Busting the Myth of Nazi Super-Science


New member
Nov 9, 2009
Robert Rath said:
the well-worn trope of "Nazi super-science" - still retains some troubling subtext.

In short: it gives the Nazis too much credit
I don't understand. Why is it the end of the world if we give credit to the Nazi for their scientific progress? You do realize that the engineers weren't a part of the SS, right? Not everyone in Nazi Germany was a morally reprehensible Jew hunter.


New member
Nov 6, 2008
Kleft said:
This article makes no sense surely. It sets out to demonstrate that nazi (german surely?) technological superiority is a myth, and then goes on to proove that it was not.

While wartime Germany absolutely did see scientific advances, they were hardly the only ones to make great technical leaps during the war. While the United States, Japan and Great Britain inaugurated the age of the aircraft carrier, Germany never managed to finish one. - Production issue.

The British developed ASDIC sonar technology for anti-submarine warfare and won the Battle of Britain partially due to the use of an advanced RADAR air defense system. - just because the british invented some pretty nifty things, doesnt mean the germans did not (everyone did)

The Soviets developed the Katyusha rocket launcher - nebelwerfer is probably comparable, and again just because the russians came up with something nifty doesnt mean the germans didnt either.

the T-34 - by far the best and most cost-effective tank of the period - well, by what standards? the russians had the men and materials to spam out an inferior tank, i mean, its a great design, but 1 on 1 the panther or the tiger or the tiger 2 is simply superior. They fell into problems due to production problems and simply getting swamped by the allied numerical superiority in arms and men. The t34 was the right choice for the russians but it was not technically superior.

But if you're looking for the war's true scientific superpower, look no further than the United States - who exited the war with a real life super-weapon that could level whole cities. - yea ok.

Contrasted with the devastation of atomic weapons, Nazi wunderwaffe look fairly paltry. Though V-2 rockets and buzzbombs terrorized London, they had minimal military effect. - doesnt mean they werent technologically significant and advanced.

The same goes for rocket and jet-powered aircraft, which never saw use in large numbers and more frequently died on the runway than in the air. - just, not really true at all. (well maybe of the 163, but of the 162 and 262 just not true).

On top of that, there was a major gap between Germany's scientific research and its manufacturing capability. - this really just sums up in your own words why the article makes no sense.

Despite developing an assault rifle, for example, most German infantrymen still carried a bolt-action rifle when Berlin fell, - but their infrantry light machineguns were where the firepower from the inftantry was sourced. Compared the rate of fire of an mg42 and an american .30 cal. Two different methods of achieving the same result.

erman tanks, often specialized to specific roles, didn't have interchangeable parts - so you couldn't scrap a damaged Tiger to repair a Panther - causing logistics nightmares as supply trains had to haul redundant parts. - poor logistics is not poor technology.

In fact many German weapons suffered from overdesign, making them too expensive to use in sufficient numbers. - same as before really, your saying one thing is bad but then making a completely different point.

Fact is the Germans did not have the weight of men or materials the allies had, so quality over quantity was made a priority forcing them to produce some of the most advanced designs of the war, from the start to the very end, and that is where the idea of nazi super science came from imo. (just google image the ho229, i mean look at that thing).

The allies however chose to go down the quantity route, producing large numbers of shermans and t34's and the like to achieve victory.

Im not one to sing the praises of the Nazi's or anything, but the attitude that just because something is german from 1939-1945 it MUST BE NAZI (and therefore we cant give them ANY credit) is pretty stupid.
This guy gets it. The article was pretty stupid all round. None of the Allied nations would have kept pace if they were subjected to the same level of strategic bombing. Even with all the logistical problems, Germany had, The Allies admitted at the end of the war that in many respects German engineering was a full 10 years ahead of everybody else.

They just blew everything on ineffectual wonder weapons instead of mass producing stuff that 'would do' like the Allies did.

As for Nazi super-science in games and movies, it generally makes me sad. You can create endlessly fascinating stories and situations surrounding WW2 without having to resort to such flights of fancy. The use of jetpacks and mecha suits only seems to illustrate a lack of ideas on the part of the creator for creating a compelling narrative within the constraints of the real world. This is why Aliens often seem such a cop out in games too.


Ravenous Gormandizer
Oct 23, 2008
Torque2100 said:
Agayek is half right.

A faction in World War 2 abandoning all sense of ethics in the conduct of Human experimentation DID actually lead to rapid and tangible gains in the field of Medical Science. However, it wasn't the Nazis or Dr. Mengele.

That nation was Japan, and the organization that conducted said Unethical research was Unit 731. Unit 731 used Chinese civilians and later American and British POWs in horrific medical experiments that would have horrified Dr. Mengele. Researchers deliberately infected subjects with diseases or subjected them to bombs and then performed live vivisections with no anesthesia in order to study the effects of disease or shrapnel wounds on living tissue. The Japanese Empire hoped to discover a virus or bacterium that could be weaponized. Instead, when Japan was defeated, Unit 731's research was captured by the US and eventually made its way into the private sector where it revolutionized our understanding of epidemiology.
Ahh, yeah that rings a bell. I was confusing Mengele with 731, that makes sense.

Thanks for clarifying.


New member
Sep 8, 2008
Squilookle said:
As for Nazi super-science in games and movies, it generally makes me sad. You can create endlessly fascinating stories and situations surrounding WW2 without having to resort to such flights of fancy. The use of jetpacks and mecha suits only seems to illustrate a lack of ideas on the part of the creator for creating a compelling narrative within the constraints of the real world. This is why Aliens often seem such a cop out in games too.
True, but then that counts very much on your style as a writer, what you enjoy writing and the tone. (This is just going from what I've read) Wolfenstien, while it has dark elements, tis a silly story, the writer clearly just wanted to write an over top the story with jetpacks and mechas, under the Nazi backdrop in an alternative universe.

Writing a grounded WW2 story using the real events is a completely different ball game, both in tone, skill and elements involved. At the end of the day, a good story will be a good story, regardless of whether you stick it in realistic historical wrappings or crazy Nazi mecha ones. Not that I'm saying Wolfenstein is a master piece of writing, but you get my point. Not every story needs to be realistic.

Heck, Spec Ops the line was an excellent piece of military fiction, and how well did it sell? Fucking awfully, in the AAA world you gotta do what sells. What's in Spec Ops isn't on most peoples plates, they don't want an introspective complex story about the nature of morality,what it means to be human and the meaning of duty, most people want to unwind and they want to shoot space Nazis. Which is fine, I'd be lying if I said I didnt enjoy shooting Nazis.

That and it /is/ Wolfenstien, I expect crazyness and popcorn when I play it, not expert prose and fine wine.


New member
Jan 14, 2009
A cursory search of WWII history will bring up reference to the Thule Society and the Wunderwaffe. And as much as the reality of these things may have amounted to little more than propaganda, and hokum they do serve as a fun springboard for all sorts of period specific stories.

Indiana Jones, Hellboy, Weird War II, Captain America, Wolfenstein, Gear Kreig, Sky Captain, Mr. Monster, Rocket Ship Galileo, Bionic Commando etc...etc.

Maybe I'm just an easy mark for that kind of stuff but to me, the enjoyment of these kind of pulp fiction action adventure tales relies pretty heavily on a willing suspension of disbelief and a heavy dose of "What if."

As in, "What if The Nazi's stupid-ass orbital Sun Laser or Landkreuzer P. 1000 super tank, weren't laughably stupid ideas and instead managed to work in defiance of all logic."

What kind of stories can we tell with those simple premises as a jumping off point?


New member
Mar 5, 2011
First Mr Rath, you're spot on with everything you said.

Second: Oh how I wish you all could speak German so you could understand this German internet celebrity:

For those who can:



New member
Oct 15, 2013
Charcharo said:
I have several issues with the article
"There were the lauded Tiger and Panther tanks"
Overrated machines which were expensive and took too much time to make (Tiger) or had ABYSMALL early models (Panther).
Whilst they proved to be superior at range to most Allied tanks, vehicles like the IS-2, Beast Killer, Slugger and maybe even Pershing were superior on every way.
German tanks did not have 3:1 kill scores either BTW. Just that as long as their vehicle can be salvaged they did not count it as destroyed, whilst Soviets usually counted as destroyed tanks that recieved EVEN track damage and would require repairs. Actual ratios for both Western and Eastern fronts would be around 1.25-1.75/1. Not that great when you are on the defensive...

T-34 was by a large margin a superior design and execution to early German tanks like the Panzer 2 and 3. In fact, it was a match even for later Panzer 4 tanks, with superior armor and mobility (though it depends, PZ4 climbed better). Later models with the 85mm gun could even deal with Tigers and Panthers. So, yeah, it was a good tank.

Later Soviet tanks like the IS-2 could shoot straight through the frontal plate of the Panther and the shell exits through the other side of the tank. The 122mm HE shells... would not knock out a Tiger 2. They will turn the people inside into paste though. So, its a kill.
You are again going down the wrong path of reasoning. The article is not about weather these vehicles were cost effective, or simple or anything like that. The article is about debunking the myth of Nazi Super science. I was simply pointing out that while (ofc) the german machines had huge, important problems (teething troubles, cost, fuel efficiency, maintainability, reliability) they were superior to their contemporaries, less so, maybe not at all pre and early war, but by late war certainly.

Compare any allied fighter with the 262, the 262 is the better performer. Compare any allied medium tank with the panther, the panther was the better performer. Compare any allied heavy tank with the tiger 2, the tiger 2 is the better performer (there are discussions about whether a tiger 2 was EVER penetrated frontally in combat during WW2). The german army to this day pretty much uses the mg42 (the americans copied it to produce the L60).

Certainly the t34 was a superior design to the early war german tanks, but then, it was introduced a year or two after them, and it was outclassed by the panther and the tiger certainly. The tanks brought in to COUNTER the panthers and tigers (the ones you mention such as the IS - 2) could of course compete with them, but were again outclassed by the tiger 2. And no1 believes that these german tanks were invincible, they were weapons and the russians british and americans all brought out counters for them but the point stands that they were technically superior.

I mean, look at this german prototype that was captured by the allies at the end of the war: http://militaryfactory.com/aircraft/imgs/messerschmitt-me-p1101.jpg

Then compare with the post war american design, the sabre:

And the Russian Mig 15:

There is a reason they look very similar.

It is a fact that a lot of the german designs were the first of their kind, introducing elements that are still in use in military vehicles today.

Im not saying its true that the germans were somehow "better", but if you want to "debunk the myth of nazi super science" you instead say this is where it came from ~ tank, aircraft, rifle, machinegun and missile design. Then argue that the only reason the germans had these designs was out of a necessity to produce quality over quantity. The allies however mostly focused their technical efforts on other things ~ atomic bomb, asdic, the bouncing bomb and so on.

The german fields of excellence were just more in your face than the allies. How can you be afraid of radar? Not in the same way you can be of a light machinegun that fires so fast it sounds like cloth ripping, or of a tank that you cannot penetrate frontally even from close range but that can simultaneously penetrate you frontally from over a kilometer away.

I just think the original article is logically flawed and poorly researched. (Even while i agree the idea of nazi super science is a myth).


New member
Oct 15, 2013
Charcharo said:
T-34 was introduced in 1940. At the time, nothing could kill it. Also, forgrtting the single KV tank that stopped an entire German armored column and took several hundred shots from German tanks...

Thing is, we cant simply compare vehicles like that. The Tiger 2 is not a good tank. Its only decent performance is in direct engagement, its otherwise a mess of a tank to use. Needing constant repairs, too big to cross many bridges and constant refuel.
Inflated kill counts and allied propaganda made it look far more formidable then it really was. The Panther was MUCH better, especially would have been if Germans just copied Soviets completely. The Tiger 1 though is just a box. A big box. With a decent gun. Like a later war KV-1 heavy tank

As for Tiger 2 tanks knocked frontally:
There are pictures of one knocked in turret by british 17 Pounder. Penetration by both Soviet and German standards.
The Soviets also used 122 mm HE shells to turn Tiger 2 crews into paste. Frontally. The 152mm shells could knock the turret from the tank. Those were normal shells too, Soviets prefered HE as bunkers and infatry were more dangerous then German tanks late ware.

So no, I disagree, Tiger 1 and 2, as sexy as they are (especially 2...) were not superior to other tanks. At least not overall. Panther 1 maybe.

Cant talk about planes. Not something I know a lot of. I do know Allied forces exaggerate how many German tanks they knock out by a factor of 100...
I am fully aware that at the date of its introduction the t34 was dominant over what the germans had, but as i said, the tanks it was superior than were introduced before. The t34 is an example of a revolutionary design (sloped armour, wide tracks and so on) but what the germans brought out following that were ALSO revolutionary and better tanks. The KV story is really anecdotal evidence that i dont think has much of a place in the dicussion, i mean ive read stories of ludicrous actions involving tigers (sustain over 200 hits but being able to withdraw under its own power, holding off more than 10 times their number with no losses and stuff like this). This stuff may have happened but its clearly not the norm. Otherwise you could point to hans ulrich rudel and his ju87's and declare the ju87 the best ground attacker of the war, but obviously thats not the case...

I know you cant decide whether a tank is a good tank based solely on one factor BUT the point of this is that the tiger 2 WAS a very advanced design, it had problems, yes, crippling problems. But it was still much more advanced than what the allies had in theory, the engineering was there, it existed, and it performed extremely well in direct engagements. It was an extremely powerful tank design in that regard.

The problem i have with the article is that it argues that because of production, supply and logistic problems these machines were NOT technically advanced. While clearly they were, the problems they faced were real but you cannot deny the impressive feats of engineering and scientific progress that went into building them.

With regards to penetrated tiger 2's, ive seen pictures of them penetrated but mostly they have been penetrated after the tank was knocked out/abandoned in tests and so on. The question is about whether it was ever penetrated frontally in combat.


New member
Nov 1, 2012
My problem with the article is that it makes the claim that by showing the Nazis with superior weapons and technology then it is endorsing Nazi ideas of superiority. The things is, in all the games, they lose. Whether they have a mystic spear, zombie viruses, or laser cannons they lose. Thus these games show that might does not make right. Also playing games where your side has the upper hand makes you feel less like a good guy.


New member
Feb 5, 2010
Well the thing about American pop culture is that they give SUPER SCIENCE!(tm) to all their enemies...

Nazi SUPER SCIENCE!(tm) is presented here.
Soviet SUPER SCIENCE!(tm) remains a trope, in current form its usually an abandoned Soviet experiment of some kind or another.
Japanese SUPER SCIENCE!(tm) is the only one that seems to be mainly positive, with robots of varying degrees of giganticness.

Heck you can argue that Steampunk is British SUPER SCIENCE!(tm) since its almost always from Victorian London.

Thats why I think this article misses the points, these might be valid points if only the Nazis got the treat ment, but the fact is EVERYONE gets robots and death rays.


New member
Oct 15, 2013
RatherDull said:
I come from a community where we have a term for people who believe in Nazi Superscience: Wehraboo

Said lovely community also came up with this :p

Looking at this thread I'm already coming close to a a Wehrabingo!
But...nobody here has posted saying they believe in Nazi super science ever being a real thing...?


New member
May 26, 2014
I think you need to re-examine the medical side of German science, there is one thing that has been taken from the German WW2 experiments and it's something unbelievably important for modern medicine. Forced Hypothermia, the thing that allows us to manage organ transplants and high risk open heart surgery, is definitely a product of immoral experimentation by German scientists.I often see a lot of denial about the importance of Dr Rascher's Dachau hypothermia experiments but considering his research has led to an entire branch of surgical skills and knowledge it is perhaps important to remember the ugly truth.

Another thing you need to remember is that Germany was very close to manufacturing atomic weapons, without the SOE's interference with heavy water production facilities who knows how close they would have gotten to achieving that aim.



New member
Aug 21, 2009
The premise of the article is off. Nazi super-science isn't a myth -- it's a trope. We know the Nazis didn't have jet packs and space flight because Germany was conquered. We put that stuff in media because it's fun. The myth of Nazi super-science, if any, died pretty hard when the propaganda that sponsored it died: after the war. The presence of mecha-Hitler has nothing to do with any such myth, and the burdern of proof is on the claimant to show otherwise.

No one I've heard of who played Wolfenstein (the original), including myself, thought that Hitler had mecha. Why do you think anyone ever thought that?