The Messerschmitt Me-163 rocket fighter aircraft, perhaps better known as the Komet,
IN Göring's absence there emerged a crippling indecisiveness about certain secret Luftwaffe projects. Back in February , acting on the advice of Speer and Baumbach, Hitler had agreed to go ahead with Project Mistletoe, which the air force had long been planning: 120 piggy-backed planes -- Ju 88s coupled with Me 109s -- were standing by in East Prussia to bomb the principal Soviet power stations at last. Göring too approved, and the fuel was set aside. But in mid-March Hitler decided to hurl these planes at the bridges across the Oder and Neisse rivers the moment the major Russian offensive began. Then he changed his mind; he would use twenty-six of them against the bridges across the Vistula, in the Russians' rear. General Koller objected that the project had originally been designed to wipe out Stalin's power supplies, and that the remaining Mistletoes would not suffice for this project. Hitler hesitated, and was lost -- torn between the immediate tactical needs of battle and his long-term strategic objectives, between inevitable defeat and possible ultimate victory. "Imagine," he told Koller on March 26, "if the enemy had bombed all our power stations simultaneously! I'll forego the Vistula bridges -- we can deal with them later."
"Ribbentrop," Hitler told his foreign minister, who was also anxious to end the war by diplomacy, "we're going to win this one by a nose." He mentioned the jet planes -- in March 1945 Himmler's underground factory at Nordhausen would in fact assemble five hundred Me 262's and in April twice as many. The first Type XXI submarines -- capable of cruising to Japan underwater and at high speed -- were about to enter service. By late 1945 bombproof underground refineries would be turning out three hundred thousand tons of synthetic gasoline per month. "If only," he remarked to Göbbels on March 21, "Göring had done more to rush the jets into service!" And he added bitterly, "He's just gone down to the Obersalzberg again with two trains, to see his wife."
Göring returned to Berlin keener on peacemaking than ever. When top civil servant Hans Lammers visited the Chancellery for the last time on March 27, he found the Führer very upset about the Reichsmarschall "attempting to start negotiations with the Allies." Emmy Göring certainly dropped hints to Görnnert, who stayed behind with the train, that her husband was thinking of contacting the Americans, and Göring confided to Speer that he was sure that the Americans knew he was on their side. One day, five American airmen parachuted into the Schorf Heath, and Göring ordered their captain brought to Carinhall. Perhaps he was thinking ahead, to ways of establishing links to the Americans. But this officer had only been a movie director in Hollywood, and Göring lost interest in him.
General Koller's diary establishes how concerned Göring was to end the bloodshed now that Germany appeared to have lost. "Nobody tells us anything," Koller complained to Göring on March 28. "We badly need directives from top level."
The Reichsmarschall agreed. He too is in the dark.
Hitler ordered Göring to attend every war conference at 4:00 P.M., but he dealt preferentially with SS Gruppenführer Kammler. "Göring," wrote Göbbels on April 3, "has to listen day after day without being able to offer the slightest excuse."
Under pressure from every side, Göring made the decision to authorize Luftwaffe suicide missions. Volunteer pilots would ram the Luftwaffe's few remaining Me 109s into Allied bombers. In mid-March British code-breakers had already intercepted the message that Göring ordered all Geschwader commodores to read out secretly to pilots who had completed fighter training:
Therefore, I turn to you at this decisive moment. By consciously staking your own lives, save the nation from extinction! I summon you for an operation from which you will have only the slenderest chance of returning. Those of you who respond will be sent back at once for pilot training. Comrades, you will take the place of honor beside your most glorious Luftwaffe warriors. In the hour of supreme danger, you will give the whole German people hope of victory, and set an example for all time.
Such was the heroism of which Göring's young airmen were capable even on the threshold of national defeat.
At 5:00 A.M. on April 16, 1945, the final Soviet push across the Oder began. Sixty more suicide pilots crash-bombed their planes onto the Oder bridges in a desperate attempt to save Berlin.
But the decay of defeat had already reached the highest levels in the capital. Learning that even Speer had disobeyed orders to destroy bridges within Berlin, Hitler challenged him to say whether he still believed in victory.
~David Irving, Göring
|As the fall of Germany approached, the Nazi Leaders reverted to an ambitious project created by Gauleiter Franz Hofer who had become high commissioner for the Italian Tyrol and the Southern Alps. The project foresaw setting up an incredible fortress in the mountains, including parts of Italy, Austria and Bavaria. Hofer submitted his plan to Hitler's aide, Martin Bormann in November 1944, but he had prepared for this moment back in 1938 when Nazi agents carefully mapped all mountain passes, caves, bridges, highways, and located sights for underground factories, munitions dumps, arms and food caches. To complete work on this fortress, Hofer demanded a slave labor force of a quarter of a million, 70% Austrian workers and 30% men of the Tyrolese home guard. So-called U-Plants were to be set up underground as gigantic workshops and launching pads for the secret weapons which were to turn the tide of the war in favor of the Nazis. Among these were some 74 tunnels along Lake Garda, in Northern Italy, which were to be adapted and transformed into a vast assembly plant by FIAT of Turin in close collaboration with the department of Minister Albert Speer. Seven other tunnels along Lake Garda, near Limone, were to produce several weapons tested at the Hermann Göring Institute of Riva del Garda. |
According to the archives of the German High Command and of the Allied Combined Intelligence Objectives Sub-Committee, other plants in vital areas of Central Germany, code named M-Werke, were to produce powerful missiles such as the giant A.9/A.10 destined to destroy New York and Washington. But most important was the Alpine area, for it was from there that the supreme weapons were to come.
While we know that one of Hitler's Doppelgängers died in the Berlin Chancellery bunker, an elaborate suicide cover-up would have been required for an important reason: To hide the true whereabouts of the Southern Redoubt, which was never found by the Allies and which, according to some observers, was the secret site of Nazi nuclear weapons research. To conceal its location, it would have been necessary to spread a new propaganda myth that there never was a hidden Mountain Redoubt, no Nazi nuclear weapons site, and the Führer directed the war from his Berlin bunker, where he finally committed suicide.
Franz W. Seidler, the author of Phantom Alpenfestung? Die geheimen Baupläne der Organisation Todt discovered plans and maps from the Organization Todt, for a real Alpenfestung, the National Redoubt that many of the Allies feared, but was more hype than real.
Efforts were accelerated to perfect the craft in 1944, but work seemed to have been shifted to the development of the Kugelblitz (Round Lightning), a round, symmetrical airplane, quite unlike any previous flying object known in terrestrial aviation history.
Renato Vesco, in his book Intercept, UFO, writes that the Kugelblitz was tested some time in February, 1945 over the great underground complex at Kahla, in Thuringia. As the Allied forces crossed the Rhine, the only craft of its type was destroyed by the SS on instructions from Berlin, to prevent its capture.
Peenemünde was a hive of activity in its heyday, before a major RAF bombing raid in 1943, the biggest British mission of the war, destroyed large sections of the facility.
A9/10 drawing dated June 10, 1941. Hypersonic A9 stage highlighted
Allied intelligence knew that the Germans were working on a "New York Rocket." At least twenty of these large rockets were built at the SS underground base at Nordhausen. What happened to them is one of the enduring mysteries of World War II.
One of the many Third Reich construction projects that was started but never finished was a series of underground complexes in central Thüringen, southeast of the city of Gotha (near the concentration camp at Ohrdruf, the first such camp found by the Americans on German soil). This project had several code names, depending on what part was meant, and the names also changed over time - the following names were used for all or part of this complex - Siegfried, Olga, Burg, Jasmin; the designation S/III was sometimes used for the entire project. The main works were dug into a hill forming the north side of the Jonas Valley, between Crawinkel and Arnstadt. This part of the project was reportedly intended as a last-ditch headquarters facility for Hitler and his staff, should they fall back from Berlin into the interior of Germany (some reports say Hitler actually spent the end of March 1945 in this or another nearby underground Führer Headquarters). Other theories say this or a nearby site were intended for production of the intercontinental "Amerika" rocket, and even testing and production of a Nazi atomic bomb. Most of the complex never advanced much further than the tunnel digging stage, and the Soviets blasted most of the tunnel entrances after the war. The exact purpose of this facility remains in doubt, as does its code-names ("Siegfried" and "Olga" may actually have been names of other sites).
Over 50 feet underground, the installations consisted of two and three stories several miles in length and extending like the spokes of a wheel. The entire hull structure was of massive reinforced concrete. Purpose of the installations was to house the High Command after it was bombed out of Berlin. This places also had paneled and carpeted offices, scores of large work and store rooms, tiled bathrooms with bath tubs and showers, flush toilets, electrically equipped kitchens, decorated dining rooms and mess halls, giant refrigerators, extensive sleeping quarters, recreation rooms, separate bars for officers and enlisted personnel, a moving picture theatre, and air-conditioning and sewage systems.
The Messerschmitt Me-163 rocket fighter aircraft, perhaps better known as the Komet,