Blockbuster from WWII Found in Italy

A blockbuster explosive was found last October in a field in Italy, resulting in the evacuation of tens of thousands. While well over one hundred and thirty bombs have been located in its vicinity, this one weighs around four thousand pounds and is considered massively dangerous. Members of the United States Army are among the evacuees, escaping the potential explosion of a blockbuster which has apparently been on the site for nigh on seventy years.

The area around the bomb has already been safeguarded, but it is the actual process of defusing which will necessitate an evacuation, as the potential for a blast will be higher when the bomb is being tampered with. Before defusing began, the blockbuster was surrounded by blast walls and looked after by police who were standing watch. The bomb has three fuses that will have to be detached to make it safe, though there are also backup plans which involve destroying the explosives inside so that the bomb will be safer to move.

Expert engineers are looking at the task as a particularly challenging one, though the more daring among them are excited to be taking on such an effort. They have dubbed their project Operation Old Lady. Removing the blockbuster, along with defusing it, will cost an estimated two million dollars, showing that the Second World War is still taking its toll on several nations’ pocketbooks to this day. While the task is both costly and challenging, there is a great deal of optimism in the military that they can carry out their mission without issue, the Stars and Stripes reports.

The area had been heavily bombed during WWII by both the United Kingdom and the United States. The bombings resulted in the deaths of not only Italian military, but civilians as well (approximately sixty thousand). The blockbuster bomb was an exclusively British weapon, one which posed great threats to the British who flew the bombs over Italy as the bombs were occasionally prone to falter. The bomb found in October is from a bombing run in 1944. A similar one has been found in the past, which also necessitated an evacuation.

The blockbuster has served as a reminder to Italy of the horrors experienced during the war, a subject some Italians feel their education system has overlooked until recently. Having recently celebrated Liberation Day, an Italian day on which the end of Mussolini’s power is celebrated, the nation is certainly aimed at honoring their hardships in the Second World War. This means that, so long as the defusing process is successful, the blockbuster has essentially done more good than harm.

Ian Harvey

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