Nazi Nukes: Did Hitler Develop An Atomic Bomb?

Yithian

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errata

The Yithian said:
...whilst being held in a stately home (i forget which) and being bugged and monitored by MI6...
It was Farm Hall, monitored as part of Operation Epsilon. Heisenberg, Otto Hahn, and Max von Laue were all present. Heisenberg's alleged mistake was a huge overestimation of the amount of fissile meaterial needed for such a weapon to function.
 

Fulcaneli

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Nazi Nuclear Bomb?

Does anyone have any information concerning the possible explosion of a nuclear bomb by the nazis in Germany at the end of WW2?
 

mejane

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This thead is a good place to start.

[Emp edit: Threads merged and link removed]

The general consensus is that it simply didn't happen, although they certainly tried.

Jane.
 

Dessie32

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I think they were in the process of making some sort of nuclear device. But were thwarted by Norwegian Commandos - The Heros of Telemark.
 

wembley8

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...and Heisenberg's deciding that heavy water was the only suitable moderator (when carbon works perfectly well) and German calculations that showed thousands of kilos of uranium would be needed (instead of about 10) and various other mistakes.
 

disgruntledgoth

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Wasn't it american commandos who found a nuclear reactor ?
 

Heckler

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No but I'm sure Hollywood will eventually produce a film portraying them doing just that :roll:
 
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Anonymous

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the acutal truth wont ever be told
just the version that suits the victors
as ever..
 

Fulcaneli

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Nazi Nuclear Bomb:reason for question..

Hi! and thanks to all who posted replies to my original question-I have picked up some really useful links on this one.The reason for my original question is that I have just finished reading "Reich of the Black Sun" by Joseph P Farrell in which he claims that a Nuclear Bomb was exploded in Germany in October 1944. The explosion was witnessed and recorded by one Hans Zinsser flying a Heinkel 111 twin engined bomber.

Another claim made is that at least some of the Uranium 235 used in the Hiroshima bomb came from a German U-Boat, U234. A third major claim is that two A-Bombs were dropped on Nagasaki,one of which failed to explode and was given to the Russians by the Japanese govt.

Farrell quotes Carter Hydrick: "Critical Mass: the Real Story of the Atomic Bomb and the Birth of the Nuclear Age"-has anyone read this? I would value any comments

The interesting point for me is that I am sure that recently I have seen a claim in a respected daily newspaper that a test A-Bomb was exploded in Germany towards the end of WW2. Aparently victims were found with burns consistent with Nuclear explosions-can anyone else recall seeing this?
 

Timble2

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A third major claim is that two A-Bombs were dropped on Nagasaki,one of which failed to explode and was given to the Russians by the Japanese govt.
Since the American occupation of Japan didn't end till 1952, and the Americans studied Hiroshima and Nagasaki intensively, I don't think they'd have misplaced an atom bomb for seven years.

And why would the Japanese have given the bomb to the Soviet Union, why arm a potential enemy?

I think the newspaper item may have been an extract from the book you mention.
 
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Anonymous

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if two bombs were dropped wouldnt one have destroyed/detonated the other?
 
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Anonymous

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Tin,

It's highly unlikely that if two bombs were dropped, the second would've triggered the first. The reason terrorists and North Korea/Iran/et al have trouble building nukes is that it takes an incredibly focussed explosion to obtain critical mass and cause a chain reaction - you could nuke a tonne of U235 and still not get it to explode. The problem is compressing the mass of nuclear material in every direction at practically the same time. Unless you can do this within a few microseconds, you ain't getting an explosion. That is why the Manhattan Project had 5(?) future Nobel prize winners on the team and still took 6 years to create a workable device. As a somewhat interesting aside, Hiroshima was chosen because the Allies were worried about destroying the ancient capital of Japan, Kyoto. It was second on the list, and was chosen because it was a newer city. Nagasaki was hit because the original target (forgive me - I forget the name) was covered in cloud on the day of the bombing run.

As for a German nuke, there was no chance. Any hope they had was destroyed when they expelled the Jewish scientists who were working in the field. In an example of the Lysenko attitudes that were in evidence in Nazi Germany, a lot of "Jewish" science was rejected, putting the Third Reich about 15 years behind the rest of the Western world. The Germans had some fantastic scientists working for them, but their ideology didn't fit with most. Heisenberg, the German Feynman, was suspected of harbouring Jewish scientists in his apartment. Given this, is it any wonder that their efforts produced little. Oppenheimer may have quoted the Bhagavad Gita - "I have become the destroyer of men" - but Heisenberg, demonstrably, worked slowly and refused the title Oppenheimer claimed, on ethical grounds, and I for one salute him
 
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Anonymous

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from what ive read the weight of each nuke dropped over japan meant it could only be carried one at a time
so if two were dropped it must have been from two planes...

so..

as the size of the initial blast is so massive i would have thought it would have been a similtanious drop so not to nock one bomb out with another

iirc you dont need a critical mass to expode a nuke without the precietiming all you get is a dirty bomb which has alot of radiation but nowhere near the explosive impact

that along with the unexploded bomb being anywhere near a nucular explosion would have probably severly damaged it or triggered a dirty bomb,iirc simply hitting plutonium against uranium is enought to trigger a dirty blast.
 
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Anton La_Vey said:
Tin,

It's highly unlikely that if two bombs were dropped, the second would've triggered the first. The reason terrorists and North Korea/Iran/et al have trouble building nukes is that it takes an incredibly focussed explosion to obtain critical mass and cause a chain reaction - you could nuke a tonne of U235 and still not get it to explode. The problem is compressing the mass of nuclear material in every direction at practically the same time. Unless you can do this within a few microseconds, you ain't getting an explosion.
That's not *strictly* true. If you can't create an effective explosive lens as used in "Gadget" and "Fat Man" then you need to use larger amounts of fissile material. A mark of an advanced weapon is that it is smaller (compare a modern Trident warhead to "Gadget"). Ironically, if you don't have the technology to make the explosives, chances are you won't be in a position to extract or make larger amounts of fissile material.

With regards to dropping 2 bombs on Hiroshima. If you dropped one from x thousand feet and it didn't go off, it would certainly be smashed on impact. A second bomb which did detonate would burn off the explosive and melt the casing and energetic components with the only noticeable result of increased radiation (a la dirty bomb).
 
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Anonymous

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You are right that given enough fissile material in close contact, you can start a chain reaction and give off a hell of a lot of energy (Feynman worried about the storage depot at Los Alamos) but you're likely to end up with a meltdown rather than an explosion. That in itself can be deadly, but it is akin to removing the carbon rods from a reactor - you will get massive gamma and alpha production and a big mess, but no explosion. To get a greater than conventional yield, you need to smash those atoms together. If you wanted to send a reactor sample over critical mass, then technically you could do it, but you'd do better staying in bed and waiting for a Tsunami to wreck the place first.

Incidentally, "Fat Man" could have caused more damage if it had been stripped down to the Plutonium core and dropped in a reservoir - that much Pu239 could have poisoned 5 times as many people as were vaporised at Nagasaki....
 
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Anonymous

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Anton La_Vey said:
You are right that given enough fissile material in close contact, you can start a chain reaction and give off a hell of a lot of energy..
I meant that you'd need more material with a weaker explosive lens not just stand lumps together. (Joe Don Baker always looked a bit of a chump bashing Plutonium lumps together by hand in "Edge of Darkness")
 
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Anonymous

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Even with a piss-poor explosive lens, you're going to struggle to get an "unrestrained fissile event".

If your trigger doesn't work properly, and your lens isn't correctly aligned, the yield you'll get is comparable to a medium sized conventional weapon - you'll get the radiation as a plus, but not much more. I agree that modern nukes are a hell of a lot more efficient that the first ones, but to build one from scratch is like designing a decent fusion reactor. You may get brief spurts of energy from a tokamak, but most of the energy tends to creep out of the holes in the magnetic field. Similarly, you may get a bang from a home-made nuke, but you might as well not bother - you can cause more damage with some C4 wrapped with something that will contaminate the environment. To do even kiloton damage is beyond terrorists, unless they find an undamaged lost weapon, a la Tom Clancy.
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Author fuels row over Hitler's bomb

· Germany 'came close to nuclear device in 1944'
· Last living witness saw Baltic test explosion

John Hooper in Rome
Friday September 30, 2005
The Guardian

A book published in Italy today is set to reignite a smouldering controversy over how close the Nazis came to manufacturing a nuclear device in the closing stages of the second world war.

The 88 year-old author, Luigi Romersa, is the last known witness to what he and some historians believe was the experimental detonation of a rudimentary weapon on an island in the Baltic in 1944.

Hitler's nuclear programme has become a subject of intense dispute in recent months, particularly in Germany. An independent historian, Rainer Karlsch, met with a barrage of hostility when he published a study containing evidence that the Nazis had got much further than previously believed.

Mr Romersa, a supporter of Mr Karlsch's thesis, lives today in an elegant flat in the Parioli district of Rome. His study walls are covered with photographs from a career during which he interviewed many of the major figures of the 20th century, from Chiang Kai-shek to Lyndon Johnson. Though he suffers from some ill-health these days, he is still lucid and articulate.

He told the Guardian how, in September 1944, Italy's wartime dictator, Benito Mussolini, had summoned him to the town of Salo to entrust him with a special mission. Mussolini was then leader of the Nazi-installed government of northern Italy and Mr Romersa was a 27 year-old war correspondent for Corriere della Sera.

Mr Romersa said that when Mussolini had met Hitler earlier in the conflict, the Nazi dictator had alluded to Germany's development of weapons capable of reversing the course of the war. "Mussolini said to me: 'I want to know more about these weapons. I asked Hitler but he was unforthcoming'."

Mussolini provided him with letters of introduction to both Josef Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda chief, and Hitler himself. After meeting both men in Germany, he was shown around the Nazis' top-secret weapons plant at Peenemünde and then, on the morning of October 12 1944, taken to what is now the holiday island of Rügen, just off the German coast, where he watched the detonation of what his hosts called a "disintegration bomb".

"They took me to a concrete bunker with an aperture of exceptionally thick glass. At a certain moment, the news came through that detonation was imminent," he said. "There was a slight tremor in the bunker; a sudden, blinding flash, and then a thick cloud of smoke. It took the shape of a column and then that of a big flower.

"The officials there told me we had to remain in the bunker for several hours because of the effects of the bomb. When we eventually left, they made us put on a sort of coat and trousers which seemed to me to be made of asbestos and we went to the scene of the explosion, which was about one and a half kilometres away.

"The effects were tragic. The trees around had been turned to carbon. No leaves. Nothing alive. There were some animals - sheep - in the area and they too had been burnt to cinders."

On his return to Italy, Mr Romersa briefed Mussolini on his visit. In the 1950s, he published a fuller account of his experiences in the magazine Oggi. But, he said, "everyone said I was mad".

By then, it was universally accepted that Hitler's scientists had been years away from testing a nuclear device. Allied interrogators who questioned the German researchers concluded that there were vast gaps in their understanding of nuclear fission. In any case, the US had needed 125,000 people to develop the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, whereas Germany's programme involved no more than a few dozen physicists, led by the Nobel laureate Werner Heisenberg.

But documents published recently by Mr Karlsch and an American scholar, Mark Walker of Union College, Schenectady, have punctured this consensus. Russian archives have shown that one of the German scientists lodged a patent claim for a plutonium bomb as early as 1941 and, in June, the two historians published an article in the British monthly, Physics World, that included what they claimed was the first diagram of one of the bombs Hitler's scientists were trying to build - a device that exploited both fission and fusion.

The true novelty of Mr Karlsch's research, though, is to have turned the spotlight off Heisenberg and onto a competing project run by one Kurt Diebner. A Nazi since 1939, Diebner had his own group at Gottow near Berlin. Mr Karlsch found evidence to show that, sponsored by Walther Gerlach of the Reich Research Council, this group abandoned its quest for an A-bomb to concentrate on a weapon made of conventional high explosives packed around a nuclear core. "It was a tactical battlefield weapon they probably wanted to use against the approaching Soviet armies," said Professor Walker.

Could Mr Romersa have seen the detonation of an early prototype? He is not the only person to have claimed to have witnessed similar explosions. Former East German archives have produced this account by Cläre Werner: on the evening of March 3 1945, she claimed, she was near the town of Ohrdruf when she saw a "big, slim column" rise into the air, "so bright that one could have read a newspaper".

Ohrdruf had a concentration camp, part of the Buchenwald complex. Heinz Wachsmut, who worked for a local excavating company, told officials that the day after Ms Werner claimed to have seen an explosion he was ordered to help the SS build wooden platforms for the cremation of the corpses of prisoners. He said their bodies were covered with horrific burns.

After the war, the scientists engaged in the Nazi project were interned. Gerlach, whose research in other fields won him praise from the likes of Albert Einstein, returned to academic life and died a revered figure. Diebner eventually got a job in West Germany's defence ministry. Neither man ever alluded to their work on what would have been the world's first tactical nuclear weapon.

"Diebner and Gerlach said nothing about this," said Prof Walker. "They took it to their graves."

-------------
· Le armi segrete di Hitler, by Luigi Romersa, is published by Ugo Mursia Editore. €14
www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/ ... 75,00.html
 

hokum6

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weapon made of conventional high explosives packed around a nuclear core.
How would that work, it's just a dirty bomb isn't it? My knowledge of nuclear physics is a little rusty ^_^ but don't conventional nukes explode by forcing one material (plutonium? Uranium?) into another?
 

Jerry_B

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IIRC, atomic bombs work by using a conventional explosive to compress the atomic material to critical mass. More powerful weapons use an atomic explosion to set off critical mass in hydrogen (a hydrogen bomb). So the nazi nuke is pretty much working on the same principle as those bombs used against the Japanese - which isn't ostensibly a dirty bomb. There was a Nazi plan for a 'dirty bomb', but this worked in a different way.
 

Anome

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The explosives packed around a nuclear core sounds like the plutonium bomb or "Fatman". The explosives compress the fissionable material so that it goes critical and the chain reaction releases all the energy. This is the bomb dropped on Nagasaki (I think.) It's rather complicated, as the shockwave from the conventional explosives has to be focussed just right, or else it will squib, and just throw radioactive material everywhere.

The "Tallboy" is a simpler design in which two masses of U238 (or is it 235?, I can never remember) are thrown at eachother from the opposite ends of a tube. In the case of the Hiroshima bomb, it was a 6 inch Naval gun barrel, I believe. The problem with this design is that refining the Uranium takes a lot of time and resources.

A modern thermonuclear weapon is a fusion bomb (or H bomb). This uses a small Plutonium bomb as a trigger to kick off an uncontrolled fusion reaction in a mass of hydrogen. This is much more efficient, as you only need a relatively small trigger device for a much higher yield.

The Nazis probably started out working on both the Tallboy and Fatman configurations, but their resources were much more limited than the Americans, so they probably decided early on to concentrate on the Plutonium bomb, which is the one described in the post above.
 

uair01

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Nazi scientists trying to build an atomic bomb set off a test explosion two months before the end of World War II, killing hundreds of people in eastern Germany, a German researcher claims in a book published Monday. (March 14, 2005)
http://www.fpp.co.uk/Hitler/docs/atombomb/Ruegen_more.html

But recent research seems to disprove that.

http://www.expatica.com/source/site_article.asp?subchannel_id=52&story_id=27723

More good documentation in German:

http://www.zdf.de/ZDFde/inhalt/18/0,1872,2279218,00.html
http://www.zdf.de/ZDFde/inhalt/27/0,1872,2279195,00.html
 

ArthurASCII

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From the Seoul Times:
Full Story of How Adolf Hitler Rose to Power

By Ray Furlong


A German historian has claimed in a new book presented on Monday that Nazi scientists successfully tested a tactical nuclear weapon in the last months of World War II.

Rainer Karlsch said that new research in Soviet and also Western archives, along with measurements carried out at one of the test sites, provided evidence for the existence of the weapon.

"The important thing in my book is the finding that the Germans had an atomic reactor near Berlin which was running for a short while, perhaps some days or weeks," he told the BBC.

"The second important finding was the atomic tests carried out in Thuringia and on the Baltic Sea."

Mr Karlsch describes what the Germans had as a "hybrid tactical nuclear weapon" much smaller than those dropped on Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

'Bright light'

He said the last test, carried out in Thuringia on 3 March 1945, destroyed an area of about 500 sq m - killing several hundred prisoners of war and concentration camp inmates.


Adolf Hitler
The weapons were never used because they were not yet ready for mass production. There were also problems with delivery and detonation systems. "We haven't heard about this before because only small groups of scientists were involved, and a lot of the documents were classified after they were captured by the Allies," said Karlsch. "I found documents in Russian and Western archives, as well as in private German ones."

One of these is a memo from a Russian spy, brought to the attention of Stalin just days after the last test. It cites "reliable sources" as reporting "two huge explosions" on the night of 3 March.

Karlsch also cites German eyewitnesses as reporting light so bright that for a second it was possible to read a newspaper, accompanied by a sudden blast of wind.

The eyewitnesses, who were interviewed on the subject by the East German authorities in the early 1960s, also said they suffered nose-bleeds, headaches, and nausea for days afterwards.

Karlsch also pointed to measurements carried out recently at the test site that found radioactive isotopes.

Scepticism

His book has provoked huge interest in Germany, but also scepticism.

It has been common knowledge for decades that the Nazis carried out atomic experiments, but it has been widely believed they were far from developing an atomic bomb.

"The eyewitnesses he puts forward are either unreliable or they are not reporting first-hand information; allegedly key documents can be interpreted in various ways," said the influential news weekly Der Spiegel.


Adolf Hitler with his staff


"Karlsch displays a catastrophic lack of understanding of physics," wrote physicist Michael Schaaf, author of a previous book about Nazi atomic experiments, in the Berliner Zeitung newspaper.

"Karlsch has done us a service in showing that German research into uranium went further than we'd thought up till now. But there was not a German atom bomb," he added.

It has also been pointed out that the United States employed thousands of scientists and invested billions of dollars in the Manhattan Project, while Germany's "dirty bomb" was allegedly the work of a few dozen top scientists who wanted to change the course of the war.

Karlsch himself acknowledged that he lacked absolute proof for his claims, and said he hoped his book would provoke further research.

But in a press statement for the book launch, he is defiant.

"It's clear there was no master plan for developing atom bombs. But it's also clear the Germans were the first to make atomic energy useable, and that at the end of this development was a successful test of a tactical nuclear weapon."
http://theseoultimes.com/ST/?url=/ST/news/international/europe/europe.php
 

Kondoru

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Being a person who generaly doesnt blow things up (or play in the snow) I favour the `non cooperative scientist` theory of failure.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Fried ... %C3%A4cker

Seems to come to a nonconclusion (The guy was a New Ager, and so very Nazi and capable of anything!)

But maybe you have more info??

What about the supply of U??

More than like, it was a combination of several factors
 
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Kondoru

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Whats the payload of a V2 BTW, and how accurate are they?
 
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Pietro_Mercurios

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Kondoru said:
Whats the payload of a V2 BTW, and how accurate are they?
However, apparently V2's could carry up to 2000lbs of explosive in the top six feet of their nose cones and had a range of somewhere around 200 miles. They were guided by a gyroscopic system and relied on their parabolic trajectory for targeting. They could certainly hit London.
http://www.spaceline.org/history/4.html

...

Each V-2 was 46 feet long, had a diameter of 5 feet, 6 inches and finspan of 12 feet. The entire rocket weighed about 27,000 pounds at launch. The top six feet of the V-2 was a warhead containing up to 2,000 pounds of conventional explosives.

Below the warhead was a 5-foot section containing instrumentation, a 20-foot section containing the fuel tanks and a 15-foot section containing the engine.

The instrumentation section contained an automatic pilot, accelerometer and radio equipment. The automatic pilot was made up of two electric gyroscopes that stabilized the rocket's pitch, roll and yaw motions.

As the rocket moved about the axes of the gyroscopes, the movement was measured by electronic potentiometers. This caused electric command signals to be sent to a series of steering vanes at the base of the rocket.

The V-2 employed two sets of steering vanes. An external set of four steering vanes was made up of one steering vane at the base of each of the four V-2 fins. An internal set of four steering vanes was located at the base of the engine.

Both sets of steering vanes were designed to work together to deflect the engine exhaust and steer the rocket. Movement of the steering vanes was intended to cause the potentiometers in the instrumentation section to read zero voltage, thus keeping the rocket on a predetermined path.

Whenever the potentiometers read any voltage, an electric command would be sent to corresponding steering vanes to correct the motion of the rocket until the voltage again read zero. The steering vanes were controlled by electrohydraulic mechanisms.

The accelerometer was used to measure the velocity of the rocket, while the radio equipment was used for a variety of purposes. In some instances, the radio equipment was used merely to receive commands from the ground to shut off fuel flow to the engine.

In more complex applications, a radio transmitter and second receiver were employed to measure the rocket's velocity through the Doppler principle. In some cases, radio equipment allowed the V-2 to be radio-guided from the ground.

...

Once the control officer believed the rocket was ready for launch, an electric command was sent to start the fuel pumps. After about three seconds, the fuel pump steam turbine reached full speed, the fuel flow reached its full value of 275 pounds-per-second and the engine thrust reached about 69,000 pounds.

The V-2 was then launched, and began to rise slowly. It continued in a vertical rise for about four seconds, then was pitched to its programmed launch angle by the gyroscopic guidance system. The maximum pitch angle was typically about 45 degrees, which produced the greatest range.

After about 70 seconds, the V-2 fuel flow was stopped, and the engine shut down. By this time, the rocket had achieved a speed of 5,000 to 6,000 feet-per-second. The rocket would then complete an unpowered ballistic trajectory, reaching its target just five minutes after being launched.

Achieving a maximum altitude of 50 to 55 miles, the V-2 could impact a target within an operational design range of 180 to 190 miles, although some are believed to have flown as many as 220 miles. Because the V-2 flew so high and so fast, there was no defense against it. The missiles could not be detected until they exploded on the ground.
...
Why not read Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Raibow, for further details. :)

If, by some strange mischance, the Nazis had managed to use the Norwegian heavy water to create enough plutonium for an atom bomb, Britain would have been defenceless, against such nuclear ballistic missiles.
 
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Kondoru

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First of all having got enough fissile material, then got past various scientists Egos,

(ah! the great Nazi Ego!! Remember the Horten brothers?)

then somebody decide who to blow up....

(this is not counting finding a desert to try the thing in...if you are bothered enought to test it)

If you are going to choose a target in the US, a V2 wont do you will need a long range bomber (like the americans did.)

or even a multistage rocket.

Having blown up your target you then sit back and wait for some trigger happy american to get their own back.

Im sure there is other hurdles I forgot.
 

Pietro_Mercurios

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Ah! I'd almost forgotten the benefit of hindsight! :madeyes:
 

Mythopoeika

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http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-...-secret-stash-8037520#rlabs=3 rt$category p$2

Pensioner 'finds Hitler's secret stash of nuclear bombs hidden underground' with radar equipment
A man whose hobby is using ground penetrating radar to search for historical artefacts claims to have uncovered Hitler's secret stash of nuclear BOMBS underground.

Peter Lohr says the five shapes he's spotted underground fit those of a nuclear weapon.

He's warned they are unsafe left unattended - risking a "second Chernobyl".

The 70-year-old was investigating near his home in Eastern Germany when he says he uncovered huge caverns beneath the surface.
OK, OK, it's the Daily Mirror. :D
But...scary, if Hitler really did have nuclear bombs.
I'm willing to bet that Germany secretly has built a stash of secret weapons (both they and Japan have been re-arming themselves).
 

Yithian

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I'm willing to bet that Germany secretly has built a stash of secret weapons (both they and Japan have been re-arming themselves).
How much?
 
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