They were not about to under calculate the program that nearly mastered the globe. Sure, the so-called expert competition was a belief, but the nazis were a powerful attacker to say the least. No one realized what, if anything,they would discover in Antarctica. An whole region about as huge as the U.S. and European countries put together. To this day we know very little about it I think.
There were a lot of crazy rumors going around at the end of the war. One was that the Nazis were prepared to hole up in a secret underground base in the mountains and keep the war going indefinitely. As the Allied armies advanced, the stories got bigger and bigger. At the end they supposedly had fully equipped underground cities with airplane factories, stocks of bombs, weapons etc.
Of course it all turned out to be hooey but a lot of top military intelligence people took it seriously and convinced the high command that it was possible.
I got the information from a book written at the end of the war by a war correspondent who got the story from military intelligence. Apparently he heard talk during the invasion and later had it confirmed that the top brass took it seriously though it was top secret at the time.
Not an uncommon topic on *Coast to Coast*
Hey, Gimme my hat!
There are some true stories about U Boats fleeing to Argentina but some of the documentation is sketchy. The best 'all in one lump' account is Heinz Schaeffer's U-Boat 977. He claims to have been defecting but the war ended before he got there. Another U-Boat had already arrived and this embarrassed the Argentinians who locked the 977 crew up. Not too long afterward I believe a South American journalist started the Antarctica myth by writing a fanciful story about a 'ghost convoy' of subs that ferried Hitler to the southern land. There were MANY pieces of wish fulfillment literature of this nature written after the war ... especially by Germans.
It could be that the 977 did something just before surrendering to Argentina ... but I think it much more likely that they dropped off people or money on the southern Argentine coast then turned themselves in. There are some odd moments in the book and it does seem likely that the whole story is not there.
That said, Antarctic colonies require HUGE inputs of material, food, fuel, etc. Materials that Germany simply didn't have to waste on what would have been a base at the end of the longest war time supply line on earth. Supplying such a base from submarines (the only way to have slipped the blockade) would have taken a huge fleet. Subs of the time, even the big Type IX were barely large enough to perform their intended missions. When you read the lengths that the 977 went to to reach just Argentina (bilges filled with fuel, etc) you see how much of an effort it was ... and how much they were taking their lives in their hands. Submariners were convinced they would be found to be war criminals and thus had reason to flee, not that it did them any good.
The Germans had some amazing ideas during the late war period, the US and USSR's scientific communities spent the next 20 years perfecting many of them. But they weren't very good at building them in even modest numbers. Their Type XXI subs, possibly the most ground breaking ship of the war were quite poorly assembled. German industry was not oriented to mass producing things in sections and it didn't help that they were getting the c--p bombed out of them the whole time. The level of execution of damn near everything suffered terribly toward the end of the war.
German Secret Weapons of WWII by Lusar is kind of fun too. There are even pictures of some amazing and silly (a tank so big it couldn't cross bridges or drive in most terrain) stuff that actually got built. You get the feeling that after awhile they were just trying to believe this junk would make a difference or that the Allies would see it and be so impressed they'd just give up. They were good at putting on a show and creating symbols ... good for scaring your neighbors but once you are in a war scaring people isn't enough. My opinion is that the Nazis started losing right around the time they started fighting a real war ... it just took everyone, including Germany, a while to realize it. Most of their "victories" had a political component like in Austria, Czechoslovakia, in Poland they traded 1/3 of the country to the Russians, even though France fought they had some like minded Frenchmen there. 1941, year of the Axis's bonehead moves.
Fun stuff for fiction though ...
We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams
Actually, what was said was TRUE, but not the WHOLE TRUTH. The Nazi's were prepared to hole up at the Eagle's Nest in Berchtesgaden, but Hitler decided to end it all. I'm not really sure how much company he'd have had anyway. They also had underground facilities with airplane factories, stocks of bombs, weapons etc. Not really CITIES, but factories that you couldn't bomb.
From what I've seen, no real cities that you could live in for any period. Most of the aircraft factories that were underground, didn't appear to have living facilities. They were pretty good at decentralizing their factories too, but we had too many bombs etc.
It's also true that the military intelligence over-estimated the Nazi preparedness etc. Imagine that...
Last edited by 1961MJS; 09-07-2012 at 03:56 PM.
Groucho Marx said it best:
“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying all the wrong remedies.”
Although I suspect not entirely formulated for technology-gathering, Operation Paperclip and its equivalents launched by UK, France and Russia, suggest that the German science/engineering was worth sharing and using.
Also, they didn't lose because a myth was bust wide open: they lost because of lack of resources and strategic stretch.
Given the life in this thread, is there a lot of interest in FL in the Weird World War II genre? I'm just getting back into wargaming after over a decade away rom the hobby, and this is one of the things I am building a force for, specifically Westwind Productions' Secrets of the Third Reich game. Set in 1949, this envisages an alternative history where the Nazis, in response to D-Day, launched a new chemical weapon which ravaged much of Europe, causing zombies. Nazis (and Soviets) can marshall zombie troops on the field. It also works in elements of alien/advanced technology in exoskeletons, two-legged and multi-legged "walking" tanks, and so on. The Nazi interest in the occult is reflected in the appearance in game (on multiple sides) of vampires, werewolves, and so on. Cracking stuff if you like your alternative history on the pulpy side.
If in doubt - overdress.