By John Reese
USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs
A recently discovered 500-pound bomb found in a forested area near the U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart’s Panzer Training Area, was successfully defused by German explosive ordnance disposal experts, Nov. 19.
The bomb, a remnant from heavy bombing raids of the industrial areas around Stuttgart, was originally expected to be detonated in place on Sunday to minimize the impact on commuter traffic and two schools on the garrison’s Panzer Kaserne. However, after clearing dozens of people from the projected blast radius, and then removing additional hikers and bicyclists who entered the perimeter, the EOD team was able to dig the bomb out and defuse it.
State, county and City of Schönaich officials set up an emergency operations center in Schönaich city hall, bringing together Polizei, German Red Cross, firefighters and representatives from the garrison’s Directorate of Emergency Services to coordinate efforts to neutralize the bomb. The garrison’s EOC was activated early Sunday morning and remained operational until the all clear was given.
A section of Highway K1057, better known as Panzerstrasse and the road to Panzer Kaserne, was closed, 9 a.m. until 2:47 p.m. when all clear was declared. Traffic was stopped or limited to Panzer Kaserne from the north at the traffic circle near Autobahn A81, and completely closed from Panzer Kaserne’s main gate to the first traffic circle entering Schönaich. A number of buildings on the kaserne within the blast zone normally open on Sundays were closed for the day (the main Exchange and the Panzer Hotel were unaffected). The flight path for Stuttgart’s international airport passes over the spot where the bomb was found, and for brief periods of time, air traffic was delayed.
Had the bomb been blown in place, the shock wave it could’ve created had the potential to break windows in Schönaich and on Panzer Kaserne.