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The germans invented the nuclear bomb!

Discussion in 'Wonder Weapons' started by Munken, Aug 18, 2003.

  1. Munken

    Munken Member

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    I saw a documentary on Discovery about a german u-boat that was sent from germany in middle of 1945 containing scientists, documents and parts of a nuclear bomb and uranium(?). This u-boat was on a top secret mission and only one man on th boat knew where they were headed: Japan. I missed some of the program but the u-boat arrived at Japan and it semed that the japs putte some of their scientists in the uboa too. Then by some reason they left Japan and headed back to Europe. I didn't get what had happened because i missed this part but when they heard on the radio that Germany had surrendered they surrendered to the USA. The americans continued the german research and could develop bombs that they used on Nagasaki and Hiroshima some months later. Did you know this because it's all new to me.
     
  2. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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  3. Colin

    Colin Member

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    That's really interesting. I thought that the first time a nuclear bomb had ever been attempted was during the Manhattan Project.
     
  4. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    The Manhattan Project was the first program to develop a nuclear weapon. The German program, such as it was, really never got beyond very basic theoretical research. The Germans didn't even have a working reactor before the war ended. In part, this was because Hitler and his minions had an aversion to both the field of theoretical / nuclear physics and to most of the scientists involved. The Nazi's thought of it as a "Jewish" science in some respects.
     
  5. Colin

    Colin Member

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    Wasn't Hitler also more concerned with those cloning projects and the secret weapons that he was working on?
     
  6. cristi

    cristi Member

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    I saw that documentary too.
    Americans use that uranium on the project conducted by the father of atomic bomb,Robert Oppenheimer.
    American project was more advanced in comparision with german project.
    In that time the project was almost finished, they needed only a lot of uranium ( and gained from uboat the rest of them).
    Sadly, but that uranium got to this destination-japan- but not in a uboat.
    :(
     
  7. redcoat

    redcoat Ace

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    Its amazing the myths that keep getting repeated on TV documentries these days.
    :rolleyes:
    Firstly the Uranium ore captured was low-grade ore not suitable for use in a atomic bomb.
    Secondly the Germans had long given up researching how to make an atom bomb, any research they had done was useless to the allies because it was way behind the allies own research.
     
  8. Onthefield

    Onthefield Member

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    Even though the ore was low grade and their research was lesser than ours what if... (go there) ;)
     
  9. Gaucho

    Gaucho Member

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    Of course, no doubt about that. The Secret Weapon that Hitler was crazy about was this one...
    Good thing that it didn't came out in time :), but it came after at Hiroshima/Nagasaki :-(
     
  10. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    One has to keep in mind that the US program was dual tracked. One process used uranium, the other plutonium made by breeder reactor. One of each bomb was used operationally while 2 uranium and one plutonium bombs were detonated before the end of the war. The German U-boat contribution would have been miniscule compared to the effort already underway in the US to produce fissile material. So, while it may have been used it would have been only a minor expedient in a vast program.
     
  11. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    Just let me tell you that the U-boat in question carried an unasembled Me-262 and its parts, along a box with some few kilogrammes of Uranium ore. It of course, was not going to be used for an atomic programme as such since Japan didn't have the money, the time, the knowledge nor any kind of capacity to develop a nuclear bomb. Besides, the Uranium ore was low-quality one.

    But there was a plan to use very large range bombers or submarine aircraft carriers to drop the ore on San Francisco. Which, let me tell you, would have had a similar effect as those of the A-bombs after the explosion.
     
  12. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Not exactly. Uranium is an alpha emmiter. It is really only a radiation danger if it is ingested (breathed or eaten). Nuclear explosions create a wide range of fission products with variable levels of threat as both elements and radiation emmitters. Nuclear explosions also create some new radioactive materials due to emmission of neutrons. Scattering a few kilos of raw uranium would have been nothing more than a clean-up problem in 1945. After all, radiation effects on life were far less well understood then than now.
     
  13. Fredd

    Fredd Member

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    In half 1944 (when storages of Wolfram were depleted) Speer ordered to use Uranium to constructing antitank shells. So the Nuclear program of Germans was concluded. He wrote it in his memoirs.
     
  14. FLOZi

    FLOZi Member

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    The germans gave up developing the A bomb when their lead nuclear scientist mistakenly calculated the critical mass as 1000Kg of uranium, because he hadn't theorised a chain reaction of neutron emmisions, iirc. The Americans however realised that only 10Kg was needed, as this was enough to begin an unstoppable chain reaction of neutron emition and fission.

    1000kg of weapons grade uranium is rather hard to come by and rather bulky to be used in a weapon, 10Kg is a much simpler task.

    Now I just hope I got those masses right! The documentary i saw was a few years ago now.

    Whether the Nazi scientist in question purposefully got the equation wrong on an ethical basis is quite a contentious historical question.
     
  15. Mahross

    Mahross Ace

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    Something that has to be remembered about the german project was that the head of the project, Hiesenburg, a theoritical physicist, miscalculated the amount of urnaium needed to cause an explosion similar to that of the american bombs. He was amazed when he found out the US had actually developed one and used it as he believed it was not physically feasable, due to his miscalculation.
     
  16. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

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    Also, the US made a daring raid or two in Norway (i think) where they sunk a ferry (and killed lots of civilians in the process - with permission of the countries King) that was carrying some form of water used in the Atomic Bomb Research, which set back the German Program by at least a year. The Germans wouldnt have had the A-Bomb as soon as we did, but they were working on it.

    There are lots of 'What Ifs' and we'd be singing a different song had the Me 262 and other such 'secret weapons' had been produced a year earlier - would have turned the tide indeed.
     
  17. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    I hope that's U.S. as in us , Duce !

    The raids were mainly carried out by Norwegian resistance trained and co-ordinated by SOE, following the first unsuccessful raid ( 'Operation Freshman' ) which involved British Commandos.

    Kirk Douglas came later.... ;)
     
  18. No.9

    No.9 Ace

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    ” Also, the US made a daring raid or two in Norway (i think) where they sunk a ferry (and killed lots of civilians in the process - with permission of the countries King) that was carrying some form of water used in the Atomic Bomb Research, which set back the German Program by at least a year.” :rolleyes:

    The only raid the US made on the Heavy Water plant at Vemork in the Rjuken Valley, was a daylight bombing raid with 143 B17’s. Though it killed some 27 civilians, no bombs hit the plant. The reason for the bombing was that the SOE decided it was impractical to mount another successful ground raid as they had achieved with Operation Gunnerside.

    It did however, convince Hitler that the Allies might keep bombing trying until they got it right, so he ordered essential equipment and stocks of Heavy Water (deuterium oxide - D2O – a by-product of hydro electricity production), to be moved to southern Germany. The plant was already infiltrated by SOE men and the SOE alerted their local agents (Norwegians) to wreck the transfer. As the local head of operations advised he wanted to blow-up the ferry used in part of the transfer and this would involve killing civilians, the King of Norway in exile in London authorised destruction of the ferry at any cost.

    The ferry, ‘Hydro’, was sunk on Lake Tinnsjo, 20 February 1944, with its cargo of Heavy Water rail-car tankers. Bits of the plant equipment were found in southern Germany, unassembled, in 1945 by elements of the advance nuclear search team.

    No.9
     
  19. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

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    thanks for clearing that up No.9! I knew i had the gist of it. hehe - saw something on the History Channel about the Ferry one - parachuted in and lived in a hunters cabin for a long time in the cold winter. i think there were 6 - 8 members in the team who carried out the operation. Not too sure - been a while since i saw it.
     
  20. No.9

    No.9 Ace

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    Well you didn’t do bad on one viewing Beni, there’s quite a bit to the full story which was the effort to stop Germany developing the A-Bomb. The plant in Norway was Hitler’s source for Heavy Water and he was ordering more and more to be produced. Initially Combined Operations took on the job claiming it was more in their province than SOE, (there was a lot of rivalry between all the ‘specialist’ empires).

    SOE had a man on the inside which itself is an amazing story. While on some leave he literally seized a boat with several other Norwegians and came to Britain. When they found he worked at the plant, SOE instantly recruited him, gave him a crash training course, and sent him straight back so he was back in work before the end of his vacation – and no one was any the wiser! :eek:

    SOE sent a 4 man advance team of Norwegian operatives from Britain (Operation Grouse), to set-up in a mountain hunting lodge and be able to meet the main raiding party and guide them to the plant. Combined Ops later sent 2 gliders with thirty four Royal Engineers of the 1st British Airborne Division, towed by 2 bombers, (Operation Freshman). The weather closed in and both gliders and one bomber crashed into mountains. One bomber aborted and when turning the iced-up rope snapped and its glider found itself released prematurely. Those that survived the crash were either captured or gave themselves up. All survivors were executed, some tortured first and some killed by an SS hospital doctor.

    The men of Grouse in their cabin just had to stay put and wait. They ran out of food and ended up eating moss and lichen they dug through the snow for, until eventually they found some Reindeer to shoot.

    The raid was tried again, this time by SOE who parachuted in 6 more Norwegian operatives, (for security Grouse team was renamed Swallow). The two teams eventually met-up in the mountains and set off together to hit the plant. They got in, blew the works, and out undetected! Most skied off directly to Sweden but some stayed behind to work with and develop the Norwegian resistance, know as the ‘Home Army – 50.000 strong at the end of the war).

    The Germans got production restored in a matter of months and surrounded the plant with massive security, hence the further raid was made by day bombing. It was one of the men who stayed behind that organised and conducted the raid on the ferry, Knut Haukelid.

    He wrote a book called; “Skis against the Atom” which has been reprinted in the USA and is currently available at very reasonable prices. Well worth reading.

    ISBN 0-942323-07-6

    The proper story of the raid is in a 1948 Norwegian film; “Kampen om tungtvannet" - "The Fight Over Heavy Water"

    No.9
     

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