Τετάρτη, 13 Απριλίου 2016

8 inventions the US stole from the Germans after WWII


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Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwable, the world's first jet fighter. (U.S. Air Force photo)


Guided Weapons
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Another innovative concept that emerged during WWII was in-flight guidance onto a moving target. One of the earliest examples was the Fritz X anti-ship bomb, first deployed by the German Air Force in 1943: An operator on the launch aircraft guided the bomb to its target using radio control. Around the same time the U.S. Navy deployed an even more sophisticated anti-ship bomb called the Bat, which used radar to home isolate the target without needing a human operator. Another anti-ship homing weapon was the Zaunkoenig torpedo, fitted to German U-boats from 1943 onward, which used underwater sound waves rather than radar to locate the target.

Long-Range Missiles
V-2_Rocket_On_Meillerwagen
While all the major powers fielded short-range rockets, only Germany put serious effort into the development of long-range, liquid-fueled rockets. The result was the V-2, a 14-ton, vertically launched missile with a range of 200 miles and a top speed of 3,500 miles per hour. The V-2 was one of two long-range weapons deployed by the Germans, the other being the V-1 flying bomb. Both the V-1 and the V-2 were launched in the thousands, mainly against London and Antwerp in Belgium. The V-1 was the ancestor of today’s cruise missiles, while the V-2 was the world’s first ballistic missile.
*The first photo from space was taken from a V-2 launched by US scientists on 24 October 1946.
Airborne Units
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It was the Germans who seized on the potential that paratroopers gave. Such troops fitted in perfectly with Guderian’s vision of lightening war – Blitzkrieg.
Göring, as head of the Luftwaffe, formed the first parachute regiments in 1935. During the Spanish Civil War, the Germans had gained experience in air-landings, primarily using the Junkers 52. It was to be this plane that was to be the workhorse of the Fallschirjager – the German paratroopers. A Luftwaffe general, Kurt Student, was given charge of airborne training.
The Germans launched what can be classed as the first airborne ‘attack’ on March 12th, 1938 when German paratroopers seized and captured an airfield at Wagram in Austria during the take-over of Austria.
When the Germans attacked Poland and gave the world its first glimpse of Blitzkrieg in September 1939, paratroopers played no part despite many rumours that areas of Poland had been captured by paratroopers. However, in the attack on Western Europe, German paratroopers were used in the attack on Norway in May 1940 when they captured air bases at Oslo and Stavanger.
In the attack on the Netherlands, German paratroopers played a major role isolating the city of The Hague and in Belgium, they seized vital bridges and took a strategic fort at Eben Emael. The Germans used paratroopers to attack Crete. This was the first time that paratroopers were given the task of attacking and defeating a complete target. At the time, it was the largest airborne attack in history. Though the island was taken after heavy fighting and the attack passed into military folklore, the Germans took very heavy casualties (25%) and Hitler lost faith in this form of attack. On the orders of Hitler, German paratroopers were sent to Russia where they fought as ground troops.
Helicopters
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The Flettner Fl 282 Kolibri (“Hummingbird”) is a single-seat open cockpit intermeshing rotor helicopter, orsynchropter, produced by Anton Flettner of Germany. According to Yves Le Bec, the Flettner Fl 282 was the world’s first series production helicopter.
Intended roles of Fl 282 included ferrying items between ships and reconnaissance. However, as the war progressed, the Luftwaffe began considering converting the Fl 282 for battlefield use. Until this time the craft had been flown by a single pilot, but by then a position for an observer was added at the very rear of the craft, resulting in the B-2 version. Later the B-2 proved a useful artillery spotting aircraft and an observation unit was established in 1945 comprising three Fl 282 and three Fa 223 helicopters.
Good handling in bad weather led the German Air Ministry to issue a contract in 1944 to BMW to produce 1,000 units. However, the company’s Munich plant was destroyed by Allied bombing raids after producing just 24 machines.
After the war, Anton Flettner emigrated to the United States and became the chief designer for Kaman Aircraft, creating the Kaman HH-43 Huskie. Intermeshing rotors have become noted with Kaman helicopters, which continues this concept.
*Flettner Fl 282 during flight trials after World War II, with US markings.
Jet power
Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwable, the world's first jet fighter. (U.S. Air Force photo)
The Messerschmitt Me 262 was the first jet airplane used in combat and it was very effective against Allied bomber formations. Both the U.S. and the Soviet Union seized Me 262s as they captured German territory and reverse engineered the German planes. While neither country would finish building jet aircraft during the war, when American F-86 Sabres later faced off against Soviet MiG-15s in MiG Alley over Korea, it was a fight between Me 262 descendants. Similarly, the U.S. captured the Arado Ar 234 jet-powered bomber. Technology from the Arado would go on to be found in the U.S. Army Air Force’s B-45s and B-47s.
Rockets
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Operation Paperclip  was the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) program in which over 1,500 German scientists, technicians, and engineers from Nazi Germany and other foreign countries were brought to the United States for employment in the aftermath of World War II. It was conducted by the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA), and in the context of the burgeoning Cold War. One purpose of Operation Paperclip was to deny German scientific expertise and knowledge to the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom, as well as inhibiting post-war Germany from redeveloping its military research capabilities. The Soviet Union had competing extraction programs known as “trophy brigades” and Operation Osoaviakhim.
The stolen V-2s and their creators paved the way for U.S. rocket programs from the Redstone rockets to the Saturn and Apollo missions.
Methamphetamine
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Pervitin was the early version of what we know today as crystal meth. And it was fitting that a German soldier would become addicted to the stuff: the drug, Der Spiegel notes, first became popular in Germany, brought to market by the then-Berlin-based drugmaker Temmler Werke. And almost immediately, the German army physiologist Otto Ranke realized its military value: not only could the methamphetamine compound keep fighters (pilots, in particular) alert on little sleep; it could also keep an entire military force feeling euphoric. Meth, Spiegel puts it, “was the ideal war drug.”
Night Vision
Zielgerät-1229
The first night vision devices were introduced by the German army as early as 1939. The first devices were being developed by AEG starting in 1935. By the end of World War II, the German army had equipped approximately 50 Panther tanks, which saw combat on both the Eastern and Western Fronts. The “Vampir” man-portable system for infantrymen was being used with Sturmgewehr 44 assault rifles.
The ZG 1229 Vampir weighed in at 2.25 kilograms (about 5 lbs.) and was fitted with lugs on the StG 44 at C.G. Haenel at Suhl, the weapons production facility. The grenadier carrying this was known as a Nachtjäger (night-hunter). As well as the sight and infrared spotlight, there was a 13.5 kilogram (about 30 lbs.) wooden cased battery for the light, and a second battery fitted inside a gas mask container to power the image converter. This was all strapped to a Tragegestell 39 (pack frame 1939). The searchlight consisted of a conventional tungsten light source shining through a filter permitting only infrared light. It operated in the upper infrared (light) spectrum rather than in the lower infrared (heat) spectrum and was, therefore, not sensitive to body heat.
Vampir gear was first used in combat in February 1945. However, small arms infrared device introduction took place in early 1944. 310 units were delivered to the Wehrmacht at the final stages of the war. Eastern Front veteran reports consist of snipers shooting at night with the aid of ‘peculiar non-shining torches coupled with enormous optical sights’ mounted on their rifles. Similar infrared gear was fitted both to MG34 and MG42 machine guns. The capture of German examples and documents accelerated the US knowledge by decades.

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