Wunderwaffe

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V-2

Wunderwaffe (German pronunciation: [ˈvʊndɐˌvafə]) is German for "wonder-weapon" and was a term assigned during World War II by the Third Reich propaganda ministry to a few revolutionary "superweapons". Most of these weapons however remained more or less feasible prototypes, or reached the combat theater too late, and in too insignificant numbers (if at all) to have a military effect. A derisive abbreviation of the term emerged: Wuwa, pronounced "voo-vah".[1]

The V-weapons, which were developed earlier and saw considerable deployment (especially against London and Antwerp), trace back to the same pool of highly inventive armament concepts. Therefore, they are also included here.

In Germany, the term Wunderwaffe is still used today to describe a powerful tool.

Naval vessels[edit]

Aircraft carriers[edit]

  • Graf Zeppelin – a 33,550 ton aircraft carrier laid down in 1936; never completed.
  • Flugzeugträger B – planned sister ship to the Graf Zeppelin; scrapped before launching.
  • I (1942) – a planned 56,500 ton aircraft carrier, converted from a transport; cancelled before work started.

Battleships[edit]

U-boats[edit]

Oceangoing U-boats[edit]

Littoral U-boats[edit]

Submarine aircraft carrier[edit]

  • Type XI – a U-boat designed to carry the Arado Ar 231 collapsible floatplane; four were laid down but canceled at the outbreak of World War II

Armored vehicles[edit]

Anti-aircraft weapons[edit]

Anti-tank weapons[edit]

Super-heavy tanks[edit]

  • Landkreuzer P. 1000 "Ratte" (Rat) – a planned super-heavy tank, weighing 1000 metric tons and armed with two 280mm cannons, 128mm anti-tank gun, 8 20mm flak guns and 2 15mm heavy machine guns
  • Landkreuzer P. 1500 "Monster" – a proposed super-heavy self-propelled gun, weighing 1500 metric tons and armed with the 800mm Schwerer Gustav/Dora gun
  • Panzer VII "Löwe" (Lion) – a planned super-heavy tank, weighing 90 metric tons and armed with a 105mm cannon
  • Panzer VIII "Maus" (Mouse) – a super-heavy tank, weighing 180 metric tons and armed with two cannons of 128mm and 75mm calibre, two operable prototypes completed
  • Panzerkampfwagen E-100 – a planned super-heavy tank, weighing 140 metric tons and armed with either 128, 149 or 170mm cannon

Gliders[edit]

Piston engine aircraft[edit]

Jets and rocket-propelled aircraft[edit]

Helicopters[edit]

Bombs and explosives[edit]

Artillery[edit]

Missiles[edit]

Orbital[edit]

  • Sun gun – a parabolic mirror in orbit designed to focus sunlight onto specific locations on the Earth's surface

Rifles[edit]

Directed-energy weapons[edit]

Rheotron/betatron[edit]

Among the directed-energy weapons the Nazis investigated were x-ray beam weapons developed under Heinz Schmellenmeier, Richard Gans and Fritz Houtermans. They built an electron accelerator called Rheotron (invented by Max Steenbeck at Siemens-Schuckert in the 1930s, these were later called betatrons by the Americans) to generate hard x-ray synchrotron beams for the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM). The intent was to pre-ionize ignition in aircraft engines and hence serve as an anti-aircraft DEW and bring planes down into the reach of flak.[clarification needed] The rheotron was captured by the Americans in Burggrub on April 14, 1945.

Röntgenkanone[edit]

Another approach was Ernst Schiebolds 'Röntgenkanone' developed from 1943 in Großostheim near Aschaffenburg. The Company Richert Seifert & Co from Hamburg delivered parts.

Mission equipment[edit]

Fictitious[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Willy Ley, "V-2: Rocket Cargo Ship" Astounding Science Fiction, May 1945, repr. Famous Science-Fiction Stories: Adventures in Time and Space, (ed. J. Francis McComas, Raymond J. Healy, [1946], 1957), p. 359.
  • Reiner Merkel: Hans Kammler – Manager des Todes, 2010 August von Goethe Literaturverlag, Frankfurt am Main, ISBN 978-3-8372-0817-7.