Regional explosives experts were called to the site, just 500 metres from the main pier, after municipal sanitation workers spotted the suspicious cylinder around 7:30 am, Lübeck police spokesman Detlef Riedel told The Local on Wednesday.
“This happens a lot,” Riedel said. “Old mines and other munitions wash up on shore, and we always treat it as a dangerous situation.”
In such cases, state experts in hazardous waste and military ordnance cleanup are called in to assess the danger of a situation. The bomb squad determined the object was the middle-portion of a German World War II-era torpedo, without a warhead or a drive mechanism, allowing them to give the all-clear signal around 11:30 am. Workers removed the torpedo and will examine it in the next few days, Riedel said.
“We had to secure the beach and evacuate everyone,” he said. “But it was no problem because it’s so cold and there was no one on the beach.”
The popular beach resort Timmendorf in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein gets “tens of thousands of visitors” each year, Riedel said. The area has had a lot of excitement in the last few months, with unusual sightings of a humpback whale, “Bucki,” which lost its way in the Baltic Sea in late July. But the discovery of the torpedo is merely another episode in what is a thriving explosive disposal business in Germany.
More than 60 years after the end of World War II, weapons recovery remains an important task for police and private companies throughout Germany. Allied forces dropped more than 2.7 million tonnes of explosives across Germany during the war. Much of the ordnance did not explode and has become increasingly dangerous with time and corrosion.