Nova: Bombing Hitler’s Supergun

Most people my age are familiar with the V-1 and V-2 rockets that Hitler used late in World War 2 to bomb London. After being unsuccessful with regular bombers because they were defeated by the RAF, Hitler developed these two “V’s” to succeed the bombers. They were semi-successful, but in desperation he  decided to develop the V-3 super-gun which was a long range artillery weapon that would fire from France and hit London 100 miles away.

The super-gun would have 25 long range guns in one underground installation. These guns had extra long barrels with a sequence of chargers along the barrels to develop the bullet’s speed fast enough to reach London.

The Allies got wind of the program before it was finished, and the Brits and the Americans each developed a plan to destroy it. The Brits, led by Barnes Wallace who had previously developed the “bouncing bomb”, came up with the  “earthquake” bomb which bored into the ground before exploding. This was the the beginning of today’s “bunker” bombs used for the same reason.

In July 1944, the RAF unloaded a bunch of their earthquake bombs on the German super-gun site in Mimoyecques, France but couldn’t determine how successful they had  been.

In the meantime, the Americans led by Joe Kennedy, Jr., the older brother of Pres. John F. Kennedy,  set about to create a “drone” to take out the super-gun. It was really a regular B-24 bomber loaded with tons of explosives which, in August, 1944, was to fly to France under the control of Kennedy and his co-pilot. This plane was followed by another B-24 with radio equipment and an early TV to monitor the drone. Before leaving the British coast, Kennedy and his co-pilot were to bail out and the drone would continue to France controlled by the other B-24 to the target and crash into it. Unfortunately, a malfunction of the radio control system let to the first plane blowing up over England before Kennedy and his partner got out, killing both.

Fortunately, the British operation earlier in July was successful and the super-gun installation was destroyed and never was used.

This documentary got the facts almost 100% correct, according to historians. And it was exciting and fun to watch. “Yes”.

 

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Hal2K

Retired old man getting tired of TV and looking to expand into Netflix presentations
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