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During World War 2, Hitler’s engineers had pioneered an incredible array of futuristic secret weapons, from the Me 262, the first operational jet fighter, to the deadly V2 inter-continental ballistic missile. With the Third Reich shattered and lying in ruins, in the summer of 1945, the Allies launched a frantic race to grab what they saw as the justifiable spoils of war. The Americans and Russians in particular were anxious to secure not only the aircraft and the research and production facilities, but also the key German scientists and engineers. This Nazi technology would define the balance of power in the phoney peace of the Cold War era, launching an arms race that shaped our modern world for decades to come. But what of Britain’s role in this supermarket sweep. The Race for Hitler’s X-Planes tells the untold story of the British mission to Germany.
As WWII drew to a close, Hitler's army was working at a furious pace in the hope of creating and deploying a number of weapons that could potentially have won the war. Many of these lethal inventions were created, refined, and housed in a massive collection of bunkers, buildings, and tunnels scattered over 1,000 acres around the outskirts of the small village of Volkenrode, Germany. Aviation expert John Christopher (Transatlantic Airships) recounts the bounty that greeted Allied soldiers as they made their way through the complex immediately after the war, including experimental plane engines, and prototypes of planes, many of which were produced by slave labor (25,000 inmates died in one factory alone). Integrated into a larger narrative covering the Nazi's research and production efforts throughout the region at impregnable fortresses, Christopher examines the history of notorious weapons like the V-1 Flying Bomb, planes designed for suicide missions and radio-controlled missiles. Military historians and readers interested in the history of air-based warfare will likely get the most out of the book's many specs and technical details, but armchair generals may find the book a little too bogged down in detail to hold their interest.