A bomb that didn't sink Lutzow

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wadinga
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A bomb that didn't sink Lutzow

Post by wadinga »

Fellow Contributors,

One of the Tallboy bombs dropped during the raid which sank the Lutzow on 16th April 1945 in the canal between the Baltic and a lagoon near Świnoujście (formerly Swinemunde) Poland, exploded during defusing operations producing a spectacular waterspout.

617 Squadron, the famous Dambuster squadron, made several attempts to get at the ship which was bombarding advancing Russian forces, but were frustrated by cloud. On the day, the sky was perfectly clear and only Lutzow's accurate flak affected the bombing run at 14-16,000ft by 18 Lancasters. Only one aircraft was shot down and all the crew killed, though some others were damaged. Koope and Schmolke say two 1000lb direct hits failed to explode, but 12 of 18 aircraft were dropping 12,000lb Tallbuoys, the weapon which had sunk the Tirpitz. A near miss with one of these "earthquake" weapons tore open 30m of the ship's side, causing an initial extreme list. The ship seems to have settled on the bottom with decks above the water surface, subsequent salvage work righted her sufficiently for A turret to be reactivated.

As this very site records: http://www.kbismarck.com/deutschland-lutzow.html
16 April 1945: Attacked by 18 Lancaster bombers in Swinemünde. The ship is heavily damaged by the near-miss of a Tallboy bomb and sinks in shallow water, but the hull comes to rest on an even keel with all superstructure above water.

28 April 1945: Turret "A" is put back in service and still fires over 300 x 28cm shells on the Soviets.
A few days later, after expending the last of her ammunition the vessel was blown up. There seems to be mystery as to the ultimate fate of the wreck which was salvaged, and seems to have been used as a target by the Soviet navy in the Baltic.

The Tallbuoy remained unsuspected in the mud of the former "Kaiserfart" canal :lol: (German is good for jokes!) within a few metres of a busy car ferry route until discovered, buried deep in the mud. A Polish team were attempting to defuse it by burning away the explosive using an ROV, after evacuating the area, but it exploded. Luckily no one was hurt.

For those, like me, unaware that burning away explosive was an accepted technique the team leader gave the following explanation:
But in the end "the deflagration process turned into a detonation," Lewandowski said, adding that "there had been no risk to the individuals directly involved."
All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
OpanaPointer
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Re: A bomb that didn't sink Lutzow

Post by OpanaPointer »

wadinga wrote: Wed Oct 14, 2020 12:31 pm

The Tallbuoy remained unsuspected in the mud of the former "Kaiserfart" canal :lol: (German is good for jokes!)
When John Wayne starred in his first big budget film, "The Big Trail" the production company shared expenses with a German film company that was making a similar movie. Wide shots and "random people walking alongside a wagon" shots were shared. You have probably never heard of the German movie as it had a distribution problem due to the name, "Die Grosse Fart". :lol:

Source: John Wayne, American by Randy Roberts. (Roberts was my lead prof. in grad school.)
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wadinga
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Re: A bomb that didn't sink Lutzow

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Hello OpanaPointer,

Did that movie also include the campfire scene from Mel Brookes' Blazing Saddles? It should have. :lol:

Media reports are in complete chaos over the "Lutzow" panzerschiffe/schwere kreuser name muddle.

I know the wreck of expended hulk Graf Zeppelin has been found, but it seems nobody has yet found Lutzow.

All the best

wadinga
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wadinga
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Re: A bomb that didn't sink Lutzow

Post by wadinga »

Fellow Contributors<

Update.

Consulting German Capital Ships of the Second World War by Breyer and Skwiot I discovered details of Lutzow's fate after salvage post-war - expended as a target on 22nd June 1947 off Kolobrzeg (c 60 kms east of Świnoujście). They also have an informative last photo showing her in the Kaiserfahrt, with superstructure etc looking substantially undamaged but the hull partly sunk with a waterline at the after end up to the lower line of portholes, presumably sitting on the bottom . Forward and aft turrets are in the stowed position but starboard side secondaries left at high elevations.

All the best

wadinga
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paul.mercer
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Re: A bomb that didn't sink Lutzow

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Hi Wadinga,
I would have thought that the 'tallboy' would have gone straight through a ship like 'Lutzow' bearing in mind the damage they did to Tirpitz.
Re the burning out of explosives from bombs, this as a normal practice over here particularly with paracute mines if the fuzes were damaged and could not be removed safely. i understand that they used to burn a hole in the casing using magnesium which was placed in a flowerpot with an old penny covering the hole, the magnesium burnt through the penny and made a hole in the casing, they then flushed out most of the explosive and then burn what was left, it was a very dodgy procedure which often resulted in the mine going off when the magnesium went through the casing - even more so baring in mind the amount of explosive in a 'Tallboy'
It just shows that no bomb or mine can ever be considered to be safe even after 75 years! I wonder how many more bombs and mines there are waiting to be discovered hundreds or even thousands I would think.
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Re: A bomb that didn't sink Lutzow

Post by paul.mercer »

Just a couple of afterthoughts, the bomb must have been very deep in the mud with a 6 ton bomb falling at high speed.
Also regarding flushing out the explosive from a mine or bomb, there was a TV series called 'Danger UXB' which was repeated a while ago which
showed holes being drilled in the casing in order to flush out the explosive - it exploded and killed one of the BD men, possibly due to the fact that they could not extract the time fuze.
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Re: A bomb that didn't sink Lutzow

Post by OpanaPointer »

wadinga wrote: Wed Oct 14, 2020 11:26 pm Hello OpanaPointer,

Did that movie also include the campfire scene from Mel Brookes' Blazing Saddles? It should have. :lol:
Most of the flatulent gun slingers were less than 44 years old, so they would have appeared in die Grosse Fart. Some might have been babies at the time, so they could have done the sound effects.
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Re: A bomb that didn't sink Lutzow

Post by paul.mercer »

Gentlemen,
Getting back to the bomb itself, the films available on U tube certainly show a very spectacular waterspout, but some of the comentry is a little confusing. The report in the daily papers said they were trying to flush out the explosive when it went off, this procedure was normally carried out when a bomb or mine was on dry land so it is difficult to see how they would do it underwater. Some of the U tube commentary seems to suggest it when off as they were trying to defuse it, but this seems unlikely as no one was injured, I wonder if in fact they found that they could not get at the fuse and just blew it up?
Any ideas?
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Re: A bomb that didn't sink Lutzow

Post by wadinga »

Hello Paul,#

From the thread opener above:
A Polish team were attempting to defuse it by burning away the explosive using an ROV, after evacuating the area, but it exploded. Luckily no one was hurt.
For those, like me, unaware that burning away explosive was an accepted technique the team leader gave the following explanation:
But in the end "the deflagration process turned into a detonation," Lewandowski said, adding that "there had been no risk to the individuals directly involved."
All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
paul.mercer
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Re: A bomb that didn't sink Lutzow

Post by paul.mercer »

Thanks Wadinga,
I'll bet it made a mess of the ROV! it just shows that no fuze can ever be relied upon to deactivate over time, even underwater
It makes one wonder if there are more unexploded 'Tallboys' in the mud around where Tirpitz was sunk as they dropped quite a number on her.
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Re: A bomb that didn't sink Lutzow

Post by wadinga »

Paul and those who can access Pathe News site,

Just found film of the attack on Lutzow showing the Tallboy detonations at

https://www.britishpathe.com/video/winged-war/

Under the title Winged War although I'm afraid not all internationals can gain access. The attack starts at 1 minute in. You can even see the splash with no explosion which might be the one that the Poles set off.

All the best

wadinga
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Groundsman
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Re: A bomb that didn't sink Lutzow

Post by Groundsman »

This is the Lutzow film, starting at 0.59:

https://www.britishpathe.com/asset/67365/

In Mike Whitley's book 'German Capital Ships of WW2, on page 211, there are before and after RAF aerial photos of this raid which are enlargements of photos at the UK National Archives.

And, pieces of LW found at 'Szczecin Lagoon':

https://www.thefirstnews.com/article/re ... abed-12697
OpanaPointer
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Re: A bomb that didn't sink Lutzow

Post by OpanaPointer »

There were no plans to use an A bomb on a single ship.



j/k :wink:
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