American Raiders: The Race to Capture the Luftwaffe's Secrets [NOOK Book]

Overview

At the close of World War II, Allied forces faced frightening new German secret weapons--buzz bombs, V-2s, and the first jet fighters. When Hitler's war machine began to collapse, the race was on to snatch these secrets before the Soviet Red Army found them.

The last battle of World War II, then, was not for military victory but for the technology of the Third Reich. In American Raiders: The Race to Capture the Luftwaffe's Secrets Wolfgang Samuel assembles from official Air ...

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American Raiders: The Race to Capture the Luftwaffe's Secrets

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Overview

At the close of World War II, Allied forces faced frightening new German secret weapons--buzz bombs, V-2s, and the first jet fighters. When Hitler's war machine began to collapse, the race was on to snatch these secrets before the Soviet Red Army found them.

The last battle of World War II, then, was not for military victory but for the technology of the Third Reich. In American Raiders: The Race to Capture the Luftwaffe's Secrets Wolfgang Samuel assembles from official Air Force records and survivors' interviews the largely untold stories of the disarmament of the once mighty Luftwaffe and of Operation Lusty--the hunt for Nazi technologies.

In April 1945 American armies were on the brink of winning their greatest military victory, yet America's technological backwardness was shocking when measured against that of the retreating enemy. Senior officers, including the Commanding General of the Army Air Forces Henry Harley "Hap" Arnold, knew all too well the seemingly overwhelming victory was less than it appeared. There was just too much luck involved in its outcome.

Two intrepid American Army Air Forces colonels set out to regain America's technological edge. One, Harold E. Watson, went after the German jets; the other, Donald L. Putt, went after the Nazis' intellectual capital--their world-class scientists.

With the help of German and American pilots, Watson brought the jets to America; Putt persevered as well and succeeded in bringing the German scientists to the Army Air Forces' aircraft test and evaluation center at Wright Field. A young P-38 fighter pilot, Lloyd Wenzel, a Texan of German descent, then turned these enemy aliens into productive American citizens--men who built the rockets that took America to the moon, conquered the sound barrier, and laid the foundation for America's civil and military aviation of the future.

American Raiders: The Race to Capture the Luftwaffe's Secrets details the contest won, a triumph that shaped America's victories in the Cold War.

Wolfgang W. E. Samuel, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel, is the author of German Boy: A Refugee's Story, I Always Wanted to Fly: America's Cold War Airmen, and The War of Our Childhood: Memories of World War II, all published by University Press of Mississippi. He lives in Fairfax Station, Virginia.

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Editorial Reviews

Mark Lewis
Samuel's book is more for Air Force buffs than for the general reader, but it does offer an eye-catching comment from Gen. Henry "Hap" Arnold, the wartime Army Air Forces chief.
The Washington Post
From the Publisher

"Hitler might have achieved [his] gruesome aim if his nuclear physicists had been able to produce a bomb. Fortunately they failed, but the Allies still had plenty of high-tech Nazi weapons to fight over in the spring and summer of 1945. One obvious target: the Me 262 jet fighter, which with its unmatchable speed might have won the air war for the Germans, had it appeared sooner. In American Raiders: The Race to Capture the Luftwaffe's Secrets, Samuel tells how a group of American pilots scoured Germany for jets, surface-to-air missiles, and other Luftwaffe treasures, which became the basis for America's technological rejuvenation and eventually helped the United States win the Cold War."

--Washington Post Book World

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781604731361
  • Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
  • Publication date: 5/4/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 757,270
  • File size: 6 MB

Meet the Author

Wolfgang W. E. Samuel, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel, is the author of German Boy: A Refugee's Story, I Always Wanted to Fly: America's Cold War Airmen, and The War of Our Childhood: Memories of World War II, all published by University Press of Mississippi. He lives in Fairfax Station, Virginia.

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments ix
Abbreviations xv
1. The Way Things Were--1945 3
2. The German Jets 13
3. Jet Encounters 29
4. The Defiant Few 40
5. Colonel Harold E. Watson 50
6. The 1st Tactical Air Force (Provisional) 72
7. Organizing to Disarm the Luftwaffe 86
8. Operation Lusty 95
9. Solving the Japanese Riddle 107
10. A Mother Lode of Aviation Technology 123
11. The Secrets of Volkenrode and Kochel 143
12. The Feudin' 54th 161
13. Watson Picks His Team 178
14. Lager Lechfeld 188
15. P-47 Jug Pilots 198
16. Watson's Whizzers 212
17. The Merseburg Fan Club 232
18. Project Seahorse 248
19. Melun-Villaroche 262
20. Roast Duck at Aalborg 279
21. The Arado 234 Caper 291
22. So Far, So Good 299
23. The Conquering Hero 310
24. The Focke-Wulf 190 Tragedy 328
25. Air Shows and Air Races 344
26. The Birth of Project Overcast 353
27. Project Overcast and One Man's Experience 371
28. From Overcast to Paperclip 382
29. How Captain Wenzel Made American Citizens Out of Enemy Aliens 400
30. The Way Things Changed 422
Afterword: What Became of All These Good Men? 443
Notes 452
Sources 479
Index 485
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