Even many decades after the Second World War, bombs keep popping up during construction work. A current case also has consequences for long-distance traffic between Karlsruhe and Basel.
Rastatt (dpa/lsw) - During excavations on Friday, an excavator operator found a World War II bomb near the Karlsruhe-Basel railway line. Deutsche Bahn then interrupted train services in Rastatt. Specialists from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Service examined the explosive device, which weighed around 250 kilograms, and, according to the police, came to the conclusion that it had to be blown up in a controlled manner. The area around the site was evacuated.
Trains from the direction of Karlsruhe ended or started in Rastatt, those from the direction of Offenburg ended/started in Baden-Baden, as reported by Deutsche Bahn. This affected local and long-distance traffic, including ICE. Buses should take over the shuttle service, announced a spokeswoman for the company. Travelers would have to expect trains to be delayed or cancelled.
The Niederbühl district was cleared in a radius of initially 500 meters, as a police spokesman said. An extension to one kilometer may be necessary. It was initially unclear how many people were affected. The same applied to the duration of the measures. The bomb should be detonated "as soon as possible". The war relic is 70 to 80 centimeters long, the spokesman said. It was discovered 30 to 40 centimeters from the tracks.
Even many decades after the Second World War, bombs keep popping up during construction work. On average, around 1,300 tons of ordnance are still found nationwide every year. Hundreds of duds are defused. Most date from the period 1942-1945, when Germany was bombed from the air. It is unclear how much ammunition is still underground. According to the regional council in Stuttgart, 100,000 tons of dropped ammunition fell during the war in Baden-Württemberg alone, of which 10 to 15 percent were not detonated.
Most defuses are uncomplicated. Sometimes buildings have to be cleared and streets closed.
"Over the years, the danger of the existing explosive ordnance has increased, and it is often no longer possible to defuse it," said Stuttgart District President Susanne Bay in a statement on Friday. Therefore, more so-called destruction blasts must be expected in the future. The authority's bomb experts are based in Baden-Württemberg.
In January last year, a dud was blown up in Mannheim in a controlled manner, it was said. Around two months later, in March, another bomb detonated in a controlled manner in a forest near Großbottwar (Ludwigsburg district).
In total, Baden-Württemberg's explosive ordnance disposal services rendered 20 World War II bombs weighing at least 50 kilograms harmless last year. That was one less than in the previous year, as the regional council further announced.
The explosive ordnance disposal service also had to deal with found ammunition. Last year, the experts removed more than 21 tons from soil and water. In 2021 it was still more than 25,000 tons of small ammunition. Here, too, blasting is sometimes necessary on site.