5 Secret Weapons of the Nazis

5 Secret Weapons of the Nazis


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The Nazis were famous for their development and design of innovative weapons, including their revolutionary Wunderwaffen (Miracle Weapons). Although some of the Nazis’ weapon designs were undoubtedly far-fetched and impractical – such as the Panzer 1000, a monster tank weighing 1,000 tonnes – others were highly sophisticated and way ahead of their time – and the competition.

Here are five secret Nazi weapons that were either manufactured as prototypes or actually saw action in World War Two.

1. Fritz X

The USS Savannah is pictured off Salerno on 11 September 1943 after being hit by a Fritz X.

This guided anti-ship glide munition (see main image at the top) was one of Hitler’s most secret bombs. And it’s not hard to see why. Not only was it the first precision-guided bomb to ever be deployed in combat, but on 9 September 1943 it also became the first such bomb to sink a ship in combat – the Italian battleship Roma.

Deployed by the Luftwaffe, the Fritz X was designed to penetrate armoured boats, including heavy cruisers and battleships like the Roma. The munition is considered one of the precursors to today’s anti-ship missiles and precision-guided weapons (also known as “smart bombs”).

Odette Sansom, was the most highly decorated woman, and the most decorated spy of any gender during World War II. She was awarded both the George Cross and was appointed a Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur. Her wartime exploits and later imprisonment by the Nazis made her one of the most celebrated members of the Special Operations Executive, the British sabotage and espionage organisation.

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2. Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet

Like the Fritz X, this interceptor aircraft also achieved a number of “firsts”. The only rocket-powered fighter aircraft to have ever been operational, it was also the first piloted aircraft of any type to exceed a speed of 1,000km per hour while in level flight.

But despite being revolutionary in its design and speed, the Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet proved pretty hopeless in fulfilling its intended role as an interceptor aircraft and required a highly technically able pilot to achieve any “kills”.

3. Goliath

German soldiers operate a Goliath mine with a remote control in Russia in April 1944. Credit: Bundesarchiv, Bild 101III-AhrensA-026-12 / August Ahrens / CC-BY-SA 3.0

This remote-controlled mine had caterpillar tracks and resembled a mini tank. There were two versions – one powered by electricity and one powered by petrol. Designed to carry either 60 or 100 kilogrammes of high explosives, the vehicle come weapon was destroyed by the detonation of its warhead and therefore only single-use.

The Goliath began to be deployed in early 1942 and would go on to be used on all fronts of the war where German forces were fighting. Despite its diminutive stature, it was capable of everything from destroying tanks to demolishing buildings and other structures, such as bridges.

4. Horten Ho 229

This prototype fighter and bomber was the first flying wing plane to be powered by jet engines. Its design was a response to a call from Luftwaffe commander Hermann Göring for a light bomber that would be capable of carrying 1,000kg across a distance of 1,000 kilometres at a speed of 1,000km per hour.

The first prototype flew on 1 March 1944 but the plane’s design was never sufficiently refined in time for it to see action. Although chosen for a programme that intended to accelerate the production of relatively inexpensive Wunderwaffen, its inclusion didn’t come until nearly a week after the US Army had launched its operation to cross the Rhine river.

Frank McDonough, world leading expert on the domestic side of Hitler's Germany, explains why and how Hitler was able to establish and sustain his rule within Germany.

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5. Zielgerät 1229

The code name of this infrared device alone is enough to send shivers down the spine: Vampir. Not to mention the fact that the grenadiers who used it were known as “night hunters”. First used in combat in February 1945, the Zielgerät 1229 was designed to sit atop the Sturmgewehr 44 assault rifle so that it could be used effectively in the dark.

The Vampir.


Wunderwaffe

Wunderwaffe (German pronunciation: [ˈvʊndɐˌvafə] ) is German for "wonder weapon" and was a term assigned during World War II by Nazi Germany's propaganda ministry to some revolutionary "superweapons". Most of these weapons however remained prototypes, which either never reached the combat theater, or if they did, were too late or in too insignificant numbers to have a military effect. [1]

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. Therefore, they are also included here.

As the war situation worsened for Germany from 1942, claims about the development of revolutionary new weapons which could turn the tide became an increasingly prominent part of the propaganda directed at Germans by their government. [2] In reality, the advanced weapons under development generally required lengthy periods of design work and testing, and there was no realistic prospect of the German military being able to field them before the end of the war. When some advanced designs, such as the Panther tank and Type XXI submarine, were rushed into production, their performance proved disappointing to the German military and leadership due to inadequate pre-production testing or poorly planned construction processes. [3] Historian Michael J. Neufeld has noted that "the net result of all these weapons, deployed or otherwise, was that the Reich wasted a lot of money and technical expertise (and killed a lot of forced and slave laborers) in developing and producing exotic devices that yielded little or no tactical and strategic advantage". [4] However, a few weapons proved to be successful and have had a large influence in post war designs.

In the German language the term Wunderwaffe generally refers to a universal solution which solves all problems related to a particular issue, mostly used ironically for its illusionary nature.


Nazi Germany's 5 Most Lethal Weapons of War

The killer weapons the Allies did not want to face in battle.

The forces of Nazi Germany in World War II were some of the most formidable fielded in any war. Backed by German science, engineering and modern mass-production techniques, it was a new type of highly mechanized warfare. Faster paced and deadlier than the armed forces that fought in the Great War just twenty years before, it overwhelmed slower-moving enemies and helped Germany subjugate an entire continent. Here are five examples of German war technology that very nearly ended Western civilization as we know it.

The Panzerkampfwagen VI (Tiger Tank)

The tank’s modern reputation as a fast, hard-hitting, deadly war chariot is largely due to the German Army’s use of the tank in the early years of World War II. Although first invented by the British in World War I, the Wehrmacht and SS took the tank to its logical conclusion, in doing so swinging the pendulum of war from defense as the dominant form of warfare back to the offense.

Although the bulk of German tank forces was composed of smaller tanks such as the Panzerkampfwagen III and IV, the Panzerkampfwagen VI—or Tiger tank—was designed to be the decisive factor on the armored battlefield. At fifty-four tons, it was considerably larger than contemporary tanks, and together with its thick armor and eighty-eight-millimeter main gun, made the Tiger a so-called “heavy” tank. Introduced in 1942, the Tiger’s KwK 36 gun could gut any mass-produced Allied tank built during the war, and the tank’s thick armored hide could shrug off most Allied antitank rounds.

Tigers were organized into heavy tank battalions and deployed by German Army commanders where they were needed the most. As a result, unlike other German tanks which prioritized protection and mobility over firepower in a general offensive, the Tiger emphasized firepower and protection over mobility, as it typically had specific objectives in mind.

Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter

The Messerschmitt Bf 109 was hands down the most lethal fighter of the Second World War. Designed by legendary aircraft designer Willy Messerschmitt in the mid-1930s, it replaced a grab bag of forgettable interwar German fighters with a fresh design that included a monocoque airframe, retractable landing gear and a closed cockpit.

Early Bf109A models served in the Spanish Civil War. By the late thirties, German rearmament was in full swing and the Me109 became the main fighter of the fledgling Luftwaffe. Fast and maneuverable, it was also hard hitting, featuring two .51-caliber heavy machine guns and one twenty-millimeter cannon.

The Bf109A and the Luftwaffe served all over Europe, North Africa and European Russia, dominating all other air forces until 1943 with the exception of the Royal Air Force. The Bf109 and its wartime variants had the most serial aces of the war, including pilots such as Adolph Galland, Werner Molders and Johannes Steinhoff. Overall, 33,984 Bf109s of all kinds were built by German and Czech factories. Ironically, a variant of the Bf-109, the Czech Avia 199, served with an embryonic Israeli Air Force in the late 1940s.

MG-42 Machine Gun

The crew-served machine gun was a major contributor to the high death rate of World War I, and the interwar German Army, though small, ensured it had highly effective machine guns to help it punch above its weight. The MG-34 machine gun, adopted in 1934, was lightweight, had an extremely high rate of fire of up to 1,200 rounds per minute, and was capable of quick barrel changes on the battlefield—a must for an infantry-support machine gun.

Unfortunately, the MG-34 was built made more like a watch than a battlefield weapon, and as a result manufacturer Rheinmetall could not keep up with demand. The MG-42, introduced in 1942, was an attempt to simplify the design into something that could be more easily mass-produced, and ultimately four hundred thousand were produced. The MG-42’s high rate of fire proved highly beneficial in defensive battles, particularly strongpoints backed up by mobile reserves on the Eastern Front.

German small arms doctrine held that the MG42—not the infantry weapon—was the foundation of infantry firepower. The infantry, armed with slower-firing Karabiner 98k bolt-action rifles, supported the machine gun. By contrast, the U.S. Army placed less emphasis on machine guns, fielding fewer of them than a comparable German unit, while at the same time increasing overall firepower with the semiautomatic M1 Garand and the M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle.

The German Navy (Kriegsmarine) in World War II was not the dominant arm of the German military. There would be no repeat of the German High Seas Fleet. As a result, it had to focus its limited resources on what was most effective its traditional maritime foe, the Royal Navy. While the response to the French Navy was the German Army, fighting the United Kingdom required a naval response.

But without capital ships, how would Germany take the fight to the Atlantic? The answer was the Unterseeboot, or U-boat submarine. U-Boats had been highly successful in World War I, and the Kriegsmarine heavily reinvested in them in World War II. This again proved successful, with U-boats sinking 2,779 Allied ships totaling 14.1 million tons between 1939 and 1945. The most successful U-boat, U-48, sank fifty-one ships. That translated to 306,874 tons of Allied shipping—the equivalent of three modern Nimitz-class aircraft carriers.

Not only did the U-boat campaign force the Allies to slow the flow of troops and war materials across the Atlantic and organize shipping into convoys for protection, it also affected the British civilian population, which suffered chronic shortages of foodstuffs and other goods. Initially powerful, U-boats were eventually nullified by Allied countermeasures and ultimately failed to sever lines of communication between North America and western Europe. Germany’s submarine force lost heavily—765 U-boats were lost during the course of the Second World War.

Panzerfaust

Germany’s use of masses of tanks on the modern battlefield opened Pandora’s box. Within a few years Allied forces would be returning the favor and it was suddenly the German Army that was facing large numbers of British, American and Soviet tanks. As the quality of German forces declined and the number of Allied forces went up, the Wehrmacht had a need for a cheap, inexpensive way to saturate the battlefield with tank-killing firepower. The result: the Panzerfaust.

The Panzerfaust was incredibly simple for an effective antitank weapon. A single-shot, recoilless weapon, it featured a large, egg-shaped warhead attached to a disposable metal tube. The primitive trigger ignited the black powder propellant, sending the warhead to an effective range of thirty yards. The shaped charge warhead had an astonishing penetration capability of up to 7.9 inches, making it capable of destroying any Allied tank.

The Panzerfaust made anyone—even old men and children dragooned into the German Army late in the war—a potential tank killer. The introduction of this new short-range, last-ditch weapon made Allied tank crews more cautious around German infantry that did not appear to have strong antitank defenses, such as towed guns. During the Battle for Berlin, some Soviet tankers even welded bed springs to their tanks, in hopes that prematurely detonating the shaped charge warhead would save their tank—a tactic the U.S. Army used decades later with so-called “slat armor” on Stryker armored vehicles.

Kyle Mizokami is a defense and national-security writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in the Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring and the Daily Beast. In 2009, he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch. You can follow him on Twitter: @KyleMizokami.

Image: Tiger 131. Wikimedia Commons/Creative Commons/Simon Quinton


Team Tests Fritz X Bomb in Calif. Desert

In an attempt to resolve the debate, Holger Bull, a model maker of life-size World War II weaponry who lives in Germany, partnered with American aviation experts to reconstruct the Fritz X bomber and test it in a privately owned, unoccupied part of California's desert.

After reconstructing the Fritz X, including the bomber's internal electronics, Bull and Wiper teamed up with Chino, Calif.-based Aero Trader, which owns several World War II aircraft.

After Bull and Wiper transported two Fritz X replicas to their airfield, the German-American team figured out how to load them onto a B-25 aircraft.

Though the Fritz X warhead was not filled with explosives, the team designed an experiment to figure out the ballistics and destructive power of the reconstructed Nazi bomb.

They drew an outline in the desert of the Roma battleship, which was more than 780 feet long and more than 100 feet wide, and then tried to drop the Fritz X replicas on to the target, one at a time.

Though the crew missed their target by a few dozen yards, the experiment was hailed as a success. The force of the bomb's impact suggested that the destructive power of the Fritz X was too much for the battleships of World War II, National Geographic said.

According to one team member's calculations, the bomb hit the ground traveling about 290 mph. After the collision, seven feet of the bomb's total length of 11 feet were buried underground.

"When the bombs dropped from the aircraft, they performed exactly as the originals did, and as they came down in their arch, it was like watching a movie of the real thing -- except we were there to live it ourselves, and that was just fantastic," said Wiper.


4. Operation Greif

Otto Skorzeny in his jail cell, 1948. (Credit: Gamma-Keystone/Getty Images)

During the early stages of December 1944’s Battle of the Bulge, Adolf Hitler dispatched commando leader Otto Skorzeny𠅊lready famous for his September 1943 rescue of Benito Mussolini—on a secret mission to wreak havoc on Allied communications and morale. As part of “Operation Greif,” Skorzeny disguised a small collection of English-speaking Germans in captured American uniforms, provided them with forged U.S. Army documents and sent them on an undercover mission behind enemy lines. In a matter of days, the sham soldiers had successfully directed tank and convoy traffic down the wrong roads, destroyed ammunition dumps, switched road signs and destroyed telephone lines𠅊ll right under the Allies’ noses.

While Skorzeny’s commandos failed to achieve any significant military objectives, their hijinks were successful in inciting confusion and panic within the American ranks. As word of the phony troops spread, American soldiers set up checkpoints along major roads and began quizzing their fellow G.I.s on baseball and pop culture in the hope of outing the impostors. The security stops only heightened the chaos. Many Allied troops were briefly arrested or detained, and operations briefly ground to a halt. When a few of the Germans were captured in the dragnet, they kept up the ruse by claiming a commando team was en route to Paris to murder General Dwight D. Eisenhower. As a result, the Allied commander was briefly kept under house arrest to protect him from would-be assassins. Skorzeny’s remaining commandos finally withdrew from behind enemy lines in late December after the Nazi offensive stalled, but the Allies’ would continue their frantic search for German impostors for several more months.


PICTURES FROM HISTORY: Rare Images Of War, History , WW2, Nazi Germany

Come to think of it all the scientific developments we have seen in the last few decades have their roots in Nazi Germany. Be it the stealth bomber, the space shuttle, the atom bomb. Even the helmets worn by many armies today. The US soldiers wear the famous stahlhelm helmet of the Germans.


The earliest non-fiction assertion of Nazi flying saucers appears to have been an article which appeared in the Italian newspaper Il Giornale d'Italia in early 1950. Written by Professor Giuseppe Belluzzo, an Italian scientist and a former Italian Minister of National Economy under the Mussolini regime, it claimed that "types of flying discs were designed and studied in Germany and Italy as early as 1942". Belluzzo also expressed the opinion that "some great power is launching discs to study them".

The same month, German engineer Rudolf Schriever gave an interview to German news magazine Der Spiegel in which he claimed that he had designed a craft powered by a circular plane of rotating turbine blades, 49 ft (15 m) in diameter. He said that the project had been developed by him and his team at BMW's Prague works until April 1945, when he fled Czechoslovakia. His designs for the disk and a model were stolen from his workshop in Bremerhaven-Lehe in 1948 and he was convinced that Czech agents had built his craft for "a foreign power".

In 1953, when Avro Canada announced that it was developing the VZ-9-AV Avrocar, a circular jet aircraft with an estimated speed of 1,500 mph (2,400 km/h), German engineer Georg Klein claimed that such designs had been developed during the Third Reich. Klein identified two types of supposed German flying disks:

* A non-rotating disk developed at Breslau by V-2 rocket engineer Richard Miethe, which was captured by the Soviets, while Miethe fled to the US via France, and ended up working for Avro.
* A disk developed by Rudolf Schriever and Klaus Habermohl at Prague, which consisted of a ring of moving turbine blades around a fixed cockpit. Klein claimed that he had witnessed this craft's first manned flight on 14 February 1945, when it managed to climb to 12,400 m (41,000 ft) in 3 minutes and attained a speed of 2,200 km/h (1,400 mph) in level flight.

Aeronautical engineer Roy Fedden remarked that the only craft that could approach the capabilities attributed to flying saucers were those being designed by the Germans towards the end of the war. Fedden (who was also chief of the technical mission to Germany for the Ministry of Aircraft Production) stated in 1945:
“ I have seen enough of their designs and production plans to realize that if they (the Germans) had managed to prolong the war some months longer, we would have been confronted with a set of entirely new and deadly developments in air warfare. ”

Fedden also added that the Germans were working on a number of very unusual aeronautical projects, though he did not elaborate upon his statement.


PICTURES FROM HISTORY: Rare Images Of War, History , WW2, Nazi Germany


Schallkanone. Also called the Sound Gun. This weapon has little mention anywhere. The idea was to produce high frequency waves that would burst the ear-drums of enemy soldiers. Charming.

It was also called Pressure wave anti-personnel device: sound acoustic cannon.

Men of Hitler's war machine were studying different ways of killing a man. One way to harm a person - a strong influence on low frequency sound (infrasound). The first experiments were carried out on, of course, prisoners. Under the infrasound, they panicked, they felt dizziness, pain in the internal organs, and had diarrhea.

This effect the Nazis tried to translate into an acoustic gun. But the infrasound stubbornly refused to extend the beam in a given direction, which is why all its impact was felt first on the staff of this sonic cannon, Schallkanone - they themselves had panic attacks and sudden diarrhea.

Nowadays every schoolboy knows that the sound waves of low frequency can not be a direct beam. Focus can be given only to the sound of very high frequency (ultrasound), but it does not have such a negative impact on our body.

German engineer Richard Valaushek who invented this type of weapons, apparently knew little about it and stubbornly continued to improve his invention. But as they say, "perseverance and a little effort" - in January 1945, that is already at the end of the war, he introduced the "Commission on research and development," his infernal machine. After the test, the device members of the commission said that a normal machine gun worked much more effectively, and cost less. As a result, the sound the gun was not introduced in the German army and become a formidable "weapon of retaliation" Wehrmacht.

After the war, a prototype of this acoustic weapon fell into the hands of the Americans. In the secret documents of that time it states that "sample acoustic cannon emits a loud sound that makes people closer than 50 meters from the source to lose consciousness, and at a closer distance could be fatal .." The Americans thoroughly investigated all captured specimens of Nazi secret weapons, but about the sound cannon, they also recognized that a simple machine gun shoots further than 50 meters, and in general, it is easier to deal with, even though it does not have such a formidable mental effect.


Anyone but a fool or a wishful (?) thinker would have understood that the Third Reich was doomed by early 1945. Yet, as we all know, the Nazi high command kept shooting. Tanks were sent west for the Battle of the Bulge and German soldiers frequently fought to the last man a week after Hitler had gone to a worse place. Why? The Nazi Party and the German Army had both taken their own ‘stab in the back’ myth a little bit too seriously: and simply refused to consider surrender rationally. Hitler’s claims that Germany had failed him make a lot more sense when coupled with his determination to destroy Germany as the Soviets and Allies pressed in. But in other sections of German society, and in occupied or friendly territories another motivation proved important, the belief in Germany’s secret weapons.

The idea that Germany had a series of ‘secret weapons’ ready to unleash on an unsuspecting world was only very partially true. Germany had had, of course, its impressive rocket bombs: but though these destroyed a good deal of acres of housing in the south-east of England, they were not in the end enough to bring the UK to its knees or, indeed, anything close to it. (Arguably they did more damage than good to Germany by redirecting scarce war resources away from normal aviation production). There were also advances in plane design, but nothing that Germany could get into the air in sufficient numbers. Then, there is the old canard of Germany’s atomic bomb program: something that again did not, thankfully, get off the ground. Yet the fact remains that as the war ground towards its inevitable end Axis members and friends spoke increasingly about these ‘secret weapons’. In fact, the talk about the secret weapons proved far more effective than the secret weapons themselves.

For example, there was much talk about the secret weapons in Salò, the Fascist puppet regime in northern Italy. Giorgio Almirante the postwar fascist politician and long-time head of the MSI, is remembered at the end of the war as alluding constantly to these mysterious weapons. Franco, in Spain, continued to talk about a German victory up until the late spring of 1945: he seems to have believed that the Germans had learnt to harness solar energy for military ends. In fact, one Spanish newspaper, Informaciones claimed, on Hitler’s death, that Germany had chosen to spare Europe by not using these secret weapons! (So uncharacteristically good of Adolf). Internal Reich memos also recorded that one of the few effective tools for public opinion was the claim made on radio and in the press that Nazi secret weapons would turn the tide of the war.

Beach has often wondered what you do in an army that has clearly been defeated but that has not yet been beaten. How, for example, did Lee manage to keep his men fighting into 1865? The Nazis seems to have stumbled on a particularly effective instance in World War II. Parallels: drbeachcombing At yahoo DOT com

20 May 2016: Leif writes: The Nazi end-of-war faith in secret weapons should be interpreted as part of the ‘Produktionswunder’, which promised that an vastly outmanned Germany could still win the war based on superior technology and industry. Mit Blick auf de Kriegswirtshaft und die stattlichen Interventionen des NS-Regimes wird nicht selten von einem ‘Produktionswunder’ geschprochen, welches vor allem auf die Reorganisations der Kriegswirtshaft unter Speer zurückgeführt wird.’ [Kleinschmidt, Christian. Technik und Wirtschaft im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert. Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag. 2006. p 52. English translation follows:] ‘In view of the war industry and the state intervention of the National-Socialist regime, a “production miracle”, was not infrequently mentioned. This term is mainly attributed to the reorganization of the war industry under [Albert] Speer.’ By 1944 the Nazis were clutching at straws, and by 1945 secret weapons were the only straw left. But is it unusual for people facing defeat to hope for miracles, and weren’t these secret weapons a 20th century equivalent of divine intervention? More interestingly, are there historical examples of all-but-defeated peoples hoping for miracles– and getting them?

James H writes: This a phenomenon known and talked about for a long time (especially in the military). The closest anyone has come to it is a description of a strange amalgamation of faith, duty, and resignation. To be blunt, no one really knows why people do this, but they do (history is littered with examples), it just seems to fall into the realm of the divine (for better or worse).
If you ask most combat leaders why their men followed them, almost all if truthful will answer “I don’t know.” And neither do I.

Bruce T: I mentioned Sun Tzu’s concept of “death ground” in an earlier post, the idea that if we’re going to be annihilated we might as well take as many of those other bastards with us as we can. It worked spectacularly for the Athenians against the Persians and again for Henry IV at Agincourt. The Germans were fighting for their existence as they saw it, as was the Confederacy. Two would be propaganda. The Germans were convinced they were just one victory from winning the war at best, or a negotiated peace at worse. In the case of the Confederacy, the idea that the latter was still remotely achievable and the latter were factors that kept hope alive.Finally there’s pure chauvinism, the idea that the subhuman other could defeat the superior order was beyond conception. I’m surprised you didn’t throw the Japanese into the mix. The concept of divine nation led by a God Incarnate suffering defeat is the stuff of many books. In a way the elite of the South didn’t lose the Civil War. They lost the armed conflict, but won Reconstruction, getting back their lifestyles with the slave labor replaced by peonage of the same people and poor whites.

Southern Man writes in: Of course, the Germans had another myth, this one truly believed by the leadership, that the Allies would set on each other. They did: it is called the Cold War. But not until the Germans were defeated.


Top Ten Nazi Super Weapons

As the fortune of war shifted against Nazi Germany by the mid of 1942, its leadership increasingly placed their hopes in the development of Wunderwaffe (Miracle Weapons) to turn the tide back in their favor. Many of such weapon designs never went further than the concept stage and that which went into combat service, suffered from frequent reliability issues as their production was rushed. While never made in significant numbers to make an impact, their pioneering designs and technology would leave a lasting impact on not just future weaponry and in other fields as well. From the first true assault rifle to the gargantuan 1,350-ton siege artillery, we present to you the top ten Nazi Super Weapons.

Note: This list only contains weapons that were actually built, operated and entered production. Proof of concepts and prototypes are not included.

10. Goliath tracked mine

Why wait for the enemy to stumble upon your mine when your mine can stumble upon your enemy! The Goliath was a single use detonation vehicle armed with 220 lb of explosives that was controlled remotely. A highly versatile Trolling weapon, the Goliath saw use in anti-tank warfare, disruption of infantry formation as well as for the destruction of buildings and bunkers. While more than 7000 of mobile mines were built, the high-cost, low-speed, as well as its vulnerability, didn’t make it an effective weapon.

9. Type 23 Electric Submarine

The Type 23 was a class of small coastal diesel-electric submarines that revolutionized submarine design. More streamlined with a bigger battery and incorporating the snorkel, they were faster as well as more maneuverable than other conventional submarines and could remain submerged under water almost indefinitely. By the end of the 63 were completed, of which only 6 saw operation none of which were sunk by enemy ships.

8. StG 44

The Sturmgewehr 44 was the world’s first mass-produced assault rifle, developed out of the need to fill the gap between long range rifles and short-range SMGs. Despite entering late in the war, the rifle proved to be a valuable weapon, particularly on the Eastern Front, packing a lot of firepower with surprising accuracy. The pioneering design of the German assault rifle would greatly influence both the development of the Soviet AK-47 as well as the American M16. After nearly 75 years since its inception, the StG 44 is still seeing combat in the hands of militia and insurgent groups.

7. Fritz X

The Germans were early innovators in creating the world’s first precision guided weapons. One such weapon, the Fritz X was employed by the German Airforce, Luftwaffe, against armored naval targets such as heavy cruisers and battleships. The bomb weighed more than a standard Toyota Corolla and had an effective operational range of 5 km (3.1 mi). However, it was far from the wonder weapon some had anticipated, being susceptible to Allied radio link jammers and the fact that the pilot in the control plane found it impossible to evade enemy fire while it guild the bomb towards its target.

6. Vampir

The Zielgerät 1229, also known by its code name Vampir,was a night vision kit introduced during the final stages of the war in Europe. Only 310 units were managed to be delivered to the war theater, not nearly enough to turn the tide by any means. The gear was used by snipers on the Eastern front as well as grenadiers wielding assault rifles.

5. V-3 cannon

The V-3 Cannon was a German super artillery, utilizing multiple propellant charges to fire rounds across vast distances. The weapon was originally planned to be deployed near the shores of Northern France as a means to bombard London. However, the bunkers which were to house the great gun was rendered unusable by Allied bombing before completion. Three more such guns were produced, two of them being used in the bombing of poor Luxembourg. By then, however, the war was coming to an end in Europe and all four was eventually disassembled and abandoned in the face of Allied advancement.

4. Me 163 Komet

The only example of an operational rocket-powered aircraft, the Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet was an experimental interceptor that allegedly achieved record speeds of up to 1,130 km/h (700 mph), a feat that would be unmatched by any jet aircraft for nearly a decade. Even at such high speeds, the aircraft was surprisingly agile, reportedly being able “fly circles around any other fighter of its time”. However, its very strength proved to be its greatest weakness. Because the plane flew so fast, it was hard for the pilot to fire enough rounds to destroy an enemy aircraft in a single pass and almost impossible in the case of a slow-moving allied bomber. To remedy the problem, the Jagdfaust recoilless rifle was developed for use in the Me 163 Komet. However, before there could be an extensive deployment of either the aircraft or the gun, the war ended.

3. Schwerer Gustav

With each round weighing as much as an elephant and itself weighing 1,350 tons, this supermassive artillery gun was designed to break through the Maginot line, at the time the most heavily fortified structure in existence. However, the gun was finished too late to see any action during the battle of France. It was later deployed on the Eastern front during the siege of Sevastopol as well as for the planned attack on Leningrad which got canceled before it could fire. Gustav, as well as its twin gun, Dora, would later be destroyed during the German retreat to prevent its capture by the Soviet Red Army.

2. Messerschmitt Me 262

The first operational turbojet aircraft, the Me 262 was faster and more heavily armed than any allied aircraft when it was first deployed in the mid of 1944. The ‘Tiger’ of the skies, Me 262 pilots claimed a total of 542 enemy aircraft shot down. Fighter ace Kurt Welter allegedly had 28 kills to his name while flying the Messerschmitt Me 262. On the skies, it easily outclassed its adversaries and the Allies learned that the only reliable way to destroy the Me 262 was while it was still on the ground. However, it entered too late to make any meaningful impact on the course of the war and like many advanced weapons pioneered by the Germans, had its fair share of reliability issues.

1. V-2 Rocket

The V-2 (Vengeance weapon II) was the world’s first long-range guided ballistic missile as well as the first man-made object to travel into space. Entering service during the concluding years of war, the rocket was designed as a sort of retribution against the bombing of German cities and represented the pinnacle of German engineering. However, while highly advanced, it proved to be not a very effective weapon in terms of damage, taking the lives of ‘only’ 9000 allied civilians and personnel before the war ended. Compare this to the relative destruction caused by the raw firepower of Allied bombing. As the German state collapsed, both the US and the Soviets rushed to capture the key facilities, technology and scientists that were part of the V-2 project for use in their own separate missile programs as an iron curtain began falling on the destroyed fields of Europe.

Bonus

Horten Ho 229

While never entering production, this futuristic fighter/bomber jet plane does deserve a mention. The Ho 229 an aircraft designed as a response to the military need for a fast, long range light bomber. The plane had an estimated top speed of 607 mph (977 km/h), a service ceiling of 9.8 miles (16 km) and purportedly a range of 620 Miles (1000 km). Despite its appearance, it was not a stealth plane.


The definitive collection of secret Nazi weapons

Underwater missiles that could have hit New York, jet-powered bombers that were nearly impossible to intercept, sub-orbital bombers, vertical launch rocket fighters, or infrared visors are just a few of many in this definitive collection of incredible Nazi weapons. Be happy that those bastards never got to mass produce them.

Secret weapons of the Luftwaffe

"The Rocket U-boat was an abandoned military project to create the first ballistic missile submarine. It was conceived of by Nazi Germany during the Second World War. Plans for the rocket U-boat involved an attack on New York City with newly invented V-2 rockets."

"The Henschel Hs 117 Schmetterling (German for Butterfly) was a TV guided German surface-to-air missile project developed during World War II. There was also an air-to-air version. The operator used a telescopic sight and a joystick to guide the missile by radio control."

"The Henschel Hs 293 was a World War II German anti-ship guided missile: a radio-controlled glide bomb with a rocket engine slung underneath it."

"Rheintochter was a German surface-to-air missile developed during World War II. Its name comes from the mythical Rheintöchter (Rhinemaidens) of Richard Wagner's opera series Der Ring des Nibelungen."

"The Ruhrstahl X-4 was a wire guided air-to-air missile designed by Germany during World War II. The X-4 did not see operational service and thus was not proven in combat. The X-4 was the basis for the development of experimental, ground-launched anti-tank missiles that became the basis for considerable post-war work around the world, including the Malkara missile."

"Silbervogel, German for 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/Nazi Germany. It is also known as the RaBo (Raketenbomber or rocket bomber)."

"The Arado Ar 234 was the world's first operational jet-powered bomber, built by the German Arado company in the closing stages of World War II. 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 Junkers Ju 287 was a Nazi Germany aerodynamic testbed 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 Bachem Ba 349 Natter (English: Viper, Adder) was a World War II German point-defence rocket powered interceptor, which was to be used in a very similar way to a manned surface-to-air missile. After a vertical take-off, the majority of the flight to the Allied bombers was to be controlled by an autopilot. The primary mission of the relatively untrained pilot, 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 DFS 346 (Samolyot 346) was a German rocket-powered swept-wing vehicle subsequently completed and flown (with indifferent success) in the Soviet Union after World War II. The prototype was still unfinished by the end of the war and was taken to the Soviet Union where it was rebuilt, tested and flown."

"The Fieseler Fi 103R, code-named Reichenberg, was a late-World War II German manned version of the V-1 flying bomb produced for attacks in which the pilot was likely to be killed or at best to parachute down at the attack site."

"The Focke-Wulf Ta 283 was a German low-wing jet interceptor designed during World War II."

"The Focke-Achgelis Fa 269 was a tiltrotor VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) fighter project designed by Heinrich Focke."

"The Junkers Ju 322 Mammut (Mammoth) was a heavy transport military glider, resembling a giant flying wing, proposed for use by the Luftwaffe in World War II."

"The Focke-Wulf Ta 400 was a large six-engined bomber design developed in Nazi Germany in 1943 [. ] Designed as a bomber and long-range reconnaissance plane by Kurt Tank [. ] one of the most striking features was the six BMW 801D radial engines, to which two Jumo 004 jet engines were later added."

"The Junkers Ju 390 was a German aircraft intended to be used as a heavy transport, maritime patrol aircraft, and long-range bomber, a long-range derivative of the Ju 290."

"The Messerschmitt Me 323 Gigant ("Giant") was a German military transport aircraft of World War II. It was a powered variant of the Me 321 military glider and was the largest land-based transport aircraft of the war. A total of 213 are recorded as having been made, a few being converted from the Me 321."

"The Heinkel He 162 Volksjäger (German, "People's Fighter"), made primarily of wood as metals were in very short supply and prioritised for other aircraft, the He 162 was nevertheless the fastest of the first generation of Axis and Allied jets."

"The Heinkel He 176 was a German rocket-powered aircraft. It was the world's first aircraft to be propelled solely by a liquid-fuelled rocket, making its first powered flight on 20 June 1939 with Erich Warsitz at the controls."

"The Heinkel He 178 was the world's first aircraft to fly under turbojet power, and the first practical jet aircraft."

"The Heinkel He 280 was the first turbojet-powered fighter aircraft in the world. It was inspired by Ernst Heinkel's emphasis on research into high-speed flight and built on the company's experience with the He 178 jet prototype. A combination of technical and political factors led to it being passed over in favor of the Messerschmitt Me 262.[citation needed] Only nine were built and none reached operational status."

"Henschel's Hs 132 was a World War II dive bomber and interceptor aircraft [. ] 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. The Soviet Army occupied the factory just as the Hs 132 V1 was nearing flight testing, the V2 and V3 being 80% and 75% completed."

"The Horten H.IX, RLM designation Ho 229 was a German prototype fighter/bomber. It was the first pure flying wing powered by jet engines. It was the only aircraft to come close to meeting German Luftwaffen Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring's "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)."

"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. German test pilot Heini Dittmar in early July 1944 reached 1,130 km/h (700 mph), not broken in terms of absolute speed until November 1947. Over 300 aircraft were built[2] however, the Komet proved ineffective as a fighter, having been responsible for the destruction of only about nine Allied aircraft[2] (16 air victories for 10 losses, according to other sources)."

"The Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe (English: "Swallow") was the world's first operational jet-powered fighter aircraft. Design work started before World War II began, but engine problems prevented the aircraft from attaining operational status with the Luftwaffe until mid-1944."

"The Messerschmitt P.1101 was a single-seat, single-jet fighter project [. ] A characteristic feature of the P.1101 prototype was that the sweep of the wings could be changed before flight, a feature further developed in later variable-sweep aircraft such as the Bell X-5 and Grumman XF10F Jaguar."

"The Flettner Fl 282 Kolibri ("Hummingbird") is a single-seat open cockpit intermeshing rotor helicopter, or synchropter, produced by Anton Flettner of Germany. According to Yves Le Bec, the Flettner Fl 282 was the world's first series production helicopter."

"The Focke-Achgelis Fa 223 Drache ("Dragon" in English) was a helicopter developed by Germany during World War II. A single 750 kilowatt (1,000 horsepower) Bramo 323 radial engine powered two three-bladed 11.9 metre (39 feet) rotors mounted on twin booms on either side of the 12.2 metre (40 ft) long cylindrical fuselage."

"The Aggregat series was a set of rocket designs developed in 1933–45 by a research program of Nazi Germany's army. Its greatest success was the A4, more commonly known as the V-2. The German word Aggregat refers to a group of machines working together. A9/A10 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. 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 Enzian was a German WWII surface-to-air anti-aircraft missile that was the first to use an infrared guidance system. During the missile's development in the late stages of the war, it was plagued by organisational problems and was cancelled before becoming operational."

"The V-1 flying bomb was an early pulse-jet-powered predecessor of the cruise missile. The first of the so-called Vergeltungswaffen series designed for terror bombing of London, the V-1 was fired from launch sites along the French (Pas-de-Calais) and Dutch coasts. At its peak, more than one hundred V-1s a day were fired at south-east 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."

Image source: Keystone/Getty Images

"Fritz X was the most common name for a German guided anti-ship glide bomb used during World War II. Along with the USAAF's similar Azon weapon of the same period in World War II, it is one of the precursors of today's anti-ship missiles and precision-guided weapons."

Orbital weapons

"The sun gun or heliobeam was a theoretical orbital weapon that was researched by Nazi Germany during World War II."

Secret weapons of the Wehrmacht

"The V-3 (Vergeltungswaffe 3) was a German World War II supergun working on the multi-charge principle whereby secondary propellant charges are fired to add velocity to a projectile."

"The Fliegerfaust (lit. "pilot fist" or "plane fist"), also known as the "Luftfaust" (lit. "air fist"), was a prototype unguided, man-portable, German multi-barreled ground-to-air rocket launcher, designed to destroy enemy ground attack planes."

"The Flakpanzer IV Kugelblitz ("lightning ball") was a German self-propelled anti-aircraft gun developed during World War II. Unlike earlier self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, it had a fully enclosed, rotating turret."

"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."

"Schwerer Gustav and Dora were the names of two German 80 cm K (E) railway guns. The fully assembled guns weighed nearly 1,350 tonnes, and could fire shells weighing seven tonnes to a range of 47 kilometres (29 mi)."

"The StG 44 (Sturmgewehr 44, literally "storm [or assault] rifle [model of 19]44") was an assault rifle developed in Nazi Germany during World War II that was the first of its kind to see major deployment and is considered by many historians to be the first modern assault rifle."

"The StG 45(M) (Sturmgewehr 45 literally "storm rifle" or "assault rifle 1945") sometimes referred to as the MP 45(M), was a prototype assault rifle developed by Mauser for the Wehrmacht at the end of World War II, using an innovative roller-delayed blowback operating system. It fired the 7.92×33mm Kurz (or "Pistolenpatrone 7.9mm) intermediate cartridge at a cyclic rate of around 450 rounds per minute."

"The Krummlauf (English: Curved barrel) is a bent barrel attachment for the Sturmgewehr 44 assault rifle developed by Germany in World War II. The curved barrel included a periscope sighting device for shooting around corners from a safe position."

"The Zielgerät 1229 (ZG 1229), also known in its code name Vampir, was an active infrared device developed for the Wehrmacht for the Sturmgewehr 44 assault rifle, intended primarily for night use."

Secret weapons of the Kriegsmarine

"German aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin was the lead ship in a class of two carriers ordered by the Kriegsmarine. [. ] The carrier would have had a complement of 42 fighters and dive bombers. [. ] Graf Zeppelin was not completed and was never operational, due to shifting construction priorities necessitated by the war.

"Type XXI U-boats, also known as "Elektroboote" (German: "electric boats"), were the first submarines designed to operate primarily submerged, rather than as surface ships that could submerge as a means to escape detection or launch an attack."

Atomic research

"The German nuclear energy project, was an attempted clandestine scientific effort led by Germany to develop and produce atomic weapons during World War II. The program eventually expanded into three main efforts: the Uranmaschine (nuclear reactor), uranium and heavy water production, and uranium isotope separation."

Know of other secret Nazi weapons? Please ad it in the comments. with the same format: Photo and summary linked to Wikipedia page.


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