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Swedish navy locates German WWII mines

Paul O'Mahony · 16 Jun 2009, 13:36

Published: 16 Jun 2009 13:36 GMT+02:00

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The naval vessel HMS Fårösund located a mine the navy believes is part of the elusive Wartburg mine barrier. The mine was found at a depth of 50 metres off the south east coast of the island of Öland last week while the navy was out preparing for the multinational Baltic Operation (BALTOPS) exercise.

The Wartburg mine barrier runs from the coast of Öland to Lithuania and came into being when the German minelayers Preussen, Grille, Skagerrak and Versailles put down an estimated 1,150 naval mines and 1,800 anti sweep mines in the nightly operations running from June 18th to 21st 1941.

"One mine was found last week by HMS Fårösund and just this morning the Danish vessel Makrelen found two more. We also found a lot of mine anchors which formed a track. This strengthened our belief that the mine we found belongs to the Wartburg barrier," Jimmie Adamsson, spokesman for the 3rd Naval Warfare Flotilla, told The Local.

Adamsson said the Swedes had been been searching for the Wartburg mines on and off for the last couple of years.

Despite suffering from surface corrosion, the explosives and detonators contained within the mines may remain intact and sensitive to contact, the Swedish Navy said in a statement.

"The mines don't pose any major threat on the seabed. But they could become dangerous in connection with underwater work, cable laying, trawling or diving," said Adamsson.

With the BALTOPS exercise coming to an end on Wednesday, it is unlikely that any more mines will be found as part of the current operation.

"But this is something we can maybe work on with the Baltic States as part of our cooperation with the Baltic Ordnance Safety Board (BOSB)," said Adamsson.

Story continues below…

An estimated 165,000 mines were laid in the Baltic Sea east of Sweden and the Straits of Kattegatt och Skagerrak to the west over the course of the two world wars.

"We try to countermine as much as possible but it's a huge job," said Adamsson.

Paul O'Mahony (paul.omahony@thelocal.com)

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Your comments about this article

21:48 June 16, 2009 by spy
It's rather a shame the Swedes weren't quite so helpful at around the time they were placed there.
22:36 June 16, 2009 by wxman
Spy, stop reading my mind! Hey, the Swedes were more concerned with preserving the stainless steel market across the Baltic.
16:31 June 18, 2009 by Arniet
The Swedes were perfecting their "Swedish Meatballs" because they did not have any real balls, so to speak.

They weren't curious. But they were yellow.

Arnie Tracey

U.S.Navy (retired)
23:23 June 21, 2009 by Coalbanks
And what were the USAmericans doing at that time? Sitting on their hands, claiming that " that is a a European war & not our problem" while they were trading with both the UK & Germany. Pot calling kettle unclean, perhaps? The USA at that time was guilty of everything you 3 have accused the Swedes of being. If the Japanese hadn't dragged them, kicking & screaming, into a war (which they might have avoided) they would have stayed out of "that European war." In fact most of the politicos & military wanted to limit their actions to combatting the Japanese but Roosevelt convinced them otherwise. The USA has no more moral high ground in this than does Sweden which would have sufferred the same fate as France, Denmark & Norway if it had intervened against Germany while the USA was never in danger of being bombed or invaded by Germany or by Japan for that matter.
23:25 June 23, 2009 by spy

Regarding WWII the US has MUCH more 'moral high ground' than Sweden because it DID enter the war for whatever reason.

As for France, Denmark and Norway thankfully they didn't take the Swedish approach - they made a stand at great cost to their nations and this is something they can always be proud of.

I can see the comments on this post touched a nerve but sadly history can not be re-written.
17:02 June 24, 2009 by SgtPennell

Can you explain to me how an attack in another hemisphere can drag the US 'kicking and screaming' into a European war? You said it yourself,

"the USA was never in danger of being bombed or invaded by Germany or by Japan for that matter."

Yet we fought, bled, and died. For you.

Pearl Harbor was a catalyst, but the People pushed Congress, not Roosevelt. If you will remember, Roosevelt was pushing for intervention from the beginning. He got nowhere until the People decided.

Granted, declaring war would have been a terrible sacrifice for Sweden. Geography and resources would have made it very difficult for the Allies to come to your aid quickly, but others did make that choice.

Don't try to justify collaboration by nitpicking intervention.

I applaud your right to criticize the US and Americans

.......You're Welcome.
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