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A good overview of the "wonder weapons"

Germany's Secret Weapons of World War II - Roger Ford

One of the more popular subjects among World War II aficionados is that of the Wunderwaffen, the exotic weaponry that the Germans developed over the course of the war. Though these advanced and at times even revolutionary munitions were developed too late to win the war for Germany (and it is arguable whether they could have even if they had been introduced sooner), they shaped the evolution of weapons and warfare right down to the present day.


Roger Ford's book is not a comprehensive examination of these weapons. What he does instead is examine German wartime weapons development in a number of categories, from jet aircraft and missile technology to tanks and submarines. In each he focuses primarily upon the designs that were pursued to the prototype or early production stage, explaining how they were developed that the obstacles that blocked or delayed their introduction to service. In doing so, he helps to explain the technological and bureaucratic challenges that inhibited their use, as well as the flamboyant nature of some of the weapons (such as the massive "Schwere Gustav" cannon) that that were so impractical as to be wasteful curiosities.


Well argued and supported by numerous illustrations, Ford's book is is an excellent resource for anyone interested in learning more about Germany's secret weapons. His analysis of the weapons' value and their influence on postwar development is particularly good, and while at times he can be a little opinionated (he is really contemptuous of the Tiger tank), its blatantness is actually a plus, as it helps to identify more clearly where his biases lay. Overall, this is a good book and one that should be read by anyone seeking to understand both Germany's "wonder weapons" and their legacy for modern warfare.