Saturday, November 28, 2015

Building Hitler's SuperGun


V-3, Remarkable Weapon – Afflicted with Technical Difficulties

It is said that the V-3 was intended to win the war for Germany and for the first time in 1943, since the World War II began, Hitler was on the back foot. Big guns had shattered German cities and the Fuhrer was upset. The V-3, his proposed cannon would be the largest gun that the world had ever seen. However, the remarkable weapon had never been test fired and afflicted with technical difficulties.

The working of the German supergun was also a mystery since much of it was destroyed with only a few photographs and documents that survived. The V-3 had been built in a massive bunker that was buried deep in a chalk hill in northern France.

Millions of tonnes of rock had been excavated by hand and among the workers there were hundreds of slave labourers as well.In its original conception, 25 barrels were to point at London around 100 miles distance, delivering up to one bomb each minute, developing an atmosphere of fear which would turn the course of the war back in favour of Hitler.

It was said to be a destined secret `drone’ mission to end the V-3 which led to the death of Joe Kennedy, Junior, who was a pilot and the older brother of the future US president, John F. Kennedy.

Trouble in Achieving All-Important Timing

It was estimated that a missile reaching London should achieve speeds over 1,500 metres per second and each barrel of Hitler’s gun was said to be 130 metres long and inclined at 50 degrees that was worked out that this would be the perfect angle to reach London, which they seemed to have got it right.

The missile was said to be accelerated through a means of a sequence of charges along the barrel and accurate timing of these extra charges was an important element. This was presumed that this was done electrically. In a study for a TV documentary on Channel Four, PBS Nova and National Geographic International, no evidence was found for this.

Photographs from that time showed no signs of electrical wiring or triggering devices. From their experience it was recommended that the charges were triggered due to heat of the advancing gas behind the missile. The engineers of Hitler had great trouble achieving the all-important timing and it was presumed that it was due to leakage of hot gas past the seal behind the missile.

Project Anvil Ended as a Failure

They also faced various other issues with their design, especially to perfect a shape of missile which would be aerodynamic at supersonic speeds. It had to be steady without the assistance of spin. However, in the initial tests, the projectile was found to tumble uncontrollably and the issue never seemed to be solved.

The Partners had not known about the supergun till the Canadian forces had invaded the site after D-Day. However, they were aware that for the Germans to be spending that many resources on the site they were surely of no use. It was not easy to imagine how to destroy the supergun.

 The Americans had planned to attack the installation with a drone that was controlled remotely by heavy bomber packed with 12 tonnes of high explosives. The idea was to crash the unmanned aircraft directly into the site at Mimoyecques near Calais. However, the mission, code dubbed Project Anvil ended as a failure.

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