Massive WWII bomb discovered and defused in German city hosting US military
Stars and Stripes February 17, 2023
Updated Feb. 17, 2023 at 10:37 p.m. CET
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — The discovery of a 550-pound World War II bomb on Friday shut down parts of downtown Kaiserslautern, which is home to multiple U.S. bases and the largest overseas American military community.
An ordnance disposal team defused the bomb, which was uncovered during an excavation earlier in the day, after about three hours of work at the site, the city announced at 10:15 p.m. Friday.
Police and emergency workers began evacuating residents Friday afternoon in a 300-meter radius around the site at Kennelstrasse, near the Apostle Church.
The disposal team removed a detonator from the bomb shortly after beginning work at 7 p.m., but a second detonator was deformed as a result of the excavation, a city statement said. That delayed disposal until further materials could be delivered to the site, city officials said.
The city initially planned to remove the bomb earlier, but some people had yet to be evacuated within the area of the cordon.
The streets reopened to traffic and the more than 3,400 people residing within the evacuated area were allowed to return home shortly after the bomb was defused, according to the city.
The U.S. military was not part of the disposal but some U.S. officials were at the scene.
About 2,000 tons of unexploded bombs and other munitions are found each year in Germany, which was heavily bombarded by Allied forces during World War II. Kaiserslautern was a regional industrial center at the time and took considerable damage.
In December, a phosphorus bomb was accidentally struck during construction work at the U.S. European Command headquarters in Stuttgart, which resulted in the release of poisonous gas.
A German explosive ordnance disposal team managed to safely remove the bomb without incident.
For more about the incident, go to K-Town Now, a Stars and Stripes website for the Kaiserslautern Military Community.
Stars and Stripes reporters Jennifer H. Svan and Marcus Kloeckner contributed to this report.