Operation Big Ben
Sat Dec 25, 2010 09:45


Rocket Extradited

Earlier in World War II, Sweden was mostly known as a close German collaborator.

This was a characteristic of the coalition government under prime minister Per-Albin Hansson, known as "realist politics".

The financial moguls Marcus and Jacob Wallenberg acted as diplomats for Sweden while at the same time carrying out their personal business.

Jacob dealt with the German trade treaties and had arranged for iron ore to be exported to the German war industry.35

The following was also concerned "realist politics": 2 140 000 German soldiers were permitted to go to the Russian war front in Norway through Sweden,36 communists and other dissidents were sent so camps in northern Sweden, hundreds of nazi-critical newspapers were censored, the nazi defector Hermann Rausching's The Voice of Destruction was withdrawn and censored three times,37 and an absolute low-water mark came when the government censored Karl Gerhard's variety Gullregn because a satirical song called The Infamous Horse of Troja was performed.38

For surveillance of the "enemy within", the security police was expanded from 20 to 1000 employees.39

The minister of foreign affairs, Christian Günther wanted to ban the communist party to avoid German dictates on the matter.

However, the German fortunes of war had been declining during 1943 after the battle of Stalingrad and the invasion of Normandy, the D-Day June 6th 1944.

So in this phase of the war, Sweden was closer tied to the allies than to Germany.

British agents were thus allowed to examine the remains of the rocket.

After a request from British scientific intelligence on behalf of R.V. Jones to bring the wreckage to Britain, Günther approved.

The civil servant of the department of foreign affairs, Sven Grafström writes:
I didn't think Günther would approve this, but he did without hesitation.

Whatever you say -- he is beginning to realize where the fortunes of war are heading and slowly begins to apply his often officially declared thesis that in politics, you have to take into account the powers that be.

This thesis has certainly during the first years of the war been eagerly applied to benefit Germany, but now it really looks like he has decided that "der Endsieger" was to recieve it's share.40

The rocket wreckage was then put in twelve boxes and their contents were recorded by Sten Luthander.

The boxes were transported to Bromma airport, and then flown with an American C-47 Dakota to Scotland, and flown from there to London by Bernt Balchen.41

This was how Operation Big Ben started, a British project aimed at pieceing together a V2-rocket from wreckage from different parts of Europe in order to get a complete image of the looks and workings of the rocket.42

According to Sten Wahlström this lead to that:
It also confirmed the conclusions he had drawn earlier during 1943 based on agent reports and aerial photographs.

The rocket was no more the figment of the brain that Lord Cherwell, the scientific advisor of Churchill, had hitherto believed it to be....

(...) the scientist R.V. Jones att the British air command could create his own image of the rocket and make a sketch of it's looks.

It also confirmed the conclusions he had drawn earlier during 1943 based on agent reports and aerial photographs.


The Bäckebo Bomb

In the middle of the forest, at gräsdals gård in Knivingaryd, close to Bäckebo north of Nybro in Småland, on June 13th 1944 (the same day the Germans fired the V-1 missile at London for the first time) at about 15.00 hours, test rocket A-4 number 4089 from Peenemünde exploded at a hight of 1500 meters

The British intelligence reconstruction of the V-2 rocket, the technical details inside the rocket has been reconstructed almost exclusively from the Bäckebo-rocket


However the radio surveillance station installed in Ottenby, approved by the Swedish government, kept intercepting rocket guidance systems until Peenemünde was occupied by [Russian] troops the first days of February 1945. "

The airburst of the Backebo missile misleads the Swedes into thinking that the missile is designed to explode above the ground and disintegrate

(See 29 May 47)

Same Day - First German V-1 launches against England
Psychological Warfare

The strength of the V-2 rocket was its psychological effects.

The rocket would fall and hit its target at a speed of 3600 kilometers an hour.

This meant, of course, that when you heard the scream of the falling missile cutting through the air, you knew you were a survivor; the victims never heard the missile.

The repetitive "retaliation cries" were supposed to terrify the population even though the actual impacts didn't kill that many.

V-2 was thus a refined terror weapon, aimed at the civilian population.

The Third Reich failed in recognizing the uniqueness of their rocket developments.

Apart from exterminating all rocket societies (those not engaged in government rocketry had to be destroyed, this was the ways of nazi Germany)12 the program was pressed for results in unshakable conviction that the Americans were already working on an just as advanced rocket program.13

The Americans were however mostly rushing their nuclear program Manhattan in Los Alamos, while the Japaneese were wildly developing biological weaponry at the infamous Unit 731. All three countries were convinced that all the others were already doing exactly what they did, and that they were lagging behind.

All three were wrong. The allies knew the Germans were experts in chemical warfare; they had invented the nerve gases Tabun and Sarin, but the Germans didn't know about their uniqueness, and thus didn't dare use nerve gases in the war, afraid that the nerve gas production capability of the allies would surpass their own, and they would commit a tactical mistake by introducing them.14

And so the Third Reich developed a ballistic missile, V-2, which was largely strategically useless without the technology posessed by the others.

A ballistic missile like V-2 was simply too expensive compared to a conventional bomb, and the rocket program devoured resources that could have been used in much better ways (from a German perspective).

The real value of a ballistic missile would not come about until you equipped it with a nuclear- or chemical warhead. The conventional TNT warheads were no strategic advantage.

The German rocket program is still fascinating.

The extraordinary speed at which innovations took place which would take decades for the superpowers to copy, experiments aimed at air defence (Wasserfall), tests of firing V-2:s off submarines to reach American cities, etcetera.

Most innovations were too late for any serial production during World War 2.

Instead the rocket was to become a part of the arms race insanity during the cold war.

So already in 1944 the scope of mans destructive power was surfacing to those witnessing the "Bäckebo bomb" -- Henry Kjellson writes in his report that the rocket looks expensive and that:
Such an expensive aerial torpedo, the manufacturing cost of which surely exceeds 250.000 SKR, must bring a considerable blast power.

Using normal explosives the approximated weight of 1000 kg is far too small and should be 2000 or 3000 kg, but if a more powerful explosive than known should exist, a weight of 1000 kg may be acceptable.

In Swedish papers there has been reports about an explosive, the power of which should be 60 vs 2,5 for common explosives, which could destroy all buildings and life in a circle with a radius of 5 km.48

And in Kalmar läns tidning, the editor writes:
Maybe bombs of this kind will not make much noise in this war.

It can be over, before the rocket bomb is completed. But the existence of such devices allows us to anticipate, what will happen in the next world war.

Despite the enormous development of destructive weapons, we seem to have only just started.

A view of the future such that a country, that wants revenge, may in a few short lapses of time devastate an entire country with rocket bombs or something like it, is apparently something to take into account.49

And thus began the fear that my generation knows as the fear of the cold war.

1 Jul 46- Crossroads Able, Bikini - the fourth US nuclear detonation - a Fat Man bomb dropped by a B-29 of USAAF 509th Bomb Wing. Forrestal

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    • Operation Big Ben — pjrsullivan, Sat Dec 25 09:45
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