World War II technology and scientific advancement.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: Vintage WWII Tanks, Scale models, WW2 Jeeps, WWII Radar, Camouflage, Nazi V2 rockets, Wernher von Braun, Nazi rocket scientists.
Classic turn-based strategy games: Conflict-Series
If you like classic turn-based PC war games and legendary strategy board games make sure to check out the highly rated Conflict-series for Android. Some of the WWII Campaigns include Axis Balkan Campaign, D-Day 1944, Operation Barbarossa, France 1940, Kursk 1943, Market Garden, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Rommel's North African campaign, and the Battle of Bulge. In addition to WWII some other time periods include Korean War, American Civil War, First World War and American Revolutionary War. The more complex campaigns like Operation Sea Lion, Invasion of Norway, and Invasion of Japan 1945, include Naval element and handling logistics of supply flow.
(available on Google Play & Amazon App Store since 2011)
Me 163: the only rocket-powered fighter to enter operational service
Nazi Germany pursued numerous ambitious and impractical weapon programs over the course of World War II. One of the few that saw action was the Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet, the only rocket-powered fighter to enter operational service. The stubby rocket planes were blindingly fast by the standards of World War II fightersâ€”but were in as much danger of blowing up from their volatile rocket fuel as they were of being shot down by enemy fire.
B-50 Superfortress Bomber: WWII project which cost more than atomic bombs
Which secret American military project during World War II proved even more expensive than the $2 billion Manhattan Project which developed U.S. atomic bombs? That would be the $3 billion B-29 Superfortress—the huge four-engine bomber designed to fly across huge distances and drop those atomic bombs.
Unsung war hero Colossus turns 75
The machine responsible for shortening the Second World War by months, if not years, is celebrating a big birthday. Colossus, the machine designed by telecoms engineer Tommy Flowers (and not Alan Turing), has reached its 75th birthday and is celebrating it at its home at the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park. In fact, the machine currently in situ is a working replica of the original, which was long destroyed, thanks in no small part to the extensive secrecy surrounding the project. Indeed it wasn't until the 1970s that the machine's existence was acknowledged by UK authorities.
Position Z -- Brilliant Invention Decided When D-Day Would Occur
In October 1943, the oceanographer Arthur Doodson, got a letter from his friend Commander Ian Farquharson. For months, Doodson and the machine he’d perfected had provided the British Navy with key tidal information to launch their attacks on Nazi-occupied France, but this time Farquharson’s letter was far more cryptic: It listed no specific latitude or longitude, and it referred to a new location he called “Position Z.” Position Z was the northern coast of Normandy, where Farquharson had surreptitiously been sending two-manned submarines to take water measurements in the hopes they’d help predict the tides at potential landing sites for D-Day.
Hitler Built a World War II Submarine That Was Revolutionary. It Ended Up a Total Failure.
On May 4, 1945 one of the most advanced submarines in the world crept up to a British Royal Navy cruiser. U-2511 was one of Germany's new Type XXI-class 'wonder' submarines, and she was hunting for Allied ships. The real improvement lay deep inside the U-boat's bowels. There rested an advanced electric-drive engine that allowed the submersible to travel underwater at higher speeds—and for longer periods—than any submarine that came before. It was the world's first truly modern undersea warship. The engine, which was radical for its time, allowed the boat to operate primarily submerged. This is in contrast to other war-era submersibles, which operated mainly on the surface and dived for short periods to attack or escape.
Hitler's death star: How the Nazis planned to send killer satellites into orbit to fry their enemies from space
The Nazis had planned to built a giant one-mile wide 'sun gun' to burn enemy cities to ashes during the Second World War. Scientists tried to create the huge satellite which acted as a large mirror that would have used the sun's rays to scorch the earth's surface. Technical experts from the US Army made the fascinating discovery which highlighted the Nazi's shocking plans. If successful, the unique creation would share similarities with the infamous Death Star, the spherical battle station constructed by the Galactic Empire in Star Wars.
For sale: Japanese Machine Gun Camera Konishoruko Rokuoh-Sha Type 89 used in WWII
A Japanese 'machine gun' camera has popped on eBay. The camera, which was used in war-time during the World War II era, can be yours for a price of $4,499. The Konishoruko Rokuoh-Sha Type 89 camera was used for military training exercises. Before the age of tiny digital cameras broadcasting live feeds, air forces around the world mounted large film cameras onto fighter planes for both actual battles and training. The battle cameras were used to confirm kills for pilots, while training gun cameras were used to evaluate how accurate fighter pilots were without having to use live rounds.
PeenemÃ¼nde Army Research Center - abandoned German rocket factory
The Heeresversuchsanstalt Peenemünde (Peenemünde Army Research Center), was built starting in 1936 and finished within a year using slave workers from concentration camps. In 1942 an A-4 (later called V-2) from Peenemünde was the first object built by humans to reach outer space, and the rocket factory became known as the 'Cradle of Spaceflight.' But starting in 1944, the V-2 rockets assembled at Peenemünde were shipped out to be used in attacks against Great Britain, France, Belgium, and others. As demand grew and more workers were needed to assemble the rockets, Peenemünde was given its own concentration camp of slave workers for production.
Did Nazi Germany Actually Try to Make a Stealth Fighter?
Northrop Grumman revealed this year it is developing a second flying wing stealth bomber, the B-21 Raider, to succeed its B-2 Spirit. However, it was a pair of German brothers in the service of Nazi Germany that developed the first jet-powered flying wing—which has been dubbed, debatably, 'Hitler's stealth fighter.' But maximizing speed and range, not stealth, was the primary motivation behind the bat-shaped jet plane.
The drone that killed JFK's brother: Secret WWII anti-Nazi raid failed (PHOTOS, VIDEO)
The older brother of US President John F Kennedy died 72 years ago to the day – killed in a fundamentally flawed and secretive early 'drone' mission codenamed 'Operation Aphrodite'.
Ten WWII innovations that changed the world we live in (for the better)
War pushes humanity to its outer limits. Even though horrific atrocities of war often overshadow the advancements made, there are indeed those that change the world forever – and for the better. So while we dream of a world where millions of people aren't swept off the face of the Earth so that the rest of us can enjoy the scientific and technical byproducts of wars, here's a list of ten revolutionary innovations that WWII gave birth to.
Remote-Controlled Tanks of the 1930s Were Supposed to Save Lives on Both Sides
There are countless visions of radio-controlled tanks, unmanned aerial vehicles, and even gigantic robot fighters from the early 20th century. But the thing that might be most shocking to readers here in the early 21st century is that these empty vehicles were all supposed to be fighting amongst themselves. When World War II would rear its ugly head, robot tanks would indeed become a reality. But unfortunately they were the exclusive domain of the Nazis. The Germans designed two different remote-controlled tanks that carried explosives: The Borgward IV and the Goliath.
The Nazis nearly completed a super-cannon capable of hitting London from France
Today we'll be looking at the V-3 cannon: a piece of artillery capable of hitting a target more than 100 miles (165 km) away, shooting its projectiles at around 3,400 mph (5500 km/h)! Technically defined as a 'supergun', a term given to guns of such comically large size they need to be categorised separately, the V-3 was 430 feet long (131 metres). This massive size meant that the gun had to be built already aiming at its target and could only reliably hit a target the size of a city, a fairly minor trade-off considering the weapon's nigh-unparalleled range for a non-rocket based weapon.
Little proximity fuses played a big part in winning World War II
"The radio proximity fuse has finally emerged from its veil of secrecy to take its place alongside radar and the atomic bomb in the triumvirate of secret weapons which led to Allied victory.' Those were words written by William J. Grace, a physicist at Johns Hopkins, in a series of articles on the radio proximity fuse, for which The Hoover Co. made parts during World War II. 'This is the story of the billion dollar weapon which largely helped stop the buzzbomb, deflate von Runstedt's bulge, pull the fangs of the kamikaze corps, and soften up many Pacific Islands for invasion.'
Horten Ho 229 - The WWII flying wing decades ahead of its time
In the last months of World War Two, Nazi Germany tested an experimental fighter more spaceship than aircraft. Only now are we realising how inspired it was. BBC Future looks at the Horten Ho 229, one of aviation's most futuristic designs.
The Secret History of World War II-Era Drones
Drones are the hallmark of tech-y modern warfare, but weapons piloted from afar have been around for more than a century. These long-gone systems used servos, gyroscopes, motors, and rotary switches, and they're all lovingly described in Unmanned Systems of World Wars I and II, an encyclopedic history of remotely controlled ships, planes, and tanks.
Hitler secretly made the weapons of the future during the Second World War
Hitler's Nazi engineers made technological developments which were innovative and far ahead of their time, manufacturing weapons such as sonic cannons, x-ray guns and land cruisers. The magazine Weapons of WWII has exhibited some of Hitler's secret Nazi weapons in its Autumn 2015 issue. --- The Fritz X, one of Hitler's most secret bombs, is the grandfather of today's smart bomb. The glide bomb was radio guided and carried over 700lbs of explosives. It was capable of hitting strongly protected targets such as battleships and heavy cruisers. ---- The "flying wing" bomber (Horten Ho 229 bomber) was designed to carry 2,000lbs of armaments while flying at 49,000ft above ground level and travelling at speeds north of 600mph.
Imperial Japanese Navy's gigantic submarine likely found off Nagasaki
A ship which is considered to be the Imperial Japanese Navy's submarine I-402 has been discovered at the bottom of the sea off the Goto Islands, Nagasaki Prefecture. In July the Japan Coast Guard found the sign of the ship, while crews of Nippon TV Network Corp. took a footage of the ship this month. 120-meter-long I-402 was the largest submarine during the World War II with the function to stow three bomber planes. The submarine did not participate in any attack and was submerged by the U.S. military after the war. The presence of I-402 was confirmed for the first time though it has been known that the submarine had been submerged off the islands.
Phoenixes: D-Day's winning engineering: making concrete float
Without artificial port, D-Day could not have succeeded. The concrete floating caissons, known as Phoenixes, were towed across the Channel from England the next day, to form the walls and piers of what was called a Mulberry harbour. Frédéric Sommier, the head of the Arromanches Museum, said: 'All the main ports, Cherbourg and le Havre, were in German hands, and well-defended. There had to be a logistical solution, and Churchill came up with this fabulous idea: to create an artificial port in Britain and then haul it over and set it up here.' Arromanches first saw obsolete ships sunk to lay outer foundations. Phoenixes followed swiftly, and by 14 June, cargo could start to be unloaded and rolled ashore.
The Third Reich's Electric Submarine Fail: The Type XXI U-boat cost more than it was worth
On May 4, 1945 one of the most advanced submarines in the world crept up to a British Royal Navy cruiser. U-2511 was one of Germany's new Type XXI-class 'wonder' submarines, and she was hunting for Allied ships. She also represented one of the Third Reich's biggest failures. More than 250 feet long and displacing 1,620 tons, the Type XXI had six hydraulically-reloaded torpedo tubes capable of firing more than 23 stored torpedoes. But the real improvement lay deep inside the U-boat's bowels. There rested an advanced electric-drive engine that allowed the submersible to travel underwater at higher speeds—and for longer periods—than any submarine that came before.
The Incredible Flying Tanks of World War II
Given how effective both newly-invented tank and airplane technologies proved during World War II, it was only a matter of time before military designers on both sides of the Atlantic thought to combine them. And they almost succeeded. Well, at least the Soviets did. In the 1930s, both the Americans and the Soviets realized the tactical advantages of being able to drop an armored division behind enemy lines where it could wreak havok on the enemy's soft spots like supply lines and command posts. In America, tank developer Walter Christie designed a self propelled flying tank that employed a pair of biplane wings and rudder with a propeller driven by the tank's engine.
Wreckage of World War II-era Japanese submersible aircraft carrier found off Hawaii
Recently, the wreckage of one of the Japanese Imperial Navy's most advanced pieces of equipment from World War II was discovered off the coast of Hawaii. What exactly was it? A submarine, or maybe an aircraft carrier? It was both. Researchers from the University of Hawaii came across an unusual bit of wreckage while scouring the sea floor. Both the US and Japanese government have now officially recognized the sunken hull as being that of the I-400, the very first completed vessel from the I-400 submarine line. At the time of its completion in the shipyards of Hiroshima Prefecture's city of Kure, the I-400 was the world's largest submarine. At 122 meters (400 feet) long and with a displacement of 6,560 tons, it was the size of a destroyer, and capable of circling the globe one and a half times on a single fueling.
Biggest Japanese submarine was aircraft carrier: I-400-class
The Sen Toku I-400-class Imperial Japanese Navy submarines were the largest submarines of WWII. They were submarine aircraft carriers able to carry three Aichi M6A Seiran aircraft underwater to their destinations. They were designed to surface, launch their planes, then quickly dive again before they were discovered. The I-400-class was designed with the range to travel anywhere in the world and return. A fleet of 18 boats was planned in 1942, but within a year the plan was scaled back to five, of which only three (I-400 at Kure, and I-401 and I-402 at Sasebo) were completed.
World War II Myths: The Me262 jet fighter and the dumb Fuehrer
One WWII myth that still endures is that the production of the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter was fatally delayed by Hitler's insistence that it be modified to carry bombs. "In fact Hitler's edict was not the main reason, or even a major reason, for the failure to deploy the fighter in the hoped-for numbers. Not until August 1944 was the average running life of the 004 jet engine raised to 25hr (still a very low figure), so that mass production could begin. In September Hitler rescinded his order that all new Me 262s be delivered as fighter-bombers. By then more than a hundred fighter airframes were sitting around without engines, and as soon as 004s became available these aircraft were delivered to the Luftwaffe. In fact Hitler's order delayed the introduction of the Me 262 into service in the fighter role by only 3 weeks."
Underwater survey results images of D-Day temporary harbour Mulberry B
The UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) has released images from a survey of the underwater remains of an artificial harbour used in World War II that was used to facilitate rapid offloading of cargo onto the beaches during the Allied landings in Normandy. The images of Mulberry B, which was one of these portable temporary harbours developed and built in total secrecy by the British, have been created from a detailed 3D map that will allow archaeologists to assess the rate of deterioration of the remains.
How Britain's failed attempt to develop a death ray changed the course of World War II
In the early 1930s, Great Britain found itself in a rather precarious position. Military theorists were predicting that the next war would be dominated by air power, and the ominous threat of aerial bombardment. To address the problem, Britain launched a number of projects in hopes of mitigating the threat — including an effort to develop a high-tech "death ray" that could shoot enemy planes out of the sky. But even though the project failed to develop such a weapon, it did result in something potentially far more useful - a technological breakthrough that would prove to play an integral role in the British victory over the Nazis during the Battle of Britain.
The Rolls-Royce Merlin: The engine that saved the free world?
For most people, an engine just gets us from A to B. But one, the Rolls-Royce Merlin, may have been the difference between freedom and tyranny. Such is its lasting impact, it was celebrated with the first ever Spitfires, Merlins and Motors event at Duxford - the Imperial War Museum's aviation centre in Cambridgeshire. Mike Evans believes the engine turned the tide of war. "Without the Merlin, we would not have won the Battle of Britain and Hitler may have crossed the channel." Designed in Derby, the Merlin had a rich heritage, developed from engines designed and used during WW1 and the peacetime air speed competition, the Schneider Trophy.
Participant recalls Operation Bumblebee - Testing US Navy ramjet missiles at the Island Beach, New Jersey
During the World War II the U.S. Navy and Johns Hopkins University used the largely vacant Island Beach State Park to develop an advanced antiaircraft missile aimed at destroying Japanese Kamikaze planes. The Navy developed missiles using ramjets, a form of jet propulsion conceived in 1908 by French engineer Rene Lorin. The project was a success, launching a missile at the staggering speed of 1,300 mph on June 3, 1945. The project was critical for the Navy, which needed a missle fast enough to catch up with the Kamikaze planes, but little evidence of the project remains at Island Beach State Park today.
Hobart's 79th Armoured Division at War: Invention, Innovation and Inspiration by Richard Doherty
For anyone with an interest in British armour of World War II, then the 79th Armoured Division, often just referred to as "The Funnies", will be a well known organisation. By the end of the war, as the book points out, the division fielded over 1400 tracked armoured vehicles, far more that the little over 300 in a standard British Armoured Division at the time. Using lots of personal recollections, the book tells the stories of the involvment of the Funnies in the Normandy landings of 1944, going on to their use in liberating the Channel Parts and the gun positions on the Pas de Calais, then going on to work in Holland and finally Germany and the Rhine Crossing.
Department MD1: Winston Churchill's Toyshop: Secret WWII Weapons and Gadgets
Did you know that Winston Churchill had a special chamber designed for air travel? It was a giant metal cocoon on his personal plane, complete with ventilation systems, inside which the great man would kick back and puff on his cigars. However, the pressure chamber pales in comparison to the products that flowed from his "toyshop", a secret division of the Ministry of Defence dedicated to WWII weapon research and development. Department MD1 was nicknamed 'Churchill's Toyshop' because they reported directly to the PM. MD1 were responsible for inventing a swathe of unusual bombs and weaponry, including the PIAT (Projector Infantry Anti-Tank), the first magnetic Limpet naval mines, and the Sticky Bomb.
TED talks: Malcolm Gladwell tells the strange tale of the Norden bombsight (Video)
TED talks Video: Malcolm Gladwell tells the strange tale of the Norden bombsight, which costed much more than the Manhattan project to create atomic bombs.
The greatest WWII innovations - and how they changed the technology we use today
Saying that the Second World War changed the world is a massive understatement, since it completely shaped the technological world that we live in now. With the war spreading across the globe, the stakes were incredibly high and governments put vast sums of money into the research and development of technology to help them win the war. WW2 saw projects being green lit that in peacetime wouldn't have gotten off the ground.
America's first wind tunnel resulted in countless improvements that gave US pilots a critical edge (photos)
In 1929, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics began construction on a massive and unique facility: the Full-Scale Tunnel. Housed in a huge building in Virginia, the nation's first wind tunnel for testing full-size airplanes had a 30-foot by 60-foot maw through which two fans powered by 4,000-horsepower motors blew air at speeds of up to 120 miles an hour. Tunnel's finest hour was during WWII, when it operated non-stop as both the Navy and the Army sent a steady stream of military aircraft to Langley for tests. Early versions of every high-performance fighter aircraft were evaluated allowing for countless design improvements that gave American pilots a critical edge in combat.
Britain could have crushed Germany in 3 years if RAF had not rejected plans for world's first jet fighter
The Allies would have crushed Nazi Germany 'within three years' if the RAF had not rejected plans by a British inventor to build the world's first jet-powered fighter planes, claims a new book called "JET: Frank Whittle and the Invention of the Jet Engine". Inventor Sir Frank Whittle was told his designs for a 500mph jet were 'totally unrealistic' and RAF refused to invest a penny. Unfortunately the document fell into enemy hands and was used as the blueprint for Nazi jet development programme. If the RAF had backed Whittle, Britain's air force could have defeated the Luftwaffe's fleet of propeller-powered aircraft by 1942.
Operation Crossbow: How 3D glasses stopped V-1 and V-2 rockets
V-1 missiles and V-2 rockets brought terror to England. Their impact could have been all the more devastating were it not for the fact that British intelligence worked in three dimensions. Their secret weapon was a stereoscope - a simple Victorian invention which brought the Nazi landscape into 3D. 3D glasses allowed the PIs (photographic interpreters) to measure height of unidentified new structures - such as rockets and their launch sites. All they needed were maps: Pilots from the Photographic Reconnaissance unit, created in 1940, risked their lives by flying unarmed - well, each Spitfire had 5 cameras - over Europe to take millions of photos, generating 36 million prints.
OSS officer Christian Lambertsen created early scuba device and worked with WWII underwater operations
Christian J. Lambertsen, who in 1939 invented an underwater breathing system called "Lambertsen Amphibious Respiratory Unit" (LARU) and who later helped coin the acronym "scuba", has passed away at 93. Astonishingly the U.S. Navy initially rejected his device, but the Office of Strategic Services (OSS, the predecessor of the CIA) realized its value. After joining OSS, Lambertsen set up the first units of U.S. military operational combat swimmers and worked with OSS units on underwater espionage missions in Burma.
For photographs of Lambertsen Amphibious Respiratory Unit visit this website.
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.
10 strange WWII weapons: Me109 fighters without weapons, V3 cannon, BA349 fighter didn't need runways
(10) X-Class Midget Submarines were 15.55 metres (51ft) long with a crew of 4. --- (9) V-3 cannon was supergun using multi-charges to increase velocity. --- (8) Sonderkommando ELBE consisted of Me-109s, stripped of weapons and armor to increase their speed, designed to use their propellers to destroy the bomber's tail. --- (7) Yokosuka MXY7 Ohka (Cherry Blossom) was rocket powered kamikaze attack plane. --- (6) Anti-tank dogs. (5) --- Bachem BA349 was rocket-powered vertical takeoff interceptor aircraft. --- (4) Bat Bombs. --- (3) Pigeon Guided Missile. --- (2) Project Habakkuk aimed to build aicraft carriers from ice. --- (1) Silbervogel (Silver Bird) Bomber was a rocket-powered sub-orbital bomber.
Curtis Grubb Culin III invented WWII "Tank Tusks" to break through anti-tank obstacles and hedgerows
Curtis Grubb Culin III invented the item that helped Allied tanks plow through the German anti-tank obstacles and the hedgerows of Nazi-occupied Normandy. He devised a modification to go on the front of the Sherman tank, enabling it to drive through the hedgerows - instead of going over the hedgerows and revealing the tank's vulnerable underside. Sgt. "Bud" Culin developed the modification, demonstrated them to his captains, and then saw his plans spread to over half of the American tanks. Lt. Gen. Omar Bradley stated it would revolutionize warfare, and ordered as many "Culin Cutters" as possible be made.
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.
Rare engine of a military drone -- a Radioplane OQ-3 -- found in Killingly
Frank Boyle didn't know what he had discovered while helping a neighbour clear out her house, but he knew the old engine wasn't trash. "I asked her if she wanted it, and she said I could take it." He took the mysterious machine and examined its propeller, antique carburetor and an id tag that revealed it as a product of McCulloch Aviation, headquartered in Milwaukee. After research, he identified the engine as that of a military drone, a Radioplane OQ-3, the most common drone used by American soldiers for WWII target practice. Aviation historians say that of the 9,400 planes made, 6 are intact.
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).
Man claims: U.S. super-fuel enabled Spitfire and Hurricane pilots to win the Battle of Britain
A US science writer has claimed that Spitfire and Hurricane were not as significant in beating the Luftwaffe as we think. Tim Palucka says that the British fighters were able to outmanoeuvre their Nazi opponents because they were running on a high-octane fuel created in the US. "Luftwaffe pilots couldn't believe they were facing the same planes they had fought successfully over France a few months before. The planes were the same, but the fuel wasn't." The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) invites experts to challenge the claims: "If it's refutable we want it to be refuted. The Spitfire is ... an icon... but the possibility should be aired."
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.
Germany's Last Mission To Japan: The Failed Voyage of U-234 by Joseph Mark Scalia
In 1945, just weeks before surrendering, Nazi Germany sent cargo submarine U-234 to Japan with a load of latest technology. The manifest included jet aircraft, radar sets infrared tracking devices and samples of German aircraft engines. Since Nazis included blueprints, the u-boat's value to Japan was incalculable. The submarine also carried raw material (like lead, mercury and optical glass) that Japan desperately needed. Also aboard were 1,200 pounds of uranium oxide and two Japanese officers. Even the U-234 was valuable: It was equipped with a snorkel, a secret device that enabled a sub to run its diesel engines while submerged.
Bletchley Park fires up replica Turing Bombe - The legendary Enigma-busting kit
Bletchley Park will fire up a replica Turing Bombe to mark the Engineering Heritage Award which recognises the 13 years of hard work which have gone into re-building the legendary Enigma-busting kit. The Bombe was the brainchild of Alan Turing and Gordon Welchman, and the 210 machines built by the British Tabulator Machine Company did critical work cracking encoded German military traffic - a feat which shortened the Second World War by two years. The original devices were destructed after the war on security grounds, but in 1970 a set of blueprints surfaced and the idea to reconstruct a Bombe was born.
The Norden bombsight in World War II
One of the biggest WWII secrets was the Norden bombsight - an invention of Carl Norden. It was a huge step in the evolution of bombsights, which dated back to WWI, when pilots used a crosshairs telescope. The WWII Norden bombsight consisted of two main parts: a stabilizer and a sight-head. The stabilizer was a platform that was kept level by a series of gyroscopes, and was attached to the plane's autopilot, so that during the last phases of a bombing run the stabilizer flew the plane. By the end of WWII 45,000 USAAF and USAF bombardiers had been checked out on the Norden bombsight - after signing papers promising to protect the bombsight with their lives.
Jan. 13, 1942: Helmut Schenck becomes is the first to use an ejection seat in an emergency
At the height of WWII, German test pilot Helmut Schenck becomes the first person known to use an ejection seat to exit his aircraft in an emergency situation. Schenck, testing a Heinkel He-280 jet fighter, was in tow when his plane iced up. He threw away his cockpit cover and activated the seat. Powered by compressed gas, it catapulted him clear of the aircraft. Another Heinkel pilot had previously ejected under test conditions. Nazi Germany, which developed the Me-262, led the way in developing the ejection seat. Ejection seats were set up in several Luftwaffe jet-aircraft models, including the Heinkel He-162 Volksjäger, the Arado Ar-2348 Nachtigal and the Me-163 Komet.
Battles of Belief in World War II - The story of American radio warfare
It's easy to look back on the Seoncd World War and get the impression that America was united in fighting "The Good War." Battles of Belief, a documentary from American RadioWorks, tells 2 little-known stories that reveal the struggle for hearts and minds in wartime. Using rare archival recordings and interviews with former spies, the program tells the story of radio warfare. [real-audio]
Paul Nelson restores WWII-vintage bombsights - Norden bombsight
Paul Nelson is a collector and restorer of a World War II-vintage Norden bombsight device. Steadied by a pair of gyroscopes, and equipped with an on-board "computer" that gave readings of when and where bombs could be dropped, Nordens were "Top Secret." In 1922 Carl Norden thought to use gyroscopic instruments to make the crude devices with crosshairs steady, and for a "mechanical calculator" to make calculations on when to release a bomb in order to strike a target. "If there's no turbulence, no flack and no fighters chasing you, this device is pretty accurate. But that almost never happened - which was why you had 1,000-plane formations and carpet bombing."
The dawn of helicopter flight 100 years ago will be honored
On June 13, 1907, the first piloted helicopter flew, and crashed, in France. Designed and piloted by Maurice Léger, the machine took off, hovered, slipped sideways and fell. By 1936 the first practical helicopters appeared. In Nazi Germany, Heinrich Focke - best known as the designer of the Luftwaffe's Focke-Wulf fighters - produced the Focke-Achgelis helicopter, which in 1937 was flown by the world's first female test and helicopter pilot Hanna Reitsch from Bremen to Berlin. In World War II helicopters became for the first time a part of the military arsenal. Mainly deployed for reconnaissance missions, they were also used for the first time in 1944 for combat rescue.
Hidden WWII underground engineering wonder at Red Hill (Article no longer available from the original source)
450 feet underground, a little-known rail car and its engine start up, and true to its name, the Howling Owl subway begins its ride down old cane tracks to Pearl Harbor. The underground train, along with the 20 massive fuel tanks holding 252 million gallons in Red Hill, were built in the early 1940s for wartime needs. In 1995, the American Society of Civil Engineers placed once top secret facility alongside Hoover Dam, the Eiffel Tower, Panama Canal and Statue of Liberty as a historic landmark. The Red Hill project, known as "The Underground" back then, was intended as a fuel storage site that was safe from attack.
HMT Rohna sinking no longer secret: Smart bomb classified for decades
Tammy Andries began by asking how many had heard of the USS Arizona, the ship on which 1,177 crewmen lost their lives on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Every veteran raised his hand. Andries then said: "How many here have heard of the HMT Rohna?" Not one hand went up. On Nov. 26, 1943, the British ship HMT Rohna carrying American soldiers was sunk by a German air attack in the Mediterranean Sea. The number of dead on the Rohna was 1149, including 1015 Americans. As the truth has emerged, so have theories as to why it was classified for decades. The Rohna was sunk by a German airplane that had for the first time fired a radio-controlled glider bomb: a "smart bomb."
New generation german U-Boat too little, too late for Third Reich
In the waning days of WW2, U-2511 under Adalbert Schnee puts to sea from Bergen. It marks the first and only combat patrol by German U-boat Type XXI Elektroboot. Had the boat been accorded a higher priority in the armaments pecking order the Battle of the Atlantic might have turned out differently. U-2511 closed to within 500 meters of the British cruiser HMS Norfolk without being picked up by sonar. The Type XXI, displacing 1,620 tons and armed with 6 forward torpedo tubes, would be used as a prototype for the Cold War U.S. and Soviet subs. There were also quantum leaps in sonar and radar technology - where Nazis had lagged throughout WW2.
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.
Colossus Rebuild Project - Photo of nearly rebuilt Colossus
Some say the ABC at Iowa State Univ. was the first computer. Others credit Eniac, which wasn't first but got the public and government excited about computing. However, it's hard to underestimate about the influence of Colossus. The programmable system at Bletchley Park, England, helped crack the secret codes of the Third Reich and speed up the end of WW2. The MK 1 Colossus was built in 1943 and used 1,500 vacuum tubes to calculate. By June 1944, subsequent Colossus machines using 2,000 valves were cracking German high-command codes to pave the way for D-Day.
WWII weapons plant where scientists tested a-bomb technology
A former chemical weapons factory where British scientists contributed to early atomic bomb technology should be preserved, experts are to say. The Valley Works at Rhydymwyn produced hundreds of tons of mustard gas in World War Two. The work included evaluating the atomic bomb research, codenamed Operation Tube Alloys, which made the site one of Britain's greatest wartime secrets. Many of the scientists who worked on Operation Tube Alloys, were sent to work on the Manhattan Project, which developed the first atomic bomb.
Space Race starts off from the Third Reich missile program
"Space Race" starts off in a small Baltic village in 1945 with a chilling account of the Nazi missile program, Adolf Hitler's last hope for saving the Third Reich. There, under von Braun 5,000 nazi scientists were developing the V-2 rocket, Vengeance Weapon. The V-2s were manufactured at Mittelwerk, a giant underground factory. At the end of the war, von Braun escaped capture by Soviet troops and moved to the US with hundreds of other engineers. US turned a blind eye to von Braun's past in the Nazi Party and SS. The Soviets sent their own team to Germany, bringing back missile parts and thousands of engineers. Sergei Korolyov was put in charge of the V-2 design.
75 Years of Porsche Engineering Services: Cars and Panzers
On 25 April 1931 Ferdinand Porsche founded an Engineering Office. The Type 64 racing car built in 1938/39 is the original ancestor of all sports cars to follow from Porsche in the decades to come. 1939 Porsche was requested by the German Army to develop a medium-weight battle tank, but work was discontinued due to greater demand for heavier tanks. So developing the Tank 101 "Tiger", Porsche KG submitted its bid to the Army Armament for the building of a tank in the weight category above 50 tonnes. In 1942 Porsche got the assignment to build a very heavy armoured car - known as the Tank 205 "Maus", but only two prototypes were built.
1939 UK began to organise a unit of camouflage specialists (Article no longer available from the original source)
On the outbreak of war in 1939, the British government began to organise a unit of camouflage specialists which would become the Camouflage Development and Training Centre at Farnham Castle, staffed not by regular officers, but artists. In the WW1 British painters had helped develop the art, refining the aesthetic experiments of Vorticism to create visually baffling 'dazzle ships' for the Royal Navy. By 1939, with the new reality of air bombardment, the government built on this achievement and commissioned a broad base of talent charged with devising an effective means of bewildering the enemy.
Mines in the sky and other wartime oddities - A Summer Bright And Terrible (Article no longer available from the original source)
Hitler's Luftwaffe was supposed to reduce Britain to rubble that summer. Everyone knew it could. The German bombers were too fast, too high and too strong for the English fighters' puny machine guns. But by 1940, Air Marshall Hugh Dowding could see them coming, thanks to radar. During the Battle of Britain, Dowding began having encounters with the ghosts of the pilots he lost. Eventually, he went the whole psychic route, worked with a medium, made contact with pilots who had passed beyond and passed along their messages to their widows. The science adviser Lindemann got the idea of seeding the sky with aerial mines on parachutes in front of the German bomber formations.
How did the development of the "atom bomb" fare in Hitler's Germany?
In 1939, Erich Schumann, head of the Berlin weapons research office of the German Army Ordnance, had a nuclear team including Otto Hahn and Heisenberg. It seemed that Hitler's Nazi Germany would develop the "atom bomb" ahead of the US. The man who prevented it was Hitler, not that he underestimated the it's geostrategic importance - he compared the advent of nuclear weapons to that of gunpowder. If Hitler had been given a promise that the nuclear weapons could be expected not later than, say 1943, Hitler probably would not have launched a conventional war, but concentrated the resources on the nuclear project.
Project Paperclip: Dark side of the Moon
Sixty years ago the US hired Nazi scientists to lead pioneering projects, such as the race to conquer space. These men provided the US with cutting-edge technology which still leads the way today, but at a cost. The end of World War II saw an intense scramble for Nazi Germany's many technological secrets. The Allies vied to plunder as much equipment and expertise as possible from the rubble of the Thousand Year Reich for themselves, while preventing others from doing the same.
Last known witness to detonation of "disintegration bomb"
Author Luigi Romersa is the last known witness to what he and some historians believe was the experimental detonation of a rudimentary weapon on an island in the Baltic in 1944. Romersa said that when Mussolini had met Hitler earlier in the conflict, the Nazi dictator had alluded to Germany's development of weapons capable of reversing the course of the war. After meeting Josef Goebbels and Hitler in Nazi Germany, Romersa was shown around the Nazis' top-secret weapons plant at Peenemünde and then, on October 12 1944, taken to island of Rügen, where he watched the detonation of what his hosts called a "disintegration bomb".
Improbable but true - Allied top secret project to build ice ships
In 1942 the Allies were developing plans for the re-occupation of Europe, and Winston Churchill favoured large floating platforms to support the landings. In addition the allies had heavy merchant shipping losses from German U-boats, due to "mid Atlantic Air Gap." Churchill welcomed the idea of building large ships made of ice as presented to him by Lord Louis Mountbatten - Chief of Combined Operations, which developed equipment for offensive operations. One of his advisers presented the idea of constructing "berg-ships", up to 4,000 feet long, that could be made from ice. The ships would be insulated and cooled, made practically immune to bombs or torpedoes.
Hanna Reitsch: Hitler's Female Test Pilot
Groundbreaking pilot Hanna Reitsch was determined to fly and she would set more than 40 records in her lifetime. But she was tragically slow to recognize the ruin into which the Nazis were leading her homeland. In 1936 Reitsch met Ernst Udet, head of the Technical Branch of the Ministry of Aviation and the highest-scoring German fighter ace to survive WW1. At the time, she was working on the development of dive brakes for gliders. After demonstrating the use of dive brakes in a vertical dive before Udet, other Luftwaffe generals and German aircraft designers, she was awarded the honorary rank of Flugkapitän, the first woman ever so honored.
Martin Schilling, Developer of V-2 Missile at Peenemunde
Martin Schilling who worked with Wernher von Braun at Peenemunde, Germany, during World War II to develop the world's first large ballistic missile, the V-2, died on April 30. Although not a decisive weapon, the 47-foot-long V-2 (Vergeltungswaffe 2, or Vengeance Weapon 2) with its one-ton warhead, was one to inspire dread among Allied civilians and soldiers alike. About 1,000 V-2's were fired at London during the war, and some 4,000 were launched against Allied soldiers. Because the V-2 traveled at an altitude of 60 miles and a speed of one mile per second, faster than the speed of sound, there was no warning of its approach.