Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Posts Tagged ‘Adolf Hitler

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

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McDonnell XF-85

Well, that’s an interesting looking plane, nu? Anyone know what it is? Guesses? Note the small size and compactness of the aircraft. Note the complete lack of landing gear. Is it a plane at all, maybe it’s a carnival ride? Wait, look at the tail, it’s the batplane! No, actually, it’s a McDonnell XF-85 Goblin. OK, that’s not terribly helpful, what is a McDonnell XF-85 Goblin? Give up? The McDonnell XF-85 Goblin is what is called a parasite fighter. This is a fighter aircraft that is attached to a larger aircraft, or in this case, carried completely inside the bomb bay of a larger aircraft. In this case three or four of them would be carried inside a B-36 bomber, making the bomber a flying aircraft carrier. For that was the idea, the Goblins would ride in some of the bombers in a bomber formation, be dropped when needed to defend them, and then re-board the bombers when the fighting was done. This was because the fighters of the day didn’t have the range to escort long range bombers, especially jet fighters. It was an interesting idea, though the requirement that it fit inside a bomber severely limited its size and thus fuel load, a Goblin was only good for about 30 minutes of flight time.

So did it work? Well, sort of. In 1948 one was launched on a number of test flights and successfully deployed and flew around. However, re-attaching to the hook that would haul it back inside the bomber proved very tricky in action.  Buffeting from the airflow around the bomber made it a very tricky procedure, and it was only successfully accomplished on three occasions. Many attempts to reconnect were failures, often damaging the plane or the hook in the process. On one try the Goblin hit the hook so hard that not only was the canopy knocked off, the pilot of the Goblin’s helmet was knocked off! He managed to safely belly land it on a dry lake bed anyhow. In fact he (only one test pilot ever flew the Goblin) had to belly land it a number of times because he was unable to reattach to the mother bomber. More disappointing, its flight characteristics weren’t as good as had been planned, and other jet fighters entering service at the time were clearly superior to it. Lastly, progress with figuring out how to refuel jet fighters in the air was rapidly increasing the range of conventional fighters. Poor performance, high skill requirements to fly, and better conventional fighters spelled doom for the Goblin, and the project was cancelled after only a handful of test flights.

The whole thing was a pretty wild idea though. Fleets of giant six engined intercontinental bombers, the likes of which Hitler dreamed of, would fly around the world. Three quarters of them would be carrying nuclear weapons, the others would carry three or four Goblins each. They would have been impervious to the anti-aircraft guns of their day, with a  fighter escort as needed, and the nuclear firepower to exceed the destruction of all of World War Two in just a few dozen planes. A killing machine the likes of which the world had never seen, ready to rain down nuclear death anywhere on the planet. And the name of this giant bomber? The Convair B-36 “Peacemaker.” Yes, that’s right gentle reader, a bomber that could destroy entire cities was called the peacemaker. Wtf?

Yeah, the Cold War was nuts. World War Two was nuts, and it was catching, since the USA carried on as if the war never ended. From the Cold War till the War on Terror. The USA was always ahead of Russia in the so called arms race, and it got further ahead every year. Yet a huge percentage of Americans became persuaded that a communist conspiracy was going to take over the world if we didn’t continue to fund ever more destructive military toys. It made little more sense than Hitler’s theory about Jews being in a secret global plot to run the world. Now of course millions of Americans believe that Muslims or terrorists will take over the world if we don’t wage endless war. Right. Hitler is laughing in his grave, his armies lost the war but his ideas rule the west still. That’s what’s wrong with this picture.

I’m sure many will dissent. Moving right along, I’m going to be writing more posts about some of the weird and wacky and just plain fascinating war aircraft that were built and conceived during and since World War Two. Because, well, it’s fun. Suggestions welcome. Um, let me clarify,  suggestions about what aircraft or secret weapons to write about. I will try to keep the political commentary to a minimum. Have a great weekend everyone!

(The above image came from Wikipedia so it must be OK to use. Likely it was taken by a US government employee in the course of their duties and is thus Public Domain under US copyright law. And boy, they missed a great propaganda opportunity with this plane. With the right paint job, they could have made a flying football! Here is you tube footage of the Goblin in action: Goblin away!)

Written by unitedcats

January 11, 2013 at 9:20 am

Nazi Dogs

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A man in Germany has been jailed for teaching his dog the Nazi salute. Helpfully illustrated above, by  a previously contentious German dog. The dog above was trained for some sort of movie thing, some people were upset but no one was jailed. In the current case, the fellow had made a point of displaying Nazi regalia, he could be called a Nazi activist. So his going to jail is more or less voluntary on his part, it’s not like some schmuck trained his dog as a joke and got jailed. Yes, in Germany, displaying Nazi symbols is illegal. Holocaust denial can get one jail time as well I believe.

At first pass, I thought this was crazy. I wrote a blog about it even. Upon sober reflection, literal as well as figurative, I decided that wouldn’t be politic. It’s not my place to criticize German law, or more accurately, question the German’s sanity because of this law. I too have the American disease, I think I know what’s best for everyone sometimes. Since this anti-Nazi law violates my “principles” of free speech, I was outraged. That’s ideology, and ideology will betray one every time. It makes one a slave to an idea … and a slave to those who would use that idea to promote their own agenda.

Which is what Hitler did.  It was a really bad thing, one of the more terrible things in history in fact. And now there’s laws against even displaying Hitler’s symbols in much of Europe. Moving right along, if one doesn’t use ideology, one can at least use common sense. And in this case, I can’t think of any possible harm this particular law is causing. (I don’t want to hear any slippery slope arguments, those are almost always silly.) The guy was deliberately violating the social contract, law or no law; if this is how the Germans deal with it, so be it. Five months in jail is not exactly cruel and unusual punishment, he’ll survive.

Speaking of Nazi saluting dogs, apparently the real Nazis got concerned about one in 1941. A Finnish businessman reportedly had a dog named Hitler that raised its paw in the Nazi salute on command. The businessman was interrogated and claimed his wife had named the dog as a joke after its habit of barking with one paw in the air. The Nazi’s didn’t believe him, and investigated ways to charge him with insulting Hitler, as well as trying to sabotage his business. They couldn’t just shoot him though, Finland was a German ally, not a puppet state, and ultimately the good businessman lived and prospered long after the war. History does not record the fate of the dog.

No, I’m not making this up. One would think Nazi counter-intelligence would have better things to do in the months before the invasion of Russia, but government agencies investigating all sorts of weird things is by no means limited to the Nazis.  It’s kind of the nature of bureaucracy to find stuff to do, and when dealing with someone like Hitler, would anyone want to be the one to explain to Adolf why this open insult to the Third Reich wasn’t investigated?

In summation, I am capable of changing my mind. Ideology is bad, I’ll be blogging on that soon enough. Cultural imperialism is bad as well, and insidiously a part of the western mind set, and must be guarded against.  Yes, there will be a test. Lots of them. If you’re still here after one, you pass. They’re all pass/fail tests actually.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. Clearly it’s an historically important image, and even more clearly, in no conceivable way does its use here interfere with the copyright holder’s commercial use of the image. Credit and copyright: RTL. If the gentle reader hasn’t see “The Limey,” do so.)

Written by unitedcats

March 19, 2012 at 10:46 pm

Did Adolf Hitler Really Die in 1945?

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A friend asked me this recently, did Hitler really die in 1945? It was a staple mystery of my youth, the circumstances of his death were muddy, so there was lots of idle speculation after the war. I even remember it coming up in a third grade classroom, and the teacher saying that even if he was alive, he’d be a very old frail man by then (1967 or so.) There were a couple of pictures of his supposed corpse floating around, none of them very convincing. To the best of my knowledge now, these photos have all been long debunked, one was even a snapshot of Hitler taking a nap. Granted most people accepted that he died in the bunker as history says, but what’s the real story?

The real story gets muddy very early on. For whatever reason, Stalin decided to confuse and obscure Hitler’s fate after the war, ordering his minions into secrecy, and giving conflicting stories to his American and British allies. The Allies themselves were in fact confused in the immediate aftermath of the war. I mean, yes, the Nazis had indeed announced Hitler’s death in the final days of the regime, so most believed he was indeed dead, but no one knew for sure. However, within a year or two of the end of the war, both historians and Allied intelligence agencies had extensively interviewed the survivors of the last days of the war in Hitler’s bunker, and satisfied themselves that the essential details of Hitler and Eva Braun’s death were accurate.

And that’s where the story stood for decades. Historians satisfied, popular belief tinged by understandable rumours and speculations. And then the Soviet Union collapsed, and the details of the Soviet investigation and corpse recovery became available to the west. And the story was that the Soviets had recovered Hitler’s charred  bones, confirmed they were his through his dentist, hidden the bones for decades, then dug them up and destroyed them. And that was that, mystery solved.

Well, not really. I think it’s safe to say that the preponderance of the evidence, and the lack of any evidence of any escape, indicates that the historical account of his death is accurate. And until recently, I would have argued that it was a slam dunk. Today, not so sure. What triggered my re-evaluation was the discovery of the story of the submarine pictured below. This is U-530, a German U-boat active from 1943 until the end of the war, sinking three allied ships and surviving the war. So how does U-530 figure into the mystery of Hitler’s death?

Maybe it doesn’t, but there is a mystery. When the war ended U-530 was at sea. And instead of surrendering to the Allies, she sailed to Argentina and surrendered in July 1945, two months after the war ended. The Allies had some questions for the captain of U-530. Why had it taken him two months to sail to Argentina? He couldn’t say. Why had he jettisoned his ship’s deck gun? Shrug. Why did none of his crew have any identification? Silence. And where was the ship’s log? Oberleutnant Otto Wermuth didnt know. Mysterious, eh? Especially since U-53o had a prior history of top secret missions, rendezvousing with a Japanese submarine in mid 1944.

Conspiracy theorists maintain that it dropped Hitler and supplies off at a secret base in Antarctica, where the Nazi’s plot to rule the world to this day as they develop flying saucer technology. Yeah, right. Good comic book idea there. However, it is within the realm of possibility that U-530 stopped somewhere off the coast of Argentina and put someone ashore. Many Nazis fled to Argentina and Paraguay after World War Two, there was a sizable German immigrant population, and its a good bet the Nazis had intelligence assets there that survived the war. (Safe houses, money, agents, connections.) If there was anywhere on Earth where Hitler might be able to go to ground, Argentina was it.

Anything else trigger my re-evaluation? Consideration of the extreme muddiness of the evidence. Reading that a skull fragment the Soviets had purported to be Hitler’s was revealed that of a young woman by DNA testing. Realizing that if Hitler had gotten away, both the allies and the Russians had good motivation to hide the fact. Realizing that if anyone had the resources and fanatical followers to pull off such a deception, it would be Hitler. So while I think there is every possibility that Hitler died in the bunker, and an excellent case can be made that he did so, it’s not incontrovertible. Granted, at this point he would be over 120 years old, so it’s a safe bet that he’s dead now.

Right? Still, the Nazis did all sorts of medical experiments that others would never conduct due to ethical concerns, could Hitler still be enjoying a tall glass of apple juice (his favourite dink) at some obscure Argentine cafe? Until further evidence emerges, who can say?

(The above images are claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. The first two are absolutely public domain. The third one is all over the web and I can’t find its origin, if anyone knows I will properly attribute it. The top image is the last known photograph of Hitler, taken just outside the bunker two days before his death. The middle image is the U-530 interred in Argentina. The bottom image requires no explanation.)

Written by unitedcats

February 13, 2012 at 6:05 am