A time bomb (or a 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, sabotage and warfare. They are a frequent plot device in thriller and action films as they offer a way of imparting a dramatic sense of urgency.
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 explosion 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. The timer can be programmed to count up or count down (usually the latter; as the bomb detonates when the time runs out).
Types of time bombs include:
|1776||Turtle submarine attack on the Eagle||New York Harbor, United States||Ezra Lee and David Bushnell||0||0||David Bushnell designed the Turtle submarine using a clockwork time bomb crafted by Isaac Doolittle that would attach to the hull of the British ship the Eagle using a screw, but the screw failed to penetrate the hull. The time bomb was released and eventually exploded causing great noise but no harm to the British.|
|1864||Confederate sabotage of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's headquarters||City Point, Virginia, US||John Maxwell of the Confederate Secret Service||43 to 300||125||Maxwell called his device a "clockwork torpedo"; placed on an ammunition barge, it detonated 30,000 artillery shells|
|1875||Attack on the Mosel (ship)||Bremerhaven, Germany||Alexander Keith, Jr.||80 or 83||200||Bomb set for insurance fraud purposes; detonated prematurely|
|1880||Winter Palace bombing||Saint Petersburg, Russia||Narodnaya Volya||11||30||Attempted assassination of Tsar Alexander II|
|1881-1885||Fenian dynamite campaign||Great Britain||Fenians||3 (bombers who died when bomb went off early)||100||Irish nationalist campaign led by Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa|
|1905||Yıldız assassination attempt||Constantinople, Ottoman Empire||Edward Joris||26||58||Failed assassination attempted on Abdul Hamid II|
|1910||Los Angeles Times bombing||Los Angeles, US||John J. McNamara and James B. McNamara||21||100||Union-related action|
|1915||Muenter attack spree||Washington, D.C., New York City||German nationalist Eric Muenter||0||1||Set time bombs in United States Capitol, SS Minnehaha, and shot J. P. Morgan, Jr. against selling arms to Germany's enemies|
|1915||Pencil bomb attacks||New York City, Atlantic Ocean||Abteilung III b, German intelligence||36 ships damaged or sunk||Series of incendiary time bombs planted aboard ships transporting war materiel from New York to Europe|
|1916||Preparedness Day Bombing||San Francisco, US||Labor leaders||10||40||Isolationist political action|
|1920||Wall Street bombing||New York City, US||Anarchists (suspected)||38||400||Followed other bombings in 1919|
|1939||Bürgerbräukeller||Munich, Germany||Georg Elser||7||63||Assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler|
|1942||St Nazaire Raid||St Nazaire, France (wartime)||Royal Navy, British commandos||590||unknown||To damage port facilities being used by enemy forces|
|1944||July Plot||Wolf's Lair, Poland (wartime)||German resistance to Nazism||4||?||Failed assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler|
|1949||Canadian Pacific Air Lines Flight 108||Over Cap Tourmente, Canada||Albert Guay||23||0||Murder; insurance fraud|
|1955||United Airlines Flight 629||Over Longmont, Colorado, US||Jack Gilbert Graham||44||0||Murder; insurance fraud|
|1956||Milk Bar, Place Bugeaud,|
Cafeteria, Rue Michelet,
Air France office (failed to detonate)
|Algiers, French Algeria|| Djamila Bouhired |
|3||50||Reprisal bombings at start of the Algerian War, September 30, 1956 Part of the so-called Café Wars|
|1963-1971||FLQ bombings||Canada||Front de libération du Québec||None||1 (Army officer Walter Leja)||Series of politically motivated bombings (timed and non-timed devices) and other activities|
|1969-1976||Weatherman bombings||United States||Weather Underground||1 unconfirmed; 3 bombers (premature)||3 confirmed; 1 unconfirmed||Series of politically motivated bombings (timed and non-timed devices) and other activities including jailbreaks and riots|
|1972||Aldershot bombing||Aldershot, United Kingdom||Official IRA||7||18||A 280 lb time bomb in a car|
|1972 - 1973||1972 and 1973 Dublin bombings||Dublin, Ireland||Ulster Volunteer Force||3||185||Part of anti-Irish nationalism campaign|
|1972||Belturbet bombing||Cavan, Ireland||Ulster Volunteer Force||2||8||Part of anti-Irish nationalism campaign|
|1973||1973 Old Bailey bombing||London, UK||IRA||1||220||Continuing anti-British campaign|
|1974||M62 coach bombing||West Riding of Yorkshire||Provisional IRA||12||38||Continuing anti-British campaign|
|1974||1974 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries bombing||Tokyo, Japan||East Asia Anti-Japan Armed Front||8||376||Targeted against "Japanese imperialism" and "its colonist"|
|1974||Dublin and Monaghan bombings||Dublin and Monaghan, Ireland||Ulster Volunteer Force||34||300||4 time bombs in car bombs Part of anti-Irish Nationalism campaign. Biggest loss of life from an attack during the Northern Ireland Troubles.|
|1974||Birmingham pub bombings||Birmingham, UK||IRA (suspected)||21||182||Continuing anti-British campaign|
|1974||Guildford pub bombings||Guildford, UK||IRA||5||65||Targeted against Army personnel|
|1975||Donnelly's Bar and Kay's Tavern attacks||Dundalk, Ireland||Ulster Volunteer Force||2||21||Part of anti-Irish nationalism campaign (1st part of double attack)|
|1976||Hillcrest Bar bombing||Dungannon, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland||Ulster Volunteer Force||4||50||Part of anti-Irish nationalism campaign|
|1976||Castleblayney bombing||Monaghan, Ireland||Ulster Volunteer Force||1||17||Part of anti-Irish nationalism campaign|
|1977||Lucona sinking||Indian Ocean||Udo Proksch||6||6||Attempted insurance fraud|
|1982||Droppin Well bombing||Ballykelly, County Londonderry, NI||Irish National Liberation Army INLA||17||30||Bombing against British soldiers|
|1984||Brighton hotel bombing||Brighton, UK||IRA||5||31||Attempt to assassinate PM Margaret Thatcher|
|1985||Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior||Auckland, New Zealand||French DGSE||1||0||Two limpet mines, set to detonate 10 minutes apart|
|1985||Air India Flight 182 and 1985 Narita International Airport bombing||Atlantic Ocean, Tokyo Narita Airport||Babbar Khalsa Khalistan separatists||331||4||Bombing of two 747 flights with alarm clock and dynamite hidden in radio tuner|
|1987||Korean Air Flight 858||Andaman Sea||North Korea||115 (all)||0||State terrorism against South Korea|
|1987||Remembrance Day bombing||Enniskillen, NI||IRA||12||63||Continuing anti-British campaign|
|1988||Pan Am flight 103||Above Lockerbie, Scotland||Libya||270||0||Reprisal against UK & US|
|1989||Deal barracks bombing||Deal, Kent, UK||IRA||11||21||Targeted against military personnel|
|1993||World Trade Center bombing||New York City, US||Ramzi Yousef||6||1,042||Truck bomb used 20 ft fuse for twelve-minute delay, intended to collapse both towers.|
|1994||Philippine Airlines Flight 434||Between Cebu and Tokyo, Japan||Ramzi Yousef||1||10||Blast missed fuel tank, killed one passenger and damaged control systems but pilot was able to land. Yousef bombed World Trade Center in 1993|
|1995||Oklahoma City bombing||Oklahoma City, US||Timothy McVeigh||168||800||Deadliest domestic terrorist attack in the United States.|
|1996||Centennial Olympic Park bombing||Atlanta, Georgia, US||Eric Rudolph||1||111||Politically motivated anti-abortionist; occurred during 1996 Summer Olympics.|
|1998||Omagh bombing||Omagh, NI||Real IRA||29||220||Worst single incident loss of life of the anti-British campaign.|
|1999||Columbine High School massacre||Columbine, Colorado, US||Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold||15||24||Bombs did not explode, and were not the cause of any of the deaths or injuries.|
|1999||Russian apartment bombings|| Buynaksk |
|Chechen rebels led by Khattab (suspected)||293||651||4 bombs over 4 days; purpose unknown.|
|2003||Murder of Brian Wells||Erie, Pennsylvania, US||Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong|
|1||Silence witness to forced bank robbery; timed body bomb|
|2006||Moscow market bombing||Moscow, Russia||Racialist organization||13||46||Racially motivated attack|
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