WW1 German bombs

Unexploded 300kg bomb dropped on Edinburgh in April 1916 by a Zeppelin, now in a museum.

It is estimated that during WW1, airships made 51 bombing raids on England, dropping in excess of 5000 bombs, killing over 550 people.


By 1916, Zeppelin airships could carry nearly 4 tonnes of bombs.


A further 27 attacks were made by aeroplanes, dropping more than 110 tonnes of bombs, resulting in over 800 deaths.   


The Gotha GV was the most notorious bomber.  It had two Mercedes engines and a wingspan of nearly 24 meters, providing the ability to deliver a standard load of a 300kg and two 100kg bombs.


Whilst not strictly bombing, on a small number of occasions, the German Navy bombarded coastal towns, such as Yarmouth and Lowestoft, with their guns.  Some of these shells failed to explode.


It is very unusual to discover WW1 ordnance on construction sites.

Examples of German ordnance from WW1

Unexploded ordnance UXO UXB bomb risk assessment Dynasafe BACTEC MACC 1st Line Defence CIRIA C681

These conical incendiary bombs were dropped by an airship on Suffolk during 1915.  They are approx 400mm in height and 225mm in diameter; they have tar coated rope bound to the exterior. Goldschmidt incendiaries were approx 500mm in height and 180mm in diameter, weighing 10kg. An inner cylinder contained thermite, the outer container held 3.5 litres of benzol and was wrapped with tarred rope. 


Unexploded ordnance UXO UXB bomb risk assessment Dynasafe BACTEC MACC 1st Line Defence CIRIA C681

This contemporary photograph shows high explosive bombs dropped by Zeppelins, ranging from 50kg to 300kg in weight, that failed to explode.  The spherical bomb on the floor was a 100kg bomb that was found 3 meters underground.

Unexploded ordnance UXO UXB bomb risk assessment Dynasafe BACTEC MACC 1st Line Defence CIRIA C681

PuW bombs were aircraft delivered, had a body of high quality steel and fins at a slight angle, to make them spin. This improved the trajectory and activated the fuze when was dropped. There were six varients; the smallest was 12.5kg (diameter of about 90mm, 750mm long, explosive content of 1.5kg). The 50kg PuW, was a similar shape (diameter of about 180mm and 1750mm long, explosive content of 23kg.  A 100kg PuW is pictured.  The largest variant was 1000kg in weight.

Unexploded ordnance UXO UXB bomb risk assessment Dynasafe BACTEC MACC 1st Line Defence CIRIA C681

This German photograph from about 1917, shows examples the bombs dropped from their aeroplanes.  There is a Gotha GV biplane in the backround.