Bomb disposal experts in Germany have successfully defused a 1.8-tonne unexploded World War Two bomb in the river Rhine, after thousands of residents were evacuated from homes, hospitals and even a prison. The British aerial mine is said to be one of the biggest ever found in the country. Around 45,000 people were evacuated from 1.1 mile area around the bomb. Getting up close: Showing nerves of steel, bomb disposal experts calmly stand next to the monster aerial mine as they diffuse it at the edge of the Rhine River in Koblenz, Germany No sudden movements: The 1.8 tonne bomb, which was dropped by the Royal Air Force during World War II, caused the biggest bomb-related evacuation in Germany's post-war history It caused huge disruption across the city of Koblenz as patients were rolled out of hospitals in wheelchairs and carried out on stretchers. Shopping streets in the city centre were sealed off and even a prison was emptied. Sports halls were readied to accommodate residents for several hours. The bomb was uncovered partly because of a fall in water levels after a dry November. It was in about 40 cm (16 inches) of water and surrounded by 350 sandbags. Boom, but not a big boom: The experts safely defused the aerial mine, so that not all of the explosives contained in the bomb detonated * Carried to safety: Hospitals and residents had to be moved from the surrounding area - some patients from a hospital were carried out in wheelchairs and on stretchers Bomb disposal expert Marco Ofenstein said the operation was particularly risky. 'We have a British detonator which was surrounded by water for a long time and the explosives within the detonator react with water over time, which causes a high risk when the detonator is being removed.' In response to Nazi air raids on civilian targets in Poland and later London, the Allies dropped about 1.9 million tonnes of bombs on Germany in an effort to cripple German industry. On the safe side: Around 45,000 people, nearly half of the city's population, had to be evacuated within a mile radius of the World War II bomb * Prepared for evacuees: An indoor sports hall not far from Koblenz has rows of chairs set up for potential evacuees to take the load off while waiting for the all clear The allied raids killed some 500,000 people. Koblenz, located in western Germany at the picturesque intersection of the rivers Rhine and Mosel, was a target in 1944 and 1945. Most of the city was destroyed. Ready for anything: Ambulance cars line up in front of a pensioners home as fire fighters arrive to help evacuate the home's residents in Koblenz Source More... Article posted automatically from www.PathfinderOnline.co.uk, the UK's first historical military online magazine. Comments welcome!