Today – Are They Classed as a WW2 Casualty

In 1945, the Red Army moved to take Poland back from the Nazis. Towns like Głogów were particularly hard hit. It has been estimated that 90% of the town was destroyed. In all, over 5 million Poles were killed in WWII.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE