Wunderwaffe (German pronunciation: [ˈvʊndɐˌvafə]) is German for "wonder-weapon" and was a term assigned during World War II by the Third Reichpropaganda ministry to a few revolutionary "superweapons". Most of these weapons however remained more or less feasible prototypes, or reached the combat theater too late, and in too insignificant numbers (if at all) to have a military effect. A derisive abbreviation of the term emerged: Wuwa, pronounced "voo-vah".
The V-weapons, which were developed earlier and saw considerable deployment (especially against London and Antwerp), trace back to the same pool of highly inventive armament concepts. Therefore, they are also included here.
In Germany, the term Wunderwaffe is still used today to describe a powerful tool.
Heinkel He 111Z – a five engined Zwilling (twin fuselage) aircraft created by combining two He 111s and designed to tow large gliders
Heinkel He 274 – a high altitude heavy bomber with four in-line engines with a range of 3,440 km, two completed by France after the war
Heinkel He 277 – a planned, advanced long range bomber design, never built as a complete aircraft, evolved to be an Amerika Bomber candidate, to be powered with four BMW 801 radial engines and up to 11,000 km range
Junkers Ju 390 – an Amerika Bomber candidate with six radial engines with a range of 9,700 km, two airworthy prototypes built and flown
Junkers Ju 488 – a heavy bomber with four radial engines with a range of 3,395 km
Among the directed-energy weapons the Nazis investigated were x-ray beam weapons developed under Heinz Schmellenmeier, Richard Gans and Fritz Houtermans. They built an electron accelerator called Rheotron (invented by Max Steenbeck at Siemens-Schuckert in the 1930s, these were later called betatrons by the Americans) to generate hard x-ray synchrotron beams for the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM). The intent was to pre-ionize ignition in aircraft engines and hence serve as an anti-aircraft DEW and bring planes down into the reach of flak.[clarification needed] The rheotron was captured by the Americans in Burggrub on April 14, 1945.
Another approach was Ernst Schiebolds 'Röntgenkanone' developed from 1943 in Großostheim near Aschaffenburg. The Company Richert Seifert & Co from Hamburg delivered parts.
^Willy Ley, "V-2: Rocket Cargo Ship" Astounding Science Fiction, May 1945, repr. Famous Science-Fiction Stories: Adventures in Time and Space, (ed. J. Francis McComas, Raymond J. Healy, , 1957), p. 359.
Reiner Merkel: Hans Kammler – Manager des Todes, 2010 August von Goethe Literaturverlag, Frankfurt am Main, ISBN 978-3-8372-0817-7.