Wednesday, May 13, 2015


An operational launch site for the first Ba 349A-1 operational Natters under the code name Operation Krokus was being established in a small wooded area called Hasenholz, south of the Stuttgart to Munich autobahn and to the east of Nabern unter Teck. Around the end of February and the beginning of March the Todt Organisation was in action, constructing each set of the trios of concrete foundations (or "footings") for the launch towers. These three launch pads and their towers were arranged at the corners of an equilateral triangle, 120 m per side. The specific locations are said to be 48°37′42.2″N 9°29′57.4″E, 48°37′42″N 9°29′53.5″E and 48°37′39.8″N 9°29′54″E. In the centre of each of the three concrete footings is a square hole approximately 50 centimeters deep, which once served as the foundation for the launch tower. Beside each hole is a pipe, cut off at ground level, which was probably once a cable pit. These three concrete pads were noticed by a surveyor in the autumn of 1945, but not rediscovered until 1999. In March 1945 eight pilots, who were experienced, mostly highly decorated and volunteers for the first operational flights, started training at the Heuberg. This training continued until the first half of April at which time they moved to the Hasenholz operational area. The first three manned and fully armed A1 Krokus examples were scheduled to be launched from 20 April, which was Hitler’s birthday. But on that day the US 10th Armored Division drove its tanks into Kirchheim unter Teck to the northwest of Hasenholz wood. The next day it crossed the autobahn and headed straight for the Natter operational area. The Natter group subsequently retreated to Waldsee.

About 1,400 Me 262s were produced, but a maximum of 200 were operational at the same time. They destroyed about 150 enemy planes, but the Allies destroyed about 100 Me 262s in the air. While Germany was bombed intensively, production of the Me 262 was dispersed into low-profile production facilities, sometimes little more than clearings in the forests of Germany and occupied countries. Through the end of February to the end of March 1945, approximately 60 Me 262s were destroyed in attacks on Obertraubling and 30 at Leipheim; the Neuberg jet plant itself was bombed on 19 March 1945.

Large, heavily protected underground factories were constructed to take up production of the Me 262, safe from bomb attacks, but the war ended before they could be completed. Wings were produced in Germany's oldest motorway tunnel at Engelberg to the west of Stuttgart. At B8 Bergkristall-Esche II at St. Georgen/Gusen, Austria, forced laborers of Concentration Camp Gusen II produced fully equipped fuselages for the Me 262 at a monthly rate of 450 units on large assembly lines from early 1945.

"I passed one that looked as if it was hanging motionless in the air (I am too fast!). The one above me went into a steep right-hand turn, his pale blue underside standing out against the purple sky. Another banked right in front of the Me's nose. Violent jolt as I flew through his airscrew eddies. Maybe a wing's length away. That one in the gentle left-hand curve! Swing her round. I was coming from underneath, eye glued to the sight (pull her tighter!). A throbbing in the wings as my cannon pounded briefly. Missed him. Way behind his tail. It was exasperating. I would never be able to shoot one down like this. They were like a sack of fleas. A prick of doubt: is this really such a good fighter? Could one in fact, successfully attack a group of erratically banking fighters with the Me 262?"

Johannes Steinhoff, Luftwaffe fighter ace.

A submarine-towed launch platform was tested successfully, making it the prototype for submarine-launched ballistic missiles. The project codename was Prüfstand XII ("Test stand XII"), sometimes called the rocket U-boat. If deployed, it would have allowed a U-boat to launch V-2 missiles against United States cities, though only with considerable effort (and limited effect). Hitler, in July 1944 and Speer, in January 1945, made speeches alluding to the scheme, though Germany did not possess any capability to fulfill these threats. These schemes were met by the Americans with Operation Teardrop.

While interned after the war by the British at CSDIC camp 11, Dornberger was recorded saying that he had begged the Führer to stop the V-weapon propaganda, because nothing more could be expected from one ton of explosive. To this Hitler had replied that Dornberger might not expect more, but he (Hitler) certainly did.

According to decrypted messages from the Japanese embassy in Germany, twelve dismantled V-2 rockets were shipped to Japan. These left Bordeaux in August 1944 on the transport U-boats U-219 and U-195, which reached Djakarta in December 1944. A civilian V-2 expert was a passenger on U-234, bound for Japan in May 1945 when the war ended in Europe. The fate of these V-2 rockets is unknown.

Near the end of the war, German scientists were working on chemical and possibly biological weapons to use in the V-2 program[citation needed]. By this stage, the Germans had produced munitions containing nerve agents Sarin, Soman and Tabun; they never used them.

Although for a time the Nazi war machine seemed virtually unstoppable, by 1942 the future of the “thousand-year Reich” was suddenly in doubt. With the bulk of the Wehrmacht bogged down in Russia and the full might of America finally being brought to bear against the Axis, Germany’s prospects for victory (or even just survival) seemed bleak indeed. Outnumbered, surrounded and now largely on the defensive, military planners in Berlin increasingly believed that Germany’s best and maybe only hope lay in the development of super-weapons or wunderwaffe. While a number of game changing breakthroughs like the V-1 rocket, the Me-262 fighter jet and Schweer Gustav gun had surprised and even amazed the Allies, these technological marvels were only the beginning of what the Nazi regime was planning to unleash. Right up to the very end of the war in Europe, German engineers were racing the clock to field next generation fighting ships, warplanes, missiles and more — technology that Hitler hoped would not only stave off defeat but even guarantee an Axis triumph. While most of these proposed war machines never left the drawing board, they still manage to fascinate, even 70 years later.

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