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Hitler's Stealth Fighter

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the time-for-a-whole-new-round-of-ww2-games dept.

The Military 582

DesScorp writes "Aviation Week reports on a television special from the National Geographic Channel on what may have been the world's first true stealth fighter, the Horten Ho 229, a wooden design that was to include a layer of carbon material sandwiched in the leading edge to defeat radar. Northrop Grumman, experts at stealth technology from their Tacit Blue and B-2 programs, have built a full-size replica of the airframe and tested it at their desert facilities where they determined that the design was indeed stealthy, and would have been practically invisible to Britain's Chain Home radar system of WWII."

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Man (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28451635)

What DIDN'T Hitler Do?

Re:Man (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451695)

Dude. The article was Godwin'ed before the first post. I am impressed. You'd have to be a Nazi to disagree.

Re:Man (5, Funny)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451935)

I'm glad that Indiana Jones was able to destroy this thing in Egypt, before it got off the ground. Otherwise, who knows how the war would have gone?

Re:Man (5, Funny)

cool_story_bro (1522525) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451703)

What DIDN'T Hitler Do?

make friends as a child?

Re:Man (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28451809)

What DIDN'T Hitler Do?

Succeed as an artist?

Re:Man (5, Funny)

bytethese (1372715) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451855)

Win the war, thankfully.

Re:Man (0)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451859)

Die with two testicles?

Re:Man (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451937)

Get into college?

Good thing he wasn't a Nerd (3, Insightful)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452075)

Hitler wasn't some demonic bad-ass bad-guy. He was a crazed political genius at the right place and right time. His downfall: he wasn't a real geek! He lost because of technical cluelessness! He didn't have the technical knowledge to realize the value of the wonder-weapons until late in the war when the 3rd Reich got desperate, and then it was too late. His right-hand man Goering didn't have a complete grasp of the importance of good intelligence and command and control. (He would have won the Battle of Britain, but he didn't know that he should've continued his campaign against the sector stations.) Even Hitler's understanding of economic warfare was that of an enthusiastic amateur.

We won not because our geeks were better, though they were darn good. We won because we *listened* to them!

The Secret History of Silicon Valley. (How geeks won WWII and the Cold War, and how that led to Silicon Valley.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFSPHfZQpIQ [youtube.com]

Re:Good thing he wasn't a Nerd (1, Funny)

underqualified (1318035) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452189)

nerd leader? can you say "obama"?

Re:Good thing he wasn't a Nerd (1, Interesting)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452195)

While it's true the Germans made some serious strategic blunders, Hitler's primary, and ultimately fatal, mistake was underestimating the French and British will to fight for Poland. Had he understood that the French and British were through with the appeasement policy that had allowed him to absorb Austria and Czechoslovakia, he might have waited a few more years before attacking Poland. As it was, he was convinced the French and British would not fight, and so went for Poland before his war machine was fully ready.

Of course, the success of his audacious moves against Austria and Czechoslovakia against the advice of his military leaders were the primary factor in his consolidation of total power over the military, and therefore over the country, so it seems his recklessness in military matters may have been both the key to his success as well as the reason for his ultimate failure.

Re:Best Photos (1)

dburkland (1526971) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451699)

It just amazes me that they came up with this technology back in the 40s.

NSFW (5, Funny)

MancunianMaskMan (701642) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451735)

what with swastika flags and all. I'll be in trouble if someone has overseen my screen just then, being a german living in Britain.

Re:NSFW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28451759)

uh, wow. that's rather disturbing. Big Brother is always watching, eh?

Re:NSFW (5, Funny)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451823)

Tell them you were reminding yourself about just how bad a person Hitler was. And then chomp down on a big banger while saluting a picture of the queen to let them know how much you love England.

Re:NSFW (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451889)

And then chomp down on a big banger while saluting a picture of the queen to let them know how much you love England.

That action does sound very, uhhhh, "British". ; )

Re:NSFW (5, Funny)

13bPower (869223) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452059)

In America, we call it a sausage in the mouth.

Re:NSFW (1)

Quantos (1327889) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451867)

Just remind them of the Type 212 Submarine. [naval-technology.com]

Re:NSFW (4, Funny)

Kuroji (990107) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451885)

I've got mod points, but I can't find anything that matches +1 Frightful Police State.

Re:NSFW (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452073)

I'm sorry, but WTF? It's somehow verboten to view a swastika in a historical context? What kind of constitution do you have over there?

Re:NSFW (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452149)

It's called "Europe".

Re:NSFW (1)

weffew... (954080) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452167)

Just make it into a Fawlty Towers joke, ignore any comments and then have a cuppa: it's a more British than anything else I can imagine at the moment.

Most Germans I know these days have a good sense of humour. If Ein Britisher has a sense of humour failure, that's their problem.

Cheers

C

Another Example of German Technical Achievement (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28451811)

After the start of the Enlightenment, Germans have made many contributions to engineering and science. In addition to the first stealth fighter, the Germans invented calculus (co-invented with an Englishman), the guided missle (which later became the American Saturn V), the car (beating Henry Ford to the punch), etc. A Germany co-discovered superconductivity in ceramics [nobelprize.org] , which paved the way for the synthesis of high-temperature superconductors.

Why have Germans accomplished so much in engineering and science? Here, "German" includes Germans of all religious groups, including Judaism.

Why have Africans made little contribution to engineering and science?

Re:Another Example of German Technical Achievement (4, Informative)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451941)

Read Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond, it's the best explanation I read so far.

Re:Another Example of German Technical Achievement (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452065)

The first half of that book is a bit boring, because he keeps focusing on food, food, food, but it gets better once he hits on other reasons why civilizations from the Fertile Crescent area got a leg up.

Re:Another Example of German Technical Achievement (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452183)

That book is sad. If it's even half-true, it would mean further conflict, and further world-wars are inevitable. Not the sissy worldwars like WWI and WWII, but enormously protacted worldwars of a superior attacker against weaker opponents lasting hudreds of years.

Very darwinistic view of the world that man has. If he's right, the tactics in life are the same as in quake. Anything that moves and isn't obviously on your side, shoot it. Anything that doesn't move, shoot it anyway because it's probably thinking about moving and killing you as soon as you turn your back.

Re:Another Example of German Technical Achievement (1)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451949)

An African invented peanut-butter. Since most nerds can't cook, peanut-butter sandwiches have sustained the lives of countless engineers and scientists. I wouldn't call that contribution little!

Re:Best Photos (5, Interesting)

chrb (1083577) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451837)

The development of stealth technology is one of those secretive fields that has an instant fascination. I quite enjoyed reading Ben Rich's autobiography [amazon.com] . Also Hitler's plan to atom bomb New York [youtube.com] and The Real Heroes of Telemark [amazon.co.uk] were both quite interesting, casting two sides of the same global battle from very different perspectives. German scientists were some of the best in the world (not that they are so bad today..). Sometimes I think that the world got lucky - a few small changes in history, and things could easily have gone the other way.

Re:Best Photos (4, Insightful)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452143)

I think that the world got lucky - a few small changes in history, and things could easily have gone the other way.

Not hardly, as Jacob McCandles would have said. The Germans biggest problem in the war wasn't their technology, it was their production. The USA built enough tanks that they could afford to give away more than the total German tank production. The Soviets built more tanks than the USA.

Airplanes, the USA built enough to give away more than the Germans made. The Soviets didn't build more than the USA, but they built nearly as many.

The USA built more ships than everyone else combined, much less the Germans.

And on and on like that. Nothing the Germans could have done would have mattered a hill of beans, really - the only way they could have won that war was if they'd started building up their industry to USA/USSR levels in the 20's.

And even then, their chances would have been slim at best - they didn't have the manpower to operate industry at our level and put 20 million men in the field at the same time.

Wow (1)

No2Gates (239823) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451667)

Looks a LOT like our B2 bomber

Re:Wow (4, Informative)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452161)

    It just took quite a few years for us to make a plane that looked like a Horton. :) Actually, there were quite a few developed and some manufactured [wikipedia.org] . They simply weren't as popular as "conventional" aircraft. I would suspect part would be due to the difference in manufacturing cost, and some to do with customer faith. "I know an airplane with wings and a tail can fly. Why should I believe something like that can?". Maybe the long gap in development of flying wing aircraft wasn't. It was just classified. What do you think they do at Area 51 (among other secret facilities), store alien bodies and reverse engineer wormhole technology? :)

    I love aviation, and have been amazed with Horton's aircraft. There were several similar aircraft. I saw one in person at the Smithsonian Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles. There's a Horton Ho IIIf on display (hanging from the roof), part of a Horton Ho IIIh, and I found reference to a Horton Ho 229 being restored for display there. If I remember correctly, you'd go straight in the front door, and to the left behind the SR-71, but before the room with the Space Shuttle Enterprise. They have some beautiful aircraft there. It's worth the visit if you like aviation.

If it were only in the leading edge (4, Interesting)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451671)

They'd only see the plane leaving, not arriving, which is quite an interesting compromise, as every other stealth programme goes with the notion that it has to be invisible at all times.

This was designed so that, once it passed Britains coastal radar, they wouldn't be able to scramble fighters fast enough once they did detect them. Rather ingenious.

Re:If it were only in the leading edge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28451761)

Especially since the radar operators would be used to watching for contacts on the German side of the radar line, and a bunch of anomalous blips on the inside of the line would probably cause delay in fighter scramble as people tried to determine whether those were friendly contacts, radar ghosts, or whatnot.

Re:If it were only in the leading edge (5, Insightful)

icebrain (944107) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451795)

every other stealth programme goes with the notion that it has to be invisible at all times.

Not exactly. You will never be invisible, and stealth technology/employment is a lot more complicated than "we'll just be invisible". Even today, remaining undetected until past the threat is a fairly well-used technique. Just look at the F-22. And even if your airframe isn't fully-LO, you see a lot of emphasis on reducing frontal RCS. The B-1, Typhoon, Rafale, and Super Hornet all use some degree of RCS reduction, which buys them that much more time to get in close. Modern cruise missiles use the same principle.

Interestingly enough, raw speed can buy you some of the same advantages. Go fast enough and high enough, and the defenses just won't have enough time to react, even if you're lit up like a billboard.

Re:If it were only in the leading edge (1)

mrvan (973822) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451877)

Interestingly enough, raw speed can buy you some of the same advantages. Go fast enough and high enough, and the defenses just won't have enough time to react, even if you're lit up like a billboard.

Modern ICBM's work by the same principle :-)

Re:If it were only in the leading edge (1)

icebrain (944107) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452123)

Theoretically.

Really, once the booster kicks off, ICBM warheads are pretty predictable. Given a powerful enough radar and good coverage, you can predict their general impact point well in advance, since the warheads are simply ballistic--they don't maneuver.

Also note that working terminal-phase interceptors (ie, warhead-killers) were in service in the early 70s. They just happened to be nuclear-tipped themselves. Kinetic-kill (ie, direct physical impact) is a little trickier.

Re:If it were only in the leading edge (2, Interesting)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452205)

    That sounds like the SR-71 plan. Fly really high and really fast, and nothing will get you. :) I've read reports of missiles being fired at SR-71's. The SR-71 can simply outrun them without trying too hard. Of course, at over Mach 3, your travel time to anywhere is substantially reduced. :) I would imagine something like that even if it showed up on radar would look like an error. "We have a blip here. No, we have a blip there. No, it's gone, it was nothing." :)

Re:If it were only in the leading edge (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451979)

They'd only see the plane leaving, not arriving, which is quite an interesting compromise, as every other stealth programme goes with the notion that it has to be invisible at all times.

A lot of those are influence by the cold war, where the idea is that no one even knew who performed the attack.

Re:If it were only in the leading edge (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452019)

They'd only see the plane leaving, not arriving, which is quite an interesting compromise

I knew a chap who flew Horsa gliders during the Second World War, who was stationed in the south of England. When we were discussing various aircraft of the era he said that their instructions on seeing an Me 262 or Me 163 come over was to fly in the opposite direction and hope you caught him as he headed home...

Goodwin's Law! (-1, Redundant)

Shanrak (1037504) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451689)

Goodwin's Law!

Re:Goodwin's Law! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28451787)

So some get there faster than others! Well duh; mod parent redundant.

not so fast (5, Funny)

queequeg1 (180099) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451705)

I believe that the advances in detection technology would always have allowed the allies to hear a Horton Ho.

The German's are doing it. (1)

TheLeopardsAreComing (1206632) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451707)

I remember hearing about this thinking, "Does this actually work?". Many historians seem to think that If they had this earlier it could have changed the tide of the war... Still, what fool in a wooden plane would mess with the P-51 Mustang? Nobody, thats who. Very cool that had stealth technology... even if it was in its infancy.

Re:The German's are doing it. (4, Interesting)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451791)

The British de Havilland Mosquito was also very hard to detect with radar due to its wooden construction. It served in fighter (day and night) and fighter-bomber roles amongst others so they did see action against the P-51's contemporaries.

Re:The German's are doing it. (1)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451959)

Not only that, it was largely balsa wood (covered by plywood to make it more sturdy).

Re:The German's are doing it. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28451797)

Two major differences between this prototype plane and the P-51 (even the P-51D successor with the Rolls-Royce engine).

First and foremost, this German plane looks to be using jet propulsion. The P-51(D) used propeller. Second, the P-51 had a machine gun, making it a fighter plane. This German plane looks like it has no machine gun and would likely be used for espionage or bombing raids.

Re:The German's are doing it. (1)

srlapo (1210476) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451901)

According to one of the linked articles, it had 2 machine guns. They were added after the original design.

Re:The German's are doing it. (2, Informative)

Quantos (1327889) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452047)

The production version of the Ho-229 was designed to have four 30mm-MK-108 cannons and could carry two 500-kilogram bombs.

Re:The German's are doing it. (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452049)

Two 30mm MK (for Motorkanone, not "mark") 108 cannons, to be precise.

Re:The German's are doing it. (4, Insightful)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451829)

Still, what fool in a wooden plane would mess with the P-51 Mustang?

Doesn't matter what the plane is made out of as long as it's faster, accelerates faster, and climbs faster than than what the other side has.

Re:The German's are doing it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28452003)

The WWII US Navy fighter pilots would disagree: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thach_Weave

Re:The German's are doing it. (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452095)

The WWII US Navy fighter pilots would disagree: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thach_Weave [wikipedia.org]

The Thach Weave helps exactly zero when you're trying to keep a bomber from dropping a ton of explosives on your war assets/cities/etc.

And it doesn't help against an attacker that's much faster (in general, not just when diving) than your own planes, either.

Re:The German's are doing it. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28452117)

Someone in a plane that could out-run it.

The P-51 Mustang had a top speed of between 400 and 440mph. That's close to the upper limit for a propeller-driven aircraft. This thing was intended to be capable of 600mph. Granted, that's an estimate made by the plane's designers, so they may not have been able to achieve it, but the Me 262 (German jet figher) was capable of 580mph already. No Allied figher could keep up with an Me 262 anyway.

Presumably, the plan was to hide from radar detection until over the coast. At this point, the aircraft would travel the 80 miles or so to London in around 8 minutes. It would have to do this unescorted - German fighers would be detected on approach, and wouldn't be able to keep up anyway. By the time the RAF got some fighters in the air, it'd be too late for them to intercept, assuming they could even catch up. Drop bombs over London, turn around, and run like hell. Hope to evade the fighters, which are now directly ahead of you, and return home.

Getting back home would be the tricky part.

outcome of the war (2, Interesting)

underqualified (1318035) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451709)

i doubt if this would've changed the outcome of the war. even if hitler was able to mass produce this, i don't think think it would be able to carry that much payload or have a targeting mechanism that's worth mentioning. but i took up computer science, so who am i to talk?

You know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28451721)

You know who ELSE wanted stealth planes... Thats right... HITLER No, Not Adolf, I mean Chip Hitler. You know, his brother. He was big into planes and stuff.

So no one hears a Horton Ho? (4, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451745)

It's kind of scary all the truly advanced tech Germany was working on at the end of the War. They're rocket scientists were disturbingly advanced compared to anything on the Allied side. It took Korolyov YEARS just too replicate Von Braun's V-2 in Russia, and that was working *with* Von Braun's own assistant, Helmut Gröttrup.

Re:So no one hears a Horton Ho? (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451777)

It took Korolyov YEARS just too replicate Von Braun's V-2 in Russia, and that was working *with* Von Braun's own assistant, Helmut Gröttrup.

Maybe that was the reason. You don't snatch someone and make them work for you on a technology you barely understand yourself, and expect them to work with any enthusiasm.

Re:So no one hears a Horton Ho? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452001)

However, you do remind them of the joys of the gulag, and expect them to work with apparent enthusiasm...

You know what the fellow said - (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451931)

"In Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love. They had five hundred years of democracy and peace. And what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Third_Man#The_cuckoo_clock_speech [wikipedia.org]

Re:So no one hears a Horton Ho? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28452053)

Yeah, if they had been a bit more reasonable and didn't screw so many of their scientists, I wonder what would have happened. Heck, it could have been them who got the nuke.

Control surfaces? (1)

Quantos (1327889) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451749)

How would they actually achieve stable flight though?
Current technology requires computers to keep designs like this stable in the air.

Re:Control surfaces? (4, Informative)

socrplayr813 (1372733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451801)

Not exactly. It is possible to build a flying wing type aircraft that is stable. They're generally not as easy to fly as more traditional designs, but it's possible. Also keep in mind that aircraft of that era flew much slower. Part of the difficulty with modern designs is with the insane speeds they can reach. The aerodynamics of very fast (ie. supersonic) craft are much different from slower craft.

Re:Control surfaces? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452037)

Not exactly. It is possible to build a flying wing type aircraft that is stable. They're generally not as easy to fly as more traditional designs, but it's possible.

Which, according to a documentary I saw where the U.S. actually built a 'flying wing' stealth prototype based on this very aircraft (in the 60s or 70s, can't remember exactly), translated to a plane that would in fact fly, but was constantly rolling back and forth because the skilled but human test pilot couldn't make the constant tiny adjustments needed, and thus was always overcompensating which lead to the oscillation behavior.

So it still took fly-by-wire systems to truly make the flying wing practical. Not to the same extent as say the F-117 or F-22 which are completely unstable and need the computer just to avoid crashing as soon as they take off. Enough though that I still doubt claims that the German stealth bomber would have changed the war if only it had reached production in time.

Re:Control surfaces? (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452115)

You are probably thinking of the Northrop YB-35 and YB-49, which had huge stability issues and was eventually scrapped. Northrop eventually went on to use that knowledge to produce the B-2...

Re:Control surfaces? (1)

wonderboss (952111) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452081)

The f-117 isn't supersonic and it takes a computer to keep it stable. Is the B-2 supersonic? Was the US flying wing of the late 50s early sixties supersonic? I know it had stability problems. I'm not an expert, but I think stability of flyiing wing desings is a serious problem. I'm not convinced this thing would fly.

Re:Control surfaces? (1)

icebrain (944107) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452043)

Current technology requires computers to keep designs like this stable in the air.

Umm, not quite. The N-1M [wikipedia.org] , N-9M [wikipedia.org] , YB-35 [wikipedia.org] , and YB-49 [wikipedia.org] were all flying wings developed and flown well before the advent of computerized flight controls. All of them were naturally stable to varying degrees, with yaw stability (rotation about the vertical axis) often being weak and poorly damped, but still positive.

So flying wings can be made stable without computers. But having computerized controls may buy you other advantages (better payload or less trim drag, for example).

Re:Control surfaces? (1)

Quantos (1327889) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452079)

Yes, but it would suck, it would also be damned hard to control the pitch without elevators.
That would have been one damned busy pilot.

Re:Control surfaces? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28452067)

That's one of the problems. It is possible to fly a delta wing (quite) stably without a rear "shark-fin" most of the time by using only the wing controls. It's not as easy to fly as a normal plane, but it's possible. However, under certain circumstances (strong shear winds maybe? I'm not a pilot...) the plane could "oscillate" out of control.

This circumstance is exaclty what put this kind of wing-shaped planes out of use for quite a while, until, at some point, computers became so powerful that they could assist in stabilizing planes even as unhandy to use as the F117 Nighthawk (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F-117_Nighthawk).

Then, with the techonolgy in place to avoid loss of control, these kind of planes were introduced again, one of the more (most?) modern being stealth bomber B-2 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B-2_Spirit), BTW.

Re:Control surfaces? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452165)

The same way we had out flying wing in the air without computers.

Back then they had insanely skilled pilots instead of computer operators in the cockpit.

and yes that is a DIG on current pilots, many cant fly if the GPS is not working.

Hehe (3, Funny)

mewsenews (251487) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451813)

From the article (yeah I know, Slashdot, not supposed to, etc)

If Nazi engineers had had more time, would this jet have ultimately changed the outcome of the war?

IIRC the United States developed something called Atomic Bombs that would have counteracted any advantage Germany would have gained from stealth jets.

Re:Hehe (1)

u38cg (607297) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451895)

Perhaps if this had come on-stream the German atomic project would not have been bombed out of existence at a crucial stage (though I think this happened before this would have become available anyway). Remember the US did not start going all out for nuclear weapons until Pearl Harbour; Germany could have had the bomb and America quite feasibly could have completely sat it out.

Re:Hehe (3, Interesting)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452125)

The Germans were doomed as soon as they opened up a second front against Russia. The Japanese getting the US involved obviously didn't help, but once Hitler decided to split his forces and assault Russia, his days were numbered. A technology like this may have been effective in the Battle of Britain, but it came too late for that, and stretching the timeline enough to allow for a rebuilding of the Luftwaffe and mass production of these planes, even ignoring the US completely, is not a realistic scenario given the events on the Eastern Front.

According to Wikipedia, this design was proposed in 1943, at which point the Battle of Britain was already lost and a good portion of the German army had just been defeated at Stalingrad. Even without the US or Normandy, it's highly unlikely the Germans could have lasted long enough to produce these things in large enough numbers to make any difference.

This design is one of a number of things the Germans could have accomplished that might have made a difference had they not been so eager to go to war in the first place. The French and British policies of appeasement, and their policy of rearming only in accordance with the provisions of Versailles while allowing the Germans to break that treaty at will without consequence, meant that before the war time was on the Germans' side. Had they waited until 1942 or 43 to attack Poland, as most of the Generals were suggesting, the outcome of the war might have been very different.

Re:Hehe (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451961)

From the article (yeah I know, Slashdot, not supposed to, etc)

If Nazi engineers had had more time, would this jet have ultimately changed the outcome of the war?

IIRC the United States developed something called Atomic Bombs that would have counteracted any advantage Germany would have gained from stealth jets.

Maybe, maybe not.

Obviously this is all speculation, and doesn't matter much when you're comparing it to a real timeline... Yes, the United States developed an atomic bomb... But the Germans were also working on one. So if you extend the timeline to allow the Germans to develop this stealth jet, would they have had time to develop their own atomic bomb as well?

Anyway... Just because you've got an atomic bomb doesn't mean you win the war. You have to be able to actually deliver your payload. Stealth jets could make this more difficult. Stealth jets might be able to strike more effectively at your airbases and reduce your ability to launch a mission carrying an atomic bomb. Or they might be better able to intercept such a mission.

And if these things were used against the UK they might have been very effective. The British would have had a very hard time launching fighters to intercept these things. The German bombing runs would have been more effective. Effective enough, perhaps, to lay claim to the UK. Would we than have dropped atomic bombs on London to clear out the Nazis?

Re:Hehe (4, Insightful)

afabbro (33948) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452151)

Maybe, maybe not.

Obviously this is all speculation, and doesn't matter much when you're comparing it to a real timeline... Yes, the United States developed an atomic bomb... But the Germans were also working on one. So if you extend the timeline to allow the Germans to develop this stealth jet, would they have had time to develop their own atomic bomb as well?

Albert Speer (who as minister of armaments after '43 was in a position to know) wrote that the Nazi atomic program was in its infancy in 1943. When Hitler was informed that an atomic bomb would probably not be produced until the 1950s, he downgraded the priority of the research.

The Nazis' were hampered by Hitler's view of technology. The Me-262 (first jet fighter) was outfitted as a light bomber, for instance, because Hitler saw more value in bombing than in defending airspace (in 1945!). The V-2 rocket was pushed hard, even though a single B-17 raid carried more explosives than the entire V-2 production. Anti-aircraft missiles were ignored and naval armaments were always given a low priority.

I like the decoration (-1, Troll)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451821)

The banners in the background are extremely effective in demonstrating the stealth capabilities of the aeroplane.

Totally unnecessary.

Re:I like the decoration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28451887)

Yeah, you're right. They should hang some Disney princess banners so as not to offend people.
Waahh waahhh

Re:I like the decoration (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451963)

If you aren't mature enough to look at a swastika in a relevant place (we're talking about Nazi Germany here) you shouldn't be on the internet. Let me guess, you are also for the elimination of the flag of the Confederate States too? Please, show some maturity, if you can't handle seeing a swastika, perhaps you shouldn't be looking up information on Nazi Germany.

Re:I like the decoration (1)

grub (11606) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452013)

It was a plane designed by the Nazis for their war effort. Kind of makes sense to put up a Nazi flag, no?

Re:I like the decoration (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452159)

We should also like totally ban the use of eagles as a symbol of state or country, as it was used by Romans when they pillaged, murdered and enslaved all across Europe and Mediterranean.
They threw people to lions because of their religion, for Christ's sake!

Use of eagles on flags, coat of arms and seals is TOTALLY unnecessary.

Re:I like the decoration (1)

Alarindris (1253418) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452185)

What banners where? I tried to find them but couldn't.

Minor mistake in the heading (3, Informative)

downix (84795) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451875)

The Horton was a bomber, not a fighter. It was part of Hitlers 1000,1000,1000 goal. 1000kg of bombs 1000km at 1000km/hr.

We were THIS close (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28451915)

to winning that damned war. How much better would the world be if we had won? Answer: a lot better.

We could be living in a utopia right now.

Re:We were THIS close (0, Troll)

grub (11606) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452107)


We could be living in a utopia right now.

Yep. Rather than wasting my day in front of networking gear and *nix prompts I could be in my stealthly wooden flying car going to my job at the gas chambers.

Not bloody likely. (1)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451947)

It's unlikely that a plywood plane would show up on England's chain-home or chain-home-low radars.

The technology at the time forced them to use frequencies in the 10-meter range.
An object has to be at least 1/4 the wavelength in order to give a sizeable reflection.

So a plane with just two smallish metal engines would likely be invisible among the usual sea and ground clutter.

Bah, another crappy science article in NG (5, Interesting)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451967)

This article is utterly bogus. Not that National Geographic has ever been known for quality writing on highly technical topics.

The Ho 229 was built as it was specifically to meet the "1000-1000-1000" bomber contract. This called for an aircraft that could fly 1000 km at 1000 km/h while carrying a 1000 kg warload. And it had to be built of wood, because all of the aluminum, and metalworkers, were accounted for in current projects.

The only way to possibly meet the speed requirement was through jet engines. However, jet engines of the era were extremely inefficient, especially German ones where poor alloys limited exhaust temperatures in the turbine. So in order to get the range while keeping the speed, you needed to cut drag to an absolute minimum.

And that's why the 229 looks like it does. It lacks the profusion of surfaces that conventional designs had, and minimized wetted surface due to the almost non-existent fuselage. This thing is all wing, which means you're losing all the parasitic drag.

ANYTHING else, including these "stealth" features, were utterly secondary.

Moreover I have a very serious problem with the claims that this plane is stealthy. Compressor disks in the engines are an extremely effective radar mirror. This is why the F-117 has "blinds" over the inlets, or why the F-22 has a S-shaped intake system. As you can see in the pictures, in the 229 the compressor face is directly exposed to the front.

Sure, the CH radars were longwave and wouldn't have been good against this aircraft, but that would be true of any small jet of the era. They were extremely good against targets a few meters in size, like a propeller, but anything smaller would be difficult to see.

Claiming this plane was developed _as a stealth plane_ is like claiming the DC-3 was a swept-wing design. Accidental features do not indicate design intent.

Maury

Put your money where your mouth is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28452197)

Then put your money where your mouth is, please, and fix the Wikipedia article, with inline citations backing up your assertions.

Old News (1)

TDyl (862130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28451973)

I was flying this in BF1942 Secret Weapons of WWII in 2003.

Re:Old News (2, Insightful)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452021)

I was flying this in BF1942 Secret Weapons of WWII in 2003.

Hand in your geek card, youngster. I was flying this in "Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe" from LucasArts.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secret_Weapons_of_the_Luftwaffe [wikipedia.org]

Re:Old News (1)

TDyl (862130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452187)

Damn, I can't even say I was on The Dig [wikipedia.org] at the time :(
Please accept one quarter of my geek card, I retain the rest for having worked at Burroughs and Unisys.

Shame we didn't learn this lesson in Vietnam (2, Interesting)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452009)

It's remarkable that we had in our hands a German aircraft that contained within it a very important lesson that we flat out ignored. Building a stealth plane in 1943 meant the Germans had learned something it would take us another 30 years to figure out. Stealth is essential in aircraft.

Instead, we had the likes of unstealthy aircraft flying over Vietnam and getting shot down with rather significant losses to surface to air missiles.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aircraft_losses_of_the_Vietnam_War [wikipedia.org]

More than 1700 US aircraft were shot down. That's a catastrophe. It was in response to that that the US Stealth fighter program was initiated in the early 1970s. But, just imagine if we had thought, geez, the Germans had came up with a way to evade radar, we have the plane, newer technology...

You have to wonder, what if?

Re:Shame we didn't learn this lesson in Vietnam (1)

DarkListener (1042488) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452199)

I guess in retrospect it was good that the Germans started the war in 1939 and didn't take some more years to advance in this and other technologies. 3-5 years more and they would have had short to midrange missles, jet-fighters and nukes at their hands...

The Germans build nice stuff... (5, Insightful)

zerofoo (262795) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452045)

Technical sophistication is one advantage on the battlefield, but manufacturing capacity is also important.

The Germans choose technical complexity over quantity believing that superior machines could beat the vast numbers of inferior machines the allies built.

The Germans were wrong.

As Stalin said "quantity has a quality all its own". A stealth aircraft or two may have been pretty trick, but if you have thousands of targets to bomb, you better have hundreds if not thousands of aircraft (and pilots) to do the job.

-ted

Re:The Germans build nice stuff... (1)

microTodd (240390) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452193)

So THAT'S why Zerg always beats Protoss... ...oh wait...

Hitler's Stealth Fighter (1)

Slartibartfass (1131161) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452099)

Also known as: "Reichsflugscheibe"

tech vs manpower (2, Insightful)

jlebrech (810586) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452113)

It's quite an amazing feat of the German scientists, if they hadn't scapegoated the jews to get into power they may have also had the atom bomb but years before the usa.

The allies only won the war because they just threw a lot more bodies than there were German bullets for the invasion of normandy.

Mass Production trumps high tech at least in war.. (1)

Dr_Ken (1163339) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452153)

German engineering made some of the best war technology of the conflict. But mass production is what won it for the allies. If the Nazis killed 7 allied tanks to losing 1 of theirs it seems like a good trade-off for them until you realize that American industrial production could overcome even that ratio. War is about attrition and it was that feature that caused the Nazis to ultimately lose despite their scientific and engineering prowess. (The Nazis also exiled or gassed many of their leading nuclear physicists or they'd have got the atomic bomb first too. And that would have been a real game changer.) At the risk of being modded flamebait here, look at the Iraq situation. Simple weapons (AK-47 rifles, RPGs and IEDs) are what are killing American soldiers. The insurgents' losses are also much higher than their kills (due to America's vastly superior war technology) but in the end they can "out lose" the Americans in KIA as long as they need to in order to outlast the American and make them withdraw. History doesn't repeat but it often rhymes, eh?

Like the name (1)

msoori (614781) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452163)

I wonder if a marketing team came up with the name... My Ho is gonna fcuk you over!
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