German Bomber modified for A Bomb Delivery

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Francis
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German Bomber modified for A Bomb Delivery

Post by Francis » 15 Apr 2005 09:38

Hi all
Its been reported in several books I have read that at the end of WWII a German bomber (He 177) was found at Letov in the Czech republic. The bomber had been modified with an enlarged bomb bay, blast screens and additional features for high altitude flying. Authors have reported that this bomber was infact modified to carry the German Atomic bomb. I've never been able to find any additional information on this bomber and would be greatful if someone out there could tell me more about it.

Many thanks
Frank

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Andrzej Ditrich
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Post by Andrzej Ditrich » 15 Apr 2005 12:10

Hello

I have found this artist impression about Heinkel:
http://www.geocities.com/unicraftmodels ... /bombs.htm
One noteworthy but uncompleted airplane was a single example under modification in Prague to accommodate the planned German atomic bomb.
from:http://worldaircorps.com/airplanes/am260.htm
One of these aircraft which was particularly noteworthy was modified extensively at Letov in Prague during 1943-44 to provide an enlarged bomb bay to accommodate the planned German atomic bomb. It was never completed.
from:http://www.il2center.com/Axis/Germany/18/Index.html

-Some Heinkel aircrafts were repaired in Eger (Cheb) in Czech Republic.

-It is reported that this plane was V38 prototype with enlarged bomb bay.

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Andrzej Ditrich
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Post by Andrzej Ditrich » 15 Apr 2005 12:34

http://p069.ezboard.com/fluftwaffeexper ... D=68.topic ->this seems to be intresting link related to He177

PeterEvans moderator from LEMB - Luftwaffe Experten Message Board wrote:
There are two theories in circulation as regards the He177 you mention Simon. The first is as per your question and that it was converted to carry the German atomic bomb... Many books have speculated that He177V38 (W.Nr.550002) which was located incomplete at Prague-Ruszin was indeed an "atomic bomber"... but this was probably due to many not fully understanding the large non-standard bomb bay...
Horst Lommel in his 2004 book "Junkers Ju287" counters these claims by stating that this He177 was being used as part of the Ju287 programme. The large bomb-bay is supposed to have been identical to that planned for the Ju287.. remember that the forward-swept wing on the Ju287 allowed for a larger bomb bay that on standard Luftwaffe types... Lommel goes on to say that the atomic bomber speculation was as a result of the wreck being found at Prague-Ruszin, which appeared to be the home of a number of wonder weapons...

As for the fate of V38, "Heinkel He177, 277, 274" by Griehl and Dressel only confirms that the remains of the V38 were was found at Prague circa 8th May 1945.... but I'm sure its safe to assume that it was probably scrapped not long after...
cheers,

Peter D Evans - moderator
LEMB - Luftwaffe Experten Message Board

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Lars
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Post by Lars » 15 Apr 2005 14:28

The German atom bomb was a "dirty" atom bomb, meaning a collection of radioactive materiel, something quite different from the American true atom bomb.

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Post by MAX_theHitMan » 15 Apr 2005 19:56

There are two theories in circulation as regards the He177 you mention Simon. The first is as per your question and that it was converted to carry the German atomic bomb... Many books have speculated that He177V38 (W.Nr.550002) which was located incomplete at Prague-Ruszin was indeed an "atomic bomber"... but this was probably due to many not fully understanding the large non-standard bomb bay...
Horst Lommel in his 2004 book "Junkers Ju287" counters these claims by stating that this He177 was being used as part of the Ju287 programme. The large bomb-bay is supposed to have been identical to that planned for the Ju287.. remember that the forward-swept wing on the Ju287 allowed for a larger bomb bay that on standard Luftwaffe types... Lommel goes on to say that the atomic bomber speculation was as a result of the wreck being found at Prague-Ruszin, which appeared to be the home of a number of wonder weapons...

As for the fate of V38, "Heinkel He177, 277, 274" by Griehl and Dressel only confirms that the remains of the V38 were was found at Prague circa 8th May 1945.... but I'm sure its safe to assume that it was probably scrapped not long after...
cheers,

Peter D Evans - moderator
LEMB - Luftwaffe Experten Message Board

Yes, I do agree with his theory about the bomb-bay size.

Are there any known (third reich) papers ordering this modification on a Grief He-177 for this purpose?

Are there any known photographs of this "special" bomber everyone keeps refering to?

...Or is it just another myth such as the Hannebu flying saucers? :P

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Andrzej Ditrich
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Post by Andrzej Ditrich » 15 Apr 2005 21:03

Hello Max
Are there any known photographs of this "special" bomber everyone keeps refering to?
...Or is it just another myth such as the Hannebu flying saucers?
Pics (two) are in link provided above.

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redcoat
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Post by redcoat » 16 Apr 2005 00:15

Lars wrote:The German atom bomb was a "dirty" atom bomb, meaning a collection of radioactive materiel, something quite different from the American true atom bomb.
To get the material for a 'dirty' atomic bomb, you need a working nuclear reactor.
The germans didn't have one, so no 'dirty' bomb.

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Post by Simon Gunson » 17 Apr 2005 09:23

To get the material for a 'dirty' atomic bomb, you need a working nuclear reactor.
The germans didn't have one, so no 'dirty' bomb.
Not true Redcoat. That may be so for the Plutonium bomb but not a Uranium bomb.

Fritz Houtermans was pushing for a Plutonium bomb and the Leipzeig sphere appears to have been an attempt to irridate U238 with neutrons from radium to breed plutonium. Heavy water was important as a moderator for a reactor, thus the Norwegian Voermark plant was part of the Plutonium project.

On the other hand a different team went down the "right track" of developing the uranium gaseous centrifuge under Dr Paul Harteck and Dr Max von Ardenne. Professor Kurt Diebner used the uranium to develop a uranium A-bomb for Heerswaffenamt Forschungstelle E.

Following July 1944's bomb plot against Hitler, Himmler took control of Heerswaffenamt.

My own researches indicate that Dr Erich Bagge developed the gaseous uranium centrifuge in 1942 and by April 1944 Nazi Germany put Uranium centrifuges into large scale production.

Professor Kurt Diebner developed the Nazi Uranium A-bomb program. Dr Werner Heisenburg was involved with nuclear fission reactors and failed attempts to breed Plutonium. These scientists were involved with unrelated projects.

Building a centrifuge to enrich uranium does not require a reactor. One takes Uranium oxide (Yellow cake) and mixes this with hydroflouric acid to make a gaseous compound called Uranium hexaflouride. One starts with a hollow, cylindrical rotor. Fill it with gaseous uranium. At the rotor's bottom, use pulsating magnetic fields (much like those of an electric motor) to spin it fast enough to throw the heavier U-238 toward the wall, letting the U-235 accumulate near the center. Slightly heating the bottom of the gaseous mix would produce currents that would tend to move the U-238 down and the U-235 up, where scoops could gather the isotopes. That is why they are sometimes called isotope sluces. germany developed this from 1942.

I don't accept that the bombs at Rugen Island and Ohrdruf concentration camps were dirty bombs. Eye witnesses to the Ohrdruf blast noted a flash at night so bright that they could read a newspaper. the victims were burned as was typical of nuclear blast. That is not the tell tale of a dirty bomb.

It's a pity my reply to Peter Evans at LEMB was not also published here. The interesting point is that the Ju-287V1 bomber had the forward fuselage from an He-177 and tail from a Ju-388. The bomb bay however was not that of a typical He-177, but apparently had exactly the same dimensions as the V38 aircraft converted at letov in 1942 to be a nuclear bomber.

Horst Lommel's book on the Ju-287 does not repudiate claims about the purpose of the V38 Grief. Instead it deepens the mystery and poses a new question whether the Ju-287 was intended as a fast nuclear bomber to stike London ?

After all if as self evident the Ju-287 builders were trying to speed production with off the shelf parts from existing aircraft and make the Ju-287 a snap to fit, aircraft, then why not just use a standard He-177 fuselage with standard bomb bay ?

Why go to the extra effort of a Grief fuselage with an extra large bomb bay ?

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redcoat
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Post by redcoat » 17 Apr 2005 11:37

Simon Gunson wrote:Why go to the extra effort of a Grief fuselage with an extra large bomb bay ?
To fit larger normal bombs in ;)
After all the RAF had installed larger bomb-bays on both their Mosquito and Lancaster bombers to carry heavier bombs.
Why not the Luftwaffe ???
Or is this answer just too dull to be true :D

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Post by Huck » 17 Apr 2005 21:55

redcoat wrote:
Simon Gunson wrote:Why go to the extra effort of a Grief fuselage with an extra large bomb bay ?
To fit larger normal bombs in ;)
After all the RAF had installed larger bomb-bays on both their Mosquito and Lancaster bombers to carry heavier bombs.
Why not the Luftwaffe ???
Or is this answer just too dull to be true :D
Enlarging the bomb load of He-177 as a step in the development of Ju-287 is one ludicrous theory.
He-177 had twice the bombload of projected Ju-287.

He-177 itself had superior payload/range capabilities to all Allied bombers, with exception of B-29 (which had only slightly better payload/range capability). There was no need for such a development - enlarged bomb bay - unless a special purpose was envisioned.

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Post by Simon Gunson » 18 Apr 2005 11:47

Or is this answer just too dull to be true
That's a dull answer because then the question is why were all He-177 built since 1942, NOT built with this extra large bomb bay ?

Why just one ?

(Actually there is some evidence there were three He-177 converted this way but why not the whole lot ???)

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Post by redcoat » 19 Apr 2005 22:25

I was wrong, because I've been asking around about this atomic bomber on some aviation forums, and it appears to be correct, it was being modified to carry an atom bomb
Here's a reply I got from the poster 'robert',
The He 177V38 was sent to the Letov factory near Prague in 1942. Its wings were removed, and modifications were made to its bomb bay to allow it to carry a proposed atomic bomb. Smith & Kay in German Aircraft of the Second World War (of which a photo of the V38 can be found on page 286) quite rightly note that the conversion was made for "when and if that terrifying weapon was ever completed." Work on the aircraft stopped in August 1944.

Does this mean that Germany was close to an atomic bomb? Absolutely not. At the time that the project was initiated, in 1942, it was probably one of hundreds of modifications of aircraft conducted purely for research purposes. The low priority, and lack of real interest, can best be judged by the fact that the modification was farmed out to the Letov factory in Czechoslovakia. If the Germans were actually close to building a bomb, don't you think that Heinkel themselves, with the assistance of the RLM, would have been charged with it?

It was strictly a project, a "what-if?" with no sinister overtones.

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Post by Andrzej Ditrich » 20 Apr 2005 12:40

Redcoat wrote:
The low priority, and lack of real interest, can best be judged by the fact that the modification was farmed out to the Letov factory in Czechoslovakia.
I wouldn't be so sure about the fact that projects 'sent' to Czechoslovakia had low priority or were not advanced.Czechoslovakia was an important part of Reich and some projects were developed there for example production of He-177 in Flugzeugwerke Eger(Cheb).It could be one of the reasons why the modyfication was made in Czechoslovakia+well qualified engineers.Have a look on pre-war Czech production:tank,guns,planes.
During occupation they were producing:Ju-87,Ju-188,Fa-223,parts for Me-262.

BTW Anyone know something about plans of Ju-388 Störtebeker found in Rabstein(coded:Zechstein) underground factory of Weser-Flugzeugbau G.m.b.H from Bremen?At the end of war 850 planes were found and stocks of parts.After war it let to built 544 planes and 2 helicopters.

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Uninen
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Post by Uninen » 20 Aug 2005 19:59

Ive seen a pic of this aircraft before, but cant locate it no more, maybe somebody could help?

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Post by Huck » 21 Aug 2005 00:15

http://oldwolf.diy.myrice.com/ww2aircraft/He177.htm

Last three pics in the link are apparently of V38. I haven't checked it, so be careful with this info.

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