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Useless German weapons made during the war.

Discussion in 'Weapons & Technology in WWII' started by DerGiLLster, May 3, 2016.

  1. DerGiLLster

    DerGiLLster Member

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    Here I will name some German weapons that should have NEVER been tested or gone into production:

    Me 163: Despite being beyond fast and maneuverable than the typical fighter of it's day, it's 8 minute fuel length prevented it from being a an effective aircraft as this did not give people enough time to train in it, and was too fast to attack on aircraft(I am aware it was designed as a point defense interceptor), both factors reducing its effectiveness. It claimed 16 aircraft for 10 losses, already ineffective despite 300 being built. Along with infancy of the rocket engine which could leak and cause an explosion.

    Schwerer Gustav: The first problem was that this was WAY too big. It took up to up to 25 railway cars to pull and it needed special tracks to transport it, needing a couple thousand men. It can only fire 14 rounds a day and takes 3 and a half days to assemble. A squadron of light bombers would have have been way MORE devastating and much cheaper than this gun. Considering the fact that this gun was used extensively on the eastern front, where the Luftwaffe had ruled the skies from 1941-1943, this should have been the case. This the Karl-Gerat and any railroad artillery wieghing over 100 tons could be in the same category.

    Panzer VIII Maus: A Tank which was only tested because of Hitler's megalomania for large tanks. Perfect for the field imagination. This tank ignored all the basic principles when designing a tank. Mobility, weight, and speed, attributes which made the German tanks of the war successful(although Tiger I lacked in these areas too, it was enough for the battlefield). Even though it was heavily armored, this would have hardly mattered as multiple tabks could have flanked it and take turns shooting at it. It had a range that could barely get past 50 miles on a good day, and struggled to reach over 10 mph.This and any other super-heavy tank to see the testing range or design board.

    Type XI submarine: I really don't know what was going through their heads when they were making this. Now please correct me if I am wrong or making any exaggerations but I cannot understand the strategic importance of this type of ship. I understand the concept an underwater submarine that would carry a couple seaplanes as reconnaissance and then submerge back down when escaping. On paper this may sound great, but in practice, how would they recover the plane? What about when there are rough seas? Would the artillery on the U-Boat be useful in taking out ships(this part can be debated)? Even the I-400 submarines which had been tested took nearly double the time to submerge compared to US submarines and were easier to detect on radar due to it's flat surface.

    The V-weapons: Principally the V-1 and V-3. I think it is debated whether the V-2 was effective, but on the weapons that I believe were ineffective. First off the V-1, now I do believe it some potential as it did carry a warhead weighing nearly a ton, had decent range to strike London(around 150 miles) and was very cheap to produce(around 5,000 reichmarks), however, it entered the combat theater too late in the war to make a difference. It's distinctive buzzing noise, slow speed along with Britain's emphasis on anti-aircraft defenses and point defense interceptors on the island completely made the weapon's effectiveness reduced significantly and was only useful in psychological warfare. The V-3 was just a mess. It was a weapon that may have been good on paper, but like I said earlier, not everything sounds great on paper. The fact that it was a huge gun situated in one place made it impossible to hide it from someone. So French resistance or a bomber squadron could damage or destroy the gun and that is what happened to one of them, destroyed by a bomber late in the wear. They weren't even effective at all. When two were used to bombard a village only 10 died had died despite over 100 shells being fired. I don't the V-2 was that ineffective for being nearly impossible to intercept. I just feel as if it wasn't utilized enough and was too expensive to produce.

    Feel free to write down what other weapons you believe were useless or did not help much to the war effort. They don't have to be German. I just principally know German weapons.
     
  2. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    I admit I google this topic. There are so many useless weapons it's hard to know where to stop.


    Suicide bomb dogs
    In 1942, Hitler's Nazi infantry invaded Soviet Russia with German "Panzer" tanks.
    The Russians, who had used military dogs since 1924, sought to turn their canine soldiers into antitank mines by strapping explosives around the dogs' bodies.
    During training, the dogs were starved and let loose on stationary Soviet tanks that had food hidden under them.
    Once the dogs were underneath the tank they were trained to pull a detonator cord with their teeth. However, most dogs were unable to comprehend or execute the task while the sights, sounds, and smells of battle raged around them.
    The dogs would usually turn around and run toward their Russian handler, only to be shot and killed on sight.
    http://www.businessinsider.com/the-5-most-bizarre-weapons-of-world-war-ii-2015-7

    The Pigeon-Guided Missile
    American behaviorist B.F. Skinner hit on a novel idea for the war effort when he came up with the idea for ‘Project Orcon’ (which stood for organic control), which was his attempt to produce the world’s first pigeon-guided missile.
    The control system had a lens attached to the missile which projected an image of the target to a screen. Three trained pigeons would then peck at the target on the screen and where they pecked would determine where the missile hit. As long as they pecked the center of the screen the missile would remain on target but if they pecked off center, the missile would change course, as long as two of the three had it right though, the target would be hit


    The Poisoned Dart Bomb
    Between 1941 and 1944, British scientists were working on a top secret project to developed a projectile bomb that released darts tipped with poison. A recently de-classified document entitled ‘Research Into Use of Anthrax and Other Poisons for Biological Warfare’ revealed that sewing machine needles would be used in the weapon and tipped with a lethal poison, which would probably be either anthrax or ricin.
    According to a 1945 memo about the project, light darts could be used as the poison ensured slight penetration would be lethal and there was no need to hit vital organs. It also had the added advantage, according to the memo, of making it so that medical treatment would be unlikely to prevent the victim’s death.
    http://www.weirdworm.com/5-weird-weapons-of-world-war-ii-the-allies/
     
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  3. DerGiLLster

    DerGiLLster Member

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    Haha I recall the suicide dogs! Not funny what happened to them of course but just how the Russians thought it would work! I remember on a documentary that when some dogs were out in the field, they would turn back to the tanks because during training they would used to smelling diesel in tank since that's what the Russians used, but the Germans used Gasoline for their tanks, so the dogs couldn't sense it, which is why they went back to the Russians. I didn't think the Pigeon guided bomb would be that bad, it sounded okay on paper! XD I can't even... the poison dart bomb... wow.
     
  4. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    There are a lot of them (see the threads on the bat bomb, or the Japanese use of balloons to set fires in the US). I suspect that all the combatants threw many ideas out, many useless, but they hoped to hit on some.
     
  5. Pacifist

    Pacifist Active Member

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    This one actually would have worked if put into production.
     
  6. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    Military technology is continually evolving and new technology could be, and was, critical in military operations. e.g. the development of radar technology and electronic counter measures for the war in the air and against submarines. Every WW2 combatant made some efforts to develop new military technology. There was never a shortage of bright ideas, but not all could be developed into something useful.

    The British version of Radar emerged from a idea to build a death ray. Tanks were inspired by the image of HG Wells' alien space ships marching across the earth and triggered a search for a land battleship. These were success stories. But there were ideas that with hind sight could have been put to sleep earlier.

    I give you Project Habbakuk https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Habakkuk for aircraft carriers made from icebergs! Bonkers? Yes. But it was from the same man whose ideas brought forth the Special Service Force and the M42 Weasel https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Special_Service_Force#Background

    Or how about aerial minefields dropped in front of night bombers? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handley_Page_H.P.54_Harrow

    Hitler was a gambler with a soft spot for secret weapons. Or to put it politely was an investor with an appetite for high risk/ return projects. Mobilising German strength in science and engineering could counter the advantage in physical resources of the allies. The Nazi state was desperately inefficient lacked any rational decision making over technological investment and the individuals with Hitler's support had a licence to continue. Far too many of the German developments were vanity projects with only a dim prospect of a payoff some time in the future.

    - Coal powered ram jet interceptors https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lippisch_P.13a
    - Super gun https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V-3_cannon

    Or absorbed vastly disproportionate resources for the military benefit.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V-2_rocket
     
  7. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    There are some that weren't useless but still should never have been put into production. An example of this would be the Me-262, it simply wasn't ready yet. The Me-163 IMO was worth testing but as an experimental craft.
     
  8. DerGiLLster

    DerGiLLster Member

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    What made the Me 262 unworthy of going into production? Are you speaking of it going into production the time it was made or it never should have gone into production? At the time it was produced being 1944 I agree. However if it had been produced and thoroughly tested in 1942, then the Me 262 would have been a fearsome weapon when faced off in 1944. The pilots would actually have been trained to use it, instead of just having been thrown at it.
     
  9. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Primarily the engines. They were tested and it was known even when the production order went into effect that they weren't ready for prime time. Indeed I believe the engineer in charge of the project protested. I don't see what they could have reasonably done different in 42 that would have effected that. The engines needed either a complete redesign (and that may not have worked) or alloys the Germans didn't have access to.
     
  10. DerGiLLster

    DerGiLLster Member

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    I would imagine that in 42, they would be forced to use more common materials and not scarce raw materials, thus making the engines low quality. They would have to simply replace the engines every time they flew and then fix the engines just used in combat. I suppose this would limit the Me 262 to be suited in roles such as a point defense interceptor or a night fighter.
     
  11. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    If you are going to replace the engines every mission then you need over 4 engines per aircraft. As it was they were built with common materials that's part of why they had a low life expectancy. Replacing them after every mission is going to take a lot of effort and result in it's own reliability problems. It won't eliminate the high failure rate either indeed it might acerbate it. Then there's the fact that it was even less ready for production in 42 than it was in 44-45.
     
  12. DerGiLLster

    DerGiLLster Member

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    That's why if there had been higher priorities for the jet engine such as more focus and engineers on the project. Along with its use for defensive role as that was the only thing it could be effectively used. Then in 1944 it would caused more damage to allied raid.
     
  13. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    It's not clear at all to me that more focus could have improved the process much. Then there is the question of where those resources are to come from. Also remember that the allied jet programs were actually ahead of the German ones but were also not pushed as there looked to be little need. If the German program is accelerated the allied ones are likely to be as well. While the allied planes didn't quite match the Me262 performance wise they were more reliable and would have been available in greater numbers before long.
     
  14. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    One thing I've wondered along these lines is if the resources used for the V-2 - scientific, engineering, manufacturing, and the limited supply of rare metals - had been devoted to jet aircraft and particularly engines instead. Particularly the metals, if you have a limited supply of something, shooting it off into the stratosphere seems wasteful......

    I've read that the production cost of a V-2 was comparable to six fighter aircraft - or presumably a couple of heavy bombers - for something that would deliver one ton of explosive, once, destroying itself in the process.

    The entire V-1 and V-2 programs, start to finish, delivered about as much bomb tonnage as RAF Bomber Command could drop in one night, so I don't see the vengenge weapons evening the odds.
     
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  15. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    What was the V-2 using in terms of rare metals? It would be interesting to know just what the program consumed. Jet aircraft are closely enough related that the engineers and scientist may have been useful without much retraining.
     
  16. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    Good topic but my choices would differ a lot. We must consider that after 1941 the Germans had to offset quantity with quality, so they tried a lot of "high risk" designs.

    I would put the Natter above the Me 163 in the "never should have gone to operational testing before more design" category.

    Jet aircraft and guided missiles have less in common than you would expect, the resources that went into the V2 may have helped the Me 163 rocket fighter more than they could the Me 262. The issues of the Me 262 were production quality, not basic design, the Me 262 was "combat ready" it was the German industry that had run out of metals to produce it. But this could not be foreseen with certainty when the original decisions were made.

    The V1 was a rather cheap design, and forced the allies to divert considerable resources to counter it, unfortunately for the Germans they had plenty to spare.

    Mixed feelings about the Gustav supergun, you need something like the Tallboy to approach it's destructive capability, and to lift a Tallboy you need a plane with 5000 Hp or more, no medium bomber will be able to do that. WW2 heavy fortifications were designed to withstand the WW1 420mm M-Great so you needed something even bigger. That the Germans seldom had to face massive forts, and when they had managed to deal with them by other means, is 20/20 hindsight. If someone had come up with a plan for a bomber able to carry a 6t bomb and deliver it accurately in 1938 he would have been treated as a visionary, by the time the Gustav was ready things had changed.

    Did they ever build a Type XI ? IIRC there were also designs with a pair of 6" guns that embraced the "cruiser sub" theory but none were built.

    The Maus, (and the very similar E-100) were wastes of effort Germany could nit afford, but they were not absurd. They were not really tanks, more semi mobile pillboxes that, under the right circumstances, could delay an advance for days,The Elephants and static Panther turrets did that in a couple of instances. as offensive weapons they were just too vulnerable to getting bogged down by natural obstacles.
     
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  17. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    While I'm in general agreement with your post I have to disagree at least to some extent with the above or at least request more information. My understanding is that there was over the time the Me-262 was in use a considerable increase in the reliability of the engines. How much of this was engineering vs production improvements? Were the engines originally designed to make use of the more exotic alloys? My impression is that they weren't, indeed I've read that the Meteor was restricted to flights over allied controlled territory to prevent the Germans from learning how the British designed a more reliable engine. In which case it's a design and test issue. The availability of the various metals could or at least should have been foreseen, the German stocks of various metals were tracked and the lack of sources for at least some was well known. When a lead engineer for a project states that the project is not yet read for production I don't see that as a production quality issue.
     
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  18. DerGiLLster

    DerGiLLster Member

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    I am aware that more focus would not have drastically changed the performance or reliability of the engines. But it is always better to put more focus into something than you can. Yes, the Allies were developing jet aircraft, but would they really have been much help? In those days jet engines were notoriously fuel hungry and I cannot imagine what Allied jet aircraft would have been able to do to Me 262s on the defense. The reason why the Battle of Britain had failed was because they had the advantage of being on the defensive which requires less resources and if any of their pilots were shot down, they could have had a chance of surviving and returning to fly again. It would would be a Battle Of Britain situation with the end result favoring in Germany considering that their jets would not have to worry about fuel since they were on the defensive, while the Allies would only have enough to go just a one way. This would have made it a living hell for the US bombers flying over Germany as the allied jets would have to slow down to stay with them and would be using even more fuel. The point I am trying to make is not whether the Me 262 would have been combat ready. It's engines were awful, but if it had been put into focus of production instead of the me 163 or any of the V-weapons it would have made a significant impact on the Defense of the Reich. Of course I am not saying this would change the course of the war, it would have merely prolonged it.
     
  19. DerGiLLster

    DerGiLLster Member

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    The pulse jet engines of the V-1 flying bombs would have been put to greater use to making jet engines. Of course this would be of low quality, it wouldn't matter for the Defense of the Reich campaign, as there would be a greater number of jets flying around which would have been a disaster for any bombers.
     
  20. DerGiLLster

    DerGiLLster Member

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    -I am not concerned about the quality of the engines for the Me 262, I am aware that the engines had a 10-25 hour lifespan, but for defensive purposes over Germany that is enough. They had redesigned the engines using a minimum of those resources which explains the lower quality but made it easier and cheaper to produce.

    -Had the production of the V-1 gone into jet engines, it would have definitely have cost the allies considerable resources for their bombing campaign.

    -I understand the fortifications would have provided more of an obstacle, but still the gun itself was took away a large amount of resources and the germans would have needed a couple more hundred tons of bombs to do the job. The gun itself went against everything that made the German army successful:mobility.

    -The weight of the Elefant and the Panther were dwarfed by the Maus. At least the two heavy vehicles you speak of were less likely to sink into the ditch and faced less problems such as when crossing a bridge, higher fuel consumption and were able to be fielded in greater numbers than the Maus theoretically could.
     

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