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Τετάρτη, 13 Ιανουαρίου 2016

Bombs away! Scuba divers locate WW2 500lb aerial bombs used in 1943 allied attacks in Greece

A scuba diver hovers above a ΑΝ-Μ64 bomb found in the Saronic Gulf, Greece.
Photo by Nikos Karatzas, 
http://aviationarchaeology.gr/

Scuba divers conducting research in the Saronic Gulf, Greece, close to Patroklos Island, made an... explosive discovery!

The diving team located two unexploded World War 2 aerial bombs, most probably used against Axis shipping in 1943.

ΑΝ-Μ64 bomb found in the Saronic Gulf, Greece.
Photo by Nikos Karatzas, 
http://aviationarchaeology.gr/

The AN-M64 were used as general purpose bombs weighing 500lb each. The explosive charge consisted of 267 lbs of TNT or 274 lbs  of "Composition B". 

The bombs were originally painted in khaki colour, with a yellow stripe marking the gravitational center.

Another view of a ΑΝ-Μ64 bomb found in the Saronic Gulf, Greece.
Photo by Nikos Karatzas, 
http://aviationarchaeology.gr/
According to USAAF documentation, the AN-M64 bombs were ideal against targets such as railway lines, bridges, small boats and docks and were mainly used by B-17, B-24 and B-26 bomber aircraft.


The Aviation Archaeology team researched the files and found out that one of the following two aerial attacks in 1943 are most probably the ones "responsible" for these bombs.

German report mentioning the air attack in the area the bombs were located
File used with permission of Nikos Karatzas, http://aviationarchaeology.gr/

The first attack, which is reported in the War Diary of 21 U_Jägerflottille, relates to the aerial bombing of the Axis ships "BULGARIA" and "DRACHE" close to Sounion, on January 3rd, 1943. This is most probably the air raid that left the unexploded bombs at the seafloor for over 70 years!

A hand made map depicting the bombing of "BULGARIA" and "DRACHE" Axis ships on March 1st, 1943, as it appears in the German files of the period. "Gadaro" is Patroklos Island
File used with permission of Nikos Karatzas, http://aviationarchaeology.gr/

The second air attack happened on November 17th, 1943 when Allied B-17 bombers attacked the main airport of Athens in Hassani, occupied at the time by the Germans, but it is unlikely that the bombers dropped off their lethal cargo that far from their target.











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