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Useless German weapons made during the war.

Discussion in 'Weapons & Technology in WWII' started by DerGiLLster, May 3, 2016.

  1. Ricky

    Ricky Well-Known Member

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    I worked out my confusion... in the 'Rockets' book i was reading the author was pointing out that the Germans could (should, in his view!) have got the V1 & 2 working sooner, and should have picked better targets - he mixed those two 'shoulds' and suggested Portsmouth, which stuck in my mind
     
  2. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Something to note, is that post war the US fired hundreds of V-1 and JB-2 (a US V-1 copy more or less) with a significant number of failures occurring. This was in peacetime, with careful preparation, and even improved controls and such. So, I'd bet the wartime German failure rate of V-1 wasn't any better with something like 1 in 3 or 4 failing to reach their target due to malfunction of some sort.
    Even so, given the V-1's cheapness, it was a reasonable and successful weapon on the whole.

    A V-2 cost in terms of RM about the same as an Me 110, only you got one mission out of it ending in its destruction. In terms of costs and resources, the V-2 was a complete failure and waste of time. Without a nuclear warhead, it wasn't worth developing into an operational weapon.

    It's also interesting that the US, when they got started into developing a ballistic missile, under project MX 774 HIROC had the companies and engineers involved examine captured German V-2 technology. The US engineers rejected virtually everything the Germans were doing. Charlie Bossart at Convair tossed out the conventional airframe with monocoque skin for a new design where the fuel tanks were integral with the skin and made rigid by pressurization, a design still used today. At Aerojets, they rejected the German use of graphite veins in the exhaust nozzle for steering and replaced them with a steerable nozzle, something the Germans tried and failed to get to work. Hughes (Raytheon today) completely ignored the German guidance system and invented a new one where most of the controls (the expensive part) were ground based and used telemetry and a radio link to guide the missile during the boost phase. This was named AZUSA. The Russians copied it more or less in their early ballistic missiles. It remained a staple for ballistic missile control into the early 70's.

    Oh, by the way, one V-2 managed to hit Mexico...

    In 1947, a V-2 launched at Fort Bliss, El Paso TX veered off course and landed near a cemetery just outside Juarez Mexico.

    1947: Off-course V-2 rocket just misses Juárez (elpasotimes.com)

    After that, the US Army moved all V-2 launches to White Sands in New Mexico to prevent a repeat...
     
  3. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I understand-perfectly. And I TELL you.
    .in a Dokument von Braun wanted to Know whyThe V-2 did not fly how he wanted. So he went close to see what happened. Due to colourring he noticed the flying was not balanced. So the V-2 armoring was made more heavy and the rocket was balanced.
    Thank you!
     
  4. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I retkin you did not warch the document with von Braun with me?Just kidding. T.A. Youre the beat!
     
  5. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I reckon you did not warch the document with von Braun with me?Just kidding. T.A. Youre the best!
     
  6. harolds

    harolds Member

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    I'm not sure that the V1 had the accuracy to hit Portsmouth. Without interference, it could hit London (then the biggest city in the world)---most of the time. The beachhead would be pretty iffy. I suspect that most of the missiles would land either in the water or on German troops!
     
  7. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Von Braun was a decent engineer, but where he excelled was as a salesman. He could sell snowballs to Eskimos in Alaska in the winter.

    One of his earliest sales pitches was to Ernst Henkel for a rocket powered fighter plane. He talked Henkel into giving him an He 112 fighter prototype left over after Messerschmitt won contracts for the Me 109. He put a rocket engine in the plane and blew it up on the first test. He talked Henkel into giving him a second He 112 prototype. This one detonated when the rocket motor started. He then managed to get a third prototype He 112 from Henkel and this one managed to fly a circuit around the airfield and land intact.

    Now, that's a salesman!
     
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  8. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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  9. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Some wonder waffe that simply weren't worth the effort include the Sommerballon and Winterballon bombs intended to attack hydroelectric plants in Russia. Tested in Finland, they were a dismal failure and yet the Germans produced over a thousand of each. These were never deployed or used because by the time they were ready the target dams in Russia were out of range.

    Another is the Hagelkorn glide bomb that could have been used against large cities as an indiscriminate terror weapon. The similar US GB-1 was used in mid-1944 a couple of times before being abandoned exactly for being an indiscriminate weapon. For the Germans, in their desperation, the Hegelkorn would have been a weapon equal to the V-1 in just doing something to strike back on the cheap.
     
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  10. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish

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    I used to be as likely as the next nerd to scoff at the Wunderwaffe, but have gradually come to the conclusion that Germany's grasping about for technological solutions was entirely logical/justifiable.
    Manpower, materials, fuel, strategic advantages etc. all ebbing away. What else could they do when surrender was essentially unthinkable to the regime.
    Even at the lower technology level, things like the strange vast tank projects have a certain circumstantial logic.

    Obviously there's debate to be had about diversion of expertise, prototype/testing facilities, production etc., But I increasingly feel those factors couldn't really have made a great deal of difference to conventional work by mid/late war anyway.
    Throw as many strange projects at the wall to see what sticks. You never know.
     
  11. Ricky

    Ricky Well-Known Member

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    Good (and interesting) point.
    To be fair the Allies also had a number of interesting projects that came to naught - or at least didn't mature in time for meaningful service. Both sides were always trying to get that next technological leap. And don't forget the Germans had committed the sin of freezing much of their development early on in the war, so running to catch up isn't as daft as it sounds
     
  12. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    The differences between the Allies and Germany on technology really come down to two issues:

    The Allies were winning the war and knew it. They could forego using marginal and largely untested technologies, even if promising since what they were using was getting the war won for them. Germany was losing and knew it. They began casting about for anything and everything that might change that outcome, pressing forward with a lot of advanced technology that proved marginal or unworkable simply because it had not been thoroughly engineered and tested.

    The Allies and Germany differed on what they needed to fight their war. For example, the Allies needed ASW technology to defeat U-boats. The Germans needed submarine technologies to operate their U-boats effectively. The Germans and British needed nightfighter technologies for their air war, while the US had less requirement for the same. So, much of what each nation was researching, and building was based on their particular needs which often weren't the same as those of their enemy.
     
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  13. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Staff Member Patron  

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    My Aunt's husband - "uncle by proxy" , worked for McDonald/Douglas during the Apollo missions and once told me, "This hand shook Von Braun's hand".
    I told him I'd actually be impressed if he had shook hands with Goddard.
     
  14. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    He worked for McDonald's? Did he get free cheeseburgers?

    Sorry, could not resist...

    McDonnell Douglas.
     
  15. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    After the war, when American scientists were interrogating von Braun about his rocket program, he said something like "Why are you asking me? This is all from your Robert Goddard."
     
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  16. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Staff Member Patron  

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    Spell check never works when you want it to
     
  17. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Do you have a source?

    He did say...
    "Don't you know about your own rocket pioneer? Dr. Goddard was ahead of us all.''

    Which was probably stroking American ego. Goddard was rather secretive when it came to the technical particulars of his rockets, although he did speak freely about his theories.

    Hermann Oberth was far more influential on von Braun that Goddard ever was. At least, until von Braun arrived in the US.
     
  18. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Don't have the exact words, hence "something like".
     
  19. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Staff Member Patron  

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    Goddard was a visionary and died at the end of WW2.

    "After his death in 1945, appreciation for Goddard's work increased so much so that NASA named the Goddard Space Flight Center after him in 1959. He was posthumously inducted into the International Aerospace Hall of Fame, 1966, and the International Space Hall of Fame, 1976.
    [​IMG]
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    Von Braun knew more about Goddard's work than most American scientists. And he used his 'personality' to his best advantage.
     
  20. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Another key US inventor in rocketry was Jack Parsons. He was associated with Cal Tech, but never got a degree. His early work was with the "Suicide Squad" at Cal Tech, a group of students and others with interests in rockets. He invented some of the best solid fuels of the war like GALCIT 53. He was also one of the partners that founded Aerojets, a corporation that manufactured most of the US military's solid fuel rocket motors during the war.
     
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