Suvarna Garge (Editor)


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Wunderwaffe ( [ˈvʊndɐˌvafə]) is German for "Wonder Weapon" and was a term assigned during World War II by the Nazi Germany propaganda ministry to a few revolutionary "superweapons". Most of these weapons however remained prototypes, which either never reached the combat theater, or if they did, then too late or in too insignificant numbers to have a military effect.


The V-weapons, which were developed earlier and saw considerable deployment, especially against London and Antwerp, trace back to the same pool of highly inventive armament concepts. Therefore, they are also included here.

As the war situation worsened for Germany from 1942, claims about the development of revolutionary new weapons which could turn the tide became an increasingly prominent part of the propaganda directed at Germans by their government. In reality, the advanced weapons under development generally required lengthy periods of design work and testing, and there was no realistic prospect of the German military being able to field them before the end of the war. When some advanced designs, such as the Panther tank and Type XXI submarine, were rushed into production their performance proved disappointing to the German military and leadership due to inadequate pre-production testing or poorly planned construction processes.

In the German language the term Wunderwaffe generally refers to a universal solution which solves all problems related to a particular issue, mostly used ironically for its illusionary nature.

Aircraft carriers

  • Graf Zeppelin – a 33,550 ton aircraft carrier laid down in 1936; never completed.
  • Flugzeugträger B – planned sister ship to the Graf Zeppelin; scrapped before launching.
  • I (1942) – a planned 56,500 ton aircraft carrier, converted from a transport; cancelled before work started.
  • Battleships

  • H-class battleship – a series of proposals for battleships surpassing both the U. S. Navy's Montana-class battleships and the Imperial Japanese Navy's Yamato-class battleships in armament, culminating in the H-44, a 140,000 ton battleship with eight 20 inch guns. Two H39-class hulls only laid down; scrapped on slipways
  • Oceangoing U-boats

  • Rocket U-boat – a planned ballistic missile submarine; project abandoned
  • Type XVIII U-boat – a U-boat designed to use air-independent propulsion; several were under construction when the war ended
  • Type XXI U-boat "Elektroboot" (Electric boat) – the first U-boat designed to operate completely submerged, 118 were built but only 4 were completed
  • Type XXIV U-boat – a planned U-boat designed to use air-independent propulsion
  • Type XXVI U-boat – a U-boat designed to use air-independent propulsion; several were under construction when the war ended
  • Littoral U-boats

  • Type XXII U-boat – a U-boat designed to use air-independent propulsion; two were under construction
  • Type XXIII U-boat ("Elektroboot") – a U-boat designed for littoral missions; 67 were built
  • Type XXV U-boat – a planned all-electric U-boat designed for littoral missions
  • U-Cruisers

  • Type XI – a U-boat designed to carry the Arado Ar 231 collapsible floatplane and have 128mm turrets; four were laid down but canceled at the outbreak of World War II
  • Anti-aircraft weapons

  • Flakpanzer "Kugelblitz" (Ball Lightning) – a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun
  • Anti-tank weapons

  • Sturer Emil – an experimental Panzerjäger style, open-topped tank destroyer armed with a Rheinmetall 12.8 cm K L/61 gun, 2 prototypes built for tests.
  • Super-heavy tanks

  • Landkreuzer P. 1000 "Ratte" (Rat) – a planned super-heavy tank, weighing 1000 metric tons and armed with two 280mm cannons, one 128mm anti-tank gun, 8 20mm flak guns and 2 15mm heavy machine guns
  • Landkreuzer P. 1500 "Monster" – a proposed super-heavy self-propelled gun, weighing 1500 metric tons and armed with the 800mm Schwerer Gustav/Dora gun
  • Panzer VII "Löwe" (Lion) – a planned super-heavy tank, weighing 90 metric tons and armed with a 105mm cannon
  • Panzer VIII "Maus" (Mouse) – a super-heavy tank, weighing 180 metric tons and armed with two cannons of 128mm and 75mm calibre, two operable prototypes completed
  • Panzerkampfwagen E-100 – a planned super-heavy tank, weighing 140 metric tons and armed with either 128 or 150 mm cannon
  • Reconnaissance tanks

  • Kugelpanzer (ball tank), a prototype spherical reconnaissance/cable-laying tank with a mysterious history. Sent to Japan and captured by the Soviets in 1945. Currently on display at the Kubinka Tank Museum.
  • Gliders

  • Junkers Ju 322 "Mammut" (Mammoth) – a flying wing heavy transport glider, the losing competitor to the winning Messerschmitt Me 321 giant cargo/personnel glider.
  • Piston engine aircraft

  • Dornier Do-335 -a heavy fighter with the push-pull configuration
  • Focke-Achgelis Fa 269 – a planned tilt-rotor VTOL fighter
  • Focke-Wulf Ta 152 – a high-altitude interceptor
  • Focke-Wulf Ta 400 – a planned Amerika Bomber candidate with six radial engines and two jet engines with a range of 13,000 km in bomber configuration
  • Heinkel He 111Z – a five engined Zwilling (twin fuselage) aircraft created by combining two He 111s and designed to tow large gliders
  • Heinkel He 274 – a high altitude heavy bomber with four in-line engines with a range of 3,440 km, two completed by France after the war
  • Heinkel He 277 – a planned, advanced long-range bomber design, designated by RLM by February 1943, inheriting many He 219 prototype design features during its evolution but never built as a complete aircraft, evolved to be an Amerika Bomber candidate, to be powered with four BMW 801 radial engines and up to 11,000 km range
  • Junkers Ju 390 – an Amerika Bomber candidate with six radial engines with a range of 9,700 km, two airworthy prototypes built and flown
  • Junkers Ju 488 – a heavy bomber with four radial engines with a range of 3,395 km
  • Messerschmitt Me 264 – an Amerika Bomber candidate with four inline or radial engines and a range of 15,000 km, three airworthy prototypes built and flown
  • Messerschmitt Me 323 "Gigant" (Giant) – a heavy transport with six engines
  • Jets and rocket-propelled aircraft

  • Arado Ar 234 – the first operational turbojet bomber and reconnaissance aircraft
  • Arado E.555 – a planned jet-powered Amerika bomber
  • Arado E.560 – a series of tactical bomber projects
  • Bachem Ba 349 "Natter" (Adder) – a rocket-powered vertical takeoff interceptor
  • Blohm & Voss P.178 – a turbojet dive bomber
  • DFS 194 – a rocket-powered experimental aircraft
  • DFS 228 – a rocket-powered high altitude reconnaissance aircraft
  • DFS 346 – a rocket-powered research aircraft
  • Fieseler Fi 103R "Reichenberg" – a manned version of the V-1 flying bomb
  • Focke-Wulf "Triebflügel" (Powered Wings) – a planned tip jet rotorcraft, tailsitter interceptor
  • Focke-Wulf Ta 183 "Huckebein" – a planned swept wing turbojet fighter
  • Focke-Wulf Ta 283 – a planned swept wing ramjet and rocket-powered fighter
  • Heinkel He 162 Spatz - Winner of the Volksjäger (People's Fighter) design competition for a single engined turbojet fighter
  • Heinkel He 176 – the world's first liquid-fueled rocket-powered experimental aircraft
  • Heinkel He 178 – the world's first experimental turbojet aircraft to fly
  • Heinkel He 280 – the first turbojet fighter design, prototypes only
  • Heinkel He 343 – a planned four engined jet bomber based on and marginally enlarged from the Arado Ar 234's general design
  • Henschel Hs 132 – a planned turbojet dive bomber and interceptor
  • Horten Ho 229 – a turbojet flying wing jet fighter/bomber
  • Horten H.XVIII – a planned flying wing jet bomber based on the Horten Ho 229
  • Junkers EF 128 – a planned turbojet fighter
  • Junkers EF 132 – a planned turbojet bomber
  • Junkers Ju 287 – a forward-swept wing turbojet bomber
  • Lippisch P.13a – a planned supersonic ramjet delta wing interceptor
  • Lippisch P.13b – a planned ramjet delta wing interceptor developed from the Lippisch P.13a
  • Messerschmitt Me 109TL – a turbojet fighter designed as an alternate/back-up for the Me 262
  • Messerschmitt Me 163 "Komet" (Comet) – the first and only operational rocket-powered fighter
  • Messerschmitt Me 262 "Schwalbe" (Swallow)- the first operational turbojet fighter/bomber
  • Messerschmitt Me 263 – a rocket-powered fighter developed from the Me 163
  • Messerschmitt P.1101 – a variable-sweep wing turbojet fighter
  • Messerschmitt P.1106 – a jet fighter based on the Messerschmitt Me P.1101
  • Skoda-Kauba Sk P.14 - a ramjet-powered emergency fighter
  • Sombold So 344 - a rocket-powered plane with a detachable explosive nose
  • Silbervogel (Silverbird) – planned sub-orbital antipodal bomber
  • Zeppelin Fliegende Panzerfaust – a rocket-powered very-short-range interceptor
  • Zeppelin Rammer – a rocket-powered ramming interceptor
  • Helicopters

  • Flettner Fl 184 – a night reconnaissance and anti-submarine autogyro
  • Flettner Fl 185 – an experimental helicopter
  • Flettner Fl 265 – an experimental helicopter, the world's earliest known airworthy synchropter
  • Flettner Fl 282 "Kolibri" (Hummingbird) – a reconnaissance "synchropter" helicopter
  • Focke-Achgelis Fa 223 "Drache" (Dragon) – an anti-submarine, search and rescue, reconnaissance, and freight helicopter, based on the prewar Fw 61
  • Bombs and explosives

  • German nuclear weapon project
  • Fritz X, a guided anti-ship glide bomb, the world's first precision guided weapon ever deployed in combat
  • Artillery

  • Karl-Gerät, the largest calibre (60cm), self-propelled mortar ever deployed - seven examples built, six seeing combat 1941-45.
  • Schwerer Gustav (Heavy Gustav) – an 800mm railway gun
  • V-3 cannon "Hochdruckpumpe" – "High Pressure Pump", a supergun
  • Missiles

  • Aggregate series
  • A1 – the first German liquid-propellant experimental rocket
  • A2 – an experimental rocket, gyroscopically stabilized
  • A3 – an experimental rocket with an inertial guidance system
  • A4/V-2 – the first ballistic missile and the first human-made object to achieve sub-orbital spaceflight
  • A4-SLBM – a planned submarine-launched ballistic missile
  • A4b
  • A5 – an experimental reusable rocket
  • A6 – an improved A4b
  • A7 – an improved A4
  • A8 – a planned submarine-launched ballistic missile
  • A9 Amerikarakete – a planned intermediate-range ballistic missile to be used to strike the eastern United States
  • A10 – a planned lower stage for the A9 to upgrade it to an intercontinental ballistic missile
  • A11 – a planned satellite launcher
  • A12 – a planned rocket, capable of putting 10 metric tons into low Earth orbit
  • Enzian – a planned surface-to-air missile with infrared guidance
  • Feuerlilie F-25 "Fire Lilly" – a surface-to-air missile
  • Feuerlilie F-55 "Fire Lilly" – a two-stage, supersonic surface-to-air missile
  • V-1 flying bomb/Fieseler Fi 103/Vergeltungswaffe 1 – the first cruise missile
  • Fliegerfaust "Pilot Fist" or "Plane Fist" / Luftfaust "Air Fist" – the first man-portable air-defense system (MANPADS) anti-aircraft weapons system
  • Fritz X – an unpowered air-launched, MCLOS-guided anti-ship missile using the FuG 203/230 Kehl-Straßurg control system, the pioneering wartime example of a PGM, used from September 1943 through 1944.
  • Henschel Hs 117 Schmetterling "Butterfly" – a manually guided surface-to-air missile
  • Henschel Hs 117H – a manually guided air-to-air missile
  • Henschel Hs 293 – a pioneering MCLOS-guided air-to-ship missile using the Kehl-Straßurg radio link as with the Fritz X, used in combat from 1943-44.
  • Henschel Hs 294 – an MCLOS-guided air-to-ship missile/torpedo
  • Henschel Hs 298 – an air-to-air missile
  • R4M Orkan "Hurricane" – an unguided air-to-air rocket
  • Rheinbote "Rhine Messenger"- the first short-range ballistic missile
  • Rheintochter "Rhinedaughter" – a manually guided surface-to-air missile
  • Ruhrstahl X-4 – a wire-guided air-to-air missile designed for the Ta 183
  • Taifun "Typhoon" – a planned unguided surface-to-air missile
  • Wasserfall Ferngelenkte Flakrakete "Waterfall Remote-Controlled A-A Rocket" – a supersonic surface-to-air missile
  • Werfer-Granate 21 – a heavy-calibre (21 cm/8 inch) unguided air-to-air rocket, in use by the summer of 1943
  • G7es/Zaunkönig T-5 – acoustic homing torpedo used by U-boats
  • Orbital

  • Sun gun – a parabolic mirror in orbit designed to focus sunlight onto specific locations on the Earth's surface
  • Rifles

  • Jagdfaust – an automatically firing airborne anti-bomber recoilless rifle for use on the Me 163
  • Mauser MG 213 – a 20 mm aircraft mounted revolver cannon
  • Mauser MG 213C – a 30 mm aircraft mounted revolver cannon
  • Fallschirmjägergewehr 42 – an automatic battle rifle developed specifically for the Fallschirmjäger
  • Sturmgewehr 44 – the first assault rifle
  • "Krummlauf" – a curved barrel for the StG44
  • Sturmgewehr 45 – prototype
  • Mission equipment

  • Zielgerät 1229 "Vampir" – active infrared night vision gunsight system for the Sturmgewehr 44
  • FG 1250 Tank Mounted night-vision equipment
  • Fictitious

  • Die Glocke
  • Directed-energy weapon
  • Feraliminal Lycanthropizer
  • Nazi UFOs
  • References

    Wunderwaffe Wikipedia