Germany and their nuclear bomb...

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Lucky13, Mar 26, 2013.

  1. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Come to think of their development (or try to develop) of a nuclear bomb, did they actually have a bomber that could carry it? Seeing that Little Boy weighed more than 9,500 pounds and Fat Man more than 10,000.... Isn't that beyond what any Luftwaffe bomber could carry? Either they had to built a larger bomber (4 engined?) or make it small enough for existing aircraft to carry...or am I out on slipper, thin ice over deep water here?
     
  2. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Once read the He 177 was an intended carrier Jan, possibly the Me 264 'Amerika Bomber' aswell (IIRC)
     
  3. al49

    al49 Well-Known Member

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    I saw yesterday night a report on History Channel that confirms what stated above about which bomber, but also said that there were plans to develop a large flying wing propelled with four jet engines.
    About the nuclear bomb they said that Germany had the raw material (uranium) and the technology to develop a such bomb but they didn't discovered in time "how" to make it. And we should say FORTUNATELY!
    Alberto
     
  4. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Having access to Uranium ore,which the Germans did,and converting that into fissile material are two entirely different things.

    For a Uranium bomb you have to "enrich" your U238 which is itself not easy,ask the Iranians.

    For a Plutonium bomb you then need a working nuclear reactor (the one(s) the Germans had in 1945 couldn't do this bit) with which to extract the Plutonium.

    The US built an entire town and infrastructure,Oak Ridge,to support the laboratories and reactor that could carry out these operations.

    The bomb bay,if you can call it that,of the He 177 was divided into three compartments and I doubt it could have carried an atomic bomb of the time without serious modification.

    [​IMG]

    Cheers

    Steve
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  5. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    Was there ever any serious talk by the German about where they would drop the bomb if it was developed?

    Geo
     
  6. FlakDancer

    FlakDancer New Member

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    If you are interested, check up on the WWII exploits of Moe Berg -- a major league baseball catcher who was rather smart for being a baseball player. Moe Berg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia This is a wiki link to his page but there have been a number of books written about his spying for the Allies on this issue. Seemed like I remember at some point they wanted him to kill Werner Heisenberg but they later backed off on doing it. it's been a while since I read up on this. Either way, somewhat of an interesting and pretty cool real life story that relates to this topic. I'm farily new here, so I didn't know if it was ok to link to Amazon for the books.
     
  7. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    #7 A4K, Mar 26, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2013
    Geo - read somewhere it was to be one of Hitler's 'V' weapons, apparently to be dropped on the beaches in the event of an Allied invasion. Imagine D-day had they built it in time...

    Steve, the He 177 was to have been modified, the bomb mounted externally on a strengthened centre bomb bay section IIRC.

    Read (possibly in 'Bodyguard of Lies', by Anthony cave Brown) that the Germans started work on the nuclear bomb before outbreak of war (as had the British). The heavy water was being prepared in Norway, and the 3(?) tanks of water in various stages were sent on their way to Germany (in 1940 IIRC). British intelligence had got wind of it though and the Norwegian underground sabotaged the ship carrying it across one of the fiords in it's hold. According to book read, it had taken a number of years for the water to reach the state it had, so a further attempt was abandoned.

    - Will try and check the net to put dates and places on that, just remember offhand that the saboteurs were only able to access the hold by telling the captain they were on the run from the Gestapo, so he hid them here. The saboteurs rigged the explosives and escaped; the unsuspecting captain, crew and passengers went down with the ship.
     
  8. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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  9. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    #9 stona, Mar 26, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2013
    No it wasn't.
    Furthermore Karlsch's "research" has been pretty thoroughly debunked. Like any conspiracy theory people will believe what they want,they are perfectly entitled to do so,but to believe that the Germans built and tested a nuclear device in the 1940s flys in the face of the real evidence.

    This isn't a scientific forum but the German experimental reactor was to use the heavy water,rather than graphite, as the moderator. Heavy water is actually a very good moderator but the Germans changed to it due to one of their many **** ups. The Graphite moderators they tried initially failed to work due to the presence of Boron. I won't bore you with the details but Boron absorbs neutrons which sort of defeats the object of a moderator.
    Heavy water,whilst a good moderator needs to be very pure (or concentrated) to work in a reactor. This is difficult to do and is why the loss in Norway was so significant.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  10. FlakDancer

    FlakDancer New Member

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    #10 FlakDancer, Mar 26, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2013
    I am recollecting this off the top of my head, but I think part of the effort behind Moe Berg's spying was to see if he thought (or could give insight) to see if Heisenberg could have lead such a project. At that time the conclusion was no. Either the Germans lacked the necessary focus or Heisenberg did not have the mental ability to see the project through.

    In that era, the development of even one bomb was space age technology and took an amazing amount of concentration and effort to get past the theory stage. It is difficult to imagine that the Germans could have pulled this off with the ever compressing Allied advance killing off their war machine. Even then the delivery would represent a huge problem. One could not simply put a large warhead on a V-2 and just send it off into the sky. Today, with modern weapons, the trigger mechanisms and the ability to use them as either air burst or impact weapons is something that can be done quite easily (let’s pray we never really get to find out for sure!). Yet, when an atomic bomb is detonated certain things have to happen in a very timely and specific way (in terms of timing the denotation) or it is just a big dud that barely qualifies for a dirty bomb. It is one of the most complex parts of building an atomic bomb. The project was difficult enough for the American’s who were sequestered in an isolated area thousands of miles from any combat. On top of that, the B-29 just happened to be around.

    A lot of things came together for the Americans. Trying to assemble those same pieces of that puzzle in the ever shrinking and deteriorating final years of the war for Germany just was too much
    Here is another interesting link on the subject.

    The Difficult Years: Fission Research, 1939 - 1945
     
  11. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    #11 stona, Mar 26, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2013
    Heisenberg had made some serious mistakes in his calculations. He was very surprised not just that the Americans had built a bomb but that they had built one which was deliverable by air.

    The so called "Farm Hall Transcripts" from operation Epsilon have been published in various forms and are quite revealing of the state of knowledge amongst those German nuclear physicists "captured" by the British.

    Cheers
    Steve

    Edit: I see the Farm Hall Transcripts are mentioned in the link in the previous post.
     
  12. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    i watched a documentry saying the japanese actually detonated a small device in manchuria or korea ( at the end of the war of course ). was a good show but dont know how close to the truth it was...
     
  13. delcyros

    delcyros Well-Known Member

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    That´s pretty clearly a set of incomplete informations to a degree that we today have to call it incorrect.
    Correct is that some experiements carried out in Leipzig initially tried with graphite (the theory behind was understood) but then shifted to heavy water due to impureness of the then used graphite. However, before 1943 and 44, both Heisenberg and Diebner used pure graphite and heavy water in combination for moderation, indicating that the purpose of graphite moderation wasn´t completely abandoned. Thus, the pile which went critical in Gottow 1944, Diebners 4th experiement used spehrical orientation of U-238 cubes, heavy water and graphite shields for moderation.
    That´s much further than was known before and Karlsch certaily deserves credit for isolating the primary sources in Moscow for these events. Other claims are dubious as far as interpretations go. The radioactive isotopes found in Thuringia, used by him to proove a nuclear event, f.e. were not found to discriminate from the local background radiation in analysis conducted by the MPA. However, those of Gottow did and confirmed a nuclear event there. Diebener´s experiemental pile went critical and in principle solved what is required for plutonium extraction, Heisenberg at Haigerloch couldn´t succeed with a critical reactor- in part because some of the fissionable material and heavy water was still at Thuringia when he commenced his experiements ´45. Interestingly, Heisenberg reverted to Diebners spherical orientation of uranium cubes in his last experiments.

    Heisenberg may have deliberately tried to stall the advances in creating a bomb by calculating a much higher than required critical mass. All his experiemtns were aimed on power generation rather than a nuke. However, KWI conference papers from 1943 already proove that Ardenne and Diebner established a correct calculation of the critical mass. Diebner was an Army scientist, von Ardenne lead the group of the Post (mail) services, which had their own nuclear program and concentrated on uranium enrichment facilities. He later became instrumental in the creation of the first soviet nuclear pile (buildt up completely from material captured in eastern Germany).


    Much more work was done than previously known. However, several He-177A5 (Werknummer 550001 to 550006) were modified with a single, very large bombbay and often are incorrectly interpreted to be carrier of a nuclear weapon. However, the purpose may still be as simple as a very large conventional bomb.
    They *could* have carried a nuke similar to US ones but such a weapon did not exist in Germany in 1944 or spring 1945. Karlsch´s research does make this clear.
     
  14. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Whatever Diebner's pile could or could not do theoretically,and I'd have to look that up,there is no evidence that any German reactor produced any Plutonium during this period. Any reactor capable of fission (of U 235) is capable of "breeding" Plutonium 239 via the decay of the U 239 produced by the absorption of the neutrons produced by the fission,by the common isotope U 238.

    It sounds simple in theory (and I really hope I've got those atomic numbers right from memory!) but like just about everything else in this story is much more difficult to achieve in practice.

    There is no evidence that Heisenberg tried to stall the nuclear project. There were some emminent German physicists who managed to stay out of the weapons project almost entirely on moral or political grounds. Heisenberg had made some of his errors years earlier and carried them over into the weapons project. A classic example of a theoretician getting involved in practicalities without proper moderation. That's something I have seen first hand,though in my experience it cost money,not a war :)

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  15. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Germany and the other anti-communist nations of Europe considered WWII to be a crusade against Stalin's Soviet Union. So that would be be the most likely target.
     
  16. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    at least at first....
     
  17. krieghund

    krieghund Member

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    These are interesting articles. Any body have an idea what Heinkel aircraft is being referenced here. I have a Norwegian friend that works for Jeppesen who told me his father had worked for the Brits short after the war to do the clean up of the scrap metal after the aircraft were destroyed by heavy work machinery.
     

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  18. krieghund

    krieghund Member

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    With regards to the German Atomic Research thread would anyone happen to have any info on this Bastard...............SS Obergruppenfuhrer Dr. ING. Hans Kammler
     
  19. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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  20. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    :shock:

    Are you expecting Germany to build nukes at the same rate as Me-109s? IMO they would be doing fantastic to build a single bomb before Allied ground forces enter the Ruhr.
     
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