In 2020, the Swiss Army had to deploy more than 1,000 times because of duds – 60 percent more than the average. The reason: the pandemic.
Most people might think of bombs from WWII when they think of duds. That may be the case in Germany, where thousands of unexploded bombs are still dormant underground.
In Switzerland, however, it is mainly ammunition remains that end up in mountains and glaciers after military exercises and are then discovered by hikers. And they were on the road significantly more last year, which led to more dud reports, as army spokesman Stefan Hofer suspects.
Finds at home too
“During the lockdowns there was certainly more outdoor activity, but people also used the time to really tidy up at home. Ammunition was also found from time to time, ”says Hofer.
And such ammunition can still be dangerous decades later. With a new campaign, the federal government is primarily focusing on dud finds in the open air: Don’t touch, mark, alert the police – these are the key words. The alarmed police then call on the army specialists, who defuse the ammunition finds if necessary.
Also registered in 2021 increase
Also this year around 600 such dud missions had been registered by the end of August. This is also above average in a ten-year comparison. Nevertheless, army spokesman Hofer does not believe in a trend. “It’s unlikely that these numbers will stay that way for long,” he says.
The 1055 deployments of the army specialists in the last year are therefore likely to have been a one-off slip.