Wunderwaffe is German for "wonder-weapon", and was a term assigned by the German propaganda ministry to a number of revolutionary "superweapons".
Most of these weapons however remained feasible prototypes, or reached the combat theatre too late, and in too insignificant numbers to have a military effect.
The V-weapons, which were developed earlier, and saw considerable deployment (especially against London and Antwerp), trace back to the same pool of highly inventive armament concepts.
Panzerkampfwagen VIII 'Maus'
Landkreuzer P. 1000 'Ratte'
|H44 (top) compared to USS Montana and Bismark|
On 8 February 1942, Albert Speer became the Reichsminister for Armaments and Munitions and gained influence over the Navy's construction programs.
Speer reassigned some members of the H class design staff to work on new U-boats and other tasks deemed critical to the war effort.
The Schiffsneubaukommission (New Ships Construction Commission), intended to liaise with Speer and the OKM, was created and placed under the direction of Admiral Karl Topp.
This group was responsible for the design work that resulted in the H-42 type, as well as the subsequent designs.
The Construction Office of the OKM formally concluded their work on new battleships with the H-41 type and played no further role in battleship development.
After the completion of the H-41 design, Hitler issued a request for a larger battleship and placed no restrictions on gun caliber or displacement. The only requirements were a speed of 30 kn (56 km/h; 35 mph), horizontal and underwater protection sufficiently strong enough to protect the vessel from all attacks, and a main battery properly balanced with the size of the ship.
The results were purely study projects intended to determine the size of a ship with strong enough armor to counter the rapidly increasing power of bombs deployed by the Allies during the war.
The first design, H-42, was 305 m (1,001 ft) long between perpendiculars and had a beam of 42.8 m (140 ft) and a draft of 11.8 m (39 ft) designed and 12.7 m (42 ft) at full load.
The designed displacement was 90,000 t (89,000 long tons; 99,000 short tons) and at full load rose to 96,555 long tons (98,104 t).
The dimensions for the second, H-43, increased to 330 m (1,080 ft) between perpendiculars, a beam of 48 m (157 ft), and design and full load drafts of 12 m (39 ft) and 12.9 m (42 ft), respectively.
Design displacement was 111,000 t (109,000 long tons; 122,000 short tons) and estimated at 118,110 long tons (120,010 t) at full load.
For the final design, H-44, the length rose to 345 m (1,132 ft) between perpendiculars, the beam increased to 51.5 m (169 ft), and draft rose to 12.7 m (42 ft) as designed and 13.5 m (44 ft) at full load.
The displacement for H-44 was 131,000 t (129,000 long tons; 144,000 short tons) as designed and up to 139,272 long tons (141,507 t) at full load.
William Garzke and Robert Dulin state that all three designs featured hybrid diesel/steam turbine plants, each supplying 266,000 shp (198,000 kW) for top speeds of 31.9 kn (59.1 km/h; 36.7 mph), 30.9 kn (57.2 km/h; 35.6 mph), and 29.8 kn (55.2 km/h; 34.3 mph) for H-42, H-43, and H-44, respectively. According to Garzke and Dulin, the designs had a speed of 24 kn (44 km/h; 28 mph), 23 kn (43 km/h; 26 mph), and 22.5 kn (41.7 km/h; 25.9 mph), respectively, on just diesel engine power. Both sources agree on a maximum range of 20,000 nmi (37,000 km; 23,000 mi) at a cruising speed of 19 kn (35 km/h; 22 mph).
The armament for H-44, which was to have been eight 50.8 cm (20.0 in) guns.
The H-42 and H-43 were to be armed with eight 48 cm guns.
The secondary armament was to have consisted of twelve 15 cm L/55 guns and sixteen 10.5 cm L/65 guns.
In addition there would be six submerged 53.3 cm torpedo tubes.
Panzerkampfwagen VIII 'Maus'
|Panzerkampfwagen VIII 'Maus'|
Panzerkampfwagen VIII Maus (Mouse) was a German World War II super-heavy tank completed in late 1944.
It is the heaviest fully enclosed armoured fighting vehicle ever built.
Only two hulls and one turret were completed before the testing grounds were captured.
An incomplete tank was captured by British forces.
These two prototypes – one with, one without turret – underwent trials in late 1944.
The complete vehicle was 10.2 metres (33 ft 6 in) long, 3.71 metres (12 ft 2 in) wide and 3.63 metres (11.9 ft) tall.
Weighing 200 metric tons, the Maus's main armament was a 128 mm KwK 44 L/55 gun (55 calibers long barrel), based on the 12.8 cm Pak 44 anti-tank artillery piece also used in the casemate-type Jagdtiger tank destroyer, with an added coaxial 75 mm gun.
The 128 mm gun was powerful enough to destroy all enemy armored fighting vehicles at close or medium ranges, and even some at ranges exceeding 3,500 metres (3,800 yd).
The principal problem in development of the Maus was finding a powerful enough engine for its weight that could be carried in the tank.
Though the design called for a maximum speed of 20 kilometres per hour (12 mph), no engine was found that could power the prototype to more than 13 kilometres per hour (8.1 mph) under ideal conditions.
The weight also made it impossible to cross most bridges; it was intended to ford or submerge and use a snorkel to cross rivers.
Landkreuzer P. 1000 'Ratte'
|Landkreuzer P. 1000 Ratte|
The Landkreuzer P. 1000 Ratte (Land Cruiser P. 1000 "Rat") was a design for a super-heavy tank for use by Germany.
It was designed in 1942 by Krupp with the approval of Adolf Hitler, but the project was canceled by Albert Speer in early 1943 and no tank was ever completed.
At 1,000 metric tons, the P-1000 would have been over five times as heavy as the Panzer VIII Maus, the heaviest tank ever built.
The development history of the Ratte originated with a 1941 strategic study of Soviet heavy tanks conducted by Krupp, the study also giving birth to the Panzer VIII 'Maus' super-heavy tank.
The study led to a suggestion from Krupp director Grote, who on June 23, 1942 proposed to Hitler a 1,000-tonne tank which he named a Landkreuzer.
|Landkreuzer P. 1000 Ratte|
It was to be armed with naval artillery and armored with 10 inches (25 cm) of hardened steel, so heavily that only similar weapons could hope to affect it.
To compensate for its immense weight, the Ratte would have been equipped with three 1.2 metre (3.9 ft) wide treads on each side with a total tread width of 7.2 metres (24 ft).
The Ratte was to be propelled by two MAN V12Z32/44 24 cylinder marine diesel engines of 8,500 hp (6.2 MW) each (as used in U-boats) or eight Daimler-Benz MB 501 20 cylinder marine diesel engines of 2,000 hp (1.5 MW) each to achieve the 16,000 hp (11.8 MW) needed to move this tank. The engines were to be provided with snorkels also like those used by German submarines. The snorkels were designed to provide a way for oxygen to reach the engine, even during amphibious operations passing through deep water.
The Ratte's primary weapon would have been a dual 280 mm SK C/28 gun turret.
The turret was to have been a modified Kriegsmarine triple gun turret, removing one of the guns and loading mechanism.
Further armament was to consist of a 128 mm anti-tank gun of the type used in the Jagdtiger or Maus, two 15 mm Mauser MG 151/15 autocannons, and eight 20 mm Flak 38 anti-aircraft guns, probably with at least four of them as a quad mount.
The 128 mm anti-tank gun's precise location on the Ratte is a point of contention among historians, most believing that it would have been mounted within the primary turret, with some others thinking a smaller secondary turret at the rear of the Ratte more logical.
Some concept drawings exist to suggest a flexible mount on the glacis plate.
The tank was to be provided with a vehicle bay sufficient to hold two BMW R12 motorcycles for scouting, as well as several smaller storage rooms, a compact infirmary area, and a self-contained lavatory system.
|Arado Ar 234|
The Arado Ar 234 was the world's first operational jet-powered bomber, built by the German Arado company.
Produced in very limited numbers, it was used almost entirely in the reconnaissance role, but in its few uses as a bomber it proved to be nearly impossible to intercept.
It was the last Luftwaffe aircraft to fly over England during the war, in April 1945.
The Ar 234 was commonly known as the 'Blitz' ("lightning"), although this name refers only to the B-2 bomber variant, and it is not clear whether it derived from the informal term 'Blitz-Bomber' ( "fast bomber"), or was ever formally applied.
The alternate name 'Hecht' ("pike") is derived from one of the units equipped with this aircraft, Sonderkommando Hecht.
In autumn 1940, the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (Reich Air Ministry) offered a tender for a jet-powered, high-speed reconnaissance aircraft, with a range of 2,156 km (1,340 mi).
Arado was the only company to respond, offering their E.370 project, led by Professor Walter Blume.
This was a high-wing conventional-looking design with a Junkers Jumo 004 engine under each wing.
The projected weight for the aircraft was approximately 8 tonnes (7.9 long tons; 8.8 short tons). In order to reduce the weight of the aircraft and maximize the internal fuel, Arado did not use the typical retractable landing gear; instead, the aircraft was to take off from a jettisonable three-wheeled, nosegear-style trolley, and land on three retractable skids, one under the central section of the fuselage, and one under each engine nacelle.
Arado estimated a maximum speed of 780 km/h (480 mph) at 6,000 m (20,000 ft), an operating altitude of 11,000 m (36,000 ft) and a range of 1,995 km (1,240 mi).
|Arado Ar 234|
The range was short of the Ministry request, but they liked the design and ordered two prototypes as the Ar 234.
These were largely complete before the end of 1941, but the Jumo 004 engines were not ready, and would not be ready until February 1943.
When they did arrive, they were considered unreliable by Junkers for in-flight use, and were only cleared for static and taxi tests.
Flight-qualified engines were finally delivered that spring, and the Ar 234 V1 made its first flight on 15 June 1943 at Rheine Airfield.
By September, four prototypes were flying.
Later the eight prototype aircraft were fitted with the original arrangement of trolley-and-skid landing gear, intended for the planned operational, but never-produced Ar 234A version.
Differences between the pair of four-engined Ar 234 prototype aircraft
The sixth and eighth of the series were powered with four BMW 003 jet engines instead of two Jumo 004s, the sixth having four engines housed in individual nacelles, and the eighth flown with two pairs of BMW 003s installed within "twinned" nacelles underneath either wing.
These were the first four-engine jet aircraft to fly.
The Ar 234 V7 prototype made history on 2 August 1944 as the first jet aircraft ever to fly a reconnaissance mission, flown by Erich Sommer.
The few 234 Bs entered service in the autumn and impressed their pilots.
They were fairly fast and completely aerobatic.
The long take-off runs led to several accidents; a search for a solution led to improved training as well as the use of rocket-assisted take-off.
The engines were always the real problem; they suffered constant flame-outs and required overhaul or replacement after about 10 hours of operation.
The most notable use of the Ar 234 in the bomber role was the attempt to destroy the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen.
Between 7 March, when it was captured by the Allies, and 17 March, when it finally collapsed, the bridge was continually attacked by Ar 234s of III/KG 76 carrying 1,000 kg (2,200 lb) bombs. The aircraft continued to fight in a scattered fashion until Germany surrendered on 8 May 1945.
Overall from the summer of 1944 until the end of the war a total of 210 aircraft were built. In February 1945, production was switched to the C variant. It was hoped that by November 1945 production would reach 500 per month.
|Junkers Ju 287|
The Junkers Ju 287 was a German aerodynamic test-bed built to develop the technology required for a multi-engine jet bomber.
It was powered by four Junkers Jumo 004 engines, featured a revolutionary forward-swept wing, and apart from said wing, was assembled largely from components scavenged from other aircraft.
The Ju 287 was intended to provide the Luftwaffe with a bomber that could avoid interception by outrunning enemy fighters.
|Junkers Ju 287|
The swept-forward wing was suggested by the project's head designer, Dr. Hans Wocke as a way of providing extra lift at low air-speeds - necessary because of the poor responsiveness of early turbojets at the vulnerable times of take-off and landing.
A further structural advantage of the forward-swept wing was that it would allow for a single massive weapons bay forward of the main wing-spar.
The first prototype was intended to evaluate the concept.
Two of the Jumo 004 engines were hung under the wings, with the other two mounted in nacelles added to the sides of the forward fuselage.
|Junkers Ju 287|
Flight tests began on 8 August 1944 (pilot: Siegfried Holzbaur), with the aircraft displaying extremely good handling characteristics.
The 287 was intended to be powered by four Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011 engines, but because of the development problems experienced with that motor, the BMW 003 was selected in its place.
The second and third prototypes, V2 and V3, were to have employed six of these engines, in a triple cluster under each wing.
Both were to feature the all-new fuselage and tail design intended for the production bomber, the Ju 287A-1. V3 was to have served as the pre-production template, carrying defensive armament, a pressurised cockpit and full operational equipment.
Work on the Ju 287 programme, along with all other pending German bomber projects (including Junkers' other ongoing heavy bomber design, the piston-engined Ju 488) came to a halt in July 1944, but Junkers was allowed to go forward with the flight testing regime on the V1 prototype.
The wing section for the V2 had been completed by that time.
In March 1945, for reasons that are not entirely clear, the Ju 287 programme was restarted, with the RLM issuing a requirement for mass production of the jet bomber (100 airframes a month) as soon as possible.
The V1 prototype was taken out of storage and transferred to the Luftwaffe evaluation centre at Rechlin, but was destroyed in an Allied bombing raid before it could take to the air again. Construction on the V2 and V3 prototypes was resumed at the Junkers factory near Leipzig, and intended future variant designs (meant for service in 1946) were dusted off.
These included the Ju 287B-1, seeing a return to the original powerplant choice of four 2866-lb thrust HeS 011 turbojets; and the B-2, which was to have employed two 7700-lb thrust BMW 018 turbofans.
The final Ju 287 variant design to be mooted was a Mistel combination-plane ground attack version, comprising an unmanned explosives-packed "drone" 287 and a manned Me 262 fighter attached to the top of the bomber by a strut assembly.
The cockpit of the 287 would be replaced by a massive impact-fused warhead.
Take-off and flight control of the combination would be under the direction of the 262's pilot.
The 262 would disengage from the 287 drone as the Mistel neared its target, the pilot of the fighter remotely steering the 287 for the terminal phase of its strike mission.
In 1944, Reichsmarschall Goring instructed the Messerschmitt and Junkers to design and produce very long-range bombers which would be capable of carrying a 4,000 kg bomb load, at high speeds and over extreme distances, to mount strategic air strikes against the US and USSR.
After test-fly the Junkers Ju.287 forward-swept wings design, the RLM declared the forward-swept wing to be the ideal configuration for a high speed bomber. Parallel to the Mersserschmitt and Junkers works, the BMW designers also began to develop forward-swept wing bomber project.
The Schnellbomber Project II was powered by two BMW 109-028 turboprop engines, each with shaft output of 6,570 hp and additional residual thrust.
The engines were mounted on two sponsons above the fuselage.
This arrangement being chosen to keep the exhaust gases well away from the tail control surface.
|BMW Hütter Hü 324|
The Hütter Hü 324 was the final development stage of BMW's 'Schnellbomber II' project, which had been designed around two mighty BMW 109-028 turboprops.
These innovative engines had been developed since February 1941, but did not receive fullest attention due to the more promising jet engines.
Anyway, it soon became clear that no jet engine with the potential to drive a bomber-sized aircraft - considering both performance and fuel consumption - would be available on short notice.
Consequently, the BMW 028 received more attention from the RLM from 1943 on.
Greatest pressure came from the fact that several obsolete types like the He 111 or Do 217 had to be replaced, and the ill-fated and complicated He 177 was another candidate with little future potential, since four-engined variants had been rejected.
Additionally, the promising and ambitious Ju 288 had been stillborn, and a wide gap for a tactical medium bomber opned in the Luftwaffe arsenal.
|Blohm und Voss P.188|
The Blohm und Voss P.188 was a four engine jet bomber.
The fuselage center section was designed as an armored steel shell which was to hold the fuel supply, with the forward and rear sections being bays for the tandem twin main landing gear wheels.
The wing had a constant 3 degree dihedral and was of a very novel design, featuring both a 20 degree swept back inner section and then a 20 degree swept forward outer section.
This was calculated to give good performance at both low and high speeds.
|Blohm und Voss P.188|
The only drawback was excessive air pressure on the wing tips, which was to be corrected by a variable incidence system which could be adjusted through 12 degrees.
A crew of two sat in the extensively glazed, pressurized cockpit, which was flush with the fuselage.
Four Jumo 004C turbojets were mounted in four single nacelles, two beneath each wing.
There were also an auxiliary 'outrigger' type landing gear outboard of the engine nacelles, these being more to steady the aircraft, and did not touch the ground when it was on an even keel. The tail was of a single fin and rudder design, and the extreme tail had an airbrake.
There was no armament fitted and the bom-bload was 1000 kg (2200 lbs.) which was to be carried internally.
The 'Amerika Bomber' Project
This was an initiative of the Reichsluftfahrtministerium, to obtain a long-range bomber for the Luftwaffe that would be capable of striking the continental United States from Germany. Requests for designs were made to the major German aircraft manufacturers early in World War II, long before the US had entered the war.
There were a several different configurations of the design considered, the most striking being the E.555-1.
This was a six-jet, angular flying wing design, with remotely-operated turrets, and capable of carrying a large payload.
All of these projects were deemed too expensive and ambitious and were abandoned in late 1944.
Daimler-Benz Project C
|Daimler-Benz Project C|
This was a huge carrier aircraft, carrying either five "Project E" aircraft or six "Project F" aircraft.
The smaller aircraft had jet-engines and were designed to be kamikaze-airplanes.
|Daimler-Benz Project C|
The 'Huckepack Projekt' was brought up again at multiple joint conferences between the Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine.
However, after a few weeks the plan was abandoned on August 21, 1942. Air Staff General Kreipe wrote in his diary that the German Navy could not supply a U-boat offshore of the United States to pick up the aircrew.
The plan saw no further development, since the Kriegsmarine would not cooperate with the Luftwaffe.
Sanger Silbervogel (silver bird), was a design for a rocket-powered sub-orbital bomber aircraft produced by Eugen Sänger and Irene Bredt in the late 1930s for The Third Reich..
It is also known as the RaBo (Raketenbomber or "rocket bomber").
It was one of a number of designs considered for the 'Amerika Bomber Project', which started out in the spring of 1942.
The design was a significant one, as it incorporated new rocket technology, and the principle of the 'lifting body', foreshadowing future development of winged spacecraft.
The Silbervogel was intended to fly long distances in a series of short hops.
The aircraft was to have begun its mission propelled along a 3 km (2 mi) long rail track by a large rocket-powered sled to about 800 km/h (500 mph).
Once airborne, it was to fire its own rocket engine and continue to climb to an altitude of 145 km (90 mi), at which point it would be travelling at some 5,000 km/h (3,100 mph).
It would then gradually descend into the stratosphere, where the increasing air density would generate lift against the flat underside of the aircraft, eventually causing it to "bounce" and gain altitude again, where this pattern would be repeated.
Because of drag, each bounce would be shallower than the preceding one, but it was still calculated that the Silbervogel would be able to cross the Atlantic, deliver a 4,000 kg (8,800 lb) bomb to the continental United States, and then continue its flight to a landing site somewhere in the Japanese held Pacific, a total journey of 19,000 to 24,000 km (12,000 to 15,000 mi).
|Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet,|
The Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet, designed by Alexander Lippisch, was a German rocket-powered fighter aircraft.
It is the only rocket-powered fighter aircraft ever to have been operational.
Its design was revolutionary, and the Me 163 was capable of performance unrivaled at the time.
Messerschmitt test pilot Rudy Opitz in 1944 reached 1,123 km/h (698 mph).
Over 300 aircraft were built.
The biggest concern about the design was the short flight time, which never met the projections made by Walter.
With only seven and a half minutes of powered flight, the fighter truly was a dedicated point defense interceptor.
To improve this, the Walter firm began developing two more advanced versions, with two separate combustion chambers of differing sizes, oriented one above the other, with greater efficiency.
The Bachem Ba 349 Natter (Viper) was a German point-defence rocket powered interceptor, which was to be used in a very similar way to a manned surface-to-air missile.
After vertical take-off, which eliminated the need for airfields, the majority of the flight to the Allied bombers was to be controlled by an autopilot.
The primary mission of the relatively untrained pilot, perhaps better called a gunner, was to aim the aircraft at its target bomber and fire its armament of rockets.
The pilot and the fuselage containing the rocket motor would then land under separate parachutes, while the nose section was disposable.
The 'Natter' was a development from a design he had worked on at Fieseler, the Fi 166 concept, but considerably more radical than the other submissions.
It was built using glued and nailed wooden parts with an armour plate bulkhead and bulletproof glass windshield at the front of the cockpit.
The initial plan was to power the machine with a Walter HWK 109-509 A2 rocket motor, however, only the 109-509 A1 unit was available as used in the Me 163 rocket aircraft.
It had a sea level thrust of 1,700 kg.
Four Schmidding SG34 solid fuel rocket boosters were also used at launch to provide an additional thrust of 1,200 × 4 = 4,800 kg for 10 seconds before they were jettisoned.
The experimental prototypes slid up a 20 m high vertical steel launch tower for a maximum sliding length of 17 m in three guideways, one for each wing tip and one for the lower tip of the ventral tail fin. By the time they left the tower it was hoped that the aircraft would have achieved sufficient speed to allow their aerodynamic surfaces to provide stable flight.
Under operational conditions once the Natter had left the launcher it would be guided to the proximity of the Allied bombers by an autopilot.
Only then would the pilot take control, aim and fire the armament, - a salvo of 19 R4M rockets.
The 'Natter' was intended to fly up and over the bombers, by which time its Walter motor would probably be out of propellants.
The pilot would dive his Natter, now effectively a glider, to an altitude of around 3,000 m, flatten out, release the nose of the Natter and a small braking parachute from the rear fuselage.
The fuselage would decelerate and the pilot would be ejected forwards by his own inertia and land by a personal parachute.
The Focke-Wulf Ta 183 'Huckebein' was a design for a jet-powered fighter aircraft intended as the successor to the Messerschmitt Me 262 and other day fighters in Luftwaffe.
It was developed only to the extent of wind tunnel models when the war ended
The name Huckebein is a reference to a trouble-making raven (Hans Huckebein der Unglücksrabe) from an illustrated story by Wilhelm Busch.
Development of the Ta 183 started as early as 1942 as Project VI, when the engineer Hans Multhopp assembled a team to design a new fighter, based on his understanding that previous Focke-Wulf design studies for jet fighters had no chance of reaching fruition because none had the potential for transonic speeds.
The aircraft was intended to use the advanced Heinkel HeS 011 turbojet, although the first prototypes were to be powered by the Junkers Jumo 004B.
Early studies also included an optional 1,000 kgf (10 kN) thrust rocket engine for takeoff and combat boost, much as the special "003R" version of the BMW 003 jet engine was meant to use, with fuel and oxidiser for up to 200 seconds of burn time stored in drop tanks under the wings.
The wings were swept back at 40° and were mounted in the mid-fuselage position.
The wings appear to be mounted very far forward compared with most designs, a side-effect of attempting to keep the center of pressure (CoP) of the wing as a whole as close to the middle of the fuselage as possible.
Multhopp chose to use wood instead of metal throughout the wing structure with wooden ribs were attached to the front and back of the I-beams to give the wing its overall shape, and then covered with plywood. The box-like structure contained six fuel cells, giving the aircraft a total fuel load of 1,565 l (413 US gal).
The original design used a T-tail, with a notably long vertical stabilizer and a seemingly undersized horizontal stabilizer.
The vertical tail was swept back at 60°, and the horizontal tail was V-shaped and dihedralled. The horizontal surface was used only for trimming, the main pitching force being provided by the ailerons, which were well behind the center of gravity and thus could provide both pitch and roll control, functioning as elevon control surfaces, as Messerschmittt's Me 163 Komet rocket fighter already did.
The Ta 183 had a short fuselage with the air intake passing under the cockpit and proceeding to the rear where the single engine was located.
The pilot sat in a pressurized cockpit with a bubble canopy which provided excellent vision.
The primary armament of the aircraft consisted of four 30 mm (1.18 in) MK 108 cannons arranged around the air intake.
It was also possible to carry a bomb load of 500 kg (1,100 lb), consisting of one SD or SC 500 bomb, one BT 200 bomb, five SD or SC bombs or a Rb 20/30 reconnaissance camera.
The weapons load would be carried in the equipment space in the bottom of the fuselage and thus partially protrude about halfway from the fuselage, possibly allowing for other armament packages such as the Ruhrstahl X-4 wire-guided missile.
Multhopp's team also seriously explored a second version of the basic design, known as Design III, a modified Design II (it is unknown what Design I referred to). The first of these had only minor modifications, with slightly differently shaped wingtips and repositioning of the undercarriage.
The second version had a reduced sweepback to 32°, allowing the wing and cockpit to be moved rearward.
The tail was also redesigned, using a short horizontal boom to mount the control surfaces just above the line of the rear fuselage.
This version looks considerably more "conventional" to the modern eye, although somewhat stubby due to the short overall length of the HeS 011.
In the last few weeks of the war, it was decided that the Huckebein was really the best design and, at a meeting in Bad Eilsen, Tank was told to arrange mock-ups and to plan for full production.
It had a planned speed of about 1,000 km/h (620 mph) at 7,000 m (22,970 ft) and it was estimated that 300 aircraft per month would be delivered when production got into its stride, each aircraft being produced in 2,500 man hours.
A total of 16 prototypes was to be built, allowing the tail unit to be interchanged between the Design II and III variations.
The first flight of the aircraft was projected for May 1945, but none was completed by 8 April 1945.
Henschel Hs 132
|Henschel Hs 132|
Henschel's Hs 132 was a dive bomber and interceptor aircraft of the German Luftwaffe that never saw service.
The unorthodox design featured a top-mounted BMW 003 jet engine (identical in terms of make and position to the powerplant used by the Heinkel He 162) and the pilot in a prone position.
There had been interest in the idea of a prone pilot for combat aircraft to reduce the effect of g-forces during maneuvering.
Several aircraft had already experimented with this layout for various reasons, the Horten IIIf had a prone pilot, but this was primarily to reduce drag in this high-performance glider, while the DFS 228 reconnaissance glider also used a prone pilot to make it easier to seal its pressurized cabin.
It was not until the Berlin B9 was built specifically to test this arrangement for improved g-load that any serious effort toward development could be carried out.
Starting in early 1943, the Berlin B9 twin-piston engined experimental aircraft demonstrated that it was indeed possible for a pilot to fly the aircraft lying down, and that it did improve his ability to handle high loads.
The pilot had an extremely restricted field of view upward or to the rear that made it suitable only for certain roles, including bombers or fighters or interceptors with a major speed advantage over their opposition.
The genesis for the Hs 132 was an 18 February 1943 specification published by the German Air Ministry calling for a single-seat shipping attack aircraft to counter an expected invasion of Europe.
A piston-engined aircraft was called for at the time, but the performance requirements led to a switch to jet power.
The aircraft that emerged had a roughly cigar-shaped fuselage with short-span mid-set wings and a horizontal stabilizer with considerable dihedral ending in twin rounded rudders.
The BMW 003 engine was mounted on the back of the aircraft above the wing, likely to make servicing easier due to the low ground height of the aircraft that put the engine roughly shoulder-height.
|Henschel Hs 132|
The sharply dihedraled 'butterfly' twin rudder arrangement kept the tail surfaces and rudder assemblies clear of the jet efflux.
The cockpit was completely faired into the fuselage contour, with a rounded clear nose-cone on the front of the aircraft.
Behind this was the actual "window," a large armored-glass plate located some distance behind the extreme nose.
The design in terms of engine mounting and tailplane bore a very strong resemblance to the contemporary 'Volksjäger' (people's fighter) design competition winner, the Heinkel He 162 'Spatz' (sparrow).
The basic A model was armed with one 500 kg bomb and no other armament.
It was to begin its attack in a shallow dive outside the ships' range of fire, and after reaching a speed of 910 km/h (565 mph), the pilot would "toss" the bomb at the target using a simple computerized sight, and then climb back out of range. The aircraft was designed to withstand 12 gs during pullout.
THE HORTEN BROTHERS
|Walter Horten and Reimar Horten|
Walter Horten (born 13 November 1913; died 9 December 1998 in Baden-Baden, Germany) and Reimar Horten (born 12 March 1915; died 14 August 1993 in Villa General Belgrano, Argentina), sometimes credited as the Horten Brothers, were German aircraft pilots and enthusiasts.
Although they had little, if any, formal training in aeronautics or related fields, the Hortens designed some of the most advanced aircraft of the 1940s, including the world's first jet-powered flying wing, the Horten Ho 229.
Between the World Wars, the Treaty of Versailles limited the construction of German military airplanes. In response, German military flying became semi-clandestine, taking the form of civil "clubs" where students trained on gliders under the supervision of decommissioned World War I veterans.
As teenagers, the Horten brothers became involved in such flying clubs.
This back-to-the-basics education, and an admiration of German avant-aircraft designer Alexander Lippisch, led the Hortens away from the dominant design trends of the 1920s and 1930s, and toward experimenting with alternative airframes — building models and then filling their parents' house with full-sized wooden sailplanes.
The first Horten glider flew in 1933, by which time both brothers were members of the Hitler Youth.
The Hortens' glider designs were extremely simple and aerodynamic, generally consisting of a huge, tailless albatross-wing with a tiny cocoon of a fuselage, in which the pilot lay prone.
The great advantage of the Horten designs was the extremely low parasitic drag of their airframes.
They were "slick" and scalable to high speeds.
In 1937, the Hortens began using motorized airplanes, with the debut of the twin-engined pusher-prop airplane H.VII (an earlier glider had a mule engine).
The Luftwaffe, however, did not actually use many of the Hortens' designs until 1942, but gave enthusiastic support to a twin-turbojet-powered fighter/bomber design, designated under wartime protocols as the Horten H.IX.
For their completion of the three Ho 229 prototypes (V1,V2,V3) the Horten brothers were awarded 500,000 Reichmarks.
For their completion of the three Ho 229 prototypes (V1,V2,V3) the Horten brothers were awarded 500,000 Reichmarks.
In 1939 Walter and Reimar had entered the Luftwaffe as pilots.
They were also called upon as design consultants, though Germany's aeronautical community tended to regard the Hortens not as part of the cultural elite, however, both were members of the NSDAP.
Walter participated in the Battle of Britain, secretly flying as the wingman for Adolf Galland, and shot down seven British aircraft.
Securing the allocation of turbojets was difficult in wartime Germany, as other projects carried higher priority due to their rank in the overall war effort.
Although the turbojet-equipped Ho 229 V2 nearly reached a then-astonishing 500 mph in trials, the production of the third prototype V3 was given over to the coach-builder Gothaer Waggonfabrik, subsequently called Gotha Go 229.
The Ho 229 was a fighter jet with great potential, but arrived too late to see service.
Its revolutionary stealth design included a special carbon layer (glue mixed with carbon powder) that was able to reduce the radar range detection.
The Horten brothers also worked on the Horten H.XVIII, an intercontinental bomber that was part of the 'Amerika Bomber' project (see above).
Among other advanced Horten designs of the 1940s was the supersonic delta-wing H.X, designed as a hybrid turbojet/rocket fighter with a top speed of Mach 1.4, but tested only in glider form (as the Horten H.XIII).
Horten H.IX - Ho 229
|Horten Ho 229 - Gotha Go 229|
The Horten H.IX, RLM designation Ho 229 (often called Gotha Go 229 due to the identity of the chosen manufacturer of the aircraft) was a German prototype fighter/bomber designed by Reimar and Walter Horten and built by Gothaer Waggonfabrik late in World War II.
It was the first pure flying wing powered by jet engines.
It was given the personal approval of German Luftwaffen Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, and was the only aircraft to come close to meeting his "3×1000" performance requirements, namely to carry 1,000 kilograms (2,200 lb) of bombs a distance of 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) with a speed of 1,000 kilometres per hour (620 mph). Its ceiling was 15,000 metres (49,000 ft).
Since the appearance of the B-2 Spirit flying wing stealth bomber in the 1990s, its similarities in role and shape to the Ho 229 has led many to retrospectively describe the Ho 229 as "the first stealth bomber".
In the early 1930s, the Horten brothers had become interested in the 'flying wing' design as a method of improving the performance of gliders.
The German government was funding glider clubs at the time because production of military and even motorized aircraft was forbidden by the Treaty of Versailles after World War I.
The flying wing layout removes any "unneeded" surfaces and, in theory at least, leads to the lowest possible weight.
A wing-only configuration allows for a similarly performing glider with wings that are shorter and thus sturdier, and without the added drag of the fuselage. The result was the Horten H.IV.
In 1943, Reichsmarschall Göring issued a request for design proposals to produce a bomber that was capable of carrying a 1,000 kilograms (2,200 lb) load over 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) at 1,000 kilometres per hour (620 mph); the so-called "3 X 1000 project".
Conventional German bombers could reach Allied command centers in Great Britain, but were suffering devastating losses from Allied fighters.
At the time, there was no way to meet these goals — the new Junkers Jumo 004B turbojets could provide the required speed, but had excessive fuel consumption.
The Hortens concluded that the low-drag flying wing design could meet all of the goals: by reducing the drag, cruise power could be lowered to the point where the range requirement could be met.
They put forward their private project, the H.IX, as the basis for the bomber.
The Reichsluftfahrtministerium approved the Horten proposal, but ordered the addition of two 30 mm cannons, as they felt the aircraft would also be useful as a fighter due to its estimated top speed being significantly higher than that of any Allied aircraft.
The H.IX was of mixed construction, with the center pod made from welded steel tubing and wing spars built from wood.
The wings were made from two thin, carbon-impregnated plywood panels glued together with a charcoal and sawdust mixture.
The wing had a single main spar, penetrated by the jet engine inlets, and a secondary spar used for attaching the elevons.
The wing's chord/thickness ratio ranged from 15% at the root to 8% at the wingtips.
The aircraft utilized retractable tricycle landing gear, with the nose-gear on the first two prototypes sourced from a He 177's tail-wheel system, with the third prototype using an He 177A main gear wheel-rim and tire on its custom-designed nose-gear strut-work and wheel fork.
A drogue parachute slowed the aircraft upon landing.
The pilot sat on an ejection seat. It was originally designed for the BMW 003 jet engine, but that engine was not quite ready and the Junkers Jumo 004 engine was substituted.
Control was achieved with elevons and spoilers.
The control system included both long span (inboard) and short span (outboard) spoilers, with the smaller outboard spoilers activated first.
This system gave a smoother and more graceful control of yaw than would a single spoiler system.
Like the Ho 229, it would have possessed similar stealth characteristics, as well as a large fuel capacity for transatlantic missions.
Based on data from the 229 design, experts have estimated the H.XVIII would have been able to evade radar detection until it was within eight minutes of the east coast of the United States, making allied interception prior to payload delivery highly unlikely.
The A model of the H.XVIII was a long, smooth blended wing.
Its six jet engines were buried deep in the wing and the exhausts centered on the trailing end. Resembling the Horten Ho 229 flying wing fighter there were many odd features that distinguished this aircraft; the jettisonable landing gear and the wing made of wood and carbon based glue, are but two.
The aircraft was first proposed for the 'Amerika Bomber' project and was personally reviewed by Hermann Göring, after review, the Horten brothers were forced to share design and construction of the aircraft with Junkers and Messerschmitt engineers, who wanted to add a single rudder fin as well as suggesting under-wing pods to house the engines and landing gear.
The B model of the H.XVIIIB was generally the same as the A model, except the four (down from six) engines and four-wheel retractable landing gear were now housed in under-wing pods, and the three-man crew housed under a bubble canopy.
The aircraft was to be built in huge concrete hangars, and operate off long runways with construction due to start in autumn 1945, but the end of the war came with no progress made. Armament was considered unnecessary due to the expected high performance.
The C model of the H.XVIII was based on the air-frame of the H.XVIIIA with a huge tail.
It had an MG 151 turret set in the middle rear of the wing and with six BMW 003 turbojets slung under the wings; this was designed by Messerschmitt and Junkers engineers.
It is uncertain if this overall design was directly developed by the Horten brothers, or their manufacturer, as there is little surviving evidence of this proposed version.
It was eventually rejected by the Horten brothers, as it was not a major improvement over the Ho XVIIIA.
The Focke-Wulf Triebflügel, or Triebflügeljäger, literally meaning "thrust-wing fighter", was a German concept for an aircraft designed in 1944, as a defense against the ever-increasing Allied bombing raids on central Germany.
It was a Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) tailsitter interceptor design for local defense of important factories or areas which had small or no airfields.
The Triebflügel had only reached wind-tunnel testing when the Allied forces reached the production facilities.
No complete prototype was ever built.
The design was particularly unusual.
It had no wings, and all lift and thrust were provided by a rotor/propeller assembly in the middle of the craft (roughly halfway between cockpit and tailplane).
When the plane was sitting on its tail in the vertical position, the rotors would have functioned similarly to a helicopter.
When flying horizontally, they would function more like a giant propeller.
The three rotor blades were mounted on a ring assembly supported by bearings, allowing free rotation around the fuselage.
At the end of each was a ramjet.
To start the rotors spinning, simple rockets would have been used.
As the speed increased, the flow of air would be sufficient for the ramjets to work and the rockets would expire.
The pitch of the blades could be varied with the effect of changing the speed and the lift produced.
There was no reaction torque to cause a counter rotation of the fuselage since the rotor blades were driven at their tips by the ramjets.
Fuel was carried in the fuselage tanks, and was piped through the centre support ring and along the rotors to the jets.
A cruciform empennage at the rear of the fuselage comprised four tailplanes, fitted with moving ailerons that would also have functioned as combined rudders and elevators.
The tailplane would have provided a means for the pilot to control a tendency of the fuselage to rotate in the same direction as the rotor caused by the friction of the rotor ring, as well as controlling flight in pitch, roll and yaw.
A single large and sprung wheel in the extreme end of the fuselage provided the main undercarriage.
Four small castoring wheels on extensible struts were placed at the end of each tailplane to steady the aircraft on the ground and allow it to be moved.
The main and outrigger wheels were covered by streamlined clamshell doors when in flight.
When taking off, the rotors would be angled to give lift as with a helicopter or, more accurately, a gyrodyne.
Once the aircraft had attained sufficient altitude it could be angled into level flight.
This required a slight nose-up pitch to provide some downward thrust as well as primarily forward thrust, consequently, the four cannons in the forward fuselage would have been angled slightly downward in relation to the centre line of the fuselage.
The rotors provided the only significant lift in horizontal flight.
To land, the craft had to slow its speed and pitch the fuselage until the craft was vertical.
This design was unique among 20th-century VTOL craft, and other German concept craft.
The Heinkel Lerche (Lark) was the name of a set of project studies made by German aircraft designer Heinkel in 1944 and 1945 for a revolutionary VTOL fighter and ground-attack aircraft.
The Lerche was an early coleopter design.
It would take off and land sitting on its tail, flying horizontally like a conventional aircraft.
The pilot would lie prone in the nose.
Most remarkably, it would be powered by two contra-rotating propellers which were contained in a donut-shaped annular wing.
The remarkably futuristic design was developed starting 1944 and concluding in March 1945. The aerodynamic principles of an annular wing were basically sound, but the proposal was faced with a whole host of unsolved manufacture and control problems which would have made the project highly impractical even were it not for the materials shortages of late-war Germany.
'Wasserfall' Ferngelenkte FlaRakete
|Wasserfall Ferngelenkte FlaRakete|
The Wasserfall Ferngelenkte FlaRakete (Waterfall Remote-Controlled A-A Rocket), was a guided surface-to-air missile developed at Peenemünde, Germany.
In spite of considerable development, Wasserfall never became operational.
Wasserfall was essentially an anti-aircraft development of the V-2 rocket, sharing the same general layout and shaping.
Since the missile had to fly only to the altitudes of the attacking bombers, and needed a far smaller warhead to destroy these, it could be much smaller than the V-2, about 1/4 the size.
The Wasserfall design also included an additional set of fins located at the middle of the fuselage to provide extra maneuvering capability.
Unlike the V-2, Wasserfall was designed to stand ready for periods of up to a month, and fire on command, therefore the volatile liquid oxygen used in the V-2 was inappropriate.
A new engine design, developed by Dr. Walter Thiel, was based on Visol (vinyl isobutyl ether) and SV-Stoff, or 'red fuming nitric acid' (RFNA), (94% nitric acid, 6% dinitrogen tetroxide).
This hypergolic mixture was forced into the combustion chamber by pressurizing the fuel tanks with nitrogen gas released from another tank.
|'Wasserfall' Ferngelenkte FlaRakete|
Wasserfall was to be launched from rocket bases (code-named Vesuvius) that could tolerate leaked hypergolic fuels in the event of a launch problem.
Guidance was to be a simple radio control manual command to line of sight (MCLOS) system for use against daytime targets, but night-time use was considerably more complex because neither the target nor the missile would be easily visible.
For this role a new system known as 'Rheinland' was under development.
'Rheinland' used a radar unit for tracking the target and a transponder in the missile for locating it in flight, read by a radio direction finder on the ground).
A simple analog computer guided the missile into the tracking radar beam as soon as possible after launch, using the transponder to locate it, at which point the operator could see both "blips" on a single display, and guide the missile onto the target as during the day.
Steering during the launch phase was accomplished by four graphite rudders placed in the exhaust stream of the combustion chamber, and (once high airspeeds had been attained) by the four air rudders mounted on the rocket tail.
Commands were sent to the missile using a modified version of the "Kehl-Strassburg" (code name Burgund) joy-stick system used to direct 'Henschel Hs 293' glide bomb, which had some significant successes against allied ships in the Mediterranean.
The original design had called for a 100 kg warhead, but because of accuracy concerns it was replaced with a much larger one (306 kg) based on a liquid explosive.
The idea was to create a large blast area effect in the middle of the enemy bomber stream, which would conceivably bring down several airplanes for each missile deployed.
For daytime use the operator would detonate the warhead by remote control.
Conceptual work began in 1941, and final specifications were defined on November 2, 1942. After the first successful firing (the third prototype) on March 8, 1944, three Wasserfall trial launches were completed by the end of June 1944.
The following February saw a successful launch which reached a speed of 770 m/s (2,800 km/h) in vertical flight.
Thirty-five Wasserfall trial firings had been completed by the time Peenemünde was evacuated on February 17, 1945.
Its name comes from the mythical Rheintöchter (Rhinemaidens) of Richard Wagner's opera series 'Der Ring des Nibelungen'.
Rheintochter was ordered in November 1942 by the German army (Wehrmacht).
Starting in August 1943, 82 test firings were made.
An air-launched version was also designed.
The project was cancelled on February 6, 1945.
The initial R1 variant was powered by a two-stage solid-fuel rocket.
Because this variant lacked the ability to reach high altitudes, the R3 model was developed, which had a liquid fuel engine with solid-fuel boosters.
|Rheinbote (Rhine Messenger)|
Rheinbote (Rhine Messenger) was a German short range ballistic rocket developed during World War II. It was intended to replace, or at least supplement, large-bore artillery by providing fire support at long ranges in an easily transportable form.
One of the problems for the German military, and indeed any mobile military force, is the weight of the artillery and, more importantly, its ammunition.
In traditional combat two forces would meet on the battlefield and then wait while the artillery was brought forward to settle the battle, notably if one side was in prepared defenses.
Of course this hurry-up-and-wait was exactly what the Blitzkrieg was attempting to avoid, by moving so quickly the enemy forces would not have any time to organize a defense, however this meant that the infantry would be facing forces that were dug in and provided with artillery support, with no such support of their own.
In the opening stages of World War II the Luftwaffe was so overwhelming that they were able to address this by providing "flying artillery" in the form of the Junkers Ju 87 'Stuka' dive bomber, but this was an expensive solution to the problem.
A better solution would be very long-range artillery, organized into the army or corps level instead of the battalion.
Units facing dug-in troops would call in artillery from far to the rear, and the artillery would only have to be moved after the troops had moved fairly long distances.
This would also mean that a single supply line and organizational group would be able to provide fire support to the entire army, greatly reducing the logistics required, however this is difficult to achieve, as normal artillery grows in weight dramatically as the range is increased. Artillery capable of supporting an army over a front of, say, 150 km, would be considerably heavier and slower moving than a number of smaller guns. The longest range systems until that point had been the World War I Paris Guns, which had a range of just over 100 km but were so huge as to be completely immobile.
The solution was the rocket. Rockets can be made to fire to any appreciable range, but their weight scales roughly linearly instead of exponentially with range (at least for shorter range systems). On the downside, rocket artillery was notoriously inaccurate, a problem accentuated with increased range. Although a rocket might have the range to replace a large gun, it was not clear that it would be able to hit targets at that range. Rheinbote was built in order to test that question.
Developed in 1943 by the Rheinmetall-Borsig company, the first test flights were carried out that year.
Several changes were made to the system, but the basic design remained the same: a long rocket, stabilized with fins at the extreme rear.
The 'Rheinbote' carried a 40 kg warhead to an effective range of 160 km.
The final version consisted of a four-stage rocket fueled by diglycol propellant, and reached over 220 km in testing.
For shorter ranges some of the stages could be removed.
It was launched from a simple rail on a mobile trailer.
Over 220 were constructed and fired against Antwerp between November 1944 and the end of the war.
Some were fired from positions near the town of Nunspeet in Holland.
|Henschel Hs 117 Schmetterling|
The Henschel Hs 117 Schmetterling (Butterfly) was a TV guided German surface-to-air missile project. There was also an air-to-air version.
The operator used a telescopic sight and a joystick to guide the missile by radio control.
In 1941, Professor Herbert A. Wagner (who was previously responsible for the Henschel Hs 293 anti-ship missile) invented the Schmetterling missile and submitted it to the Reich Air Ministry (RLM), who rejected the design because there was no need for more anti-aircraft weaponry, however, by 1943 the large-scale bombing of Germany caused the RLM to change its mind, and Henschel was given a contract to develop and manufacture it.
There were 59 experimental firings.
In May 1944 23 Hs 117 missiles were successfully tested.
Mass production was ordered in December 1944, with deployment to start in March 1945.
In January 1945 a prototype for mass production was completed, but on 6 February SS-Obergruppenführer Hans Kammler cancelled the project.
V-1 Flying Bomb
The V-1 flying bomb (Vergeltungswaffe 1) was an early pulse-jet-powered predecessor of the cruise missile.
The V-1 was developed at Peenemünde Airfield by the German Luftwaffe.
During initial development it was known by the codename "Cherry Stone".
The first of the so-called Vergeltungswaffen series designed for bombing of London, the V-1 was fired from "ski" launch sites along the French (Pas-de-Calais) and Dutch coasts.
The first V-1 was launched at London on 13 June 1944..
At its peak, more than one hundred V-1s a day were fired at southeast England, 9,521 in total, decreasing in number as sites were overrun until October 1944, when the last V-1 site in range of Britain was overrun by Allied forces.
This caused the remaining V-1s to be directed at the port of Antwerp and other targets in Belgium, with 2,448 V-1s being launched.
The attacks stopped when the last site was overrun on 29 March 1945.
Ignition of the Argus pulse jet was accomplished using an automotive type spark plug located about 2.5 ft (0.76 m) behind the intake shutters, with current supplied from a portable starting unit.
Three air nozzles in the front of the pulse jet were at the same time connected to an external high pressure air source which was used to start the engine.
Acetylene gas was typically used for starting, and very often a panel of wood or similar material was held across the end of the tailpipe to prevent the fuel from diffusing and escaping before ignition.
Once the engine had been started and the temperature had risen to the minimum operating level, the external air hose and connectors were removed and the engine's resonant design kept it firing without any further need for the electrical ignition system, which was used only to ignite the engine when starting.
The V-1 guidance system used a simple autopilot to regulate altitude and airspeed, developed by Askania in Berlin.
A weighted pendulum system provided fore-and-aft attitude measurement to control pitch (damped by a gyrocompass, which it also stabilized).
Operating power for the gyroscope platform and the flight control actuators was provided by two large spherical compressed air tanks which also pressurized the fuel tank.
With the counter determining how far the missile would fly, it was only necessary to launch the V-1 with the ramp pointing in the approximate direction, and the autopilot controlled the flight.
There were plans to use the Arado Ar 234 jet bomber to launch V-1s either by towing them aloft or by launching them from a "piggy back" position (in the manner of the Mistel, but in reverse) atop the aircraft. In the latter configuration, a pilot-controlled, hydraulically operated dorsal trapeze mechanism would elevate the missile on the trapeze's launch cradle some eight feet clear of the 234's upper fuselage.
This was necessary to avoid damaging the mother craft's fuselage and tail surfaces when the pulse jet ignited, as well as to ensure a 'clean' airflow for the Argus motor's intake.
A4 (V-2 rocket)
The V-2 (Vergeltungswaffe 2, "retaliation weapon 2"), technical name Aggregat-4 (A4), was a short-range ballistic missile specifically targeted at London and later Antwerp.
Commonly referred to as the V-2 rocket, the liquid-propellant rocket was the world's first long-range combat-ballistic missile, and first known human artifact to enter outer space.
It was the progenitor of all modern rockets, including those used by the United States and Soviet Union's space programs.
The A4 was a rocket with a range of about 175 kilometers (109 mi), a top altitude of 80 kilometers (50 mi) and a payload of about a tonne.
|Werner von Braun|
In the late 1920s, a young Wernher von Braun acquired a copy of Hermann Oberth's book, 'Die Rakete zu den Planetenräumen' (The Rocket into Interplanetary Space).
Wernher Magnus Maximilian, Freiherr von Braun (March 23, 1912 – June 16, 1977) was a German rocket scientist, aerospace engineer, space architect, and one of the leading figures in the development of rocket technology in Germany during World War II.
Starting in 1930, he attended the Technical University of Berlin, where he assisted Oberth in liquid-fueled rocket motor tests.
Von Braun was working on his creative doctorate when the NSDAP gained power in Germany.
An artillery captain, Walter Dornberger, arranged an Ordnance Department research grant for von Braun, who from then on worked next to Dornberger's existing solid-fuel rocket test site at Kummersdorf.
Von Braun's thesis, 'Construction, Theoretical, and Experimental Solution to the Problem of the Liquid Propellant Rocket '(dated 16 April 1934), was kept classified by the German army and was not published until 1960.
By the end of 1934, his group had successfully launched two rockets that reached heights of 2.2 and 3.5 km (1.4 and 2.2 mi).
|Walter Dornberger and von Braun|
|Werner von Braun|
It became clearer that von Braun's designs were turning into real weapons, and Dornberger moved the team from the artillery testing grounds at Kummersdorf (near Berlin) to a small town, Peenemünde, on the island of Usedom on Germany's Baltic coast, in order to provide more room for testing and greater secrecy.
Major-General Dr Walter Robert Dornberger (6 September 1895 - 27 June 1980) was a German Army artillery officer whose career spanned World Wars I and II. He was a leader of Germany's V-2 rocket program and other projects at the Peenemünde Army Research Center.
Production started in 1943 on the rocket, now known as the 'Vergeltungswaffe' 2 (Vengeance Weapon 2) or 'V-2', at the insistence of Goebbels' propaganda ministry.
The A-4 used a 75% ethanol/water mixture for fuel and liquid oxygen (LOX) for oxidizer.
At launch the A-4 propelled itself for up to 65 seconds on its own power, and a program motor controlled the pitch to the specified angle at engine shutdown, from which the rocket continued on a ballistic free-fall trajectory.
The rocket reached a height of 80 km (50 mi) after shutting off the engine.
The fuel and oxidizer pumps were steam turbines, and the steam was produced by concentrated hydrogen peroxide with sodium permanganate catalyst.
Both the alcohol and oxygen tanks were an aluminium-magnesium alloy.
The combustion burner reached a temperature of 2500–2700 °C (4500 – 4900 °F).
The alcohol-water fuel was pumped along the double wall of the main combustion burner.
This regenerative cooling heated the fuel and cooled the chamber.
The fuel was then pumped into the main burner chamber through 1,224 nozzles, which assured the correct mixture of alcohol and oxygen at all times.
Small holes also permitted some alcohol to escape directly into the combustion chamber, forming a cooled boundary layer that further protected the wall of the chamber, especially at the throat where the chamber was narrowest.
The boundary layer alcohol ignited in contact with the atmosphere, accounting for the long, diffuse exhaust plume.
The V-2 was guided by four external rudders on the tail fins, and four internal graphite vanes at the exit of the motor.
The LEV-3 guidance system consisted of two free gyroscopes (a horizontal and a vertical) for lateral stabilization, and a PIGA accelerometer to control engine cutoff at a specified velocity. The V-2 was launched from a pre-surveyed location, so the distance and azimuth to the target were known.
Fin 1 of the missile was aligned to the target azimuth.
Some later V-2s used "guide beams", radio signals transmitted from the ground, to keep the missile on course, but the first models used a simple analog computer that adjusted the azimuth for the rocket, and the flying distance was controlled by the timing of the engine cut-off, "Brennschluss", ground controlled by a Doppler system or by different types of on-board integrating accelerometers.
he rocket stopped accelerating and soon reached the top of the approximately parabolic flight curve.
A4-SLBM - Projekt 'Schwimmweste'
In late 1943 Deutsche Arbeitsfront Director, Otto Lafferenz, proposed the idea of a towable watertight container which could hold an A4 rocket.
This suggestion progressed to the design of a container of 500 tons displacement to be towed behind a U-boat.
Once in firing position, the containers would be trimmed to bring them vertical for launch.
The project was dubbed 'Projekt Schwimmweste' and the containers themselves referred to by the codename Prüfstand XII.
Work on the containers was carried out by the Vulkanwerft, and a single example was completed by the end of the war, but never tested with a rocket launch.
The A7 was a winged design that was never fully constructed.
It was worked on between 1940 and 1943 at Peenemünde for the Kriegsmarine (German Navy).
The A7 was similar in structure to the A5, but had larger tail unit fins (1.621 m²) in order to obtain greater range in gliding flight.
Two unpowered models of the A7 were dropped from airplanes in order to test flight stability; no powered test was ever performed.
The finished rocket should have produced a takeoff thrust of 15 kN and a takeoff weight of 1000 kg. The design had a diameter of 0.38 m and a length of 5.91 m.
The A8 was a proposed "stretched" variant of the A4, to use storable propellants (most likely nitric acid & kerosene).
The design never reached the prototype stage, but further design work was carried out after the war by a German rocket team in France as the "Super V-2".
The project was eventually cancelled.
It was proposed to use an advanced version of the A9 to attack targets on the US mainland from launch sites in Europe, for which it would need to be launched atop a booster stage, the A10.
Design work on the A10 began in 1940, for a projected first flight to take place in 1946.
The initial design was carried out by Ludwig Roth und Graupe and was completed on 29 June 1940.
Hermann Oberth worked on the design during 1941, and in December 1941 Walter Thiel proposed that the A10 use an engine composed of six bundled A4 engines, which it was thought would give a total thrust of 180 tonnes.
Work on the A10 was resumed in late 1944 under the 'Projekt Amerika' codename, and the A10's design was amended to incorporate a cluster of 6 A4 combustion chambers feeding into a single expansion nozzle.
This was later altered to a massive single chamber and single nozzle.
Test stands were constructed at Peenemunde for firings of the 200 tonne thrust motor.
It was considered that existing guidance systems would not be accurate enough over a distance of 5,000 km, and it was decided to make the A9 piloted.
The pilot was to be guided on his terminal glide towards the target by radio beacons on U-boats and by automatic weather stations landed in Greenland and Labrador.
The final design of the A10 booster was approximately 65 ft (20 m) in height.
Powered by a 375,000 lbf (1,670 kN) thrust rocket burning diesel oil and nitric acid, during its 50 second burn it would have propelled its A9 second stage to a speed of about 2,700 mph (4,300 km/h) and an altitude of 245 mi (394 km).
The A11 ('Japan Rakete') was a design concept which would have acted as the first stage of a three stage rocket, the other two stages being the A9 and A10.
The A11 design was shown by von Braun to US officers in Garmisch-Partenkirchen; the drawing was later published in 1946 by the US Army.
The A11 was shown as using six of the large single-chamber engines proposed for the A10 stage, with a modified A10 second stage nested within the A11.
The design also showed the winged A9, indicating a gliding landing or bombing mission.
To achieve orbit, either a new "kick stage" would have been required, or the A9 would have to have been lightened.
In either case, only a payload of approximately 300 kg (660 lb) could have been placed in a low earth orbit.
The A12 design was a true orbital rocket.
It was proposed as a four-stage vehicle, comprising A12, A11, A10 and A9 stages. Calculations suggested it could place as much as 10 tonnes payload in low Earth orbit.
The A12 stage itself would have weighed around 3,500 tonnes fully fuelled, and would have stood 33 m (108 ft) high.
It was to have been propelled by 50 A10 engines, fuelled by liquid oxygen and alcohol.
The sun gun was a theoretical orbital weapon that was researched by Nazi Germany during World War II.
In 1929, the German physicist Hermann Oberth developed plans for a space station from which a 100 metre-wide concave mirror could be used to reflect sunlight onto a concentrated point on the earth.
Later during World War II, a group of German scientists at a research centre in Hillersleben began to expand on Oberth’s idea of creating a super-weapon that could utilize the sun's energy.
This so-called "sun gun" would be part of a space station 5,100 miles above Earth.
The scientists calculated that a huge reflector, made of metallic sodium and with an area of 3.5 square miles, could produce enough focused heat to make an ocean boil or burn a city.
After being questioned by Allied officers, the Germans claimed that the sun gun could be completed within 50 or 100 years.
During the early 1940s German engineers developed a sonic cannon that could literally shake a person apart from the inside.
A methane gas combustion chamber leading to two parabolic dishes pulse-detonated at roughly 44 Hz.
This infrasound, magnified by the dish reflectors, caused vertigo and nausea at 200–400 metres (220–440 yd) by vibrating the middle ear bones and shaking the cochlear fluid within the inner ear.
At distances of 50–200 metres (160–660 ft), the sound waves could act on organ tissues and fluids by repeatedly compressing and releasing compressive resistant organs such as the kidneys, spleen, and liver. (It had little detectable effect on malleable organs such as the heart, stomach and intestines.)
Lung tissue was affected at only the closest ranges as atmospheric air is highly compresable and only the blood rich alveoli resist compression.
Among the 'directed-energy' weapons German scientists investigated were 'X-Ray Beam Weapons', developed under Heinz Schmellenmeier, Richard Gans and Fritz Houtermans.
They built an electron accelerator called 'Rheotron' (invented by Max Steenbeck at Siemens-Schuckert in the 1930s, these were later called Betatrons by the Americans) to generate hard X-ray synchrotron beams for the Reichsluftfahrtministerium.
The intent was to pre-ionize ignition in aircraft engines, and hence serve as anti-aircraft DEW and bring planes down into the reach of the FLAK..
Another approach was Ernst Schiebolds 'Röntgenkanone', developed from 1943 in Großostheim near Aschaffenburg.
The Company Richert Seifert & Co from Hamburg delivered parts.
The Third Reich further developed sonic weaponry, using parabolic reflectors to project sound waves of destructive force.
Microwave weapons were also investigated.
In the summer of 1922 the first saucer-shaped Jenseitsflugmaschine (flying machine) was built whose drive was based on implosion.
It had a disk eight metres across with a second disk with a diameter of six and a half metres above and a third disk of seven metres diameter below.
These three disks had a hole at the centre of 1.8 metres across in which the drive, which was two meters and forty centimetres high, was mounted.
At the bottom the central body was cone-shaped, and there a pendulum reaching the cellar was hung that served for stabilisation.
In the activated state the top and bottom disk revolved in opposing directions to build up an electromagnetic rotating field.
|Raumflug RFZ 2|
|Messerschmitt Augsburg Works|
The performance of this first flying disk is not known, but experiments were carried out with it for two years before it was dismantled and probably stored in the Augsburg works of Messerschmidt.
In the books of several German industrial companies entries under the codename "JFM" (for Jenseitsflugmaschine) can be found that show payments towards financing this work.
Certainly the Schumann SM-Levitator emerged from this machine.
In principle the "other side flying machine" should create an extremely strong field around itself extending somewhat into its surroundings which would render the space thus enclosed including the machine a microcosm absolutely independent of the earthbound space.
At maximum strength this field would be independent of all surrounding universal forces - like gravitation, electromagnetism, radiation and matter of any kind - and could therefore manoeuvre within a gravitational or any other field at will, without acceleration forces being effective or perceptible.
After the initial failure, the first so-called German UFO also appeared in June 1934.
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|© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013|
PROJECT KRONOS AND DIE GLOCKE
Associated with the projects related to Raumflug was the 'Kronos Project' and 'Die Glocke'.
The project had gone under two code names: "Laternenträger" (lantern carrier) and "Chronos", and always involved "Die Glocke".
Kronos is the Greek god of Time - which gives rise to the speculation that the project and die Glocke was designed to test the possibilities of distorting space and time - and it has been suggested that a concave mirror on top of the device provided the ability to see "images from the past" during its operation.
Die Glocke represented the very pinnacle of SS General’s Hans Kammler's occult and super-secret SS "wonder weapons" empire.
The Bell was reportedly an object, approximately 9 ft. in diameter and 12-15 ft. tall.
The device was made out of a hard, heavy metal (depleted uranium?) and filled with a mercury like substance, violet in color.
It looked like a "Bell", hence its codename to the Germans, die Glocke.
The device was installed deep down in the earth in Wenceslas Mine.
It was comprised of two counter-rotating cylinders, rotating a purplish liquid-metallic looking substance code-named "Xerum 525" by the Germans, at high speeds;
"Xerum 525" was apparently highly radioactive, being purple in color, and housed in cylinders with lead lining 3 cm (12 in.) thick;
Other substances known to have been involved in the testing were thorium and beryllium peroxides code named "Leichtmetall".
The Bell apparently required high amounts of electrical power in its operation, and a local dam was used to generate electrical power to power up the Lanternholder [Laternenträger].
The test chamber was 30 meters square and lined with ceramic tiles.
The floors and walls were covered with heavy black rubber mats.
The test room and all electrical equipment but the Bell were disposed of after every few tests. Apparently, they became contaminated in some fashion and were disposed of in a furnace.
The housing of this device in an underground chamber lined with ceramic brick and rubber mats suggests that it gave off extremely strong electro-magnetic or electro-static field effects as well as high heat when in operation.
The reporting of metallic tastes in the mouths of what few surviving personnel there are suggests this.
The quick decay without apparent putrefaction of organic material within its field suggests effects that some would associate with scalar waves.
But what was the mysterious "Xerum 525"?