The most incredible developments of the Second World War and the thoughts of their inventors.
The Second World War. November 1942. The British Admiralty is in a panic: in just one month, Hitler's submarines torpedoed as many as 120 cargo ships. This is due to the lack of anti-submarine ships in the British, especially aircraft carriers. What to do? Someone Jeffrey Pike suggested a solution: it is necessary to make aircraft carriers from ... icebergs!
"The ice does not sink, and the ship will remain afloat even if torpedoed, " Geoffrey explained. "Plus, ice is available in huge quantities and is completely worthless."
According to the scientist, it would be possible to create aircraft carriers of 1200 meters in length and 180 meters in width from ice floes!
Pike's arguments were so eloquent and convincing that British Prime Minister Winston Churchill himself listened to them. He gave the idea the green light. But soon the first serious obstacle appeared on the way to the implementation of the project: in the latitudes of Europe, where the waters are warmer than in the Arctic, ice floes crack.
To strengthen the "aircraft carrier", Pike and his colleagues invented a special mixture called "pykrit".
The mixture was made from salt water and wood pulp and, freezing, acquired the strength of concrete. For testing, a hefty piece was cut from the ice sheet of a Canadian lake. It remains to send him sailing ...
It was then that all the dubiousness of the idea became clear. In order for the ice ship to retain its strength and shape, it had to be entangled with thousands of meters of steel pipes, through which numerous pumps drove cold air.
The experiment consumed millions of pounds, and soon the project's budget ballooned to incredible proportions. And all this in order to build a ship six times slower than a regular warship? Absolute stupidity! This story turned out to be so funny that the British military did not remove the "secret" stamp from it for thirty years.
Pigeon Guided Missiles
During the Second World War, the Americans had already designed combat missiles. One problem was that the targeting system was too primitive. In other words, the new weapon was ineffective.
In 1944, the American psychologist Barrus Skinner suggested that the missile be guided with the help of ... pigeons. Tests were immediately carried out.
The pigeons were closed in a special mini-cabin and trained to strike with their beak in the place on the window where the target was visible. The electronics read the coordinates of the next strike and transmitted corrective information to the guidance system.
It turned out that the pigeons are doing an excellent job with the mission entrusted to them. However, the deathbirds did not manage to take part in the battles. While the tests were going on, American designers managed to create an effective and electronic guidance system.
Invulnerability combined with incredible firepower - such properties should have been an ideal tank from the point of view of the German Ministry of Armaments. And in June 1942, the ministry submitted to Hitler a project of a tank weighing ... 10OO tons! The Fuhrer gave the go-ahead, and in the fall the Krupp company created a prototype of the P 10OO tracked vehicle.
The 35-meter-long monster was equipped with cannons similar to those found on warships.
In December, Krupp presented another monster - this time weighing 1, 500 tons! Both projects were eventually rejected after General Heinz Guderian, a recognized authority on tank combat, remarked that no road or bridge could bear the weight of these giants.
During the war, American bombers rained tons of incendiary bombs on Japan. The angry Japanese in 1944 conceived an ingenious revenge. The main hope in the planned retaliation was pinned on icy winds blowing at high altitudes directly towards the American coast. Why not use them to deliver bombs to enemy territory to create an atmosphere of fear among the local population?
Between November 1944 and April 1945, the Japanese military launched 9, 000 helium-filled balloons into the air, each carrying a 15-kilogram bomb. The fastest of these balloons reached America in three days, flying 8, 000 kilometers over the ocean. The Japanese "gifts" were quickly discovered, although several explosions over American soil were heard. However, there could be no question of serious damage.
However, the specialists sent to the west coast to investigate the fallen balls were very worried. They feared that the Japanese could use such balloons to scatter deadly germs over the United States. To avoid panic, the press was ordered to avoid reporting on the enemy's new weapons.
To detect balloons approaching the coast, special radars were installed. Groups of volunteers were also formed who were on duty by the ocean. As soon as the balloon was detected, fighters rose into the air and shot flying bombs.
Meanwhile, American aircraft bombed Japan's helium factories. By April 1945, the military from
The countries of the Rising Sun stopped the operation without achieving the desired results. As a result, out of 9000 balloons, no more than 1000 flew to the American coast.
Alas, there were some civilian casualties. One of the bombs killed five children and an elementary school teacher.
How to deal with the armada of British and American bombers ironing the territory of the Third Reich?
An Austrian scientist, Dr. Zippermeier, proposed shooting down enemy planes with a cannon that creates a vortex of air. Absurd? Not really. Zippermeier's research showed that a strong vortex could destroy an aircraft's fuselage or render the aircraft completely uncontrollable, inevitably leading to a crash.
The Austrian even designed a special device. An explosion occurred in the combustion chamber, and the resulting air wave was directed through the barrel to the target.
With the help of a "wind" cannon, Zippermeier managed to smash a 10 cm thick board to smithereens from a distance of 200 meters. For the fight against bombers, such a result was clearly not enough. The project was stopped.
New York Flying Wing
In response to the Allied aviation bombing of German cities, an enraged Hitler conceived revenge. Let the bombs fall on the largest American cities! For example, to New York.
Since the beginning of 1944, the Air Ministry has instructed Arado to develop a bomber capable of flying out of Germany, reaching New York, dropping bombs on the city, and returning.
At the end of the year, Arado engineers presented a project for an aircraft equipped with six motors and made according to the "flying wing" scheme. Arado Ar E 555 - this was the codename given to the bomber - could carry 4 tons of bombs and fly 6400 kilometers without refueling. On paper, the car looked just revolutionary! But it turned out to be not so easy to build a real plane: the necessary materials were missing.
In addition, the bomber required lengthy flight tests. And the Germans had no time left at all - the Allied troops had already entered the territory of the Third Reich. This is how the "flying wing" disappeared into history.
How do you like the idea - to blow up Japanese military facilities with bats carrying explosives?
Does this sound like a script for a low-budget Hollywood action movie? But no! Such a project was developed by the American military for a whole year! The idea belonged to a certain dental surgeon. He reasoned this way: if during the day bats love to climb into dark places, then why not teach them to hide in Japanese buildings, which the animals will blow up at the same time?
In 1942, the doctor proposed his project to the government. Military officials burst into enthusiasm and handed over to the dentist a special laboratory for testing. Thousands of bats were caught and attached to their breasts by a miniature bomb weighing 15 grams.
A grandiose set was built to reproduce the streets and buildings of a Japanese city. It was on them that bats loaded with explosives were dropped from the plane. Failure! The animals refused to fly into their homes, but some of them took refuge in the car of an American general. The car burned out!
After several dozen experiments, which cost the lives of thousands of animals, by December 1943, several buildings were finally set on fire. But although $ 2 million had already been spent on the project, real results were promised only by 1945.
As a result, the US Navy, under the auspices of which the tests were organized, was forced to close the shop.