Inventions of WW2

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Sabre, Jun 2, 2005.

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  1. Like most people on here i share a deep fasination, for all things that happend in world war 2.
    I remember a few years ago there was a ex signals guy (who use to appear as a reg on scrap heap challenge/ (americans junk yard wars) and his bald mate on BBC2 who were trying out some inventions that never really bore fruit during the second world war.

    So other than the main ones such as Barnes wallace and his bouncing bomb, or radar being invented, what are some of the more obscure inventions have you heard about? and how were they actually put in to use?
  2. One I mentioned on t'other thread. The Germans' invention of guided weapons.

    The first was the original, plain vanilla Henschel 293. This was basically a glider, looking uncannily like some of today's UAVs, that was launched from beneath a Heinkel 111. An external, solid fuel rocket pushed it off the plane and up to speed, then fell off. An operator in the aircraft watched the missile, which had a flare in the tail for this purpose, and adjusted it onto the target by a radio link. Close enough, he would press a button that fired the internal rocket, and tipped it into a steep dive. A 550kg bomb did the damage.

    At the same time, they introduced the FX1400 bomb, a bigass (1400kg!) armour piercing bomb with movable fins. The fins could be controlled by radio, permitting an operator in the aircraft to steer the bomb. One of these went in through the top and out of the bottom of HMS Warspite off Salerno. She took on over 2,000 tons of sea, but made it back to Malta due to excellent work by the damage control fellas.

    Allied countermeasures were soon introduced, using a fairly crude noise jammer on the control freqs. The Germans then deployed a wire guided version of the Hs293, but that wasn't it.

    The coolest was by far the TV-guided version of the 293. Telefunken succeeded in building a camera and video chain small enough to fit in it, using a highly directional UHF link to defeat jamming. The TV variant was distinguishable by the two Yagi antennas (like domestic TV aerials) on the wingtips. This made the missile a fire-and-forget system, at least for the pilot: once it was launched, the Heinkel could turn away and run, leaving the operator to steer the missile onto the target with high accuracy and the ability to evade AA fire.

    It was pretty good for 1944!
  3. Didnt the Germans invent the SAM as well, IIRC late in the war the fired a number at US bombers with a very high hit ratio, something like 5 out of 6!

    I think a fair few hundred were made but not brought into service in time.
  4. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    Best invention? No doubts about it - Radar. Not only did it save our arrses in 1940, but the Cavity Magnetron (a British invention :D ) led, after the war, to that boon of mankind - the Microwave Oven

    Need I say more? How many times has your life been saved by the ability of a micro to heat up gopping food? What other cooking device is usable (with some safety) when pissed?

    No contest. Knocks Penicillin into second place, even though that has its uses in the results of while-pissed activity....
  5. WH: Yeah, 'twas called the Wasserfall. I don't know any details, though.
  6. There were several. Wasserfall and Schmeterling(butterfly) and another called Rhine Daughter IIRC
    Very advanced designs.One used radar control, and was thes basis for first generation SAMs from the US and USSR after several examples were captured in the aftermath of WW2.
  7. I didnt get that impresssion!

    I think the first episode had a floating road which was used as part of the mulberry harbours. Dick Strawbridge (for it was he) constructed one using canvas and wood slats over which he attemted to ride a moped. He abandoned the moped halfway (it had its own Mae West) and proceeded on foot.

    A later episode also also featured the Panjandrum (the big wheel thing powered by rockets. All specialist stuff for a set of circumstances unlikely to be repeated (D-Day and breaching the atlantic wall) but they bore fruit at their appointed hour. You can understand why it might not make it onto the curriculum at RSME.

    I heard somewhere recently that Hobarts "funnies" had been offered to the US elements to aid there landing but declined. The thrust of the argument was that Omaha beach wouldnt have been such a trial with them available.

    Another good subject along this line is Roman Military Engineering. Adam Hart-Davies (of the inland revenue ads) "What the Romans did for us" had a mag fed siege cross bow! However does anyone remember the program where a variety of midlife crisis types lived as Legionares for a week. It was billed as a practical excercise in archeology. Rather than just look at the stuff in the museum go out and learn how to use it. They pointed out that the sticks that the Romans used to pallisade their encampments could be used much more effectively and economically by binding the together like the obstacles in the surf at the start of Saving Private Ryan rather than the picket fence suggested by the conventional interpretation. The lady archeologist was ecstatic at this. And while I'm on the subject wasnt there a TA Sapper unit involved in a progran where they used roman technology to bridge a river?