The Spoils of War: Second World War Aircraft Technology
As the Allies pushed further into Europe after the Normandy landings – they began coming across extremely advanced technological sites. Naturally much of what was being discovered was already suspected by Allied Technical Intelligence agencies, like Britain’s A.I.2.(g) and A.D.I.(k) – who dealt with analyzing Axis aviation technology and Axis aviation human intelligence (i.e. interrogating captured German pilots, technicians and engineers) respectively. However the information they began to find made it clear that a huge bounty of aviation technology awaited them. In 1945 the Allies sent innumerable technical intelligence teams into Germany to recover this information, by this stage the Allied efforts had separated not only into Russia and the Western Allies but into each country for himself; although a limited number of missions were conducted jointly between the USA, UK and France.
The story of this mission is a book in itself, but needless to say that almost every single un-burned document of any scientific significance related to Aviation technology was captured, evaluated and stored in Britain, the USA, France and the USSR. The French and Russian finds, were and still are almost hidden from view. This situation is changing slowly.
In the UK and USA, the situation is happily considerably better.
In a dusty building on an old airfield in England – is a room housing millions of pages of original German technical aviation research papers. Everything from the necessary equations to design the most efficient propellers, synthetic fuels, to infra-red night vision goggles to high performance piston engine development is still stored – patiently waiting to be studied and read. In addition to the paper records – are thousands upon thousands of 35mm microfilm reels. Each contains between 500 and 1000 pages of text and images of German research on aviation dating well back to early 1930`s.
It is a monumental treasure trove – of inestimable technical and historical value. Having spent around two solid months there researching for my book, I estimate that its worth represents around 30,000 man-years of high-level scientific and engineering research (over 1600 Germans were taken back to the USA after 1945 to work on research in America, approximately the same number sent to the USSR and a smaller number to France – at least 4000 scientists and engineers in Germany in 1945 were engaged in high level aviation research by this time, and over a period of over a decade of papers stored, an absolute minimum time to reproduce their work might be around 3000 persons x 10 years).
The paper collection shown above, is almost certainly unique in the world. It is joined by a huge microfilm collection which was originally put together my US Technical Intelligence.
This microfilm collection has only one other known (partial) duplicate in existence, and I am currently seeking funding to assist in the collection being digitised to safeguard its future, and enable its content to be more widely accessible. The minimum cost to do so is around $30,000 – US, any parties interested in participating in the preservation and access to one of the worlds most valuable aviation collections should contact me here:
Below is a slideshow of a tiny selection of the content on this microfilm collection. The full index (as above) contains around 50,000 reports, covering almost every significant German and Japanese Aircraft and Engine – as well as countless specialized technical research papers on most scientific fields related to their development – fuels, superchargers, jet engines, etc. There is a reasonable volume of material on the rarer aircraft like the Me163, Ju288 and Ju388 and many others.