The war will be won by miracleweapons!
- Reich Minister of Weapons Albert Speer, 1943
- Reich Minister of Weapons Albert Speer, 1943
The unbridled onslaught of the Red Army put the Germans in front of the prospect of a complete rout in the next few years. The “Millennial Reich” faltered and began to rapidly roll back, losing the newly conquered territories and piles of broken military equipment. It was at this moment that convulsive fantasies were born in the minds of the fascist women, that the key to saving the Reich was technical superiority over the enemy. Ideas materialized in the form of unique projects of German designers - often very entertaining, but completely useless from a military point of view.
"Vundervaffe" Germany did not save. On the contrary, it only brought the collapse of the fascists closer and turned the idea of creating an “absolute weapon” a mockery for future generations. An attempt to get ahead of their time, without having the necessary level of technology development, was not crowned with success. Germany miserably lost the war.
Nowadays, a lot of books are devoted to the fascist "vundervaffe". Most researchers admire the genius of German engineers, at the same time forced to state that an attempt to build a miracle weapon in that desperate situation looked like a blatantly meaningless undertaking. Worse, in accordance with the laws of Murphy, the most delusional and difficult of the “vundervaffe” projects received the highest priority, for which the combined potential of all countries of the world would not be enough. The occult survivors of the Reich leadership were wasting precious resources. At that time, the fronts were waiting for deliveries of simple and reliable weapons, suitable for the speedy launch into mass production ...
Ho.229 Fighter Bomber (Replica)
The situation with the "vundervaffe" looks the obvious way. But another question is much more interesting - what was the degree of novelty in the designs of German handicrafts? Can we even talk about any technical superiority of the "Aryan race"?
In this review, I propose to look at the situation from an unusual angle. Even if the Germans managed to solve all the problems with the supply, increase the reliability of their "masterpieces" and launch the new items in the series, nothing good would come of it. The reason is simple: the engineers of the Third Reich, who were ahead of their time, were outdated by the time they appeared.
Aces of the Luftwaffe. Unknown of the known
1944 year. Night, Berlin street, lantern, pharmacy. In the windows dim light flickers - it is not sleeping German engineers, brothers Horten. They design their stealth jet aircraft Ho.229.
Next door, in the walls of the secret society Anenerbe, the possibility of creating Vril and Haneba-2 flying saucers was discussed.
While the Germans indulged in their unbridled fantasies, the engines of an invisible plane were buzzing high in the sky. Courier Express USSR - United Kingdom followed its usual route.
De Havilland Mosquito high-speed bombers gained altitude 10000 m and crossed all of Europe at speeds above 600 km / h. It was almost impossible to bring down the Mosquito: according to statistics, planes of this type had one loss on 130 combat missions!
The unique all-wood construction made them virtually invisible to radar. And when the night hunters still managed to detect the Mosquito, the Monika radar warning station was activated. The bomber immediately changed course and disappeared into the darkness.
Needless to say, what inconveniences were delivered to the enemy by reconnaissance and shock modifications of the non-attacking Mosquito!
The Germans lost air superiority by the middle of the war. An attempt to restore balance with the help of “super-speed” jet planes also failed completely.
Germany’s last hope was the Messerschmitt-262 jet fighter. Fritz, choking with delight, planned to bring the pace of production of the Me.262 to 1000 machines per month and completely retool their Air Forces with the latest aircraft. The first Me.262 sortie took place on July 25 1944 of the year. From now on, the sky belonged to the Aryan "blond beasts"!
Me.262 Schwalbe ("Swallow")
But the joy was short-lived. Two days later, July 27, from the opposite side of the English Channel, cars went up, exactly like the German Swallow, but bearing the identification marks of the British Air Force.
Now it makes no sense to deny: the German Swallow, like the British Gloucester Meteor of the 1944 model, were just demonstrators of the capabilities of the jet aviation. The combat use of both machines resembled a farce: the fascist Schwalbe, whose heavenly song broke off after 25 hours (such was the resource of the first jet engines) and the British jet miracle, which was forbidden to cross the front line (great results - 14 downed V-1 missiles).
Catastrophic lack of traction. Any careless movement of the control knob led to the inevitable fire of the engine. Yes, with such "heroes" it was worth staying away from the front line.
The British almost did not fight. German jet machines were used more actively, but also did not bring any noticeable benefits. Weak acceleration characteristics and low reliability due to the imperfections of their engines made the Me.262 easy prey for the enemy's piston aircraft. American Mustangs ambushed German airfields and massively shot helpless Swallows during their take-off or landing. 19 February 1945, one such reactive "waffle" was knocked down in a dogfight by Ivan Kozhedub. The hero won an unusual victory on the very ordinary plane La-7. In addition, the battle took place at a high altitude, when the Schwalbe had already managed to gain its breathtaking speed.
The result of all the experiments with jet aircraft was the following.
German "vundervaffe" was thrown into landfill stories along with the "millennial Reich." The British Gloucester Meteor was gradually brought to a combat-ready state and remained in service with the Air Force of seventeen countries of the world until the beginning of the 70-s.
Stories about the “vundervaffe” were firmly established on the pages of the “yellow press”. Public like mysterious stories about the German "flying saucers", the aircraft "V-1", ballistic missiles "V-2" and the missile range on about. Peenemünde.
If we discard the fantasy of the "plates", then the Germans really managed to achieve significant success in the field of rocketry. However, everything is not so obvious there: work on the missile theme was also conducted in other countries of the world (the Soviet group for studying jet propulsion (GIRD) is the cradle of astronautics), but did not receive high priority due to the lack of accurate guidance systems at that time. Without this, the idea of rocket weapons lost its meaning: German crafts “V-2” were pure weapons of terror against the civilian population of the enemy. Their circular probable deviation (QUO) hardly allowed them to get to major cities. Finally, the first liquid rocket engine was built by American engineer R. Goddard in 1926.
Much more surprising, what fame acquired the "V-1" - a primitive cruise missile with a pulsed jet engine and inertial guidance system. Simply put, an uncontrolled disc, flying for a certain time in a given direction, and then falling on a stopwatch signal. The German projectile is outdated before its birth. In the years of the Second World War, much more “advanced” structures were flying, which remained undeservedly forgotten and buried under the dust of time.
German developments were cheap handicrafts against the background of the US Interstate TDR-1 drone drone. Even before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the cowardly Yankees began to think about how to break through the constantly increasing air defense system of ships, without endangering the life and health of their pilots. The decision was suggested by the Russian émigré Vladimir Zvorykin (the “father” of television), who managed to create a small-sized “Block-1” camera with a sufficiently high resolution and the ability to broadcast images over a distance. The entire system was placed in a pencil case with dimensions 66x20x20. The mass together with the power source was 44 kg. The viewing angle of the camera is 35 °. Resolution - 350 strings. Video transmission rate - 40 frames per second.
Interstate TDR-1 combat robot. Behind - control plane ("Evendzher" TBM-1C)
UAV on the deck of the training aircraft carrier "Sable"
Unlike the German Hs.293 anti-ship missile, which required visual observation of it from a bomber carrier, the Zvorykin system provided reliable telecontrol over a distance of 50 miles. The second important difference between Interstate and German V-1 and Henschel-293 was its multiple use: in the case of a successful exit from attack, the UAV returned to the aircraft carrier or to the ground-based airfield.
By the year 1943, the US Navy leadership planned to form 18 squadrons from unmanned torpedo bombers (over 1000 attack drones and 162 control aircraft). Alas, by that time the Japanese fleet had already suffered heavy losses and completely lost the initiative. The need for a marine drone disappeared. Total managed to build 189 UAV "Interstate", which were used to destroy the Japanese anti-aircraft batteries at the final stage of the war.
German designers lost the battle for heaven
Despite their limitless fantasies about flying saucers and suborbital bombers, the Nazis did not manage to build a strategic bomber capable of striking US territory. The Junkers, Messerschmitt and Kurt Tank unsuccessfully worked on the Amerika Bomber project. Alas, all created crafts - Ju.390, Fw.300, Me.264, Ta.400 - did not even reach the level of the American “Super Strength”.
The Luftwaffe pilots did not have anti-overload suits like Franks Mk.I and Mk.II (used by British Spitfire pilots) or G-1 (used by Americans on Mustangs).
The Germans could not have heavy fighter-bombers like the Thunderbolt or the Corsair. Despite the obsessive search for "miracle weapons", the Nazis did not manage to create an aircraft engine comparable in power to the Napier Saber (2200 hp, such engines were equipped with the British Tempests) or with the double star "Pratt & Whitney" R2800 (power over 2500 hp).
The Third Reich completely "blew" the arms race to other developed countries. The glory of German engineering is largely undeserved. In other countries, no less formidable and sophisticated models of weapons and equipment were created. Alas, these structures have remained almost unknown to the general public. In contrast to the unrealized German projects, the winning countries were not in a hurry to disclose details of their secret developments.
Everyone has heard about the work on the creation of anti-aircraft missile systems in Germany (“Wasserfal”, “Schmetterling”, “Reintochter”). But how many people know about the existence of the American SAM-N-2 "Lark" anti-aircraft complex?
The first contract for the release of a pre-production lot of 100 anti-aircraft missiles was concluded in March 1945. The main characteristics of the Lark air defense missile system: effective firing range of 55 km. Marching speed rocket 0,85M. The weight of the 45 kg warhead is more than enough to intercept piston airplanes. The Fairchild missiles used a combined guidance system (radio command control on the cruise and semi-active at the terminal stage). Competitors from the firm "Consolidated" used a different scheme with a "saddled beam" and active homing in the final segment using the small-sized radar AN / APN-23.
After becoming acquainted with such facts, the fairy tale about the German “miracle weapon” does not cause anything but boredom.
The Red Army is stronger
The importance of technical research and the desire to improve the characteristics of military equipment cannot be denied. But the fun of creating “miracle weapons” had little to do with the real needs of the armed forces and successes on the fronts. Combat readiness of the army, aviation and fleet It was determined by their combat experience, coordinated actions and adaptability to the conditions in which they had to fight. Seen from these positions, the Soviet rear and front accomplished a feat. The Soviet Union turned into a war machine, ideally adapted to the conditions of the Soviet-German front.
The horrors of the first months of the war, indiscriminate retreat, the loss of important industrial centers, the disruption of industrial chains, the evacuation of industries with their “spraying” over the vast expanses of the country. Lack of highly skilled labor. Low technical literacy among the personnel of the Red Army (as M. Kalashnikov said, “the soldier of the academies did not finish”). The general lag of Soviet industry from the leading countries of the world, due to the late industrialization (for which special thanks to the tsarist regime). All this made the Soviet military-industrial complex unlike any military industrial complex of foreign countries.
The mighty la-xnumxfn. Fighters of this type almost in no way inferior to the best foreign fighters with air-cooled motors (such as the Focke-Wolfe-5, or the British Hauker Tempest)
Nobody harbored illusions. The war against fascism will cost our country’s cruel losses. Military equipment should be as cheap and simplified as possible, so that at times it was easier to drop a damaged tank than to transport it from the Vistula to the Urals. At the same time, by the totality of their combat characteristics, the Soviet military equipment had to correspond to foreign analogues. Only such a technique could produce our MIC. And only such a technique could fight a Russian soldier.
... Experts LII, NII VVS and TsAGI carefully inspected the new Mosquito V.IV (under the number DK296) and came to the conclusion that there are no secrets in the design of the British aircraft. High LTH are provided by excellent engines and extremely high quality manufacturing of wooden parts of the fuselage and wing. Production of "Moskito" in the USSR is impossible - for this there is neither time, nor strength, nor workers with proper qualifications.
Instead of glueing a three-layer sandwich from balsa and thoroughly polishing the surfaces, it was easier to tune a pair of Pawns (Pe-2) and immediately throw them into battle, towards the brutal hordes of fascists. Pe-2 inferior "Mosquito" in the specific conditions of the Soviet-German front.
Healthy asceticism, mass character and traditional Russian ingenuity - that was our miracle weapon that allowed the Red Army to reach Berlin.