March 21, 2023



Nazi Weapons Of The Future

4 min read

We all know. The title appears like a nasty newsreel from 1942. Seems, although, that the Nazis had been actually good at pouring cash into navy analysis and growing — or making an attempt to develop — what they known as “wunderwaffe” — marvel weapons. Whereas we consider rockets and jets at this time as moderately commonplace, they had been state-of-the-art when Germany deployed them throughout WWII. Whereas the rockets had been moderately profitable, the jets had been too few and too late to matter. Nonetheless, these had been simply the tip of the iceberg. The German warfare trade had loads of plans starting from large development to secret weapons that appear to be out of the pages of a pulp science fiction journal.

Measurement Issues

A part of the plans included large ships together with one plane provider displacing 56,500 tons. Many of those had been by no means accomplished and, in some circumstances, had been by no means really began. In distinction, the Essex-class USS Hornet displaces 31,300 tons and the Lexington was 37,000 tons. The H-class battleships would have had as a lot as 140,000 tons of displacement dwarfing the Yamato class (73,000 tons) and the Iowa class (53,000 tons).

Under the water, there have been plans for a ballistic missile submarine that by no means took off. Kind XXI U-boats had all-electric propulsion so they may function utterly submerged for lengthy durations. Whereas 118 had been being constructed, solely 4 had been accomplished. There have been a number of different submarines deliberate with air-independent propulsion.

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Gustav railway gun

One of many extra attention-grabbing designs that didn’t make it to actuality was the Kind XI — a submarine that might carry a collapsible airplane. There have been 4 being constructed earlier than this system was canceled. Whereas it’d sound far-fetched, the Japanese launched 4 I-400 submarines that might carry three planes.

There have been additionally large tanks deliberate, together with one weighing 1,000 metric tons. The Landkreuzer P. 1000 Ratte would have had two 280 mm cannons, a 128 mm anti-tank gun, eight flak weapons, and two heavy machine weapons.

The Karl-Gerät was a self-propelled mortar. The seven accomplished might fireplace a 60 cm shell. You would possibly suppose that is half the dimensions of a typical mounted mortar till you notice a hard and fast mortar is usually 120 mm or 12 cm! Then there was the Schwerer Gustav, an 80 cm railway gun that truly noticed service. There have been unrealized plans to mount it on a tank.

Excessive Tech

Vampire night time scope (public area)

Evening imaginative and prescient? The Germans had the FG 1250 on some tanks and the Zielgrät 1229 (often known as a vampire) on specialised assault rifles. If you happen to had been one of many fortunate few to have a vampire, you needed to lug round a 33 lb battery pack to energy the factor.

After all, the Germans had loads of rocket applications together with the A9 and A10 that will have the ability to strike the Japanese US. The A7 a cruise missile-like rocket with wings, and guided missiles that by no means noticed the sunshine of day.  Neither did the Wasserfall supersonic guided surface-to-air missle. Talking of cruise missiles, although, the V1 — the notorious buzz bomb — was a type of cruise missile that did see service.

Along with overt weapons, the German warfare machine had quite a few applied sciences like radar, analog laptop bomb sights, and navigation techniques. Specifically, the X-apparatus used 60 MHz radio beams to manage night time bombing very successfully. A type of Lorenz beam, specifically outfitted planes would observe a beam to remain on target. Intersecting beams would warn the radio operator when the airplane was close to the goal and when to launch the bombs. The system was extremely efficient, however just some planes had the gear, so they might drop flares to alert strange planes to additionally drop their bombs.

Famously, after all, the ability at Peenemunde, the place they did rocket analysis, was additionally investigating heavy water reactors which might have led to nuclear fission and, thus, to the atom bomb, amongst different issues. A number of issues conspired to make a German atom bomb unlikely. For one factor, the allies made an enormous effort to sabotage the German’s supply of heavy water (a hydroelectric plant in Norway).

Nonetheless, the largest purpose Hitler did not get the A-bomb was due to Werner Heisenberg. He determined that fission would require an infinite quantity of uranium (on the order of 10 tons) and that restricted this system. Paradoxically, since Heisenberg is related to uncertainty, there’s a debate nonetheless about what occurred. Did the well-known physicist actually make a mistake? Or did he intentionally make the error to derail the creation of the bomb? There’s proof to help each positions.

Heisenberg and a few colleagues had been “visitors” of the British when the information introduced the bombing of Hiroshima. Hidden microphones picked up Heisenberg’s response: “Some dilettante in America who is aware of little or no about it has bluffed them,” he mentioned. “I don’t consider that t has something to do with uranium.” He talked about that it was inconceivable that the Allies had ten tons of pure U235. Except he was performing for hidden microphones he suspected had been there — which is actually attainable — it might appear he actually did suppose it might take tons of fabric. However, like his well-known precept, we’ll all the time be unsure.

Far Fetched

German engineers had been actually keen to strive most something. A sonic cannon used a methane combustion chamber to create 44 Hz sound waves of excessive depth additional amplified by parabolic reflectors. The weapon was considerably efficient however very weak to wreck. Later within the warfare, there have been experiments in capturing planes with X-rays and accelerated particles.

There have been additionally rumors of alien craft or “foo fighters”, mysterious machines with radioactive “Xerum 525,” and different unique plane and superweapons that border on science fiction. However our favourite needs to be the sonnengewehr, or solar gun. Impressed by an concept by Hermann Oberth courting again to 1929, German scientists through the warfare had been planning a space-based mirror product of metallic sodium. The three.5 sq. mile mirror would have the ability to focus the solar on the Earth’s floor with sufficient vitality to boil an ocean or burn a metropolis. Seems like a supervillain film plot. After the warfare, although, the scientists advised the Allies that the weapon could be accomplished throughout the subsequent 100 years.

We’ve seemed on the German rocket program — which later grew to become at the very least two area applications for allied international locations — earlier than. We additionally seemed on the machines behind a few of these warfare machines. Can’t get sufficient of wunderwaffe? Take a look at [Simon’s] video on the subject, under. Or, go watch Iron Sky.


Banner picture: “Modell des 80-cm-Eisenbahngeschützes Dora, Museum Overloon” by Scargill.

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