Christmas build-up this year is getting far too frenzied for my liking, rabid, venal. I have seen a set of adverts during a programme which show you all the amazing, mega-fatty food you can buy at Christmas and inserted between them is an advert showing you how you can avoid indigestion! Will companies stop at nothing to flog us their wares for Christmas? Oh well, at least it’s still magical for kids.
For us oldies, let’s take a break from it. I know War is not to be glorified and I don’t, but it’s still interesting to remember some of the ingenious devices invented during the conflict, some of which we are still benefiting from now, in peacetime. Also, I have a new book, December Radio out in the New Year so I wanted to get the theme of WWII up and running before the Christmas Turkey gobbles up all other thoughts. And while we are voting, let’s remember that in December 1944, most allied soldiers still hoped the war would be over before Christmas. Let’s remember how they suffered in freezing conditions to give us the freedom to celebrate Christmas as we pleased (but not by spending more than we could afford and getting stressed about it!).
Here are my top 10 devices (in no particular order). Please comment (or tweet me @Lazlo_F or FB me at facebook.com/lazloferran) to add your own nominations before Thursday 10 December. I will add them and then we vote!
- Die Glocke – German project to build an anti-gravity craft, detailed in The Hole Inside the Earth.
- Krummlauf – an insane German device for shooting round corners
- British Churchill Tank – that could lay a bridge within minutes
- Silverbird – an orbital bomber, precursor to the Space Shuttle and able to ‘skip’ along the Earth’s atmosphere (in theory) to New York and on to Tokyo. Read more about it in December Radio
- The Bouncing Bomb – Designed by Barnes Wallis to be used by 617 Squadron to successfully attack the Rhein dams
- The Horten flying Wing – only one remains – locked away in an American hangar
- Focke-Wulf Triebflügel – A Vertical Take off and Landing aircraft. Despite what this article says, I have seen grainy photos of one finished and which I believe flew twice, killing its pilot.
- Fritz X – the first guided missile (by radio), designed in Germany
- The TDR-1 Assault Drone – this amazing USA device was not only a guided bomb but it could also be carried by a gliding drone, as in this grainy photograph. More info half way down the page here: http://www.tfcbooks.com/special/missiles.htm Its bigger brother used a B-17 or B-24 bomber guided using television
- The Nazi Nuclear Bomb – that might have worked. It used an ingenious method to create fission according to this source (unverified). Read more about it in December Radio.
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