An unexploded 500 lb bomb caused the evacuation of 10,000 Bologna residents today.

The device was found on private land close to a railway underpass near the station north of the city centre. As a result, road and rail traffic was diverted during the day. Bologna’s airport was also impacted, with 45 departing flights cancelled and 23 arrivals either cancelled or diverted.

The operation to defuse the ordnance is unlikely to have been an easy job. It took the Italian Army eight hours to remove the detonator and confirm the bomb as safe. Eventually it was removed from the construction site, allowing the cordon to be lifted. The bomb was set to be destroyed on Monday in a controlled explosion at a nearby quarry.

What was the bomb and why was it found here?

The shape and weight of this bomb indicates it is one of the RAF’s 500lb GP high explosive bombs. Note, the tail assembly is missing, as is usually the case with UXB finds.

Bologna was heavily bombed by the RAF and USAAF air forces during April 1945, as a precursor to ground attack. Air bombardment was almost always standard procedure prior to a ground offensive during World War II.

Unexploded 500 lb bomb
Raf ground crew loading 500 lb gp bombs onto a short stirling bomber during wwii

Bologna is just one of many towns and cities across the country that were raised to the ground by allied bombers. Consequently, Italy faces a large UXB threat similar to that of the UK, which was frequently raided by Germany.

A similar incident occurred last month when another unexploded 500lb bomb required the evacuation of 23,000 people from Italy’s seaside town of Fano.

Identifying UXO Risks

UXO poses a significant challenge to construction and development projects across the UK and overseas. Brimstone can support you in understanding the risks on your site and any measures you need to take to keep your team safe. Reach out to our commercial team today for UXO support for your project.

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