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  • A Bomb on Germany?

    If the Allies had not been able to overcome Germany by August '45, would the
    A Bomb have been used there first instead of on Japan? If so, where?
    Did the Allies have any plans for this contingency, assuming they were confident before the Trinity test that the device would work?
    Last edited by At ease; 28 May 09, 02:53.
    "It's like shooting rats in a barrel."
    "You'll be in a barrel if you don't watch out for the fighters!"

    "Talking about airplanes is a very pleasant mental disease."
    — Sergei(son of Igor) Sikorsky, 'AOPA Pilot' magazine February 2003.

  • #2
    Originally posted by At ease View Post
    If the Allies had not been able to overcome Germany by August '45, would the
    A Bomb have been used there first instead of on Japan? If so, where? Did the
    Allies have any plans for this contingency, assuming they were confident before the Trinity test that the device would work.
    Very interesting question, AE!

    Simple answer: we don't know. The A-bomb was nominally built to counter a German A-bomb program, but many in the project said repeatedly they heard that it was not going to be used in Europe for fear of retaliation (nuke or dirty bomb). It was going to Japan because the Japanese Empire could not possibly retaliate.

    Circumstances would dictate the bomb's use. Intel indicated the Germans had no functioning A-bomb program, but when military intelligence is wrong, lots of people die. If it was clear A. The Nazis were still in control B. the Western Front had become a meat grinder, or the Germans had somehow regained the initiative C. The Germans could not retaliate, Germany would have been nuked. Which city is a guess. Berlin is obvious, but then again Tokyo was a more obvious target than Hiroshima, but if you kill the leadership, who will give the call to surrender? Any city in the Ruhr, probably Cologne or Essen for maximum effect would be another target, but they were being bombed into the stone age anyway. Another target would have been Breslau in Sileasa. Reason being, Germany had built a lot of war industry there because it was usually out of reach of the heavy bombers.

    As I understand it, a nuke could be used as a tactical weapon, but it was by design a city-killer. Thus, creating a hole in the front was unlikely, but I suppose not out of the question.
    How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
    275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

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    • #3
      At a site called Children of the Mannhattan Project. I ask the question IF Germany was on any Target List. The answer I got back was "NO".
      "Ask not what your country can do for you"

      Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

      you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Wolery View Post
        Very interesting question, AE!

        Simple answer: we don't know. The A-bomb was nominally built to counter a German A-bomb program, but many in the project said repeatedly they heard that it was not going to be used in Europe for fear of retaliation (nuke or dirty bomb). It was going to Japan because the Japanese Empire could not possibly retaliate.

        Circumstances would dictate the bomb's use. Intel indicated the Germans had no functioning A-bomb program, but when military intelligence is wrong, lots of people die. If it was clear A. The Nazis were still in control B. the Western Front had become a meat grinder, or the Germans had somehow regained the initiative C. The Germans could not retaliate, Germany would have been nuked. Which city is a guess. Berlin is obvious, but then again Tokyo was a more obvious target than Hiroshima, but if you kill the leadership, who will give the call to surrender? Any city in the Ruhr, probably Cologne or Essen for maximum effect would be another target, but they were being bombed into the stone age anyway. Another target would have been Breslau in Sileasa. Reason being, Germany had built a lot of war industry there because it was usually out of reach of the heavy bombers.

        As I understand it, a nuke could be used as a tactical weapon, but it was by design a city-killer. Thus, creating a hole in the front was unlikely, but I suppose not out of the question.

        I can see a site in Germany being targeted if the situation warranted. IMO the only reason not to is to keep knowledge of it as far from the Soviets as possible. But military necessity would have trumped that. Yes, I know they had infiltrated the Manhattan Project, but we didn't know that then.

        I don't know about it as a tactical weapon. How long does it take the radiation to fall to "safe" levels, and did we know that fact then? It wouldn't be pleasant to watch our own succumbing to radiation sickness.
        If stupid was a criminal offense Sea Lion believers would be doing life.

        Shouting out to Half Pint for bringing back the big mugs!

        Comment


        • #5
          If needed Britain would certainly have nuked Germany. Remember that we probably killed more civillians firebombing cities like Hamburg and Dresden than were killed at Hiroshima. Its also worth remembering that Britain had built up huge stocks of mustard gas bombs and had weaponised Anthrax. You don't do that unless you're prepared to use it in some situations.

          This is an article about Churchill considering using A bombs against Germany that covers the topic very nicely:
          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukne...ke-Berlin.html

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          • #6
            Richard Rhodes 'The Making of the Atomic Bomb' suggests it would have been used on Germany. The decision makers for the Manhattan Project originally assumed the were developing a weapon for general use, not a anti Japanese weapon. The early calculations of destructive power used European cities as a model. Many of the physicists & engineers involved were refugees for nazi attack & they had their ideas. Rhodes makes it clear that by the start of 1944 the managers of the Manhattan project knew they would not have a weapon ready untill 1945. The speed of production or the Uranium & Plutonium dictated that. That suggested to The highest decision makers in the US this theoretical weapon would not be ready until after they expected Germany to be defeated or very near defeat.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by D1J1 View Post
              I don't know about it as a tactical weapon. How long does it take the radiation to fall to "safe" levels, and did we know that fact then? It wouldn't be pleasant to watch our own succumbing to radiation sickness.
              Neither was the effect of the electromagnetic pulse of telephone and radio communications known. The tripping of circcut breakers and and damage of radio tubes was a unaccounted for side effect. Both bombs used on Japan seem to had knocked out swaths of the communications for a day or two after the detonations. A US PoW in Japan wrote how this seemed to cause more panic amoung the Japanese officers than the detonations.

              What that effect might have had on Germanys communications I could not say. I recall we were exposed to Clasified infor on the subject, which we were suposed to take very seriously back in the 1980s.

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              • #8
                Both the Japanese bombs were low altitude airburst... the fireball shouldn't have touched the ground so the amount of fallout was quite small (fallout is dust sucked into the fireball which binds to the fission products then settles). In both bombs the main source of radiation poisoning was high speed neutrons, X rays and gamma rays. Virtually everyone who survived the blast but died of radiation poisoning later was above ground when the bombs went off and got a lethal blast of rays.

                As a general rule you'll recieve as much radiation in the first minute after a blast as you will in the next hour. The first hour will expose to you as much radiation as you'll get over the next day, and the exposure you'll get in the first day will be the same as in the first week.

                The nasties are the Xrays, gamma rays and neutrons which are gone within seconds of the fireball vanishing and also very short half life products of fission which will last between seconds and days after the blast depending on stability. The stuff thats left after the first week like Ca137, Stontium 90, etc isn't nice but its pretty stable which is why its perfectly safe to visit Chernobyl as long as you stay clear of the local vegetables.

                Allied troops could have moved into German cities very quickly after the bomb was dropped as long as they didn't drink local water or eat local food which would probably be contaminated with fission products that would remain in the body.

                Both NATO and the USSR carried out fairly unethical experiments post war exposing their own troops to H bomb tests and sailing ships through fallout clouds to find out what effect radiation would have on their men. A lot of the guys have health problems now but in the short term radiation had little effect on their ability to fight. Humans are more radiation proof than you'd think (fortunately. My whole body radiation was measured when I was 12 and I'm remarkably hot. The Chernobyl cloud passed overhead when I was a kid and a lot of it rained down on Southern Scotland)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                  Neither was the effect of the electromagnetic pulse of telephone and radio communications known. The tripping of circcut breakers and and damage of radio tubes was a unaccounted for side effect. Both bombs used on Japan seem to had knocked out swaths of the communications for a day or two after the detonations. A US PoW in Japan wrote how this seemed to cause more panic amoung the Japanese officers than the detonations.

                  What that effect might have had on Germanys communications I could not say. I recall we were exposed to Clasified infor on the subject, which we were suposed to take very seriously back in the 1980s.
                  I don't think a(relatively) small [email protected] would produce a significant "EMP" effect. The aircraft dropping the bombs didn't fall out of the sky, and they were not "hardened" against such effects. I think it would need to be much more powerful and detonated high in the atmosphere(Johnston Island
                  test) to have such effects.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starfish_Prime
                  Last edited by At ease; 28 May 09, 08:22.
                  "It's like shooting rats in a barrel."
                  "You'll be in a barrel if you don't watch out for the fighters!"

                  "Talking about airplanes is a very pleasant mental disease."
                  — Sergei(son of Igor) Sikorsky, 'AOPA Pilot' magazine February 2003.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by At ease View Post
                    I don't think a(relatively) small [email protected] would produce a significant "EMP" effect. The aircraft dropping the bombs didn't fall out of the sky, and they were not "hardened" against such effects. I think it would need to be much more powerful and detonated high in the atmosphere(Johnston Island
                    test) to have such effects.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starfish_Prime
                    The aircraft dropping the bombs didn't need to be hardened against EMP- they had virtually no electronics on board. A B29 is all hydraulics, valves and men pulling steel cables. Its only modern plastic planes that need computers to stay in the air that are really vunerable. Thats why the Soviets built the MIG 25 with vacumn valves rather than printed circuits.

                    That said you're correct about height- the higher the better for EMP. Ideally the explosion should be 100,000 feet+ for max effect.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by peter_sym View Post
                      The aircraft dropping the bombs didn't need to be hardened against EMP- they had virtually no electronics on board. A B29 is all hydraulics, valves and men pulling steel cables. Its only modern plastic planes that need computers to stay in the air that are really vunerable. Thats why the Soviets built the MIG 25 with vacumn valves rather than printed circuits.
                      WRONG!!!!
                      Defensive Guns Directed by Electronic Computers

                      Fully armed B-29 versions featured five gun turrets -- upper forward and aft, lower forward and aft, and a manned tail turret. Each turret mounted two guns, except for the upper forward, which had four. All turrets were electrically powered (the B-29 was an electric airplane with more than 100 electric motors, including landing gear actuation), remotely sighted and controlled (no in-flight gunner access, including the tail turret), electronic computer directed, with manually fired guns.

                      General Electric developed the Central Fire Control system, which consisted of five interconnected electronic analog computers, one per gun turret. Each gunner could directly fire his own guns if the computer system was inoperative. All gunners had control of their turret and secondary control of others -- an intercom system provided communication between the gunners. A gunner could fire the guns of another turret from his sighting position, and, uniquely, fire the guns of two or more turrets at once.

                      Thousands of electronic computers (the 1940s term) were manufactured for and utilized by B-29s. This program, then, represents the first mass production and use of electronic computers. http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm...m&file_id=3828.
                      Your remark about the Mig 25 is wrong also. I'll "shoot down" that later. Yes, they were built using tubes but not to protect against EMP(that was a beneficial side effect).
                      Last edited by At ease; 28 May 09, 10:54.
                      "It's like shooting rats in a barrel."
                      "You'll be in a barrel if you don't watch out for the fighters!"

                      "Talking about airplanes is a very pleasant mental disease."
                      — Sergei(son of Igor) Sikorsky, 'AOPA Pilot' magazine February 2003.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by peter_sym View Post
                        Thats why the Soviets built the MIG 25 with vacumn valves rather than printed circuits.
                        Wrong.

                        " * The majority of the on-board avionics were based on vacuum-tube technology, not solid-state electronics. Seemingly obsolete, vacuum tubes were actually more tolerant of temperature extremes, thereby removing the need for providing complex environmental controls inside the avionics bays. In addition, the vacuum tubes were easy to replace in remote northern airfields where sophisticated transistor parts may not have been readily available. As with most Soviet aircraft, the MiG-25 was designed to be as rugged as possible. Also, the use of vacuum tubes makes the aircraft's systems more resistant to an electromagnetic pulse, for example after a nuclear blast.[15]

                        * Thanks to the use of vacuum tubes, the MiG-25P's original Smerch-A (Tornado, NATO reporting name 'Foxfire') radar had enormous power — about 600 kilowatts."
                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MiG-25

                        The reason for tube use was not because of protection from EMP, it just happened to be a side effect.
                        Last edited by At ease; 28 May 09, 10:59.
                        "It's like shooting rats in a barrel."
                        "You'll be in a barrel if you don't watch out for the fighters!"

                        "Talking about airplanes is a very pleasant mental disease."
                        — Sergei(son of Igor) Sikorsky, 'AOPA Pilot' magazine February 2003.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Japanese aircraft electronics did not seem to be affected by the EMP of the two A bombs. The few nonclassifed remarks I've seen on this refer to radio and telephone. Part of the latter may have been from the destruction of any trunk lines and large switch stations in Hiroshima & Nagasaki. I also recall remarks about the circut breakers protecting the telephone equipment tripping, both in Japan, and near the Trinity test location. Are there any non secret documents discussing this subject?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by At ease View Post
                            WRONG!!!!
                            Defensive Guns Directed by Electronic Computers

                            Fully armed B-29 versions featured five gun turrets -- upper forward and aft, lower forward and aft, and a manned tail turret. Each turret mounted two guns, except for the upper forward, which had four. All turrets were electrically powered (the B-29 was an electric airplane with more than 100 electric motors, including landing gear actuation), remotely sighted and controlled (no in-flight gunner access, including the tail turret), electronic computer directed, with manually fired guns.

                            General Electric developed the Central Fire Control system, which consisted of five interconnected electronic analog computers, one per gun turret. Each gunner could directly fire his own guns if the computer system was inoperative. All gunners had control of their turret and secondary control of others -- an intercom system provided communication between the gunners. A gunner could fire the guns of another turret from his sighting position, and, uniquely, fire the guns of two or more turrets at once.

                            Thousands of electronic computers (the 1940s term) were manufactured for and utilized by B-29s. This program, then, represents the first mass production and use of electronic computers. http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm...m&file_id=3828.
                            Your remark about the Mig 25 is wrong also. I'll "shoot down" that later. Yes, they were built using tubes but not to protect against EMP(that was a beneficial side effect).
                            Losing them wouldn't make the B29 drop out of the sky though would it? In fact I'd doubt the crew would even notice if they weren't working.... the chances of the Japanese getting a fighter close enough to need the guns on the B29 are pretty slim.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by peter_sym View Post
                              Losing them wouldn't make the B29 drop out of the sky though would it? In fact I'd doubt the crew would even notice if they weren't working.... the chances of the Japanese getting a fighter close enough to need the guns on the B29 are pretty slim.

                              Check out the ceiling for B 29 and then do the same for B 17 and Lanc. Interesting.



                              HP
                              "Ask not what your country can do for you"

                              Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

                              you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

                              Comment

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