News

Old bombs unearthed in Mountain View

World War II-era munitions

It might seem more like a problem for the shores of Normandy or Iwo Jima, but local police officials say World War II-era unexploded ordnance has twice turned up in Mountain View recently.

On Thursday morning, July 9, police officers were called out to Calderon Avenue when a decades-old mortar shell was discovered at a construction site. Workers at the site found the bombshell under a tree, but it was unclear if the bomb had been sitting there for years, or if someone had recently dumped it, said Mountain View Police spokeswoman Shino Tanaka.

The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office Bomb Squad was called and they treated the mortar as a viable explosive. An alert was sent out to the neighborhood, warning residents not to be alarmed if they hear a loud boom. Bomb experts were able to safely detonate the mortar, said Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. James Jensen.

"It was unclear if it was still inert or not, but for public safety we destroyed the item," he said.

Another bombshell of a discovery came just last month. On the afternoon of June 8, an unidentified Mountain View man came into the lobby of the police station, saying he had ammunition in need of disposal. Usually this means bullets or shell casings, explained Tanaka, but his ammunition turned out to be an 80mm artillery shell, a hefty 8-pound projectile.

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The man declined to say how exactly he acquired the item, but he loaded it into his vehicle and brought it there to the station.

To be safe, local police decided to cordon off the entire parking lot at the corner of Villa and Franklin streets. Tanaka emphasized that it is considered extremely unsafe to transport explosive materials by vehicle.

"You have to super, super careful. You don't know if these things are dangerous," she warned. "We treat everything as if it's live, because you just don't know. God forbid it goes off."

The county bomb squad transported the artillery shell to a vacant parking lot off Shoreline Boulevard, where it was destroyed.

In her two years working with the local police, Tanaka said this was the first instance she had heard of old bombs turning up in Mountain View.

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Old bombs unearthed in Mountain View

World War II-era munitions

by Mark Noack / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Sat, Jul 11, 2015, 11:20 am
Updated: Mon, Jul 13, 2015, 1:40 pm

It might seem more like a problem for the shores of Normandy or Iwo Jima, but local police officials say World War II-era unexploded ordnance has twice turned up in Mountain View recently.

On Thursday morning, July 9, police officers were called out to Calderon Avenue when a decades-old mortar shell was discovered at a construction site. Workers at the site found the bombshell under a tree, but it was unclear if the bomb had been sitting there for years, or if someone had recently dumped it, said Mountain View Police spokeswoman Shino Tanaka.

The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office Bomb Squad was called and they treated the mortar as a viable explosive. An alert was sent out to the neighborhood, warning residents not to be alarmed if they hear a loud boom. Bomb experts were able to safely detonate the mortar, said Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. James Jensen.

"It was unclear if it was still inert or not, but for public safety we destroyed the item," he said.

Another bombshell of a discovery came just last month. On the afternoon of June 8, an unidentified Mountain View man came into the lobby of the police station, saying he had ammunition in need of disposal. Usually this means bullets or shell casings, explained Tanaka, but his ammunition turned out to be an 80mm artillery shell, a hefty 8-pound projectile.

The man declined to say how exactly he acquired the item, but he loaded it into his vehicle and brought it there to the station.

To be safe, local police decided to cordon off the entire parking lot at the corner of Villa and Franklin streets. Tanaka emphasized that it is considered extremely unsafe to transport explosive materials by vehicle.

"You have to super, super careful. You don't know if these things are dangerous," she warned. "We treat everything as if it's live, because you just don't know. God forbid it goes off."

The county bomb squad transported the artillery shell to a vacant parking lot off Shoreline Boulevard, where it was destroyed.

In her two years working with the local police, Tanaka said this was the first instance she had heard of old bombs turning up in Mountain View.

Comments

Mark Noack
Old Mountain View
on Jul 13, 2015 at 10:53 am
Mark Noack, Old Mountain View
on Jul 13, 2015 at 10:53 am

I'll admit that World War II gear is one thing I know close to nothing about. Are there any armchair military experts out there who want to chime in here and help identify these bombs found Mountain View?


Max Hauser
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Jul 13, 2015 at 11:47 am
Max Hauser, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Jul 13, 2015 at 11:47 am

Two small points, Mark:

1. It wasn't a "mortar" discovered on Calderon Ave., but a mortar shell. (A mortar is the tube that launches the shell, and would not itself normally pose a hazard.)

2. I remember wondering if the Voice woukd pick up this story -- given that your editorial office moved out of downtown Mountain View a few years ago. Because if the office were still here downtown, all of you would certainly have heard the deep BOOM of the detonation, and would not be reliant on other sources to know Something was Up!


Copycat
another community
on Jul 13, 2015 at 12:52 pm
Copycat, another community
on Jul 13, 2015 at 12:52 pm

This happened the day before the most recent one, on July 8th in Union City.

Web Link

Interesting, but it's soon after the 4th with loud bangs on peoples' minds, and there were news reports on Channels 11 and 5 at least about the Union City case. Someone could have been reminded about some item in the garage.


John Kostka
Monta Loma
on Jul 13, 2015 at 8:05 pm
John Kostka, Monta Loma
on Jul 13, 2015 at 8:05 pm

A response to your comment Mark.I have a hunch that the mortar shell that was found could be a M-69 or M-43A1/2. These were both used with the M2 mortar in WW2. The shape of the body and tail fins are slightly different than either of these shells so it could be something else entirely, but that is what I think this dangerous piece of history was.


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