Time bomb

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A time bomb (or timebomb, time-bomb) is a bomb whose detonation is triggered by a timer. The use (or attempted use) of time bombs has been for various purposes including insurance fraud, terrorism, assassination and warfare.

Construction[edit]

Diagram of a simple time bomb in the form of a pipe bomb

The explosive charge is the main component of any bomb, and makes up most of the size and weight of it. It is the damaging element of the bomb (along with any fragments or shrapnel the deflagration might produce with its container or neighboring objects). The explosive charge is detonated by a detonator.

A time bomb's timing mechanism may be professionally manufactured, either separately or as part of the device, or it may be improvised from an ordinary household timer such as a wind-up alarm clock, wrist watch, digital kitchen timer, or notebook computer.

Types[edit]

Types of time bombs include:

List of some notable incidents involving time bombs[edit]

YearEventLocationPerpetrator(s)DeathsInjuriesComments
1871Attack on the Mosel (ship)BremerhavenAlexander Keith, Jr.80unkn.bomb set for insurance fraud purposes; detonated prematurely
1910Los Angeles Times bombingLos AngelesJohn J. McNamara and James B. McNamara21100Union-related action
1916Preparedness Day BombingSan FranciscoLabor leaders1040Isolationist political action
1920Wall Street bombingNew York CityAnarchists (suspected)38400Followed other bombings in 1919
1939BürgerbräukellerMunichGeorg Elser763Assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler
1942St Nazaire RaidSt Nazaire, France (wartime)Royal Navy, British Commandos590unkn.To damage port facilities being used by enemy forces
1944July PlotWolf's Lair, Poland (wartime)German Resistance4 ?Failed assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler
1955United Airlines Flight 629over Longmont, Colorado, USAJack Gilbert Graham440Murder; insurance fraud
1972Aldershot BombingAldershot, UKIRA718A 280 lb time bomb in a car
1974M62 Coach BombingWest YorkshireIRA1238Continuing anti-British campaign
1974Birmingham pub bombingsBirmingham, UKIRA (suspected)21182Continuing anti-British campaign
1974Guildford pub bombingsGuildford, UKIRA565Targeted against Army personnel
1977Lucona sinkingIndian OceanUdo Proksch60Attempted insurance fraud
1984Brighton hotel bombingBrighton, UKIRA531Attempt to assassinate PM Margaret Thatcher
1987Korean Air Flight 858Andaman SeaNorth Korea115 (all)0State terrorism against South Korea
1987Remembrance Day bombingEnniskillen, Northern IrelandIRA1263Continuing anti-British campaign
1988Pan Am flight 103Above Lockerbie, ScotlandLibya2700Reprisal against UK & US
1989Deal barracks bombingDeal, Kent, UKIRA1121Targeted against military personnel
1994Philippine Airlines Flight 434Between Cebu and TokyoRamzi Yousef110Foiled attempt.
1996Centennial Olympic Park bombingAtlanta, Georgia, USAEric Rudolph1111Politically-motivated anti-abortionist; occurred during 1996 Summer Olympics.
1998Omagh bombingOmagh, Northern IrelandIRA29220Worst single incident loss of life during the anti-British campaign.
1999Russian apartment bombingsBuynaksk
Moscow
Volgodonsk
unkn.2936514 bombs over 4 days; purpose unknown.
2006Moscow market bombingMoscowRacialist organization1346Racially motivated attack

Time bombs in fiction[edit]

Time bombs are common plot devices used in action/thriller TV series, cartoons, films and video games, where the hero often escape the blast area or defuses the bomb at the last second. Many fictional time bombs are improvised, and usually involve a beeping sound with a large prominent countdown timer (on rare occasions, the timer will count up).[citation needed]

Such fictional appearances include:

See also[edit]

References[edit]