With These 5 Wonder Weapons, Nazi Germany Had A Shot At Winning World War II

Warfare History Network

During Germany’s early string of victories between 1939 and 1941, Hitler informed the members of the nation’s aerospace industry that he had decided to impose new restrictions on aircraft research and development. However, by 1942 the Führer and his Air Force High Command (Oberkommando der Luftwaffe) had recognized their mistake. With the increasing weakness in the fighter arm, Hitler saw that his old faithful aircraft like the Messerschmitt Me-109 were losing ground to the new Allied long-range fighters, such as the North American P-51 Mustang, used to escort U.S. and British bombers that were devastating Germany with little resistance. The constant barrage of Allied bombing finally forced Hitler to invest in producing airplanes at the cutting edge of technology. These included bombers capable of carrying the war as far as America and beyond the Ural Mountains into Russia. To the German warlord, these new “wonder weapons” would mean the life or death of his Third Reich. What he wanted was a cheap, revolutionary aircraft of such advanced technology that it could be mass produced quickly and efficiently. One such aircraft pressed for by the designers was the jet fighter. The engines of the new jet types stemmed from work carried out before the war by Britain’s Sir Frank Whittle and Germany’s Hans-Joachim Pabst von Ohain. Both inventors created centrifugal and axial flow turbojets, which became the obvious step forward in aircraft design and the arrival of the operational jet aircraft. Despite the massive destruction of German industry, aircraft manufacturers rushed to build the world’s first operational jet fighter. By the end of 1942, two companies had turbojet projects: Heinkel with its He-280 and Messerschmitt with the Me-262. After a number of competitive trials between the two designs, the latter plane was chosen for production mainly because test pilots preferred the Me-262’s greater range and better speed delivered from its twin Junkers Jumo engines.

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