Nazi transatlantic bombers

Adolf Hitler always understood that his primary enemy was the United States. Ultimately, the Nazi plan was to harness the resources of Europe—and in particular those of European Russia—under the aegis of a new superstate, with Germany at its core. England and France would get the hell out of the way, or be roadkill. And then the full industrial might of the Third Reich could be turned against America.

An idea that gets all the scarier when you consider what was on the drawing boards. Inevitably, as the conflict with England and Russia deepened, Germany channeled its bomber production into tactical bombers. But behind the scenes, plans for some true behemoths were underway.

The most favored design among the Nazi planners is shown here. imageju-390.jpgYou’re looking at the Junkers 390, a six-engined monstrosity capable of flying all the way to New York and then returning to Berlin for a round of schnapps. In fact, there are (admittedly unconfirmed) reports that this thing did exactly that in 1944 on a dry run, turning back even as its crew saw the lights of Manhattan emerging over the horizon. No prizes for guessing what kind of bombing run they were training for: by that point in the war, with the Reich collapsing around Hitler’s ears, there was really only one reason to try to hit New York, and that was with an atomic weapon. Fortunately, the German atomic program was way behind by that point, so it all came to naught.

imagehorten.jpgBut the Ju-390 was just the tip of the iceberg. The ultimate goal was to build a strategic bomber that had jets. The strongest contender was a Horten flying wing: it’s NOT the craft shown here, which was an earlier design. The Horten XVIIIB would have had twice the wingspan of the thing you’re looking at now. Had Hitler knocked Russia out of the war, we’d have been facing a whole fleet of these.

And we’d have been up against bona fide SPACECRAFT as well.imagesanger.jpg I’m not even referring to whatever the successors to the V2 rocket would have been. I’m talking about the Sanger spaceplane, which was intended to be put on the back of a rocket sled. Once the sled accelerated to a sufficient speed, the spaceplane would have been launched off the back of it. It would have gone suborbital, bombed New York, and then, instead of turning around, continued on into the Pacific where a German (or Japanese) U-boat would have picked up both crew and vehicle.

None of these planes was ever put to the test in a live bombing run. But all of them became fodder for the Russians and the Americans at the end of the war, as the race to capture German scientists intensified and the allies fell out among themselves and a new competition took shape. One that we should be thankful for. Who would we rather have faced in the late 1940s, an exhausted Soviet Union or a Nazi Germany that was busy consolidating its hold over Europe and turning its eyes over the Atlantic? In a sense, the big might-have-been of World War II is that, had it taken a different direction, it might have led to the first space war.

And speaking of space wars, I’m planning on publishing in its entirety my essay NOTES TOWARD A THEORY OF SPACE-CENTRIC WARFARE, written from the perspective of the year 2110. I’ve already posted the first part HERE, and intend to serialize the rest across the next few days/weeks. So watch this space.

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8 Responses to “Nazi transatlantic bombers”

  1. Greg Funke Says:

    Hi David
    I am with the Orange County Science Fiction Club.
    You left a message on my answer machine that was mostly garbled by some electronic happening———-
    You mentioned maybe stopping by our club when you are in the area. Be happy to have you. We meet on the last Wednesday of the month. If you know ahead please email or call me and we can schedule you for a meeting. We love authors and even have our own writing group.

  2. David Williams Says:

    Greg- – thanks!– the email I sent bounced back, just left you another vm. If that’s still not decipherable, try me on



  3. Patrick Nielsen Hayden Says:

    Holy crap! We might have wound up in a world dominated by a superpower known to practice torture and genocide.

  4. David Williams Says:

    At least we’ve still got elections.

    For now.

  5. herr doktor mengele Says:

    ACHTUNG !!!!
    yahhh…things could have been different if only we had won the war, but i am sure that we can win the next war…. we are developing fantastic weapons capable to incinerate anything that moves.
    we have herr general stupfnagel , who is far more talented than rommel.

  6. herr doktor mengele Says:

    ACHTUNG !!!
    we will win the next war, we have herr general stupfnagel much more talented than rommel, and oskar dirlewanger too, hde kicks ass . and we are developing terrible weapons.
    burn mother¨****** , burn …

  7. David Williams Says:

    @ Herr Doktor: You should check out Farrell’s REICH OF THE BLACK SUN. Awesome account of the *really* crazy weapons. ..

  8. Electric Monk Says:

    Luckily for us the Nazi’s at no point had a real chance for winning. (I’ll admit maybe one of ten-fifteen Nazi Victory threads at manage to find a short-term sort-of plausible answer.)

    But at the end of the day the Nazi’s just didn’t have it in them, as long as they were still Nazi’s. Now Germany seeking to own all of Europe in a sane fashion with roughly the same geopolitical and military state of affairs as per our timeline 1939. Sure. I could do that as Supreme Overlord of Germany knowing what I know now. But then? Heck, even beating France was crazy lucky.

    (Although, of course, the Nazi’s were the master of insane money-wasting super-cool weapons. You have to admire their dedication to that.)

    Oh, right, assuming you get notified of this comment: any chance of sticking that 20-page background of the world of Autumn Rain up on the website? I love the world you’ve created (not wild about the ending or characterization, but nothing to ruin the books for me) and the website and your fifth-generation warfare stuff just isn’t enough :).