Follow TV Tropes
If anyone's interested in the Arthur C. Clarke story, I found it here: http://www.mayofamily.com/RLM/txt_Clarke_Superiority.html
Chopped this natter from Hellsing, the latter part may be reintegrated by someone who knows the show:
Quick question, do all examples have to be explicit national socialists, or is it okay to include obvious Nazi expys, as long as they fit the trope otherwise? Or is that too far-fetched?
One of the reasons this is a trope is because of the anachronistic coolness of a WW II power with futuristic weapons. Say the Daleks having super technology doesn't have the same effect since they're expected to have such stuff. So in most cases I would say no.
I think it is restricted to straight Nazi Germans and their survivors. The whole point is the attribution of mythical "advanced" weapons to a particular WW 2 country and the fact that some people actually believe those mythical weapons had a real existence. The expys lose these key points of technical anachronism and the misguided belief that there was some factual basis to it,
>"As an extreme example, the much-vaunted Type XXI submarine was actually inferior to its Japanese equivalent and the U.S./Britain were easily able to equal its performance by relatively simple modifications to their existing designs (the guppy program)."<
That is simply incorrect. While Japan could have built something better than the Type-XXI and had most of the ability for doing so even before WWII, bad strategic decisions about submarine doctrine had them going mostly a very different direction, and it wasnt until very late in the war that new ~modern-ish type subs were designed, based on updated prewar prototypes, very little of these were actually built though, and what was built was of subpar quality due to a host of problems, mostly related to US As firebombing of cities(as Japan relied much on "cottageindustry") and lack of raw materials.
The Guppy program wasnt even started until 1947, and then only started due to the reverse engineering of two German -XX Is. The Guppy boats were just barely able to compete with the XX Is even over a decade later and being based on much longer sub hulls(and its easier to get more speed from a longer hull), despite basing the upgrade on the XXI.
While late war WWII USA subs were quite decent, and the Guppy upgrade was a fair enough attempt to make up for their obsolescence later, USA simply did not have the ability to build something like the XXI before the end of the war, while they had most of the technical ability, their designers were still firmly stuck in the current design paradigm.
>"by 1945 German jet engines lagged far behind allied designs in power output and reliability."<
Well duh... If one side almost completely lacks the raw materials needed to make highstrength alloys, exactly how is it odd that they come out worse in a direct comparison with the other side, which has all the materials they need, not to mention that UK was the pioneers in jet technology.
It might be interesting to know that when USA was going to buy jetfighters, a consortium tried to join the competition with an updated Me-262, but they were denied entry on very shaky grounds. Later simulations of the proposed modified -262 shows it to outperform (IIRC) the F-86 in most areas.
Beyond that, Salmon: The Ta-152 if used at its design altitude severely kicked the P-51 and P-47.
And dont even get me started on the weaponry... 4 20mm guns are about twice as destructive as 6 .50s, while 1*30+2*20 is roughly equal to 4*20, however, even just a single 30mm shell is enough to drop a fighter and is considerably more effect against a bomber than 2-4 20mm shells. As the Ta-152 was built to be effective against bombers, it was given a gun suitable for the job.
And yes, the story about it being Kurt Tank is false, however it´s very close to reality, as it is probably based on a real event where an engineer flying one as part of a factory defense unit(at the location where Kurt Tank was also working) escaped several allied fighters after having already expended all ammunition.
Your critique of the engine boosting system is baseless.
The X-4 was very hard to use, but far from useless.
You are wrong on all counts.
I would suggest you look up the Ha-201 class (Type STS) submarines of the Imperial Japanese Navy and their larger cousins, the I-201 class (Type ST). These were the first operational guppy class boats in the world and pre-dated the much-vaunted but inferior Type 21s. If you do some basic research you will also find that the British remodelled two S class submarines as Type XXI analogues for training purposes in 1943/44. These underwent trials in Bermuda which was the start of the AUTEC facility there. You will also find that the British designed a class of submarines (the R class) in 1917 that was essentially identical to the German Type XXI. The Guppy program was based on experience with the R class and the modified S class boats. There was no need for an early Guppy program because until the early 1950s there was no threat to the US Navy and resources were better placed elsewhere. If you look up the 1946 fleet submarine, it clearly shows the design route the US Navy was following and it was a much more practical and effective concept than the ridiculously over-engineered and poorly-designed German boats. Read the Navy reports on the Type XX Is the U.S. Navy ran. It is scathing about their short life, over-engineered complexity and general bad design. The fact that mildly updated Guppies could equal their performance without any of their drawbacks is very telling.
The fact is that the Ta-152 was a mediocre aircraft that was rushed into production so Kurt Tank could get his initials on to something. It was inferior in performance to comparable 1945-era American and British fighters. It was slower than they were (the Ta-152H had a top speed of 472mph with GM-1 and MW-50 boost; the P-51H had a top speed of 487 mph without any form of chemical boost, the Martin Baker MB 5 of 474mph and the P-47J of 504mph also without any form of chemical boost); the allied fighters had, on average, 1,000 feet per minute higher climb rates and could turn more tightly due to their non-extended wings. The weight and destructive effects of the engine boosting system are a matter of historical record (the allies also had engines designed for water-methanol and nitrous injectionl they didn't use them because the damage to such engines was considered too great). The armament of the Ta-152H was very poor due to slow rates of fire and the bad ballistic trajectory of the shells. The 20mm and 30mm cannons had different trajectories and were impossible to line up on the same target except at very close range (in fairness, the P-39 Airacobra had the same problem). It is possible to make a numerical rating of the aircraft's armament assuming a firing burst of standard length. The P-51 comes out at 30, the Tempest at 38 and the Ta-152H at 26. This rating does not, however, allow for the slow rate of fire and poor trajectory of the German guns which was a critical limitation on them. The Me-262 was armed with four 30mm guns and even this was considered grossly inadequate. Finally, the "bomber destroyer excuse is invalid; it would only be a sensible argument if there was no possibility of the fighter facing anything else. This was not the case.
Your suggestions that an Me-262 could outperform an F-86 are absurd. I think you must be confusing them with post-war trials that showed the Me-262 and F-80A were evenly matched although the armament on the Me-262 was severely criticized, again due to slow rate of fire and poor trajectory making the guns hard to aim. This was, note, the P-80A. The P-80C and the later model Meteors outclassed the Me-262 completely. Your comment about a bid to supply the USAF with new-build Me-262s is false; there never was any such proposed bid. I think you must be confused by the production of two or three Me-262s for private buyers a few years back.
The story about escaping the Mustangs is false. No if, buts or maybes. There is not one shred of evidence to support it. Tank simply lied as the did all the time. His one real talent was as a salesman; one cannot help but be impressed by the way his fanboys worship the extremely mediocre Ta-152. Tank would have made a great second-hand car salesman or television shill.
And on the jets, if you take the time to do some studies of postwar jet engines, you will find that the next-generation German designs were systemically flawed and could not be made to work. Poor materials and lousy basic design were additional problems that were just icing on the cake. Without high-powered engines, none of the German designs were even remotely practical and the whole lot are just a waste of paper.
The X4 was utterly useless. There is not one single case of an allied aircraft being shot down by it. The only thing that came out of it that was any use at all was the wire-guided concept that was useful in designing anti-tank missiles.
The X4 never downed any Allied aircraft because it was never put to operational use, ie it never hit anything because it was never fired at anything. Its intended target would have been heavy piston engined bombers flying in formation so it deserves the benefit of the doubt at least. The planned versions of the Ta 152H - never finished due to Germany losing the war and all - would have been equipped with 2 MK 103 30 mm cannon and 2 Mauser 20 mm MG 213 revolver cannon, the 2.900 HP Junkers Jumo 222 engine and laminary flow wings putting it at least on the level of any late war/post war Allied piston engined aircraft. The Horten Ho 229 flying wing performed succesfull test flights - fly-by-wire is not an absolute requirement for a flying wing, Northrop also flew the B-35 en B-49 without it - and a reconstruction showed it had only 40% of the rcp of a Messerschmitt 109. All in all nothing to scoff at.
Much of the stuff removed should be reinstated, while acknowledging that much of it was Awesome, but Impractical. For example the Silbervogel might have been unbuildable at the time, but Sängers works did contribute to NASA's lifting body projects, so it at least deserves a mention
In the case of the X-4, yes, it was never put to operational use. Therefore, how can it be claimed it was far from useless? It never achieved anything. What we do know about the X-4 was that it used a wire guidance system that required the pilot of the aircraft to fly his aircraft with one hand and manipulate a joystick to fly the missile with the other. Trying to do that while under the stress of combat is quite impossible. We know this because the wire guidance system is used on anti-tank missiles and under benign circumstances with a slow-moving target and the gunner only controlling the missile (from a stationary firing point no less)the hit rate is way less than 6 percent. Also, simple deadly question. How many air-to-air missiles since then have used wire command guidance? Answer is none. Therefore we are in an excellent position to write the X-4 off as useless based on real combat experience with missiles using similar systems.
No version of the Ta-152H ever carried the armament, engine or airframe modifications you claim. The Ju-222 engine was abandoned due to complete technical failure and never used. In fact, every prototype of that engine made was a failure. Interestingly, even if it had worked, the Ju-222 compared very badly with equivalent American engines.
The Ta-152C was a zerstorer that carried a 30mm cannon and four MG-151, It had 2,100 hp with MW 50 boost. The weight of that armament made it very clumsy and it was underpowered compared with allied fighters. Development of the short-wing C-models was abandoned in favor of the Ta-152H. In fact, development of the Ta-152 as a fighter was abandoned in early 1945 in favor of variants equipped as reconnaissance aircraft. The later planned versions of the Ta-152 all sacrificed a substantial proportion of their armament for cameras.
I do notice however that you admit it would take a near-doubling of engine power, a complete aerodynamic redesign and a massively increased armament to make the Ta-152H competitive with 1945-level allied aircraft such as the P-51H and the P-47J. That makes the Ta-152 (as it really was) a pathetic dog.
The Ho-229 crashed on its second test flight; it did not perform flights (plural). It crashed because it had engine failure and assymetric thrust made it unflyable. The B-35, B-49 and the earlier Northrop flying wings (which predated Hortens work by the way) all had severe controllability problems which is why they were never accepted for operational use. In tests, both the B-35 and the B-49 were too unstable to be held in a bomb run for the required 30 seconds. They were failures, rated as being too dangerous to fly except by skilled test pilots. The B-2 was the first flying wing design to be operationally usable. It is essential for such aircraft to have computer controls if they are to be anything other than test subjects. The "reconstruction" Ho-229 (not flyable by the way) was part of a Gee-whiz television show and proves nothing other than how desperate the cable channel is for an audience. It signifies nothing and means nothing. If you want to be dogmatic, it can far more easily be claimed that Horten copied the de Havilland Mosquito which also used wooden construction - and did so three years earlier.
Silbervogel deserves nothing. The NASA lifting bodies may have used similar concepts but is simply the results of design teams studing the same probelm and coming up with the same solution. It would be as logical to claim that a Ferrari Testarossa is a copy of the Model T Ford because both have four wheels and one engine.
None of this Nazi-wonderweapon rubbish deserves mention except as examples of fanciful fiction. It certainly does not belong in real life.
Nobody has used wire guidance for an AAM since the X-4 because obviously more efficient guidance systems have gone down the line. Doesn't mean the X-4 should be completely written off. Anti-tank missiles also need to hit a target directly in order for the HEAT warhead to have effect whereas the X-4 had a Kranich acoustic proximity fuse and only would have needed to go off close enough to its target for the fragmentation warhead to have effect. As I mentioned its intended target would have been much slower four-engined bombers in stationary flight and relatively dense formations. The Germans were aware of the guidance problem but this could have been solved by using planes with a two-man crew - say, the Me 410 bomber destroyer.
Even so a 6% hit rate would actually compare favorably with aircraft cannon which had only a 2% hit rate. The X-4 would also offer advantages like stand-off capability and downing a bomber with one hit including the
B-17 which was capable of surviving up to 25 20 mm rounds.
The Ta 152 needed more power, armament and a better airframe to stay up to date but this doesn't make it different from any other plane. Compare for example the P-51D with the P-51H or the Spitfire Mark IX with the Mark XV.
The Ho 229 reconstruction was done with help from the Northrop corporation and broadcast on National Geographic, it wasn't on something like Deadliest Warrior. You also say it crashed due to engine failure not because of aerodynamics. The failure of the Northrop B-35 and B-49 had more to do with Defence Secretary Stuart Symington's preference for the Convair B-36. He just happened to become president of Convair later on.
Currently the real life sections also mentions completely unworkable armoured vehicles like the Maus, the Ratte and the p.1500 Monster of which only the first even had so much as a prototype built. Why would it have to be different for aircraft?
There's a difference between a guidance system that works and one that doesn't. Nobody even tried to use wire-guidance for air-to-air; it was too obviously a ludicrously bad idea. The X-4 wire-guided system just doesn't work. Actually, I'll ammend that, it has marginal capability in a two seat aircraft where one pilot controls the aircraft and the other the missile. It appears in The Big One used that way. Effectively such an aircraft would be a converted bomber and just that vulnerable to escorting fighters. Also, please re-read the accuracy comment. A command wire-guided anti-tank missile under benign conditions has a hit rate of 6 percent; an X-4 under combat conditions, fired from a maneuvering aircraft by a pilot who is under attack while he has to fly both his own aircraft and the missile against an aircraft that is shooting back and maneuvering has one or two orders of magnitude less than that six percent. Two orders of magnitude sounds about right. The acoustic proxmity fuze was a complete failure.
There is another comparison we can use here. People have tried to use both wire-guided anti-tank missiles and RPG-7s against helicopters. The unguided RPG-7 actually works better. Thus, in this particular application, wire guidance is a liability.
You miss the point completely about the Ta-152. It needed massive upgrades in engine power, aerodynamics and armament to be competitive with allied fighters that were entering service at the same time - early 1945. Not to respond to future developments. In other words, it was a very mediocre dog. The P-51H was pouring into service by mid-1945 and would have been the primary allied fighter for use during the invasion of Japan. It was superior to the Ta-152 across the board. It was faster, more agile, could climb faster, it could pull out of a dive and it was better-armed. That was 1945. So, the fictional advanced Ta-152 you describe (which is impossible since the engine didn't work, the German engineering industry wasm't capable of building laminar flow wings in quantity and the MG-213 cannon blew through ammunition so fast the Ta-152 would have had barely 3 seconds of firing capability) wouldn't have been around until late 46/early 47 at the earliest by which time it would have been utterly outdated by hoards of allied jet-engined fighters.
The Ho-229 reconstruction was a farce. The people who put it out did the same thing on how Japanese 'secret aircraft" would have deafeated the allied invasion etc etc etc. It was just another wunderwaffe worship show. Popular television shows like that are completely worthless for anything except casual amusement of the general public and ridicule by people who actually know something about the subject. The key here is that their 'reconstruction' was unflyable. By the way, the reason for the low RCS wasn't anything concerning the design but simply that it was made out of wood. Any wooden aircraft shows similar reductions and the British had been flying such aircraft since 1941.
You are wrong about the B-35 and B-49. I suggest you read the technical evaluations and SA Cs of the aircraft. Symington's preferences had nothing to do with the decision to scrap the project. What killed both aircraft was that they were too unstable to make bombing runs, they were very hard to build and expensive to procure, they were exceptionally vulnerable to even mnor combat damage and they were structurally incapable of carrying nuclear weapons. The conspiracy nuts like to find 'hidden reasons' for their cancellation because they were cool aircraft but the truth is they were simply unfit for service.
I also have great reservations about the inclusion of the German supertanks but the Maus did at least exist, was sent out to fight the Russians and it sort-of worked until it fell through a bridge. The rest were indeed just flights of fancy and I don't think they should be included in an article on the "real world". Perhaps what is needed is an entry in the literatire page that has words to the effect "there are lots of books describing Nazi super-weapons which collectively have the information value of a soggy cornflake. They're all fiction and depend on a circle of authors quoting each other while trying to devise bigger and meaner-looking weapons to promote sales of their latest flight of fancy. A "real world" article should, I think, be restricted to weapons that actually saw service in the real world and had a marked advantage over their rivals. About the only ones I can think of that qualify are the MG-213C (which oddly never gets the attention it deserves), the X-7 anti-tank missile and the mine-clearing robot mini-tank. Just possibly the Type XXI submarine might qualify but its a stretch.
Weapon systems that never left the drawing table or the prototype phase or weren't that practical are still part of real life as opposed to fiction. There's a difference between an RLM draft proposal and a Captain America issue. Operation Sea Lion and the German nuclear program weren't practical or even feasible either but that doesn't exclude them from reality. Even if they were flights of fancy, the crucial distinction is whether they were flights of fancy by German officials and received funding and official attention.
Not necessarily; especially where the existence of the systems in question is either dubious or has been grossly exaggerated. In the case of most of the "wunderwaffe', they are both; their capabilities and significance are blown out of all proportion and their historical importance exaggerated beyond sanity. Once the reality of the equipment is examined, they are not wonder-weapons at all but not-very-inspiring examples of technology that were mostly already surpassed by allied developments. Thus, as "wonder-weapons" they do not belong in a section entitled "the real world". They weren't wonderful and they weren't weapons. Actually, they could better be described as a Discredited Trope. I'll put in an entry on the MG 213 because that genuinely was important and advanced but most of the junk usually described as wonder-weapons wasn't.
Also, its worth noting that most of the designs and so on that get the breathless treatment actually had no official backing or support. They were either private company ventures or vague ideas with no substantive reality - hence the much better name for them, napkinwaffe (so called because they were scrawled on the back of a paper napkin in a beer garden).
This trope deals with super-weapons used by Nazi Germany. This section of the entry deals with things in that category that existed and were used in real life. Therefore to qualify for this trope at all, the item needs to be a super-weapon and, as we have seen, the candidates in question weren't even close to being super-weapons. To qualify for the real life section here, the system has to be real (ie had a serious existence beyond its source-napkin). An outline on a piece of paper or an idea that does not and could not work is not part of the real world. The ones deleted were not parts of the real world. Arguably they could belong in an entry for the literature section as fictional concepts but they don't belong in the real world. By the way, if allied designs were given the same degree of coverage as Nazi ones, do you realize there would be an equally huge number of very advanced projects that went nowhere? Germans weren't the only people who could come up with concepts that had no chance of being put into production.
Your characterization of the Henschel Hs-294 anti-ship missile as a "useless" WW II weapon is inaccurate. The Hs294 and VI/V2 rockets lay the foundation for all existing guided missile technology and ICBM delivery systems. While it is true that the Germans wasted valuable resources on gargantuan progress such as the 800 mm Gustav artillery piece and the mammoth Maus tank that were useless, the Henschel missiles and the V1/V2 rockets were anything but.
I'm afraid you are completely wrong here.
The point about the Hs-294 was that the claim that modern anti-ship missiles didn't have the capability listed is factually inaccurate. The Russians had a very similar missile called the RAT-52 and the U.S. Navy one called Petrel. The attack profile in question proved to be useless; it was much more effective simply to fly the missile into the target. Dropping it in the water and running it as a torpedo drastically reduced hit probabilities and the technique was abandoned. Modern missiles don't use the idea not because they can't but because it is a very bad idea
Your statement that the Hs294, Fi-103 and A-4 were the basis of all guided missile and ICBM delivery systems is quite wrong and it is this kind of sweeping mis-statement that I'm trying to correct. FYI the U.S. had equivalent anti-ship guided missiles from 1944 onwards (so did the Japanese by the way) and was actually somewhat in advance of the German techniques that relied on easily-jammed links. Also, the U.S. mass-produced a cruise missile before the Second World War.
I suggest you look up the Kettering Bug. It was a small pilotless aircraft that was launched, flew along a preset bearing until a given range was reached at which point the guidance system cut the fuel supply to the engine. The Kettering bug would then fall on its target. In other words, it worked exactly the same way as the Fi-103. Only, the Kettering Bug was built (in large numbers by the way) in 1917. If you want to claim that the Fi-103 was the root of all cruise missiles I can with equal force claim that it was only a copy of the Kettering Bug. The reason why the basic idea was never followed up by the British and Americans was why should we bother with a pilotless aircraft to deliver high explosive to a target when we had vast fleets of manned bombers that could do so much more efficiently and accurately? By the way, the Russians also had a very V-1-like missile that looked like but was developed independently of the Fi-103.
As to the A-4, there were U.S. teams working on similar programs; in fact there were seven U.S. rocket design teams. The American scientist Goddard and the Russian Korolev were just as advanced in the state of the art as their German opposite numbers. The fairest comment is that missile technologies were developed independently in several places at once but only the Germans wasted money on making it operational when they had far mroe pressing priorities. As to ICB Ms, its obvious from their napkinwaffe that the Germans didn't have a clue as to what was involved in their construction. Their 'proposals' were utterly unworkable. There were whole clutches of problems that they simply didn't know existed (as there were with swept wings by the way).
Your comment on Gustav/Dora and Maus are absolutely correct; they were straight megalomania.
The Hs293/294 were useless simply because they could be jammed so easily. Fi-103 was actually an effective terror weapon but, as Russian and American efforts showed, nothing very special. The A-4 was the first effective ballistic missile although it was a very poor return on the investment (a rocket that could miss London at 200 miles range had accuracy problems). This article gives both the Fi-103 and the A-4 their props. It just removes some of the mythology from around them. yes, they worked, yes, they fulfilled a role. But, the investment in them was completely misplaced. Ask a simple question, if they hadn't existed at all, would the course of WW 2 have been changed in the slightest?
The "Real Life" section contained a classic example of Nazi Wunderwaffe Mania that was so remarkable for its breathless hysteria and wild inaccuracy that I couldn't help wondering if it was a deliberate parody. In the end, I decided the author was actually being serious and simply did not know what he was talking about. For example
Silbervogel SUB-ORBITAL STRATEGIC BOMBER. That's right, they actually had plans for a bomber that is launched from a 3km long rail somewhere in Europe, flies up to 145km high, drops it's payload in the US then lands in Japan. Although it never went beyond wind tunnel models, the basic design influenced the Space Shuttles that were created over three decades later.
Silbervogel was completely unbuildable using the technology available then (and even now) and would have burned up on its first skip. Also, the launch would have killed the pilot.
Focke-Wulf Ta-152H. Oh, my fucking God, the Ta-152H. This baby was designed to operate as a high-altitude heavy interceptor. As such, it's wingspan was 14.8 meters and it used a Junkers Jumo 213E engine that is capable of giving out a whopping 1750 horsepower on it's own. Best of it all? The power plant has a built-in two-stage turbocharger, MW50 methanol-water and GM-1 nitrous-oxide injectors, capable of boosting the engine output well over 2000 horsepowers (all three of these could be turned on simultaneously and the engine could still bear the strain for a short time!). This all sums up to a top speed of up to 755 kph, depending on altitude; in fact, designer Kurt Tank himself once met two P-51 Mustangs on a test flight but managed to flee before they even saw him. As for weaponry, it was an absolute BEAST: one MK108 30mm autocannon and two MG151 20mm autocannons made it capable of blowing a heavy bomber out of the sky in just a few shots while fighters fared even worse. Essentially, the Germans invented the Lightning Bruiser trope with this plane. And now, the coup de grace: this fighter wasn't just a plan, the Germans actually fielded it against the Allies. It came too late though, but it could've changed the outcome of the war.
The Ta-152 was actually a very mediocre aircraft by 1945 standards. Compared with equivalent allied piston engined fighters that were entering service at the same time, it was some 15mph slower than the P-51H and the Hawker Fury. Had the P-47J entered service, the Ta-152H was actually some 30mph slower. Its long wings meant its maneuverability was limited and its structural strength was suspect. If the pilot tried to dive away from allied fighters, the Ta-152H would hit compressibility very early, its controls would lock and it would dive straight into the ground. The author gets all breathless about the engine power but this is nearly 1000hp less than comparable allied engines. This was the real problem with all German aircraft, jet and piston engined; German engine technology was way behind the curve and all their aircraft were deficient in power (in jets, the British were building engines with over 6,000 pounds of thrust aand service lives measured in hundreds of hours while the Germans were stuck at 2,000 pounds of thrust and service lives of 12 - 25 hours. Piston engines showed the same differential). The gun armament of one 30mm and two 20mm cannon is much inferior to the 4 20mm cannon on the Fury/Tempest and the 6 to 8 .50 machine guns on American fighters. The story about Tank escaping from the two P-51s is almost certainly false; there is not a shred of supporting evidence for it (Tank was a notorious self-promoter with a feeble idea of the difference between truth and fiction). To make matters worse, the MW-50 and GM-1 boost system for the engine - which was absolutely essential if the fighter was to generate its claimed performance gave its boost for only five minutes, wrecked the engine and weighed so much it impaired the performance of the aircraft when the boost had been used. Most German fighter pilots preferred the FW-190D9 (the Dora-9 was a good aircraft and much feared by the allies. hardly a war-winner on its own though). Suggesting the Ta-152 might have changed the course of the war is truly laughable.
Flettner Fl-282 Kolibri. Believe it or not, this helicopter was actually field-tested by both the Wehrmacht (as artillery spotters) and the Kriegsmarine (for sub hunting). Everyone were simply gushing over it but the designer constantly went back to redesign the craft and by the time he came up with an even better one, the factory was bombed to hell and only 24 of the proposed 1000 was finished.
Actually, it was a practical helicopter but the state of the art didn't allow any really effective use. German helicopter technology was way behind the American Sikorsky and Bell designs and even behind the Japanese Kayabas (the Japanese actually used their Kayabas to hunt and kill submarines which puts the pathetic German effort in its place.
Of course, there were plenty of ambitious prototypes they designed on paper. B-2 Spirit and F-117 Nighthawk: say hello to granddaddy, the Horten Ho-229 flying wing with stealth capability. Nevermind on paper, they were flying the 229 in mid 1944! Granted, the flying prototype crashed and none of the others were ready by the time the factory was overrun, but while it was flying it handily beat the Me-262 in dogfights. Radar testing of a modern replica showed that this thing really WAS stealthy, too - by the time the British radar network could have picked it up, it would have been nearly on top of them... By the time allied fighters could be scrambled, the 229's would have blown up the radar stations and been on their way home, impossible to intercept.
This is all classic wunderwaffe nonsense. Northrop was playing with flying wing designs years before the Horten Brothers got the idea. The truth is that flying wings were completely impractical unless they have modern computer-aided flight control systems. All the stuff about the impact of RCS or dogfighting with 262s is just flat nonsense.
The first guided missiles: Ruhrstahl X-4 air-to-air,
Wire-guided and completely useless.
Ruhrstahl X-7 anti-tank
Actually this worked and is the one redeeming piece of kit that actually justified the hype
Henschel Hs-294 anti-ship. The former two were the direct precursors of modern anti-tank missiles while the Hs-294 was designed to fly up to the target then drop into the water and discard it's wings, attacking like a torpedo. Modern anti-ship missiles still can't do this.
Actually, the Russians put a similar missile (the P-1; NATO code-name SSN-1 Scrubber)into service in the mid-late 1950s. The U.S. Navy also had a similar missile called Petrel that was deployed on P-2 Neptunes in the mid-1950s, Both weapons were quickly withdrawn because it was shown that the basic concept was completely useless and that conventional missiles worked much better. It could be argued that torpedo delivery missiles such as ASROC or the Russian SSN-14 are also similar ideas to the German weapon but that isn't really the case; they are ASW weapons and simply deliver the torpedo.
I'm not sure if this is the right place to bring it up, but I remember the Nazi Rocket in Rocket Ship Galileo- the R.A. Heinlein novel mentioned under literature- being an alcohol and oxygen rocket, rather than atomic. Minor point, I guess, since they still had a moonbase and all.
WHO CHANGED THE PICTURE AND WHYYYYYYYYYY?
I would like to second this motion of inquiry.
Community Showcase More