Historic Headlines (1945) Debate Over Delivery Methods for Sea Dumping of Munitions

August 21, 1945. 30 U.S. Military personnel were killed when a load of unserviceable fragmentation bombs exploded after being loaded onto a barge for transporting to a designated sea disposal site. Reportedly, the corroded bombs loaded into crates were safely transported by truck to a jetty and exploded shortly after being loaded onto the barge.

The accident sparked a lively debate on which method or delivery vehicle (ship/barge or aircraft) should be used to transport military munitions to sea for disposal. The debate started by a letter written by the father of a Navy Lt that lost his life in the unfortunate incident. In his letter to the War Department Dated October 30, 1945, Mr. King protested the use of ships in the delivery of munitions to be dumped at sea due to the amount of handling necessary to load and transport the munitions out to their final disposal location. He questioned why aircraft bombers were not used as the delivery means to dispose of munitions at sea.


Historic Headlines (1945)  U.S. Considers Using German Bombs

An interesting memo dated 19 June 1945 from the Office of the Chemical Warfare Service Liaison Officer (War Department Air Technical Service Command) to the Chief of the Chemical Warfare Service was found at the National Archives. The now de-classified memo outlines the modifications that would be necessary for U.S. planes to carry and drop 205 KG German Bombs. The modifications included changing the fuze adapter and nose fairing and installing a suspension plate so that the lugs on the German bomb could be matched to the aircraft suspension system. It's unknown if the German bombs were actually used by U.S. pilots but a plan was certainly in place to do so if needed. To view the 1945 memo (now de-classified) use the download link below.

Historic Headlines (1944)  Bomb Disposal School Issues ID Guide For Japanese Bombs and Fuzes.

During WWII numerous technical publications and ID guides on foreign ordnance were produced. These publications were produced for the bomb disposal community as well as other soldiers, sailors, airman, and marines. In July 1944, the U.S. Navy Bomb Disposal School issued an id guide on Japanese Bombs and Fuzes. A copy of this manual (now de-classified) was found at the National Archives. Users interested in WWII era ordnance can view the ID guide using the download link below. The guide makes a great reference for sites where WWII UXO are suspected.


Historic Headlines (1944)  Leaking Mustard Bombs Found in Magazine

During the WWII time frame, U.S. and Allied Forces stored thousands of tons of CWM filled military munitions in various strategic places around the world. Often times due to corrosion or failures of the munition bodies themselves, leaks would occur. "Leakers" as they were called posed a serious threat to workers and could lead to the cross contamination of other munitions and equipment. Care was taken to identify leakers and remove them from storage. The leakers were typically drained or buried as a method of disposal. Drained CWM fillers were burned, dumped in holes dug in the ground, or put into storage containers to be dumped at sea.


Historic Headlines (August 1945)  Bomb Disposal Captain Barley Escapes Death

The following story was extracted from a newspaper article posted in The Burlington NC Daily Times-News dated Monday 27 August 1945. It's just one example of why bomb disposal technicians are considered true heroes and sometimes extremely lucky.

"Dealing with unexploded bombs, the most hazardous job behind the front lines was handled jointly by British and American bomb disposal crews. Strictly speaking, the RAF [Royal Air Force] personnel removed duds and time bombs striking British fields and installations, and the AAF [American Air Forces] handles those landing on U.S. Army sites. But owing to the density of U.S. installations in the war-torn England, American and RAF bomb disposal crew usually worked together.


Historic Headlines (August 1945)  The Reason Behind the Lack of Media Coverage on Bomb Disposal Act

Ever wonder why there is not more media coverage and stories posted on the heroic actions of bomb disposal technicians during times of war? This news story from the Burlington North Carolina Daily Times-News dated Monday August 27, 1945 provides a good reason why.


Historic News (1956)  Navy EOD Recovers Mustard Bombs in Tokyo Bay

"On 15 January 1956, a U.S. Navy EOD team pushed the last of its cargo into the sea and watched it disappear on its way to a destination 2,000 fathoms down." The quote was the lead sentence from an unclassified Bulletin of Ordnance Information Publication (No 3-56, dated 30 September 1956). The bulletin was found by a researcher at the National Archives and recently donated to UXOInfo.com.

The bulletin outlines a special EOD diving, recovery and disposal operation in the Tokyo Bay in 1956. At the end of WWII the Japanese hastily dumped thousands of munitions including CWM filled ones in nearby waters. In one instance they dumped 177 mustard filled bombs in a shallow water area ranging in depth from 30 to 40 feet. After being submerged for over 10 years they were almost forgotten about until Japanese salvage divers happened upon them when they were searching for scrap metal. The U.S. military was brought in to assess the situation. They decided that it would be best to recover the bombs and dispose of them "properly" by dumping them in much deeper waters.


Collection of Historic UXO Reports and Images Recently Donated

UXOInfo.com recently received a large donation of UXO related reports, documents, and images from a user who specializes in ordnance and munitions related research. The majority of the documents and images are directly from the National Archives, which have all been declassified. Over the next couple of months, we will be uploading the information to the UXO Document Library and UXO Photo Gallery. We will also be creating feature articles from some of the more interesting historic documents.

The two images below are examples of the types of images that were donated. The first image taken in August 1952 at Camp Edwards, Massachusetts shows two EOD soldiers training on a 150lbs bomb at the bottom of a large pit. The second image taken in July 1942 shows members of an EOD unit being trained in Puerto Rico on the process of uncovering buried UXO.

UXOInfo.com is very excited about the information donation and we look forward to posting the data for all users to access. If you have any unclassified images, documents, and reports on UXO that you would like to donate to our free on-line UXO document library and UXO photo gallery please email them to information@uxoifno.com.

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