During the armed conflicts we can observe the greatest technologic progress. The extra motivation of winning and the search in some areas bring extraordinary progress that would take decades to be reached if the war effort had not happened. The World War II was not an exception. Some of the most notorious progresses began with the German search during this conflict, as, for instance, Russian and American space project in the '60s.
Most part of us already watched programs about the secret weapons of the Nazi regime that could have changed the course and the end of the World War II if they had been used in another period. Germany earlier assumed itself as a scientifically superior nation, advancing significantly in the military technology used in the first phases of the conflict. Then, Hitler -- perhaps thinking he had won the war -- started to put a small emphasis on the martial development along the war. And it was crucial at the phases. When the wind blew in another direction, Germany returned to search for highly sophisticated weapons, as a desperate act to turn the things as they were.
These extraordinary weapons or "wunderwaffe" came too late to the war scenery -- but, if the had come earlier?
WunderWaffe 1 - Vampire Vision
Sturmgewehr 44 was the first attack rifle, similar to the moderns M-16 and Kalashnikov AK-47. ZG 1229, also know by the name vampire code, could be used by the snippers at night because of its infrared vision. It was used in last months of the war.
WunderWaffe 2 - Super-Heavy Tank
The German engineers worked in a lot of super-heavy tanks draws and the Panzerkampfwagen VIII Maus was the heaviest model to be made as a prototype during the war. The weight of this tank was about 180 tons.
The Bear version, with 1500 tons, carried 2 800mm cannons and 2 150mm auxiliaries rotational towers that lied behind. To locomote this giant structure, four U-boat submarine diesel motors were necessary.
WunderWaffe 3 - The first cruise missile of the world
Propulsionated by turbo jet, V-1 began to be launched right after the D Day -- June 13th, 1944.
WunderWaffe 4 - The first ICBM - Intercontinental Ballistic Missile
Succeding V-1, V-2 was the first object made by the mankind to reach the sub-orbital space flight. Traveling at the speed of 4.000 km/h, it was impossible to be intercepted and could reach its target faster than the speed of sound.
V-2 Rockets had an elevated sophistication level for that time, and this became them expensive in comparison to the destruction power of their small and conventional ogives. They were launched from mobile stations and released fear and panic among the population of London when used against civilians.
Approximately 3.000 V-2 were shot against the Allies, killing about 7.000 civilians and militaries, and just when the Reich forces were obliged to fell back beyond the weapon reach they ceased to be launched. If the German forces had more time, the course of the war would be very different, because their war program included nuclear ogives (in development) or chemical and biological options never used.
WunderWaffe 5 - The Turbo Jet Airplane
Messerschmitt Me 262
The applicability of the turbo jet to a military airplane was also one of the several ways ran through the German military machine. The engineers designed the model and the prototype; and they created conditions to put it at service before the end of the war --but the number of this machine was not enough to change the course of the conflict in favor of Germany. Messerschmitt Me 262 was incredibly advanced -- however, it was not forcefully developed to be used in combat. Although this, Me262 reclaimed more than 500 victories, and 100 German aircrafts were lost.
Messerschmitt Me 163 - propelled by rocket motors
Ta-183 was projected to succeed Me-262 and was testified in wind tunnels at the end of the conflict. Curiously, years later, the Soviets projected a versatile combat pursuit plane, the terrific MIG-15, which resemblances with the German prototype are evident -- even if this information was contradicted by the Soviet regime.
Ta-183 German prototype
WunderWaffe 6 - Sub-Orbital Bombardier
Silbervogel, or Silverbird, was a tactical sub-orbital bombardier propelled by rockets. It was testified in wind tunnels but no prototypes were made. Nevertheless, it is a huge step in terms of engineering and future vision, predicting a whole line of spacecrafts, as the Space Shuttle. The German scientists believed that the Silver Bird could cross the Atlantic and reach the American continent charged with 4000 kg. The flight would be done with no scales, landing in the Japanese territory at the Pacific.
WunderWaffe 7 - Flying Wing
Flying wing is a fixed wing spaceship that has no fuselage. All the equipment and crew were put inside the main structure of the wing. Theoretically, the "wing" is the most efficient airplane concerning about aerodynamics and structural weight, mainly because the absence of any external components and the elevating power of the structure. However, as proved along the years, the complexity and the costs of this configuration is huge, allowing a low practical applicability on the modern civilian aeronaut. Horten H1 flew by the first time in 1944. After the war, there were many prototypes based on the German investigation.
Many other fantastic weapons were produced and testified in the effort to take the military advantage -- the modern helicopter, the solar cannon (that would converge the solar rays to melt airplanes), Vortex machines (designated to create artificial tornados), or the air cannons (which would create impossible atmospheric conditions to the Allies airplanes.
(that would converge the solar rays to melt airplanes), Vortex machines (designated to create artificial tornados), or the air cannons (which would create impossible atmospheric conditions to the Allies airplanes.