City-Wide Evacuation of Vicenza Due to Bomb from WWII


An evacuation of Vicenza has been seen fit due to the necessary actions to defuse an extraordinarily potent explosive left over from the Second World War. Having fallen in its current location during a bombing run seven decades ago, the bomb has fortunately never gone off. It was actually found about six months ago, and put under guard until its defusing, and the city’s evacuation, could be enacted.

The bomb contains three main fuses which are attached to the explosives inside, all of which must be dealt with before the bomb can be safely transported further away from residential areas. Even nonessential military personnel are a part of the current evacuation, due to the bomb’s incredible size and potency. Known as a “Blockbuster,” the British device was created for its ability to literally blow the lids off of buildings across wide areas, allowing for smaller bombs to do more damage to the buildings’ insides.

This is not by far the first explosive found in or around Vicenza, which was a heavy target for bombings during World War II. Not only is it one of thousands of bombs that has been discovered in the vicinity, but it is the second of its size and class. A smaller evacuation took place over ten years ago when another bomb of the same size and weight was found, somewhat fittingly, in the city’s graveyards, the Stars and Stripes reports.

Optimism is currently one of the foremost tools of the explosives experts tasked with defusing the massive weapon, as they have never before encountered an explosive of this exact caliber. If the bomb cannot be defused in the proper manner following complete evacuation, they are also equipped with a backup plan which involves essentially melting the explosive components within using pressurized water that should all but disintegrate the offending parts.

Possibly the most ironic part of the bomb responsible for the evacuation is its precise location. Discovered in a field which previously housed the Del Din air base, the area has been planned for restoration into what city planners are referring to as a peace park. The park will be on a site which was formerly bombed by at least two Allied nations (the United Kingdom and the United States), and was a key target in the Allied plan to injure Italian spirits toward the end of the war. While this evacuation may not be the first since the war ended, many citizens are hoping it will be their last. It is doubtful that the peace park will ever be finished until all explosives are combed from the area.

Ian Harvey

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