| Time bomb |
A time bomb or Timer and Power Unit (TPU) is a bomb that is triggered by a timer which can delay detonation by hours, weeks or months. Since the 1970s, time bombs with Memopark timers have been employed extensively by the Provisional IRA both in Northern Ireland and on the British mainland.
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 neighbouring 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 a laptop computer.
Types of time bombs include:
- Delayed-action bomb (bombs dropped by aircraft with a delay to increase damage/disruption)
- Improvised explosive device (IED) ("home-made" bombs with a delay to allow the person placing the bomb to escape)
- Limpet mine (attached to enemy ships by naval divers)
Notable TPU incidents
|1871||Attack on the Mosel (ship)||Bremerhaven||Alexander Keith, Jr.||80||unknown||bomb set for insurance fraud purposes; detonated prematurely|
|1910||Los Angeles Times bombing||Los Angeles||John J. McNamara and James B. McNamara||21||100||Union-related action|
|1916||Preparedness Day Bombing||San Francisco||Labour leaders||10||40||Isolationist political action|
|1920||Wall Street bombing||New York City||Anarchists (suspected)||38||400||Followed other bombings in 1919|
|1939||Bürgerbräukeller||Munich||Georg Elser||7||63||Failed 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||4||?||Failed assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler|
|1955||United Airlines Flight 629||over Longmont, Colorado, USA||Jack Gilbert Graham||44||0||Murder; insurance fraud|
|1972||Aldershot Bombing||Aldershot, UK||IRA||7||18||A 280 lb time bomb in a car|
|1974||M62 Coach Bombing||West Yorkshire||IRA||12||38||Continuing anti-British campaign|
|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|
|1977||Lucona sinking||Indian Ocean||Udo Proksch||6||0||Attempted insurance fraud|
|1982||Regent's Park bombing||Beneath the bandstand in London's Regent's Park||IRA||7||31||Targeted against Army bandsmen|
|1983||Church Street bombing||Pretoria, South Africa||probably Department of Military Intelligence||19||217||False flag by apartheid regime to blame ANC|
|1984||Brighton hotel bombing||Brighton, UK||IRA||5||31||Attempt to assassinate PM Margaret Thatcher|
|1986||La Belle discotheque bombing||West Berlin||probably Mossad||3||230||False flag operation to blame Libya|
|1987||Korean Air Flight 858||Andaman Sea||North Korea||115 (all)||0||State "terrorism" against South Korea|
|1987||Remembrance Day bombing||Enniskillen, Northern Ireland||IRA||12||63||Continuing anti-British campaign|
|1988||Pan Am Flight 103||Above Lockerbie, Scotland||South African CCB with possible help from CIA and MI6||259 (all)||0||Targeting UN Commissioner for Namibia Bernt Carlsson|
|1989||UTA Flight 772||Over the Sahara Desert (Niger)||possibly CIA and/or MI6||170 (all)||0||Persuading France to vote for UNSCR 748 (1992) which imposed sanctions on Libya|
|1989||Deal barracks bombing||Deal, Kent, UK||IRA||11||21||Targeted against military personnel|
|1994||Philippine Airlines Flight 434||Between Cebu and Tokyo||Ramzi Yousef||1||10||Foiled attempt.|
|1996||Centennial Olympic Park bombing||Atlanta, Georgia, USA||Eric Rudolph||1||111||Politically-motivated anti-abortionist; occurred during 1996 Summer Olympics.|
|1998||Omagh bombing||Omagh, Northern Ireland||IRA||29||220||Worst single incident loss of life during the anti-British campaign.|
|1999||Russian apartment bombings||Buynaksk
|unknown||293||651||4 bombs over 4 days; purpose unknown.|
|2006||Moscow market bombing||Moscow||Racist organisation||13||46||Racially motivated attack|
Time bombs in fiction
Time bombs are common plot devices used in action/thriller TV series, cartoons, films and video games, where the hero often escapes 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).
Such fictional appearances include:
- Kojak, Knight Rider, MacGyver, Get Smart, Men in Black: The Series, 24, Sonic X, Hogan's Heroes, VR Troopers, and Walker, Texas Ranger on television;
- James Bond: Goldfinger, Die Hard with a Vengeance, The Hindenburg, The Mask, The Peacemaker, 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain, Battle Royale, Battle Royale 2: Requiem and New Police Story in film;
- Counter-Strike, Sonic Adventure 2, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Red Faction, Halo, F-Zero GX, Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, Trauma Center: Under The Knife, Trauma Center Second Opinion and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and
- Songs by The Old 97's, Dave Matthews Band, Chumbawamba, Godsmack, The Format, Rancid, Buckcherry, The Dismemberment Plan, Faber Drive and Beck titled "Time bomb" or "Timebomb".
- The popular Super NES video game Chrono Trigger takes its name from the timer-detonator assembly of a time bomb, although the game itself has nothing to do with time bombs but with time travel instead.