Even though 70 years has passed since the official end of World War II, the world still feels the effects of the biggest international conflict in history. When the Allied forces attacked the Germans, they used all the resources they had. As a result, nearly 1.5 million tons of bombs were dropped over Germany. Dozens of cities were completely destroyed, and the infrastructure was seriously damaged.
After the war, many of the weapons remained scattered around Europe. Some were collected by museums and legal arms dealers, but the majority were destroyed. However, an alarming number of still-functional guns and bombs could end up in the hands of unauthorized civilians, who don’t realize the dangers of possessing those relics. Such was the case in the city of Hennef, Germany, in May 2017, when more than 70 people were evacuated from their homes when WWII grenades stored in a garage started exploding.
— Anonymous News (@Anon_Eu) May 30, 2017
The grenades were owned by a 51-year-old weapons collector, whose name was not revealed. The man bought the crate full of unused grenades on a flea market and stored them in his garage, along with the other weaponry he already possessed. But, as often happens in early summer, the temperature increased and the closed garage became an unsuitable place for keeping still-operational grenades.
— dwnews (@dwnews) May 30, 2017
Needless to say, the grenades exploded, causing the rest of the ammunition stored in the garage to explode as well. As the Daily Mail reported, the accident happened while the owner was at work. The authorities were called by the grenades’ owner’s parents, who live in the same house. When they arrived, the garage was already in flames, with further detonations occurring.
WW2 grenades explode in German garage https://t.co/iectaEO57c
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) May 30, 2017
The area around the house was secured, with parts of the nearby highway and railway being closed. The entire neighborhood was evacuated while the specialists entered the mostly destroyed garage. The remaining grenades and ammunition were taken away and later destroyed in a controlled explosion, and the owner is now facing serious charges for violating the weapons law. Luckily, none of the 70 people living in the nearby houses was injured during the incident.
Incidents like this are no rarity in Germany. Only a couple of weeks before this event, approximately 50,000 people were evacuated from Hanover when five unexploded WWII bombs were discovered in the city. The bombs were remnants from the bombings in 1943 when the Allied forces bombed Germany.
The difference between this evacuation and the aforementioned one is that the Hanover situation was planned and carefully conducted. The people from Hanover received help from the nearby cities and various activities were organized by the government in order to keep the citizens occupied until the bomb defusing was over.
[New York Daily] WWII grenades from German flea market explode in summer heat https://t.co/koLoT2WEty
— Spacedad Academy (@SpacedadUNI) May 30, 2017
A similar thing happened in 2016 when 54,000 people were evacuated from their homes in Augsburg, when an unexploded bomb was discovered at a construction site. In 2015, a WWII bomb was discovered in Cologne and 20,000 citizens were evacuated during this event. Not all of these bomb situations end well, though. In 2010, three people died and two were seriously injured when a leftover bomb exploded in the city of Gottingen.
The Allied forces dropped more than 250,000 bombs over Germany alone during their mission in October 1943. With this fact taken into consideration, we might expect more WWII bombs to be discovered on German soil.