During World War Two Nazi research and development of military weapons, aircraft, vehicles and equipment took place on a massive scale. These projects were top secret, with Nazi scientists and engineers focusing on some of the most sophisticated technology, years ahead of other nations.
Here are some examples of the Nazis’ top secret weapons development and how they have shaped our modern inventory.
The Horten Ho 229 bomber aircraft was the first stealth aircraft in the world. It could hold up to 2000lbs of weapons and could fly at a height of almost 50,000 feet, reaching speeds of around 600mph. The aircraft had two turbo jet engines, gun cannons, and rockets.
Nazi party chief Hermann Göring sanctioned the project and dedicated more than 500,000 Reichsmarks to the project. The Horten took to the air for the first time in 1944, but incurred so many issues that its use during the war was short-lived.
Seemingly a direct descendant from the Horton Ho 229, the B-2 Spirit is an American heavy strategic bomber, featuring low observable stealth technology designed for penetrating dense anti-aircraft defenses; it is a flying wing design with a crew of two. The bomber can deploy both conventional and thermonuclear weapons. The B-2 is the only acknowledged aircraft that can carry large air-to-surface standoff weapons in a stealth configuration.
The Fritz X was a bomb made up of almost 3,500lbs of explosives.It was fitted with a radio and guidance equipment so that it could be directed right to its target. It could get through almost 30 inches of armour and could be dropped from 20,000 feet, which meant the aircraft deploying the bomb couldn’t be reached by anti-aircraft fire.
Its use during the war was limited since only a few German aircraft were suitably built to carry and drop the bomb. Even so, it for the limited time it was used it caused massive damage. In September 1943 during the Salerno landings, the Italian battleship Roma, flagship of the Italian fleet, received two Fritz X hits and one near miss and sank after her magazines exploded. 1,255 men, including Admiral Carlo Bergamini, died. Her sister ship, Italia, was also damaged but reached Tunisia. At least five more ships were damaged by Fritz X strikes before the allies found a way to impede the guidance signals.
The modern day cruise missiles are guided missiles used against terrestrial targets, so called because the major portion of its flight path is conducted at cruise speed. Cruise missiles are designed to deliver a large warhead over long distances with high accuracy.
Modern cruise missiles are capable of travelling at supersonic or high subsonic speeds, are self-navigating, and can fly on a non-ballistic, extremely low-altitude trajectory.
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