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German Nuclear Bomb?

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If the Germans had developed the atomic bomb in March or April of 45 prior to the USA, what would have been their primary and secondary targets?

Antwerp?Washington?London?Patton's 3rd Army?

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I don't see how they could have delivered one through any reasonable means. The US bombs weighed over 4 tons, while the V-2 carried a one ton payload. And good luck trying to get a Luftwaffe bomber through Allied fighter cover!

Allied intelligence would also have detected the testing of the weapon, and would have understood its strategic importance. Hiding the development and testing of a weapon of that scale in the territories controlled by Germany in 1945 would have been impossible, just look at how huge apparatus the Manhattan Project was in comparison.

Perhaps the only sensible way to use one would have been to bury one under a strategically important bridge in a place like Seelow Heights, set it to explode on time fuse at a specific time and then time a local counter-attack with whatever forces could be mustered to overrun the cut off enemy units in the ensuing confusion. Even then, that late in the war even two bombs wouldn't have been enough, the frontages were too wide and the enemy forces too powerful to contain.

In Hitler's wettest dreams? In Yalta, February 4th 1945. On the lap of Roosevelt, with Churchill and Stalin seated next to him.

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With Hitlers "V" (vengeance) weapon "strategy" and the new Type XXI U-Boat available at that time....

A handful of movies already picked up such a scenario, but it was of course "terrorists" delivering a bomb, stolen or smuggled from the former USSR, via ship to the USA.

Most likely targets for a U boat full of Nazis and an atomic bomb? ...

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A single bomber at night? Very hard to stop in WWII.

As long as Hitler was alive it would have been Moscow.

But this late in the war it wouldn't have changed much. Germany would have needed to show the Allies that it could build and deliver more than one bomb to force a stalemate. There would have been the same reasoning on the allied side than in Japan later. With the turmoil and destruction this late in the war it is highly unlikely that Germany could have pulled this off.

What is more interesting to think about is what had happened if Germany had had the bomb much earlier? For all the resources Germany does not have - its not uranium and its not the scientists that knew (theoretically) how to make use of it. For all the Wunderwafen that Hitler went for it was surprisingly not the bomb that could flatten cities.

So what if Germany had the bomb in 42? Or what if the war started only when Germany already had the bomb?

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Or what if Canada had the bomb in 1926? Or if they had forged an alliance with the aliens that command death stars from Alpha Centauri. It is a pointless discussion. After the summer of '43, Germany was losing anyway it is sliced.

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A single bomber at night? Very hard to stop in WWII.

I find that a little doubtful. Even the V-1 buzz bombs were being intercepted late in the war. Even if the lone bomber somehow avoided radar and aural detection and night fighters, how would it find its way to the target in complete darkness? With nightly bomber raids you can have pathfinders drop flares and fire bombs to illuminate the target area, and it doesn't matter if a certain portion of the bombers miss. But with one single bomber you have no margin for error. It's also a long way from Germany to any strategic targets like London or Moscow, and that limits the time during which the flight could be made as it has to reach the target before dawn and preferably also return back to home before dawn or it would certainly be shot down on the way back.

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I find that a little doubtful. Even the V-1 buzz bombs were being intercepted late in the war.

They were being intercepted within days of operational deployment.

Even if the lone bomber somehow avoided radar and aural detection and night fighters, how would it find its way to the target in complete darkness?

True, but if the pilots scorch Wembley instead of Woolwich, or even miss London completely and unload on Birmingham instead, it probably doesn't make too much difference.

But with one single bomber you have no margin for error.

Depends what the aim is. If it is primarily to destroy te docks in London or Liverpool you're correct. If it's as a 'don't fvck with us' demonstration then they could as well slag Wales.

It's also a long way from Germany to any strategic targets like London or Moscow, and that limits the time during which the flight could be made as it has to reach the target before dawn and preferably also return back to home before dawn or it would certainly be shot down on the way back.

I imagine that the survival of one plane and its crew would be well down the list of priorities when drawing up a target list.

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Or what if Canada had the bomb in 1926? Or if they had forged an alliance with the aliens that command death stars from Alpha Centauri. It is a pointless discussion. After the summer of '43, Germany was losing anyway it is sliced.

If you dismiss any 'what if' questions because it didn't happen then this discussion is unfortunatly not for you.

The idea that Germany could have had the bomb is not very far fetched. I don't want to sound like Steiner here, but the top notch physicists of that time were german. And AFAIK the uranium for the first russian bombs was mined in Saxony. So Germany had the people and the resources to build it. But it was not a first priority since noone in Germany (luckily) saw the potential.

The one who saw emigrated and wrote a letter to the US president...

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I think it is more interesting to speculate what may have happened should the Western Allies have had atomic bomb earlier.

There are a number of possible scenarios, and this list isn't exhaustive:-

1. During D-day planning - surely colatteral damage would have precluded using it in France?

2. During the Battle of the Bulge - possible if things had turned out worse?

3. During planning/execution of the Rhine crossing - more likely perhaps, as a sort of 'surrender now it's all over' ultimatum?

4. In the last days of the war in Europe - similar to above with possible implications for (5) and (6) below.

5. During the above period may it have been used to 'delay' the Russians - enough said.

6. Would it otherwise have influenced the post-war map of Europe? - I think not since peace and border negotiations were going on well after Hiroshima, and 'balance of power' scientists soon got the technology to the Soviets in any case.

Overall, I'd say that other than somewhere central in Germany no target in Europe was sufficiently distant from friendly civilians, so I just don't think it would have been used other than in retaliation.

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The top notch Jewish scientists were forced to leave/left, with many then working for the allies.

The allies stumbled across an experimental atomic pile that lacked fundamental carbon moderation. Allied bombing disrupted what research and resources to make serious inroads, as well as unwillingness to pursue research for practical purposes from what researchers were left after the brian drain.

If you dismiss any 'what if' questions because it didn't happen then this discussion is unfortunatly not for you.

The idea that Germany could have had the bomb is not very far fetched. I don't want to sound like Steiner here, but the top notch physicists of that time were german. And AFAIK the uranium for the first russian bombs was mined in Saxony. So Germany had the people and the resources to build it. But it was not a first priority since noone in Germany (luckily) saw the potential.

The one who saw emigrated and wrote a letter to the US president...

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There are a number of possible uses of the bomb as outlined above. However, a more interesting question than what targets would be selected for the bombs is what effect would the use of two atomic bombs by Germany have on the ultimate outcome of the war. I do not believe that the deployment of two first generation atomic bombs by Germany would have been sufficient to alter the final outcome. Bearing this in mind, along with the limited means avaialable to deliver the weapons, I believe the bombs would have been sited in Berlin as the ultimate scorched earth weapons under Hitler's personal command. This would have the major additional benefit (from Hitler's point of view) of hedging against any potential putsch orchestrated by those in favour of making peace with the allies. The existence of the weapons (although not their exact location) would have been circulated amongst senior officer's and officials with the intention both of dettering a coup and in the hope that this information would then find its way to the allies.

I believe the above hpotheses to be the most likely use of late-war atomic weapons by Germany. There are only two things which cause me to have any doubt about this.

1. Hitler's apparent refusal to recognise that the war was lost until the very end and (2) Hitler's tendency to over estimate the impact that 'wunderwaffen' could have on the strategic situation.

In my oppinion however, the two tendencies refered to above developed in a large part as a self defence mechanism. In order to ward off internal opposition, Hitler had to espouse the belief that the war could still be won. I believe with two atomic bombs up his sleeve, Hitler would have felt a little more secure wit a correspondingly positive impact on his mental state that would have allowed him to adopt a slightly more objective appraisal of the progress of the war and its likely outcome.

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The idea that Germany could have had the bomb is not very far fetched.

I disagree.

...the top notch physicists of that time were german. And AFAIK the uranium for the first russian bombs was mined in Saxony. So Germany had the people and the resources to build it.

Mostly true, but they lacked the industrial infrastructure to build it. Take a good look sometime at what was involved in the Manhattan Project. Germany never came close to having that much spare capacity. They couldn't even build enough conventional arms as it was.

Michael

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If you dismiss any 'what if' questions because it didn't happen then this discussion is unfortunatly not for you.

The idea that Germany could have had the bomb is not very far fetched. I don't want to sound like Steiner here, but the top notch physicists of that time were german. And AFAIK the uranium for the first russian bombs was mined in Saxony. So Germany had the people and the resources to build it. But it was not a first priority since noone in Germany (luckily) saw the potential.

The one who saw emigrated and wrote a letter to the US president...

Other folks have listed a number of reasons why the what if for Germany is pretty far fetched, but there is another. Germany had no delivery system for the bomb. The V2 wasn't gonna carry one so Germany would have been left with employing it as a giant IED at best.

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I'd like to make a request that Battlefront include nuclear weapons in the next module

I recall a PBS documentary waaay back in the 1980s about OPFOR army field training out in the desert, training to fight the 'Soviet menace'. In one scene a young commander, watching his computer monitor, decided on a 'virtual' tactical nuke strike to save his men from being over-run. Then he proceeded to sit and watch as his own positions were consumed in the resulting fireball. Ooops! :eek:

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The impact of a Nuclear bomb would have been massive, so big that it would have changed the course of the War to one of a negotiable peace.

I really can't see any nation willing to continue the fight after such a massive attack. Especially public opinion.

I remember during the cold war as a kid being scared of a mass attack of soviet tanks coming over the horizon, until I saw a SKODA.

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I really can't see any nation willing to continue the fight after such a massive attack.

The Japanese were up for it, and they got hit twice.

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Other folks have listed a number of reasons why the what if for Germany is pretty far fetched, but there is another. Germany had no delivery system for the bomb. The V2 wasn't gonna carry one so Germany would have been left with employing it as a giant IED at best.

...and what about a uboat type XXI, sent on a "secret" mission?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Type_XXI_submarine

Off course it would have been a suicide mission. The crew would be unaware of their secret mission and the attached NSFO (Nazi version of russian commissar) would push the trigger once the target is reached.

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