Weighing a staggering five tonnes (12,000 lb), the “Tallboy” earthquake bomb, one of the largest explosive devices of WWII, was discovered on Monday in the Szczecin-Świnoujście waterway, also known as the Piastowski Channel, northwestern Poland.
The unexploded bomb of astounding size and destructive potential was discovered only 100 meters away from a ferry crossing, during deepening works on the waterway. Despite the fact that the bomb was found on Monday, it took a few days for divers and experts to identify it as one out of only 854 of this kind of UK-produced explosives.
Currently, the unexploded bomb is marked with a yellow buoy and the decision whether to remove it from the channel’s bed will be made on Friday by the crisis management team. Inhabitants of the nearby city of Świnoujście may have to brace themselves for evacuation.
The reason for the bomb’s presence in the waters of the Polish Piast Channel is that it was used along with other bombs of the same type on April 16, 1945, to destroy a German cruiser by the name of “Lützow” that dropped anchor in the vicinity of the contemporary ferry crossing by the town of Karsibór near Szczecin.
Attacked by the No. 617 RAF Squadron, it was damaged, made unseaworthy and as a consequence destroyed by the German army.
Costly, characterised by difficult and time-consuming production, the “Tallboy” was first dropped on June 8-9, 1944 on the Saumur rail tunnel in France. Later on, “Tallboys” were used to obliterate the German pocket battleship “Tirpitz”.
The “Tallboy” could only be carried by the Avro Lancaster heavy bomber. It proved to be effective against massive and hardened structures against which conventional bombing had proved ineffective.