The Nazi Plot to Bomb America

In the film, Captain America: The First Avenger, the Red Skull (SPOILER ALERT) attempts to attack the United States by flying over it and attacking from the air. While fictional, the plot line bears resemblance to a real-life Nazi plot. What was the mysterious Amerika-Bomber project? And how close did it come to achieving its goal of leaving New York in flames?

The Amerika-Bomber Project?

Even before America’s entrance into World War II, Adolf Hitler was intrigued by the idea of attacking New York City via long-range strategic bombers. On May 12, 1942, a formal plan, coined the Amerika-Bomber Project, was submitted to the Minister of Aviation, Hermann Göring.

The plan was to fly planes to the Azores, refuel, and then take off again, on course for America’s east coast. Along with New York City, the Nazi’s hoped to drop bombs on nineteen strategic American targets and two additional Canadian targets. Most of these targets built aircraft parts so it seems probable that the goal of the Project was to cripple America’s air force capabilities.

Numerous planes were considered for the Project. Ultimately, the Ju 390 (pictured above) was selected for production. However, before it could be produced in mass quantities, the Nazi’s abandoned their efforts.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

While the Amerika-Bomber Project appears feasible in retrospect, it lacked the necessary resources and aircraft parts to become a working operation. Even if it had been green-lit, its ultimate impact on the War would’ve been minimal since Germany lacked the ability to deploy atomic bombs.

The idea of Nazi’s attacking New York City seems fanciful today. And yet, it came close to reality…far too close for comfort. The Amerika-Bomber Project was put into motion, a feasible plan was developed, and an aircraft was selected. Only lack of time and intense Allied bombing raids on the Nazi supply chain kept New York City safe from flames.

(This is the third article in a three part series. Go here for Part I: Captain America and Suspended Animation and here for Part II: The Nazi Super-Soldier Program).

The Nazi Super-Soldier Program

This week’s big movie, Captain America: The First Avenger, features a fictional super-soldier serum developed during World War II. This serum is capable of turning a sickly, small man named Steve Rogers into the physical peak of human perfection known as Captain America. With the world aflame during the 1940’s, the very thought of wielding a force of super-soldiers must’ve gained strong interest from all sides. But did any of the warring nations actually attempt to create a real-life super-soldier serum?

Nazi Super-Soldiers?

The Nazi’s were deeply interested in developing a permanent master race. In 1935, they set up the Lebensborn, or Spring of Life, as a sort of breeding/child-rearing program. Some of its practices included kidnapping and “Germanizing” Aryan children from occupied countries as well as providing special breeding clinics where SS soldiers could mate with suitable, handpicked women. The goal of the Lebensborn was to create a large and lasting Aryan race who would serve as the super-soldiers of the future.

However, that wasn’t the Nazi’s only effort at creating super-soldiers. The average Nazi soldier received a regular intake of pills designed to “help them fight longer and without rest.” Surviving records show that the most pervasive pill was Pervitin, which was made of methamphetamine or as it is now called, crystal meth. Between 1939 and 1945, over two hundred million Pervitin pills were provided to Nazi soldiers.

But this was hardly a unique situation. Troops from all sides took various types of drugs during World War II, a practice that continues to this day. But Nazi scientists weren’t satisfied. In 1944, they started a top-secret program to develop a drug named D-IX. They hoped to use this drug to create temporary super-soldiers who would eventually turn the tide of the war.

D-IX Super-Soldiers?

D-IX was a cocaine-based cocktail, consisting of five milligrams of cocaine, five milligrams of oxycodone (a morphine-related painkiller), and three milligrams of Pervitin. It was first tested on inmates at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. After taking the drug, the prisoners were forced to march in circles while carrying forty-five pound packs. With the aid of D-IX, these individuals were able to march between fifty-five and seventy miles before collapsing. Highly encouraged by the results, Nazi scientists planned to supply D-IX to all German troops. Fortunately, the war ended before it could be produced in mass quantities.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

Despite their best efforts, the Nazi’s never succeeded in creating super-soldiers. Nowadays, researchers are hard at work, hoping to achieve the same goal with different means. In 2008, DARPA announced a $3 billion dollar program to create a “metabolically dominant soldier.” If scientists have their way, someday soon super-soldiers may not be all that super…they may, in fact, be commonplace.

(This is the second article in a three part series. Go here for Part I: Captain America and Suspended Animation & here for Part III: The Nazi Plot to Bomb America.)

Did Russia build a Doomsday Machine?

During the 1950s, Herman Kahn and Harold Brown proposed the concept of a weapon that could destroy all life on earth.  In the event of a nuclear attack from another nation, a computer would detonate multiple salted hydrogen bombs, covering the globe with lethal radioactive material.  They called it a Doomsday Machine.  Fortunately, such a device was never built…or was it? What was Dead Hand?

The Mysterious Dead Hand?

In 1985, the USSR completed the construction of a top-secret military installation known as Perimeter, or Dead Hand.  Its purpose remained closely guarded for years but in the early 1990s the truth came out.  Dead Hand was a semi-automated doomsday machine.

At the time, a doomsday machine was viewed as the perfect deterrent.  No sane leader would dare launch a nuclear attack if they knew it would bring mutually assured destruction.  A pure doomsday machine requires the complete removal of human decision-making.  So, Dead Hand didn’t quite fit into that category.  It required human activity…but not all that much of it.  Just four steps (two involving people) separated mankind from extinction.

  1. Activation: In the event of a crisis, a high official activated the system.
  2. Scan: Using seismic, radiation, and air pressure sensors, Dead Hand scanned Soviet-controlled territory for evidence of a nuclear attack.
  3. Communication: Upon finding evidence, Dead Hand checked whether it could still communicate with the Soviet General Staff’s war room.
  4. Switch of Launch Authority: If communications had ceased, launch authority transferred to three rotating duty officers who manned Dead Hand.  Ultimately, they would make the choice of whether or not to launch nuclear winter.

Why was Dead Hand Created?

Doomsday machines gained fame in fiction.  So, how did such a device ever become a reality?  In the 1980s, President Reagan and his staff initiated an aggressive campaign to convince Soviet leaders that they weren’t adverse to waging nuclear war.  The strategy worked well.  Maybe too well.

Over time, the Soviets began to believe that Reagan might actually initiate a nuclear war.  It seems clear that Dead Hand was originally intended as a deterrent in order to ensure that a nuclear attack would not go unpunished.  But a deterrent only works if others know about it.  And in shades of Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, it appears that the Soviet Union never told anyone about Dead Hand.

Some claim that Dead Hand’s true purpose was to be a self-deterrent.  In other words, it allowed Soviet leaders to avoid making hasty decisions since, in the event of an actual attack, reprisal was a near certainty.  Regardless of Dead Hand’s true purpose, its easy to imagine plenty of scenarios that could’ve led to the accidental launch of a literal doomsday.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

These days, the idea of nuclear war seems almost far-fetched.  And indeed, Dead Hand’s current location and situation remain closely guarded.  However, according to at least one source it still exists, remains fully operational, and continues to receive upgrades.  If that’s the case, nuclear doomsday may not be that far-fetched after all.

Geoengineering during World War II?

On May 11, 1944, 363 U.S. Army Air Force B-24 Liberators and 536 other military planes launched into the air over southeast England.  After joining into a massive formation, they flew to Nazi-controlled France to bomb marshalling yards.  Their efforts impacted the outcome of the war.  But they may have impacted something else as well…the local weather via geoengineering.

Geoengineering during World War II?

Two days ago, Fox News reported that the May 11 Allied bombing raid may have inadvertently altered that day’s weather.  It is an early unintended example of something that scientists now call geoengineering, or climate engineering.

Essentially, the aircraft filled the sky with contrails, or condensation trails.  These trails “are produced when hot moist air from engine exhausts hits colder air in the atmosphere.”  They take the form of long thin clouds that trail after the plane.

After analyzing historical weather data from various stations, researchers from Lancaster University and the Environmental Agency in the United Kingdom discovered that areas under the contrails experienced slower temperature growth on May 11, 1944, to the tune of two degrees Fahrenheit.  They believe that this can be explained by the contrails creating an enormous cloud cover that reflected sunlight away from the ground.

Geoengineering & Global Warming?

Geoengineering advocates wish to do something similar in order to deal with the perceived threat from global warming.  Some scientists propose that a fleet of planes deposit sulfate aerosols into the stratosphere.  These particles would reflect sunlight and perhaps, lower global temperatures.  This most recent study indicates that small-scale geoengineering might have the desired effect on regional temperatures.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

However, geoengineering remains highly controversial and, in my opinion, with good reason.  It is an attempt to duplicate the effects of an enormous volcanic eruption.  The ultimate impact on the stratosphere, weather patterns, and ecosystems would be unpredictable…maybe even catastrophic.

America’s First Secret Weapon?

On September 7, 1776, a sudden explosion rocked New York’s East River, causing a tower of water and chunks of wood to soar high into the air.  The cause behind this bedlam?  America’s Turtle, an invention of David Bushnell and the world’s first submarine deployed in combat.  It’s one of the most significant crafts of the Revolutionary War.  And its been missing for over two-hundred and thirty years.

David Bushnell’s Invention: The Turtle submarine?

Invented by David Bushnell, the Turtle was designed to attach explosives to the undersides of Royal Navy ships moored in American harbors during the Revolutionary War.  The vessel consisted of two wooden slabs, which looked like turtle shells, held together by tar and steel bands.  It measured ten feet long, six feet tall, and three feet wide and contained enough air to stay submerged for thirty minutes.

David Bushnell initially trained his brother to operate the vessel.  But after the man fell ill, Bushnell turned to Ezra Lee, a gunnery sergeant.  Around the same time, a massive fleet of Royal Navy ships, led by the HMS Eagle, formed off the coast of New York City.  They aimed to capture the city.

On September 6-7, 1776, Ezra Lee manned the sub through New York Harbor to Liberty Island.  He positioned himself under the HMS Eagle and attempted to anchor a “torpedo” with the help of a drill.  His first attempt failed when the drill struck an iron fitting.  After subsequent attempts also failed, he abandoned the torpedo, which drifted into the East River and exploded harmlessly.  Although not a success, the noise spooked the Royal Navy, causing them to raise anchors and leave the harbor (it should be noted that British naval historian Richard Compton-Hall disputes this version of the events).

After another failed attempt, the sub’s tender vessel was sunk by the Royal Navy, sending the Turtle to the bottom of the sea, somewhere near Fort Lee, NJ.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

So where is it today?

After the end of the Revolutionary War, Thomas Jefferson wrote to David Bushnell, inquiring about the Turtle.  In his response, Bushnell stated:

Soon after this, the Enemy went up the river, and pursued the boat, which had the submarine Vessel on board, and sunk it, with their shot. After I recovered the Vessel, I found it impossible, at that time to prosecute the design any farther…I therefore gave over the pursuit, for that time, and waited for a more favourable opportunity, which never arrived.

If we are to believe David Bushnell, he successfully salvaged the Turtle.  However, its ultimate fate remains unknown.  Maybe he dismantled the vessel.  Maybe he stored it away somewhere.  Maybe he never even recovered it and merely stated that he did so in order to keep anyone else from salvaging it.  Regardless, if the Turtle is ever found, it would undoubtedly be one of the most significant discoveries in naval history.

The Hunt for Bin Laden’s Corpse

Did Osama Bin Laden really die in Pakistan?  Was his corpse truly stuffed into a rubber-lined canvas body bag, weighed down with lead, and then buried in the North Arabian Sea?  According to a recent interview with TMZ, deep sea treasure hunter Bill Warren intends to find out.

“I am doing it because I am a patriotic American who wants to know the truth.  I do it for the world.” – Bill Warren

Where is Bin Laden’s Corpse?

Warren wants to raise $400,000 in order to fund his expedition to recover Bin Laden’s corpse.  It’s an incredible story, one torn straight out of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune.

Adding to the drama are the many conspiracy theories that have cropped up in the wake of Bin Laden’s demise.  According to the official White House line, Bin Laden was killed by members of SEAL Team 6 during Operation: Neptune Spear on May 2, 2011.  Afterwards, the corpse was removed to a U.S. base in Afghanistan.  Biometric facial recognition and DNA tests confirmed that the body belonged to Bin Laden.  Al-Qaeda confirmed the death on May 6.  Less than twenty-four hours later, the corpse was taken aboard the USS Carl Vinson and buried at sea.

Searching for Bin Laden?

Warren plans to use side-scanning radar to locate the body bag.  The problem with his strategy is obvious.  The Arabian Sea is gigantic and side-scanning sonar is a slow, tedious process.  Finding a corpse in it is like finding a needle in a haystack…a haystack that measures 1.5 million square miles.However, conflicting accounts as well as the White House’s refusal to release photographs have created significant doubt.  Some people think he’s still alive.  Others think he died years ago.  Still others believe that he died on May 2, but under entirely different circumstances or that his body was disposed of in some other manner.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

Perhaps even more problematic are the limitations of side-scanning sonar.  Even shipwrecks, with their hard edges and solid structures, are difficult to discern from the natural underwater landscape.  Distinguishing something as small and with as little acoustic resonance as a corpse is next to impossible, even when taking into account two-hundred pounds of lead in the body bag.  And the deeper the corpse lies, the harder it will prove to find.  At the same time, depth is desirable as it, along with low temperatures, will slow decomposition.

It’s a waste of money.  It’s a waste of time.  But I’m still rooting for Warren.  If he succeeds, maybe we’ll finally be able to put all of those crazy Bin Laden conspiracy theories to rest.  After all, the man’s dead and buried at the bottom of the Indian Ocean.

Isn’t he?