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3 smart World War II Allied trophies that were worth more than gold bars
3 smart World War II Allied trophies that were worth more than gold bars

The Second World War ended in early September 1945 with the signing of an act of unconditional surrender by the Japanese. Earlier, in the month of May, Nazi Germany surrendered. The winners are still "friends", but they are already beginning to secretly seek out and share trophies of war. And the main ones were by no means jewelry or works of art: the world was entering a new era, where “smart” trophies were valued much more than gold bars.


After the painful defeats at Stalingrad and in Africa, the leadership of Nazi Germany in mid-1943 already clearly understood that no "blitzkrieg" would pass. And the Reich needs to prepare for a protracted military campaign - the defense not only of the occupied lands, but, possibly, of the "Fatherland" itself. All this required building up the German "military machine" with fundamentally new types of weapons. After all, some of the newest samples of the enemy began to significantly surpass those models with which the Wehrmacht unleashed the war.

In 1943, the Germans realized that they needed to create new types of weapons

This situation became the reason for the decision of the top of the Third Reich to return to the militaristic developments of many scientists who were at the front at that time. Secret lists of such "minds" began to be created. One of such documents, which later fell into the hands of the Allies, in May 1943 was drawn up by the head of the Defense Research Association and one of the Kriegsmarine weapons contractors - the Nazi German Navy, Professor Werner Osenberg.

Valuable information fell into the hands of the British intelligence service MI-6, which, having restored all the "gaps", transferred the lists to American military intelligence. Using the information received, the US intelligence services found and removed from occupied Germany nearly 2,000 engineers, technicians and scientists. For most of them, new personalities are created, destroying all evidence of previous cooperation with the Nazis, and also fully providing them and their families with everything they need.

Americans register German scientists before being sent to the USA

Keeping up with the Americans and the USSR: military intelligence, together with the NKVD, is actively working with "human scientific potential" in its occupation zone. As a result of the secret operation "Osoaviakhim" in just one night, from October 21 to October 22, 1946, 2,200 German scientists were exported to the Soviet Union: opticians, radio technicians, rocket scientists, chemists and nuclear scientists. In a country that was still in ruins, "trophy minds" were allocated comfortable sanatoriums in Abkhazia, personal housing was built and supplied with truly "royal" rations at that time.

Hugo Schmeisser and others

In 2017, a monument to the legendary weapons designer Mikhail Kalashnikov was unveiled in Moscow. On it you can see the scheme of the German assault rifle from the Second World War Sturmgewehr-44. Thus, even citizens far from weapons and history learned about the work of the "captured gunsmith" Hugo Schmeisser at KB "Izhevsk", as well as about the controversy of the influence of the German engineer on the creation of the legendary AK-47 assault rifle.

Hugo Schmeisser and Mikhail Kalashnikov

And even if we assume that the export to the USSR of all the technical documentation for the StG-44 and ready-made samples of this automatic assault rifle, as well as the striking similarity of the gas vent system and the method of disassembling the fractured receiver of the German Sturmgewehr and the Soviet Kalashnikov,are just a coincidence - there are enough other examples of the USSR borrowing the engineering thought of German weapons engineers.

For example, a steam turbine aircraft engine, invented in the Third Reich for the needs of the Luftwaffe, was adapted in the Soviet Union to create torpedoes that armed the fastest submarine of Project 617. Moreover, these torpedoes, created by the German engineer Franz Statezky, were in service with the USSR Navy (and Russia) until the 1990s.

Submarine of project 617 with a steam turbine engine

On the development of jet aviation in the USSR, two design bureaus worked, which were almost completely staffed by scientists of the Third Reich. The deputy director in Dessau was O. Droyse, the general designer was Hans Ressing. In addition, 9 out of 14 shop managers are former engineers of German aviation enterprises. The practical experience of the Germans was widely used in the creation of the first jet fighter aircraft in the USSR - the Yak-15 and MiG-9.

But the most significant contribution to the creation of the latest Soviet weapons was the work of German "captured minds" on the creation of the atomic bomb.

Baron von Ardenne's team

After the end of the war, in Abkhazia, on the basis of 2 sanatoriums "Agudzera" and "Sinop", the Sukhum Institute of Physics and Technology was created. It had a "star" team of scientists who had never crossed paths in Germany: the 1925 Nobel laureate in physics Gustav Hertz, Max Steenbeck (who had been working on the creation of an electron accelerator since 1936), and the Knight's Cross of the Third Reich, a participant in the Nazi nuclear program, physicist, Baron Manfred von Ardenne.

Manfred von Ardenne

All conditions were created for the Germans: not only material, but also technical. The Soviet Union removed from defeated Germany about 200 tons of metal and almost 15 tons of finished enriched uranium, hundreds of technical documents, over 300 technical personnel and the very principle of operation of the world's first industrial nuclear reactor.

While working in the USSR, the Germans became the "authors" of about 800 patents in the nuclear industry, were the first on the planet to create a gas diffusion centrifuge for uranium enrichment, and developed measuring instruments. It is now believed that thanks to the contribution of German "captured" engineers and the resources of the Third Reich, the Soviet Union was able to create its atomic bomb 1.5 years faster. By the way, the former Nazi Baron Manfred von Ardenne was awarded 2 Stalin Prizes for his work.

Werner von Braun

Another baron of the German Empire, SS Sturmbannführer - Werner von Braun, in the Reich was engaged in the creation of jet engines and missiles. He was sentenced in absentia in the UK to the gallows for striking London with FAU-2 missiles, but escaped punishment by surrendering to the Americans. In the United States, Wernher von Braun is rightfully considered the "father of American astronautics." Initially, however, he and his team worked to create ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons as well.

Werner von Braun

Such was the American Redstone rocket, which for a long time played one of the key roles of the "European nuclear shield". The tasks of "Redstone" included strikes on the rear of the Soviet troops in the event of their offensive to the West. If we talk about "peaceful space exploration", then Redstone became the launch vehicle for the first ever American satellite Explorer. Under the leadership of von Braun, rockets were created that carried people to the moon on the Apollo missions.

If we talk about the US missile program as a whole, then several more "captured minds" were working on it. For example, Herbert Wagner, the engineer who created the Henschel HS 293 guided aerial bomb for the Luftwaffe, was developing control systems for American missiles. Another former Luftwaffe "employee" (head of the Nazi German Air Force Medical Center), Hubertus Struggold, was actively involved in the creation of a capsule for spaceships and a spacesuit for astronauts into outer space.

Wolfgang Pilatz, Paul Gercke and others

For Egypt (more precisely, the regime of its president Abdel Nasser), former colleagues of Wernher von Braun, who fled to the western occupation zone, through the Intra firm in Munich, created the Al-Kaheer combat missile - "Conqueror". By paying Wolfgang Pilatz, Paul Gerke and their other colleagues $ 500 million, Egypt received an exact copy of the German FAU - the missile was capable of carrying almost a ton of explosives and could cover targets from Beirut to the Sinai Peninsula. In total, it was planned to create about 400 such missiles.

Egyptian missile "Al-Qahir" was a copy of the German FAU

With this power, Egypt could count on the complete destruction of its "inconvenient neighbor" - Israel. After the information about “the creation of missiles for the Arab dictator by former SS engineers” became known to wide circles, as well as the beginning of a real hunt for Intra employees by the Mossad, this missile program was suspended. The same Al-Qahirs that were already ready for launches were completely destroyed by Israeli aircraft during the Six Day War in 1966.

Ishii Shiro and Masaji Kitano

Beginning in 1932, the creation of bacteriological weapons was in full swing in Japan. Doctors and microbiologists of the Land of the Rising Sun were united into 2 secret divisions - "detachments" 100 and 731. It is difficult to describe what inhuman experiments were carried out on people - mainly prisoners of war.

Ishii Shiro and Unit 731

After Japan's surrender in September 1945, the former head of the biological weapons directorate of the Kwantung Army, Lieutenant General Ishii Shiro, as well as his direct subordinate Masaji Kitano, the leader of "Detachment 731", offer their developments to the Americans to escape the gallows. At Fort Detrick, Maryland, Shiro and Kitano, along with a team of former Japanese military virologists, continued work on new strains of biological weapons, as well as their means of delivery.

However, the "captured" Japanese microbiologists worked not only for military purposes. So, one of the former officers of the "701" unit, military doctor Ryochi Naito, later headed the pharmaceutical corporation Green Cross. It was she who in the 1970s invented and launched on the market "Fluozol" - the world's first artificial blood preparation.

Ryochi Naito

After World War II, most industries have made a real evolutionary breakthrough. And this is the great merit of the "captured minds" - highly qualified specialists from the "Axis countries" captured or voluntarily emigrated in the post-war years. Countries that at the beginning of the war "sworn allies" - the United States and the USSR, planned to simply destroy.

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