Luftwaffe Over America: the Secret Plans to Bomb the United States in World War II
Luftwaffe Over America: the Secret Plans to Bomb the United States in World War II, Manfred Griehl with translation by Geoffrey Brooks, 2004, ISBN 1 85367 608 X, 256 pp.
Readers undoubtedly will be first interested in this book with its promise of the story behind Hitler’s Amerika Bomber Project during World War II—the Luftwaffe’s marching orders to bring destruction to the United States with the objective not of strategic mayhem but dilution of European war effort by deploying antiaircraft defenses on the Home Front.
Readers will be more than satisfied by the knowledge shared by Griehl—and readers will be astonished by the complete story revealed by Griehl. The breadth and depth of the Luftwaffe’s planning with enrapture readers, history students, strategic planning specialists as well as what-if-thinkers.
The German war machine did not lack for imagination and it shows in Luftwaffe Over America. Griehl has names, dates, quotes, context, drawings and photos in support of his research presented. Of course, the three Amerika Bombers are addressed completely—the Messerschmitt Me 264 (6½ ton warload), the Junkers Ju 390 (5 ton warload) and Heinkel He 277 (3 ton warload).
Though the Luftwaffe plans included so much more as solutions were chased down:
- Silbervogel—a rocket propelled glide bomb skipping across the stratosphere
- Increasing range of land based aircraft by towing fuel laden gliders
- Increasing the range of long distance flying boats by refueling at sea with U-boats
- Submarine towing of V-2 laden barges to be flooded at launch, effectively erecting the rocket
- Many more fighter, bomber and weapon designs
Luftwaffe Over America illustrates, on one hand, the Luftwaffe’s engineering creativity as well as imagination. On the other hand, Griehl’s book demonstrates the Luftwaffe’s lack of central controlling authority over these projects, which appeared required to be successful. The Allies developed strategic bombers where the Axis powers failed and that, too, is made clear in Luftwaffe Over America.