Author Topic: Japan still clearing World War II bombs from Okinawa  (Read 314 times)

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Offline rangerrebew

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Japan still clearing World War II bombs from Okinawa
« on: July 28, 2014, 05:15:10 PM »
Japan still clearing World War II bombs from Okinawa

 

This photo of a diagram shows how Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force explosive ordnance disposal technicians planned to carry out the controlled detonation of 24 US World War II munitions. The operation went off without a hitch on July 23, 2014.
 
Matthew M. Burke/Stars and Stripes 
 
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By Matthew M. Burke and Chiyomi Sumida 
Stars and Stripes

Published: July 25, 2014

 
 
Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force explosive ordnance disposal technicians observe the detonation of two dozen U.S. munitions from World War II on July 23, 2014.

Matthew M. Burke/Stars and Stripes
   
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — World War II ended 69 years ago, but shells are still exploding off the coast of Okinawa.

Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force explosive ordnance disposal technicians detonated two dozen U.S.-made munitions Wednesday morning about 800 yards from shore in Kadena town’s Mizugama district, an area known as the “sea wall,” close to Kadena Air Base.

Nineteen of the 24 rounds were 5-inch shells found near the mouth of Hija River in Kadena town along with an 81 mm mortar shell, according to Kadena Town official Nobukazu Kobashigawa. They were accompanied by four 5-inch shells found on the Yomitan Village side.

“It is not surprising to find those shells because the beach is where the allied forces first landed during the Battle of Okinawa,” Kobashigawa said. “I am sure there are lots more.”

As the detonation time neared, a countdown was pronounced in Japanese for a group of town officials, joined by members of the Maritime Self-Defense Force, Japanese Coast Guard and local police.

The explosion was barely heard over the whipping ocean wind but sent a plume of gray-and-white smoke along with sea spray toward the overcast sky. A team of Maritime Self-Defense Force explosives experts then inspected the site to ensure the detonation was a success.

“Since the local area and base areas were once battlefields, it’s not uncommon to unearth or randomly find UXOs (unexploded ordnance),” 18th Wing public affairs spokeswoman Staff Sgt. Amber Jacobs wrote to Stars and Stripes.

“Typically when UXOs are found off base, the Japanese government will dispose of the UXOs, and when it is on base [U.S. military explosive ordnance disposal technicians] would dispose of the UXOs. You tend to hear a lot about UXOs when new construction projects kick off or when someone needs to disturb the ground.”

Japanese officials said a diver discovered the rounds last Dec. 24. The fuses were confirmed to still be operational, then the munitions were moved to the offshore detonation area Tuesday and marked with a red flag and buoy.

It is unknown how many unexploded munitions remain buried on Okinawa in coastal waters, according to the 15th Brigade Okinawa of Ground Self-Defense Force. As of July 12, some 1,708 tons had been recovered and detonated by the Self-Defense Force since the island prefecture was returned to Japan in 1972.

The Battle of Okinawa landing is known as the “Typhoon of Steel” in Japan for the shear ferocity of the fighting and the amount of munitions that were expended. It is unknown how many tons of UXOs were removed by the U.S. military between the end of World War II and the island’s reversion to Japanese control.

http://www.stripes.com/news/pacific/japan-still-clearing-world-war-ii-bombs-from-okinawa-1.295150
« Last Edit: July 28, 2014, 05:16:08 PM by rangerrebew »
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Offline Oceander

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Re: Japan still clearing World War II bombs from Okinawa
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2014, 03:17:55 PM »
what percentage of WWII ordnance, in general, failed to explode?

Offline rangerrebew

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Re: Japan still clearing World War II bombs from Okinawa
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2014, 05:30:00 PM »
what percentage of WWII ordnance, in general, failed to explode?

Too much!
There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.
Public virtue cannot exist in a nation without private, and public virtue is the only foundation of republics. There must be a positive passion for the public good, the public interest, honour, power and glory, established in the minds of the people, or there can be no republican government, nor any real liberty: and this public passion must be superior to all private passions. John Adams

Offline Chieftain

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Re: Japan still clearing World War II bombs from Okinawa
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2014, 05:57:20 PM »
what percentage of WWII ordnance, in general, failed to explode?

By today's standards a no doubt unreasonable and unaffordable percentage.  But there are long term consequences for winning and losing a war.  Ask the Germans about cleaning up unexploded ordnance.  Hell, ask the British...they got plenty of experience during the blitz. Go talk to a Cambodian about unexploded land mines.




Offline Oceander

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Re: Japan still clearing World War II bombs from Okinawa
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2014, 01:13:15 PM »
By today's standards a no doubt unreasonable and unaffordable percentage.  But there are long term consequences for winning and losing a war.  Ask the Germans about cleaning up unexploded ordnance.  Hell, ask the British...they got plenty of experience during the blitz. Go talk to a Cambodian about unexploded land mines.






I wasn't trying to pick sides, just asking a simple question out of curiosity.

Apparently for WWII, some estimates put it at about 7% to 15% of Allied and Russian munitions dropped on Germany: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/04/130404-germany-unexploded-bomb-berlin-world-war-ii/
Quote
The number of bombs still to be found is staggering. British, American, and Russian bombing raids dumped upward of 2.7 million tons of bombs on Germany during the war, each weighing anywhere from 100 to 4,000 pounds (45 to 1,814 kilos). Spyra estimates between 7 and 15 percent of those were duds, bombs that hit the ground but failed to explode. For decades, they've remained live, waiting quietly for an errant backhoe or bulldozer to set them off.

Offline olde north church

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Re: Japan still clearing World War II bombs from Okinawa
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2014, 02:58:21 PM »
Staff Sgt. Amber Jacobs?
Why?  Well, because I'm a bastard, that's why.


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