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Secret Weapons Projects (June 1944 - May 1945)

Secret Weapons Projects (June 1944 - May 1945)

Hitler tried to sustain morale by promising that "secret weapons" would turn the war around. He did indeed have the weapons. The first of 9,300 V-1 flying bombs hit London in mid- June, 1944, and together with 1,300 V-2 rockets caused 8,000 civilian deaths and 23,000 injuries. Although they did not seriously undercut British morale or munitions production, they bothered the British government a great deal - Germany now had its own unanswered weapons system. Using proximity fuzes, British anti-aircraft artillery gunners (many of them women) learned how to shoot down the 400 mph V-1s; nothing could stop the supersonic V-2s. The British government, in near panic, demanded that upwards of 40% of bomber sorties be targeted against the launch sites, and got its way in "Operation CROSSBOW." The attacks were futile, and the diversion represented a major success for Hitler. In early 1943 the strategic bombers were directed against U- boat pens, which were easy to reach and which represented a major strategic threat to Allied logistics. However, the pens were very solidly built - it took 7,000 flying hours to destroy one sub there, about the same effort that it took to destroy one-third of Cologne. The antisubmarine campaign thus was a victory for Hitler.

Every raid against a V-1 or V-2 launch site was one less raid against the Third Reich. On the whole, however, the secret weapons were still another case of too little too late. The Luftwaffe ran the V-1 program, which used a jet engine, but it diverted scarce engineering talent and manufacturing capacity that were urgently needed to improve German radar, air defense, and jet fighters. The German Army ran the V-2 program. The rockets were a technological triumph, and bothered the British leadership even more than the V-1s. But they were so inaccurate they rarely could hit militarily significant targets.

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German Arado Ar 234B 'Blitz' Medium Bomber - 8./KG.76, Burg, Germany, 1944 German Arado Ar 234B 'Blitz' Medium Bomber - 8./KG.76, Burg, Germany, 1944 (1:144 Scale)

The Arado Ar 234 Blitz (Lightning) was the world's first operational jet powered bomber, built by the German Arado company in the closing stages of World War II. In the field it was used almost entirely in the reconnaissance role, but in its few uses as a bomber it proved to be nearly impossible to intercept.

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Captured German Heinkel He 162A-2 Salamander "Spatz" Jet Fighter - Royal Air Force's Air Mininstry 61/120072, 1945 Captured German Heinkel He 162A-2 Salamander "Spatz" Jet Fighter - Royal Air Force's Air Mininstry 61/120072, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

In September 1944, with the Nazi empire under extreme pressure on all fronts, the German Air Ministry (ReichsLuftsfahrtMinisterium or "RLM") acknowledged Germany's desperate circumstances by issuing a requirement for a new jet fighter that would be simple, cheap, and easy to build in large quantity.

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German Messerschmitt Me 262A-1A Fighter - Heinz Bar, Red 13, III./EJG2, March 1945 German Messerschmitt Me 262A-1A Fighter - Heinz Bar, "Red 13", III./EJG2, March 1945 (1:72 Scale)

The jet-powered Me 262 Sturmvogel ("Stormbird") has long since gained its place in the annals of international aeronautical history. With its sleek aerodynamic design and high performance jet engines, the Me 262 radically changed the way in which air combat was waged.

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German Messerschmitt Me 262A-1A Jet Fighter - Yellow 3, May 1945 German Messerschmitt Me 262A-1A Jet Fighter - "Yellow 3", May 1945 (1:72 Scale)

The jet-powered Me 262 Sturmvogel ("Stormbird") has long since gained its place in the annals of international aeronautical history. With its sleek aerodynamic design and high performance jet engines, the Me 262 radically changed the way in which air combat was waged.

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German Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a Jet Fighter - Fhr. Hans-Guido Mutke, White 3, 9./Jagdgeschwader 7, 1945 German Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a Jet Fighter - Fhr. Hans-Guido Mutke, "White 3", 9./Jagdgeschwader 7, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

The jet-powered Me 262 Sturmvogel ("Stormbird") has long since gained its place in the annals of international aeronautical history. With its sleek aerodynamic design and high performance jet engines, the Me 262 radically changed the way in which air combat was waged.

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German Heinkel He 162A-2 Salamander Spatz Jet Fighter - II/Jagdgeschwader 1, Leck, Germany, 1945 German Heinkel He 162A-2 Salamander "Spatz" Jet Fighter - II/Jagdgeschwader 1, Leck, Germany, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

In September 1944, with the Nazi empire under extreme pressure on all fronts, the German Air Ministry (ReichsLuftsfahrtMinisterium or "RLM") acknowledged Germany's desperate circumstances by issuing a requirement for a new jet fighter that would be simple, cheap, and easy to build in large quantity.

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German Focke-Wulf Ta 152H Interceptor - Ofw. Josef Keil, Stab./Jagdgeschwader 301, Sachau, Germany, April 1945 German Focke-Wulf Ta 152H Interceptor - Ofw. Josef Keil, Stab./Jagdgeschwader 301, Sachau, Germany, April 1945 (1:72 Scale)

The Focke-Wulf Ta 152 was a World War II German high-altitude fighter-interceptor. The Ta 152 was a development of the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 aircraft, but the prefix was changed from "Fw" to "Ta" to recognize the contributions of Kurt Tank who headed the design team.

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German Messerschmitt Me 262A-2A Jet Fighter - Test Pilot Hans Fley, Schwabisch Hallm, Germany, 1945 German Messerschmitt Me 262A-2A Jet Fighter - Test Pilot Hans Fley, Schwabisch Hallm, Germany, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

The jet-powered Me 262 Sturmvogel ("Stormbird") has long since gained its place in the annals of international aeronautical history. With its sleek aerodynamic design and high performance jet engines, the Me 262 radically changed the way in which air combat was waged.

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German Heinkel He 162A-2 Salamander Spatz Jet Fighter - Jagdgeschwader 1, Leck, Germany, 1945 German Heinkel He 162A-2 Salamander "Spatz" Jet Fighter - Jagdgeschwader 1, Leck, Germany, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

In September 1944, with the Nazi empire under extreme pressure on all fronts, the German Air Ministry (ReichsLuftsfahrtMinisterium or "RLM") acknowledged Germany's desperate circumstances by issuing a requirement for a new jet fighter that would be simple, cheap, and easy to build in large quantity.

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German Dornier Do 335 Pfeil Fighter - Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Smithsonian Air and Space Museum German Dornier Do 335 Pfeil Fighter - Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Smithsonian Air and Space Museum (1:72 Scale)

The Dornier Do 335 Pfeil ("Arrow") was a World War II heavy fighter built by the Dornier company. The two-seater trainer version was also called Ameisenbr ("anteater").

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German Messerschmitt Me 262B-1a Twin-Seat Jet Fighter - Red 35, III./E Jagdgeschwader 2, May 1945 German Messerschmitt Me 262B-1a Twin-Seat Jet Fighter - "Red 35", III./E Jagdgeschwader 2, May 1945 (1:72 Scale)

The jet-powered Me 262 Sturmvogel ("Stormbird") has long since gained its place in the annals of international aeronautical history. With its sleek aerodynamic design and high performance jet engines, the Me 262 radically changed the way in which air combat was waged.

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German Messerschmitt Me262A-2a Bomber - 9K+BN, 5./KG(J) 51 Edelweiss, Schwabisch Hall, Germany, 1944 German Messerschmitt Me262A-2a Bomber - 9K+BN, 5./KG(J) 51 "Edelweiss", Schwabisch Hall, Germany, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

The jet-powered Me 262 Sturmvogel ("Stormbird") has long since gained its place in the annals of international aeronautical history. With its sleek aerodynamic design and high performance jet engines, the Me 262 radically changed the way in which air combat was waged.

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German Gotha Go P.60A All-Wing Fighter German Gotha Go P.60A All-Wing Fighter (1:72 Scale)

In August 1944 the Gotha Aircraft Company was given the job of series production of the Horten brothers' Ho IX all-wing fighter, which would be known as the Horten Ho 229 . After receiving the plans and design data, Gotha engineers found some areas for improvement.

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German Blohm und Voss Bv P.210 Fighter German Blohm und Voss Bv P.210 Fighter (1:72 Scale)

The Bv P.210 fighter was one of Blohm & Voss' entries in the Volksjager Project competition in September 1944. Chief Designer Dr. Richard Vogt, assisted by Hans Amtmann, developed the BV P.210 from the BV P.208 tailless fighter project.

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German Focke-Wulf Triebflugel Interceptor German Focke-Wulf Triebflugel Interceptor (1:72 Scale)

The Focke-Wulf Triebflugel (Triebfluegel if the -umlaut is not used), or Triebflugeljger, literally meaning "thrust-wing fighter", was a German concept for an aircraft designed in 1944, during the final phase of World War II as a defense against the ever-increasing Allied bombing raids on central Germany.

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German Horten Ho 229 Fighter Bomber German Horten Ho 229 Fighter Bomber (1:72 Scale)

The Horten H.IX, RLM designation Ho 229 (often called Gotha Go 229 because of the identity of the chosen manufacturer of the aircraft) was a German prototype fighter/bomber designed by Reimar and Walter Horten and built by Gothaer Waggonfabrik late in World War II. It was the first pure flying wing powered by jet engines.

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German Blohm und Voss P.209.02 Fighter German Blohm und Voss P.209.02 Fighter (1:72 Scale)

From 1933 to 1945, Blohm und Voss operated the Hamburger Flugzeugbau aircraft company. Although initially given the factory code Ha (for the factory's official name), the link with Blohm & Voss shipyards proved too strong and therefore the early aircraft designs were called "Blohm & Voss, type Ha..." followed by the design number.

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German Messerschmitt Me 329 Fighter German Messerschmitt Me 329 Fighter (1:72 Scale)

The Messerschmitt Me 329 was a design project for a heavy fighter and ground-attack aircraft developed towards the end of World War II. It was a competitor and possible successor to the Me 410.

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German Focke-Wulf Ta 283 Interceptor German Focke-Wulf Ta 283 Interceptor (1:72 Scale)

The Focke-Wulf Ta 283 was a German low-wing jet interceptor designed during World War II. The project was developed at the same time as the Focke-Wulf Super Lorin and remained unbuilt before the surrender of Nazi Germany.

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German Messerschmitt Me-262B Fighter - 1./Kampfgeschwader (J) 53, Germany, 1944 German Messerschmitt Me-262B Fighter - 1./Kampfgeschwader (J) 53, Germany, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

The jet-powered Me 262 Sturmvogel ("Stormbird") has long since gained its place in the annals of international aeronautical history. With its sleek aerodynamic design and high performance jet engines, the Me 262 radically changed the way in which air combat was waged.

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German Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a Jet Fighter - Oberfeldwebel Heinz Arnold, Jagdgeschwader 7, Lechfeld, Germany, 1945 German Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a Jet Fighter - Oberfeldwebel Heinz Arnold, Jagdgeschwader 7, Lechfeld, Germany, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

The jet-powered Me 262 Sturmvogel ("Stormbird") has long since gained its place in the annals of international aeronautical history. With its sleek aerodynamic design and high performance jet engines, the Me 262 radically changed the way in which air combat was waged.

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German Messerschmitt Me 262A-1A Fighter - Franz Schall, White 1, Kommando Nowotny, 1944 German Messerschmitt Me 262A-1A Fighter - Franz Schall, 'White 1', Kommando Nowotny, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

The jet-powered Me 262 Sturmvogel ("Stormbird") has long since gained its place in the annals of international aeronautical history. With its sleek aerodynamic design and high performance jet engines, the Me 262 radically changed the way in which air combat was waged.

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German Haunebu 1 Flying Saucer German Haunebu 1 Flying Saucer (1:72 Scale)

In UFOlogy, conspiracy theory, science fiction, and comic book stories, claims or stories have circulated linking UFOs to Nazi Germany. The German UFO theories describe supposedly successful attempts to develop advanced aircraft or spacecraft prior to and during World War II, and further assert the post-war survival of these craft in secret underground bases in Antarctica, South America, or the United States, along with their creators.

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German Messerschmitt Me 262A-1A Fighter - Plt.Ofz. Franz Gapp, "Red 7", 8./Kamfgeschwader 6, Podersam, Saaz, May 1945 German Messerschmitt Me 262A-1A Fighter - Plt.Ofz. Franz Gapp, "Red 7", 8./Kamfgeschwader 6, Podersam, Saaz, May 1945 (1:72 Scale)

The jet-powered Me 262 Sturmvogel ("Stormbird") has long since gained its place in the annals of international aeronautical history. With its sleek aerodynamic design and high performance jet engines, the Me 262 radically changed the way in which air combat was waged.

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German Messerschmitt Me 262 Night Fighter - Kurt Welter, II.Gruppe/Nachtjagdgeschwader 11, Larz, Germany, 1945 German Messerschmitt Me 262 Night Fighter - Kurt Welter, II.Gruppe/Nachtjagdgeschwader 11, Larz, Germany, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

The jet-powered Me 262 Sturmvogel ("Stormbird") has long since gained its place in the annals of international aeronautical history. With its sleek aerodynamic design and high performance jet engines, the Me 262 radically changed the way in which air combat was waged.

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Limited Edition German Messerschmitt Me 262 Sturmvogel Jet Fighter - Walter Nowotny, White 8, Kommando Nowotny, Achmer, Germany, 1944 Limited Edition German Messerschmitt Me 262 "Sturmvogel" Jet Fighter - Walter Nowotny, "White 8", Kommando Nowotny, Achmer, Germany, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

The jet-powered Me 262 Sturmvogel ("Stormbird") has long since gained its place in the annals of international aeronautical history. With its sleek aerodynamic design and high performance jet engines, the Me 262 radically changed the way in which air combat was waged.

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German Messerschmitt Me-262 Sturmvogel Jet Fighter - Kurt Nowotny, Jagdgeschwader 7 German Messerschmitt Me-262 "Sturmvogel" Jet Fighter - Kurt Nowotny, Jagdgeschwader 7 (1:48 Scale)

The jet-powered Me 262 Sturmvogel ("Stormbird") has long since gained its place in the annals of international aeronautical history. With its sleek aerodynamic design and high performance jet engines, the Me 262 radically changed the way in which air combat was waged.

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German Messerschmitt Me 262A Sturmvogel Jet Fighter - Wilhelm Herget, Jagdverband 44 German Messerschmitt Me 262A "Sturmvogel" Jet Fighter - Wilhelm Herget, Jagdverband 44 (1:48 Scale)

The jet-powered Me 262 Sturmvogel ("Stormbird") has long since gained its place in the annals of international aeronautical history. With its sleek aerodynamic design and high performance jet engines, the Me 262 radically changed the way in which air combat was waged.

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German Messerschmitt Me 262 Sturmvogel Jet Fighter - III/Jagdgeschwader 6 German Messerschmitt Me 262 "Sturmvogel" Jet Fighter - III/Jagdgeschwader 6 (1:48 Scale)

The jet-powered Me 262 Sturmvogel ("Stormbird") has long since gained its place in the annals of international aeronautical history. With its sleek aerodynamic design and high performance jet engines, the Me 262 radically changed the way in which air combat was waged.

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German Messerschmitt Me 262A Sturmvogel Jet Fighter - Unit 1./ KG 51 Edelweiss, 1944 (1:48 Scale) German Messerschmitt Me 262A "Sturmvogel" Jet Fighter - Unit 1./ KG 51 "Edelweiss", 1944 (1:48 Scale)

The jet-powered Me 262 Sturmvogel ("Stormbird") has long since gained its place in the annals of international aeronautical history. With its sleek aerodynamic design and high performance jet engines, the Me 262 radically changed the way in which air combat was waged.

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