Author: Captian Nemo
When you run out of books. Whats next?
When you run out of books. What’s next? It is a question I have seen come up many times in the last 4 years. What do you do? Where do you go and who do you turn to? One of two things happens… you give up or you continue, digging and searching for a line of text in the vastness of the internet. I was there once… And in doing so I would find articles and notes in books and papers… leading me to books and documents I had never heard of. But these too ran out and ran dry of information. I KNEW there was more, by process of elimination, refusing to give in to the belief that there could not possibly be anything more on the subject at hand.
Maus Engines, an article I wrote for For The Record News in 2014, was the result of running out of books. But. Now nearly 3 years later (It was published in November but mostly done by March 2014) I view it as needing some serious revision due to additional information published and unpublished since that time. I had figured at the time that it was all that could be. And I was wrong. As to when I will get it done I do not know.
When you run out of books you start asking your peers and asking if they know of anything. Then its off to the endless, bottomless, yawning blackhole that is the archives. Between the thousands of pages of office memos and receipts of documents being passed back and forth during the second world war there exists intelligence files. Admittedly intelligence files need to be read carefully. From time to time they are wrong or seemingly contradict information from the Germans themselves. Ironically they also hold records of things that have been overlooked and forgotten.
The archives is no place for the faint of heart, the strain on the eyes is rather real. Whats worse is the strain on the mind… you begin to forget where you saw something and notes are exceedingly important. The archives are the key to unlocking the mystery and finding more. There is simply no easy road no easy route. To go to the archives is to take the road not taken and the road less traveled. It is not something that can be done in a day or even a year. Even large archives are missing such things as a basic index. Sure they can tell you if X exists it will be in ABC pile… but when that pile is say 735,000 pages of material, perhaps you can understand why it is that the books by Jentz, Doyle, Spielberger, Fletcher and Hunnicutt are both held in such regard and why it takes so long to produce anything better.
I have barely scraped the archives. And most of what I have written at FTR will need to be rewritten, the stuff from the US is its own nightmare partly because the US archives is a mess and partly because while solid, organized summary’s exist in the Canadian archives on US projects and ideas, they are only summary’s they tend to lack the deep detailed information. And then there are the things authors mention in passing, which are not expanded upon, such as the 179 ton Panzer Project, TOG, the T1/M6 Heavy Tank, the T-28/95/28 Super Heavy Tank and many others… all exist in further detail in the archives if anyone is willing to dig.
If you can dream it, somebody in the US, the UK, Russia, German, Japan, France and Belgium thought about it, dreamed about, designed it, tested it in the lab, field tested it… or put it into mass production all before the end of 1946. From explosive armor… to underwater tanks… camouflage paint to hide planes from searchlights… to cannon firing at unthinkable velocities and ranges… gauss guns… bombs that could burrow through more than 6 meters of reinforced concrete… drone speed boats able to track and attack other ships on their own… CCTV on armored vehicles… radar based ranging and navigation systems for armored vehicles… and seeing in the dark… it is all there, and more, ever so much more.
What would you give up to find it?