Hello, Lovelies! Welcome to the blog post about the crazy World War II technology Rebecca and the Ladies discussed in this week’s episode. Below as always you’ll find info on the podcast featured during this week’s drink break and Rebecca’s show notes (more like show outline) below. Now, this blog editor has to go feed her lion of a cat before he becomes a threat to the neighborhood dogs.

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Rebecca’s Show Notes

World War 2 Quick Timeline:

  • 1939:
    • WW2 starts when Germany invades Poland on September 1
    • England and France officially declaring war on September 3
    • United States remains neutral
  • 1940:
    • Auschwitz is established 🙁
    • US moves from being neutral to “non-belligerancy” in order to help aid the allies
    • May 10: Germany invades France, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
    • Italy declares war on Great Britain on June 10
    • France surrenders on June 22
    • USA starts its first peacetime draft on September 16, which, even though the US wasn ‘t technically at war yet, required the registering of all men between the ages of 21 to 45
  • 1941:
    • March 11: Roosevelt signs the lend-lease bill, allowing “sell, transfer title to, exchange, lease, lend, or otherwise dispose of, to any such government [whose defense the President deems vital to the defense of the United States] any defense article”
    • June 22: Germany invades the Soviet Union
    • December 7: Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor
    • December 11: Germany and Italy declares war on the US, the US declares war right back
  • 1942:
    • January: US troops arrive in Great Britain
    • The Japanese capture Singapore
    • February 19: Roosevelt issues Executive Order 9066, which allows the internment of Japanese Americans. (i.e. imprisoning immigrants)
    • July 6: Anne Frank and her family go into hiding
    • November 8: The Allies invade North Africa in Operation Torch
  • 1943:
    • February 2: Germans surrender at Stalingrad, Soviet Union
    • July 25: Mussolini reigns
    • September 3: Italy surrenders
    • November 28: Tehran Conference begins
  • 1944:
    • June 6: D Day (the day the beaches of Normandy were stormed)
    • July 20: failed assassination attempt of Hitler
    • August 4: Anne Frank and Family are discovered
    • August 25: the Allies liberate Paris
  • 1945:
    • April 12: Franklin D. Roosevelt dies
    • April 30: Hitler commits suicide
    • May 7: Unconditional surrender is signed by Germany
    • August 6: Little Boy (Uranium bomb) is dropped on Hiroshima, Japan
    • August 9: Fat Man (Plutonium bomb) is dropped on Nagasaki, Japan
    • Japan’s surrender was announced on August 15, and was formally signed on September 2

BTW Jagermeister was invented in 1935 in a vinegar factory, is made from 56 herbs, takes a year to make, was originally used for medicinal purposes for cough and flu, and is considered by Germans to be leberkleister (or… liver glue)

So why on earth do we need to know this?

Cause we’re talking about inventions that were created during World War 2, bonus points if it’s wild technology, extra bonus points if its wild Nazi technology

*DISCLAIMER: The Ladies of Strange DO NOT condone Nazis or whatever their ridiculous, bigotted views involve or entail. But Rebecca found this technology interesting so we’re talking about it.

Some really cool things were invented during war time, such as giant mega tanks, stealth bombers, space planes, and the first mass-produced helicopter

The Bouncing Bomb

This bomb was originally designed from the British and was purposed for use in destroying dams

The bomb was designed to drop from a plane, bounce across the water, hit the damn wall, and sink before exploding and thus destroying the dam

This allowed the direction of the bomb to go directly into the dam instead of the dam being protected by the water

The bomb was cylindrical, 60 inches long and 50 inches in diameter, originally wieghed 9250 lbs, 6000 of which was a mix of TNT And RDX

There were fancy, hydrostatic pistols inside, which measured the pressure of the water as the bomb sank, allowing the bomb to detonate at a predetermined depth

While it was originally invented for dams in 1941 by Barnes Wallis, this bomb could also be used against submerged vehicles… like sandwiches

The Cornering Rifle

Cornering Rifle

This rifle, called a Kraumlauf, had a curved barrel, the idea being to allow German soldiers to shoot around corners or over walls

While innovate, for anyone who is remotely familiar with guns, the curved barrel would cause the bullets to quickly disintegrate 

There were plans for 90 degree models and models long enough for tanks (why?), only 30degree barrels were only ever really produced and only kind worked

Busy Lizzie

This V3 cannon was 430 feet long and had to be built on a hillside to support it, which of course meant the Nazis built this sucker in Pas-de-Calais in northern France, which was just under 100 miles from London

The initial plan was to bombarb London with 310 lb shells (for reference, a .22 bullet weights typically less than 40 grains… or .09 ounces)

There was endless problems during testing, one of which ended with the gun exploding, so the Germans decided to discard this project

Aerial Rammers

Later in the war Germany needed a solution to the fact that the Allies were continually rocking German cities

One solution was to create airplanes designed to ram into the Ally bombers, thus bringing them to the ground

This idea created the Zeppelin Rammer, which had steel edged wings and a ramming nose designed to crush other aircraft while remaining intact

This idea was never actually put to the test, since the order for prototypes was placed in 1945, during which the Allies bombed the factory

Manned Bombs

What’s one way to navigate bombs in the first half of the early 1900s? Man them.

While not particularly devastating, the Fieseler Fi 103R did have the advantage of having a pilot on board

The Nazis did take these into production and started conducting test flights, Hitler’s military advisors thought suicide missions weren’t part of the Gerrman warrior tradition, and eventually the project was stopped


Death Rays

German scientists first developed particle accelerators in the 1930s

Fun fact: these were called betatrons, A betatron is a type of cyclic particle accelerator. It is essentially a transformer with a torus-shaped vacuum tube as its secondary coil. An alternating current in the primary coils accelerates electrons in the vacuum around a circular path. (Thanks Wiki!)


Tesla added important framework for such a device, in 1934 telling Time Magazine that a device like this would be able to obliterate squadrons of planes 

Tesla went on to explain that these machines used something called Teleforce, which “…is a proposed defensive weapon by Nikola Tesla that accelerated pellets or slugs of material to a high velocity inside a vacuum chamber via electrostatic repulsion and then fired them out of aimed nozzles at intended targets.” (Thanks again, wiki!)

Tesla tried to interest the US War Department and other countries in this idea, but none ever contracted with him

Tesla described one of these devices as a tower that would be placed on a building in a critical location or by a shore and would have a range of up to 200 miles

While pretty much all the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy, Japan) had projects trying to do this, Germany had two projects

The first was led by a man named Schiebold and it involved a particle accelerator and beryllium rods.

The second was led by Dr. Rolf Wideroe until February 1945, at which point the Dresden Plasma Physics Laboratory was bombed

In April of that year, Dr. Wideroes device was taken into custody by the US

While many attempts were made over the years to make a working death ray, in 1995 the International Committee of the Red Cross prohibited the use and transfer of blinding laser weapons

Sun Gun

Herman Oberth, a German scientist, originally came up with the concept in 1923, and originally had peaceful purposes such as illuminating ports or thawing frozen rivers

The idea was simple, and can easily be recreated by using a small mirror

No schematics survived, but illustrations in Life Magazine suggested that the mirror would be placed in space pre-assembled.

The crew that would operating this massive mirror, would live in the body of the mirror, breath air produced by pumpkin plants, and would wear magnetic shoes to combat gravity

Helmets would be mandatory to prevent “forgetful crashes into the ceiling”

How did it work?

The mirror was made up of individual panels that could have been remotely controlled

This would allow the rays of the sun to illuminate a large portion of the earth, focused on small targets, or just direct the sun out into space when not in use

Oberth’s original plans had the mirror with a diameter of 100km, would originally cost 3 billion marks, and take 15 years to complete (so… 62.14 miles, $171,7019,318.21… still 15 years)

I’m not gonna get into specifics on how you meanuver something this large in space… or the electrical requirements… but it’s ridiculous

The ultimate idea was this solar ray would be able to make large parts of North America inhabitable and be able to keep sea lanes open in Northern Siberian Harbors

Think about it, you can set paper on fire using magnifying glasses… imaging if you have the full power of the sun

Takes another whole meaning on global warming…

This never got off the ground

Wrapping this up

This is the point where we go from real things… straight to conspiracy theories about Nazi technology. Technology that includes… UFOs

Something… That I will cover in my next episode in honor of the number 51