"We’re no Heroes."

The Lower Saxony explosive ordnance disposal service is called out at least three times a day

It's a very special specimen with a flashing blue light and siren – the all-terrain Unimog U 5023 with a "special signalling system" on the cab, as the experts refer to it. The vehicle has recently entered service with the Lower Saxony explosive ordnance disposal service and is making a major contribution towards saving lives.

Ammunition from two world wars.

The Unimog serves the 25 men who are on standby around the clock, ready to remove explosive ordnance remnants from both World Wars. The U 5023 is the third Unimog in succession used by the Lower Saxony explosive ordnance disposal personnel to take bombs, grenades, mines and small ammunitions out of the ground. It is equipped with an Ematec (M213) excavator that can dig down to a depth of six metres.

A video camera provides reliable assistance to the excavator's operator while working underneath the surface of the earth. It is often a matter of millimetres. The cab of the excavator is additionally secured with steel reinforcements, a special armoured glass pane and side shatter protection film. The tyre pressure control system enables the Unimog to forge ahead, even on marshy ground. For the munitions from the past are still lying all over the place in this region: in fields, in bogs, in bodies of water and the coast.

Project implemented with Unimog general distributor partner:
Peter Meineke GmbH & Co. KG

Built for the endurance test.

Semi-automatic transmission, air conditioning system, stationary heater and spare wheel with lifting gear – the equipment of the U 5023 has to cope with the harshest of operating conditions.In case of emergency the explosive ordnance disposal team have to be able to change a wheel themselves. "We're no heroes", says the head of explosive ordnance disposal in Lower Saxony, Thomas Bleicher. "It's our calling to protect the population from the terrible dangers of the World Wars."

Deployment in difficult terrain: There must be no hurdles for the explosive ordnance disposal experts.
Deployment in difficult terrain: There must be no hurdles for the explosive ordnance disposal experts.
1/9

1,200 missions per year.

The increase in assignments of late is due in part to the chance finds by hobby detectorists and magnet fishers. Bleicher urgently warns members of the public not to search for munitions. On the one hand it is strictly forbidden, and on the other hand it simply puts lives at risk. Since 2006 he has headed up the 50-strong unit, which has around 1200 missions annually. The team has recovered and rendered harmless well over 100 tonnes of munitions.

According to him, the men out in the field have the greatest of respect for all munitions, no matter how small: "With its sensitive ignition technology a hand grenade that is around 80 years old has to be regarded as far more challenging than a ten-hundredweight aerial bomb with a manual detonator."

hidden-xs
visible-md and up (hidden-sm and down)
visible-lg and up (hidden-md and down)
visible-xl