Secret German WWII Weapons - From crazy conceptions to the groundbreaking innovations.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: RC panzers, German WW2 Militaria, Strange Weapons, Nazi Daggers, Helmets, Knives, Nazi Uniforms.
Warriors and Wizards: Development and Defeat of Radio-Controlled Glide Bombs of the Third Reich (book review)
Several nations toyed with radio-controlled aircraft in the mid-1920s, but RC equipment was not sophisticated enough for any serious use. Then, in 1943, the Allies were surprised by very effective Luftwaffe airstrikes against shipping in the Atlantic, at the Salerno and Anzio beachheads in Italy and off Normandy. Amazingly, Nazi scientists managed to launch the first guided bomb from a twin-engine Heinkel 177 -- configured to carry the Fritz-X glide bomb -- while later versions used twin-engine Dornier 217.
The Norden Bombsight on display at Air War College and Enlisted Heritage Hall
One of the most guarded WWII secrets - the Norden Bombsight - is on display at both Air War College and United States Air Force's Enlisted Heritage Hall. Developed by Carl Lucas Norden, the sight became the standard for bombing accuracy, and a working Norden sight was highly wanted by Nazi officials. In myths the bombsight could "drop a bomb in a pickle barrel" from 20,000 feet. Tests by the manufacturer, under ideal conditions, showed an accuracy of within a 100-foot circle around a target from 20,000 feet. Actual accuracy depended on several things: Weather; FLAK; the skill of the bombardier... to name a few.
Silbervogel: Nazi Rocket Plane to bomb the United States from space orbit (Amerika Bomber)
V2 rockets were just the beginning. Had the Nazis had their way, Mach 22 bombers would have attacked America from space. Eugen Sänger's scifi-like concept of Silbervogel was not completely undoable. It was a design study commissioned by the Air Ministry for a problem Hermann Goering had realized: Nazi Germany's most powerful future enemy was located behind the Atlantic Ocean. Most ideas in the Amerika Bomber initiative were upscaled bombers, but Sänger's Silbervogel (also called Orbital Bomber or Antipodal Bomber) was a rocket-powered sub-orbital bomber aircraft flying at a height of 90miles (145km).
Documentary film Nazi Secret Weapons - Could Nazi secret weapons have changed the course of war?
A fleet of long-range "Amerikabombers" meant to destroy the New York City. A 1,000-ton tank, the largest ever designed. Fritz X: A radio-guided bomb with a success rate 80 times higher than that of its rivals. Those weapons in Adolf Hitler's fantasy arsenal were never fully utilized, but a National Geographic program explores what might have happened if they were. In "Nazi Secret Weapons," a group of military historians and aviation experts use blueprints and reconstructed Third Reich technology to figure out whether some of top-secret German WW2 armaments might have changed the course of war.
Horten 229: San Diego air museum to house full-size replica of German stealth Jet
The National Geographic Channel calls it as one of the best-kept secrets of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich. During the last days of World War Two, a futuristic-looking aircraft was discovered by US troops in a top-secret German facility. The prototype jet and other advanced Nazi aircraft were shipped to the US in the Operation Seahorse. In the 1960s the prototype jet was moved to a Smithsonian facility in Maryland. "There have been no documents released on it, and the public has no access to it," explained Michael Jorgensen, a documentary filmmaker who set up a team of Northrop Grumman aeronautical engineers to build a full-size replica from original plans of Horten 229.
HMT Rohna - World War II veteran saw the largest American troop loss at sea
James Wheeler kept a secret for almost 60 years. He is a WW2 veteran who was part of what many military historians have called "the largest loss of US troops at sea." Over 1000 U.S. troops perished, yet not many Americans know about it. It's not in the WW2 books. Wheeler was an infantryman aboard the British transport ship HMT Rohna when it was attacked Nov. 26, 1943, by Luftwaffe bombers as it traveled through the Mediterranean Sea. What Wheeler saw was something that had seldom been seen, at least by anyone alive. It was the latest technology of the time: a Henschel Hs-293, a remote-controlled, rocket-powered glide bomb with wings.
Silent Dart glider : The secret Nazi weapon to make pinpoint attacks
With deadly accuracy and at speeds of up to 700mph, it could have wreaked havoc - At least that is what Nazi scientists thought at the end of World War II, when Adolf Hitler became desperate for a way to threaten his enemies. The Silent Dart glider would be released from a larger aircraft. Guided by a Luftwaffe pilot inside, the dart would dive with 1,000kg bomb. At the last moment, the pilot would release the bomb and inflate a huge balloon. As the bomb hit its target, the balloon would whisk the glider far up above the danger zone. Pencil drawings of the dart were discovered by Richard Rex in the Reich Chancellery in Berlin in July 1945. The sketches are now for sale.
Canal defence light: The top secret weapon to blind Nazis tested on Cumbrian soil
As the Nazi war machine marched on, the British Army turned its focus on the development of a new weapon. Few people know the story of the canal defence light, and how the farmland around Penrith became a testing ground. The idea (thought up in 1915 by the Royal Navy Commander Oscar de Thoren) was to use projectors on battle tanks to enable them to move at night-time, blinding the enemy. The 13,000,000 candlepower light came from a carbon arc lamp picked up by a system of reflectors to create a beam through a slot set in the front of the turret. At first trials were carried out in France in 1937, but as the war dragged on the development was relocated in the UK.
Secret Strobelight Weapons of World War II
It might have been the greatest missed weapon of World War II. Major-General JFC Fuller, the man credited with developing modern armored warfare in the 1920's, called failure to use it "the greatest blunder of the whole war." He said that British and American tank units could have invaded Third Reich before the Russians if it had been deployed. The secret weapon he was talking about: the Canal Defence Light - a powerful searchlight mounted on a tank, with a shutter allowing it to flicker 6 times a second. The 13-million candlepower searchlight was designed to illuminate the battlefield and dazzle the enemy.
The Civilian Camouflage Directorate: Team that 'hid' wartime factories
They were landscape painters, set designers and Royal Academy artists. More used to living the London lavishness, these were the people called upon to defend factories, ships, docks and air bases. Posted to Leamington Spa under the name of the Civilian Camouflage Directorate, their secret task was to camouflage key bombing targets. Led by designer Christopher Ironside and Captain Lancelot Glasson, the 250-strong group used a giant turntable at the roller-skating rink to create models that could be viewed in all weather conditions. From this came an array of camouflage techniques to confuse Luftwaffe.
World War II 'balloon bomb' part found - Japanese secret weapon
A key part of a "balloon bomb," a secret weapon used by Imperial Japanese Army to attack the U.S. mainland during World War II, was discovered and is to be presented to a national science museum in Ueno Ward. The part, an altitude maintenance device, is owned by Seiko Sakurai. Most parts of the weapon, except for the balloons themselves, have been discovered. The planned donation will give clues into understanding a weapon developed in the closing days of the war. Over 9,000 were launched between fall 1944 and April 1945. The only damage the weapon caused was 6 people killed in Oregon.
Colossus Declassified - Rewriting computing history with Colossus
A secret project conducted more than 60 years ago held the origins of the modern computing era, and that the country behind project did such a good work erasing its tracks that it did itself a disservice. The world's first digital computer wasn't developed on American soil but during a British top-secret wartime effort "Colossus". A team built the room-sized computer to decrypt German military radio transmissions. There were 10 Colossus models produced during the war by a team led by Thomas Flowers. The Brits have declassified the key documents, and as a result a book is out "Colossus: The Secrets of Bletchley Park's Code-breaking Computers".
Secret plan to bury soldiers alive inside Rock of Gibraltar
Last survivor tells of operation to monitor Germans: It was a top-secret wartime mission, code-named Operation Tracer, in which 6 men volunteered to be buried alive in the cave if the Rock were captured by the Germans, so they could continue to monitor enemy movements. More than 60 years after the end of World War II, Bruce Cooper has been named as the chamber's last survivor, as researchers struggle to unlock its remaining secrets. The team were warned that they may have to be sealed inside the operation post for as long as a year, although they were aware that it could be longer. The operation was so secret that not even Whitehall knew about it.
UK's most valuable technological secrets given to US
In the summer of 1940, the war with Nazi Germany was at a critical stage. France had surrendered and the Luftwaffe was engaged in a concerted bombing campaign. The UK was being cut off from the Continent, and she would soon be near the limit of her productive capacity in the field of electronics. 29 August: a small team of the top scientists, in conditions of absolute secrecy, was about to board a converted ocean liner. With them they carried possibly the most precious cargo of the war: a black metal deed box containing all of Britain's major technological secrets. They were on their way to America to give them away.
Nazi counterfeiting forged 12% of all pound-sterlings in existence
Adolf Burger held up one of the British 5-pound notes he helped forge for the Germans. He was recruited by an SS officer Bernhard Kruger to the top-secret Operation Bernhard - one of the biggest attempts at financial sabotage in history. The Nazis forced 140 prisoners to forge so much British currency that by 1945, 12% of all pound-sterling bills were fake. In early 1945, SS switched their attention to dollars. Captain Kruger gave Smolianoff, Burger and two others the task of figuring out how to copy $100 bills. A filmmaker has made a new movie (to be released in March) about the operation called "The Forger," based partly on Burger's memoir.
X marks the spot of town's vital war role in miniature submarines
Huddersfield's crucial role in the battle beneath the waves during the Second World War continues to be remembered. The bravery of those who sailed in miniature submarines known as X-Craft, will never be forgotten. And those who secretly helped to build some of them at the Broadbent engineering works in Huddersfield will also be remembered. The tiny vessels took part in a number of daring raids. Famously, some of the `midget subs' were used to attack the German battleship Tirpitz in Norway on September 22, 1943. They sailed up Altenfjord and planted mines on the mighty ship's hull.
Reunion of the "light brigade" - secret project of WWII (Article no longer available from the original source)
During WWII the Butler Valley was the site of a secret government training camp the Army had declared the middle of nowhere. Their mission was to conduct experiments on one of the most secret projects of WWII, second only to the atomic bomb. Soldiers who talked about it were threatened with death. The secret weapon was the Canal Defense Light, a high-intensity light mounted in the turret of an M3 tank. Its purpose was to exploit Germany's vulnerability in night combat. U.S. troops hoped to disorient the enemy. "It was considered to be the decisive weapon of the war," says professor Roger Baty.