UPDATED 18 May 2010

The Germans are Coming! The Germans are Coming!: But No One is Listening

By Mike Sparks

The Nazi Connection
by Commander F. W. Winterbotham RAF
1978; Dell Publishing, New York, NY

Commander Winterbotham: An Air Force Version of the Admiralty's Ian Fleming

During the 1930s, RAF Captain Fred Winterbotham working for British Military Intelligence (MI6) was sent to befriend the Nazi leadership to find out what they were up to. Hitler personally told Winterbotham he wanted Britain to stay neutral and let them go east to take out Stalin's Communist regime. Why the British high command did not take heed of Winterbotham's warnings may shock you:


Winterbotham said on pages 252-253:

What did we really want? Surely the destruction of the two most destructive totalitarian forces in the twentieth century-Nazism and Communism. Could we have diverted the "conqueror's madness" of Hitler away from Europe if we had put in process a rapid expansion of our fighter aircraft, with fleets of self-propelled anti-tank cum anti-aircraft guns like the German 88 sufficient to blunt the progress of Blitzkrieg? Could we and the French have hinted at neutrality if Hitler would leave Western Europe and go East?

I believe the French would have gone along with us. The question is whether Hitler would have fallen for the bait and been sufficiently satisfied to keep the bargain. As one who knew Hitler personally, and recognised his pathological hatred of the Communism and his fanatical determination to destroy them, I believe it might have been possible. In any case, the fate of the Jews and most of Eastern Europe could hardly have been worse.

Those nurtured on the balance of power in Europe argued that once Germany was in a position to organize the Russian masses, it would be the end of this mythical balance and of freedom for all of us; and besides, our honour would not allow us to abandon even temporarily those smaller nations who relied on our aid. What aid? We had seen the Baltic States swallowed up by Russia; we had raised no finger at the rape of Austria and we had sold Czechoslovakia down the river at Munich. I do not believe that any foreign nation can "conquer" Russia or, at least, keep her conquered. Russia, like China, simply absorbs conquerors or freezes them out, and a Russo-German conflict of 1940 would, in my opinion, have resulted in early German victories followed by a long-drawn-out resistance, culminating in a stalemate of frozen exhaustion which would have made both the dictators ready to accept the Atlantic Treaty. Could we have taken the risk?

By the end of 1938, the chance had gone. All indications were that if the Maginot Line could be bypassed around the north, which seemed an inevitable probability to those who knew the strength of the German armour, then there was little doubt that there would be complete defeat in France.

America had been assiduously wooed by the Nazis; a large section of the population and the press were definitely Germanophiles. The Germans had every reason to suppose that America would stay out of a war in Europe. They proved right, of course, until Pearl Harbor enabled Roosevelt to persuade America that the war was global.

In March 1939, the Nazis seized those parts of Czechoslovakia (Bohemia and Moravia) which they had not been given under the Munich Pact. There was ample evidence coming out of Germany that the Army was preparing to bring forward their operations to rectify the Danzig Corridor position in September 1939. And now the British Government, without any means of backing up a military threat, resorted to a diplomatic one: they made a Defence Pact with Poland and Romania which everyone knew could not be implemented. This finally set us on a collision course. Those of us who could, made plans to take a last holiday with a deadline for everybody to be back in London by mid-August.

Hitler opened the red carpet out for Winterbotham having General Reichenau explain their new blitzkrieg formula of lightning fast war where JU-87 Stuka dive-bombers operating in close cooperation with massed panzer tracked tanks and airborne troops would blast open enemy lines and then swarm into their lines of communication and collapse them from within. Winterbotham repeatedly warned both the British and the French that blitzkrieg would be directed at the west going around the Maginot Line if steps were not taken to shoot-down the Stukas diving very fast for high explosive (HE) bomb accuracy and bust the panzer swarms. He saw the excellent German dual-purpose towed 88mm that could either shoot down aircraft or explode tanks and advocated the British field a system.

So its 1934-1938, Franco-English weakness invites Hitler WW1 revenge to appease his generals--and is only 18 months away. What could have been done to dissuade the Germans from a short war in the West and keep their attention focused East?

The FlakTank Wagon

Blitzkrieg is MOBILE warfare so Winterbotham's AA/AT system cannot be towed because it takes too long to hitch/unhitch and get such a gun into action. One of the lies of WW2 is that the German Panzers swarming through the Ardennes forest was a surprise--when the truth is that Winterbotham told the French the Germans were going to do this beginning in 1935. Towed AT guns could and should have been well-camouflaged and placed in-depth there to blunt the German blitzkrieg. However, once these guns began firing they would invite destruction from highly accurate, Stuka dive bombs, and the Panzers could avoid them once holes were blasted open through the supporting AT obstacles/ditches.

Well-camouflaged M13 Anti-Aircraft Half-Track Later in the War Guarding a River Crossing Point

What the British and French needed in 1940 was a "FlakTank Wagon"; a British truck ("Lorry") fitted with half-tracks to replace its rear wheels to enable just enough cross-country mobility to be able to be positioned to block where the low ground pressure German light tanks were going. Obviously not as good as full tracks, but desperate times call for desperate measures. In the back, would be a combination 37mm AT gun and two .50 caliber heavy machine guns on a 360 degree turn-table that would shoot tracer bullets that would verify the aircraft was aimed correctly and then the 37mm gun would fire to explode the plane. Surrounding the driver's cab and the revolving gun turn-table would be 1/2" steel armor plates to provide at least small arms fire protection so German infantry could not easily take the FlakTank Wagons out. As Stukas attack, the FlakTank Wagons would open fire with rapid-fire .50 caliber heavy machine gun bullets followed up by 37mm air bursts to explode them and their bombs.

The 37mm cannon could also be used horizontally with solid shot to bust the German light tanks of 1940. So wherever the Panzers were threatening, the FlakTank Wagons could be there waiting in ambush or as soon as possible to stop a penetration by their high road speed and adequate cross-country mobility to get into firing positions. The Stukas sent against them would be shot down, and the tanks or infantry decimated if they try to approach them. The only alternative for the Germans would be to drop artillery on their open-tops, but the FlakTank Wagons could move out of the impact areas and the supposedly great French artillery could silence the German guns with counter-battery fire. Hey! the rest of the Army has to do SOMETHING; the FlakTank Wagons cannot do everyone's job for them.

Now the cynic might dismiss this as "20-20 hindsight" or whatever excuse is convenient in order to refuse to LEARN FROM HISTORY, but I have a surprise for their attempted BS!

The FlakTank Wagon I describe ACTUALLY EXISTED AND WAS A SUCCESS IN COMBAT. It just wasn't invented by the British--it was an American invention.

Boo Hoo! Scorner-skeptics!

M3 Half-Track in Action
By Jim Mesko
1996; Squadron/Signal Publications; Carollton, Texas
Pages 32-34

The T28E1 Combination Gun Motor Carriage derived from the M3 half-track was used to great effect to swat down Luftwaffe planes during the North African campaign, which is oft-cited by the centralized USAF whiners as a "dismal situation of decentralized Army controlled air power that allowed all those nasty German planes to strafe our boys in the first place". This is of course, self-serving bureaucratic BS because the U.S. Army must have its own Stuka-type ground attack planes since if they belong to a central USAF headquarters they will be off into the "Wild Blue Yonder" seeking aerial duels for ego self-validation or airfield attack missions; Close Air Support (CAS) for the Army if tasked by the USAF will be AWOL. Every few years they try to retire our A-10 Warthogs, eventually the fighter-bomber jocks will succeed when the planes wear out and the Army will be left with nothing for CAS from the USAF.


The T28E1 was rushed into production in June 1942 for the North Africa landings in November 1942. Try that today with our current mil-industrial bureaucracy! 80 x T28E1s were built and sent to North Africa where they "kicked Axis ass" to use the vernacular today's youngsters can understand. It featured an AUTOMATIC 37mm cannon and two water-cooled .50 caliber heavy machine guns rotating 360 degrees that could depress -5 degrees and super-elevate up to 85 degrees (nearly vertical). The guns could be fired-on-the-move. The machine gun tracer fire acquired the target whereupon the gunner shot the 37mm autocannon to finish it off. After North Africa, simpler air-cooled "Ma Deuces" were fitted and an armored box structure fitted--just like what was seen on German "Flak Panzers" based on their excellent half-tracks and light tanks. These variants were produced as the M15 and M15A1. So the diminishing German Luftwaffe air threat was not solely the work of our fighter-bomber pilots clamoring for their own separate service egobureaucracy....

Ian Fleming's Post-War Villains Were Often Nazis: Think He's Telling Us Something? If the British higher ups had paid attention, they could have had their own versions of the T28E1 in a matter of months, in time to save the day during the invasion of France. Ian Fleming after his war-time service as a Commander in Royal Naval Intelligence wrote about a truck-mobile Anti-Aircraft 20mm automatic cannon at the end of Diamonds are Forever. Fleming knew about the excellent, high-rate-of-fire Oerlikon 20mm cannon from the struggle to defeat the low-level attacks of Fw-200 Condor maritime patrol bombers. Not to ruin the ending for you, but he has James Bond 007 hop in back and shoot an ex-Nazi pilot in a helicopter down in flames. Drug smuggling operation ended.

Did Anyone Think of This? U.S. Half-Track Self-Propelled Guns and Hamilcar Gliders for WW2 Air-Mech-Strike


British Hamilcar Heavy Transport Glider: Could Deliver 8 tons in WW2

Much wailing takes place whenever the ignorant start pontificating about "the Airborne not having armored mobility and firepower" with the inevitable excuse-itis that "they don't have the aircraft delivery means yadda yadda" and other rubbish cliches that are utter non-sense.

The FACTS are that the WW2 Allied Airborne had the Hamilcar heavy gliders necessary to transport a PAIR of all-tracked Bren gun carriers or one Tetrarch/Locust light tank or a 17-pounder (76.2mm) anti-tank gun and their transport trucks.


Russian troops have an Anti-Tank Rifle and a Bren Light Machine Gun Employed from their Lend-Lease Universal "Bren" Gun Carrier

Why 37mm, 57mm and 75mm pack howitzers were not fitted to Bren gun universal carriers to rectify the Airborne's lack of assault gun HE firepower and provide a mobile AT defense is a mystery and the fault OF THE ALLIED AIRBORNE for not demanding it. The aircraft delivery means--and the necessary vehicles WERE available. Just like the situation is today. One unit that did not have foot-paratroop egomania go to its head was the 6th Airborne division under General Gale who saved the day at Normandy and during the Rhine River crossing by taking LIGHT TANKS with 37mm cannon and machine guns by Hamilcar gliders to enable their paratroop infantry to punch through enemy resistance and not get pinned down by fire. In stark contrast, the egomaniac 1st British Airborne under incompetent General Browning did not ask the available 6th Recce Squadron of the 6th Airborne to participate in the Arnhem operation so the Hamilcars only brought some Bren gun carriers with no HE cannon armament and unwieldy, unprotected towed 17-pounder guns that were easily knocked out. This is the real explanation of why the British Airborne got pinned down by enemy fire by mere rear guards and a pair of armored cars and could not consolidate on Arnhem bridge in adequate force to hold it long enough for the tardy XXX Corps tank-infantry to arrive.

Hamilcar Heavy Glider


It weighed 18,400 pounds (8,300 kg) when empty, and could transport a military load of 17,600 pounds (8,000 kg) to give a total weight of 36,000 pounds (16,000 kg).

...the compartment measured approximately 32 feet 31.5 inches (10.554 m), 7 feet 10.5 inches (2.400 m) inches wide and between 6 feet (1.8 m) and 7 feet 7 inches (2.31 m) inches in height.

Hamilcar Heavy Glider Cargo Capability

Width: 7 feet 10.5 inches

Length: 32 feet, 31.5 inches

Height: 7 feet 7 inches to 6 feet

Payload: 17, 600 pounds

If the main problem is the lack of HE anti-tank firepower available in a Bren gun variant, then what other choices were available to the British? A careful examination of the Hamilcar glider reveals it could have carried the standard U.S. M3 half-track...and there were variants that had already successfully used 37mm, 57mm and 75mm guns in combat!

M3 Half-Tracks in Action

By Jim Mesko
1996; Squadron/Signal Publications; Carollton, Texas
Page 12

Width: 7.29 feet (7 feet, 3.48 inches)

Length: 20.75 feet

Height: 8.8 feet

Weight Empty: 15, 300 pounds

The British even had 680 x T48 versions with 57mm (6-pounder) AT guns shooting their ammunition that they later converted back to vanilla infantry carrier use by removing the gun. Instead of doing this, their Airborne desperately needed and could have used them at Arnhem to hold off the German Panzers--most of whom would have been destroyed by a 57mm hit. We know this because jeep-towed 57mm AT guns were taken by the American Airborne to Operation MARKET-GARDEN by smaller Waco gliders and used effectively by General James M. Gavin's men. Other half-track variants like the M3 75mm Gun Motor Carriage and the T30 75mm pack Howitzer Mortar Carriage were available with powerful HE guns with good AT capabilities; the 75mm pack howitzer used by the allied Airborne could penetrate 3" of armor and on Sicily took out Tiger I heavy tanks. The gunshields would have to be detached to fit into the Hamilcar, but could be reattached after glider landing. The 75mm pack howitzer itself broke down into 5 component parts that could be disassembled and reassembled if required to lower the M3 half track height for air transport.

The half-tracks with front-wheel drive and small arms fire protection could have moved freely to ambush the German tanks.

We Are Not Coming! We Are Not Coming! Post-WW2 Lack of Mobility, Protection & Firepower Blues: A Self-Created Situation

The man who actually created the American Airborne, LTG James M. Gavin did not accept the self-imposed handicap that Paratroops had to foot-slog and be at a firepower disadvantage. He wrote of Winterbotham's book, "a rare insight...only Captain Winterbotham could have written this book". In his own 1947 book, Airborne Warfare, he calls for heavy gliders and cargo parachutes that can deliver light tanks with hard-hitting--but lightweight recoilless rifles be supplied to the future U.S. Airborne. This lead to the creation of the M50 Ontos light tank with 6 x 106mm recoilless rifles used to great effect in the Dominican Republic and Vietnam by marines and regular Army units until they mechanically wore-out and were not replaced by a M113 "Mini-Gavin" derivative. The question that has to be asked, is why didn't someone in the American Airborne in WW2 take a tape measure to a M3 half-track and figure out it could fit into a British Hamilcar glider on the drawing boards? After Sicily, the airborne was clamoring for better AT weapons so someone at the U.S. War Department should have put 2 and 2 together on this. We know the U.S. Airborne wanted some 50 x Hamilcars for D-Day bulldozers to create airstrips, so the new glider was a known item. That British production couldn't deliver them still does not excuse the fact that the American Airborne could of greatly used them to deliver M3 half-tracks with assault guns to future Airborne operations had they thought of it. There appears a linkage between narcissism and a lack of imagination--especially in the U.S. military that is bureaucratic and unprofessional.

While the M3 half-track is open-topped and thinly armored and far from ideal, ITS BETTER THAN NOTHING, and its a travesty that the U.S. Airborne didn't get at least a few Hamilcars to conduct some EXPERIMENTS to FIND OUT what weapons systems they could fit into it to improve their operations. When the Korean war smacked Task Force Smith in its face, it did not have ANY AT weapon able to destroy the leading Russian-made T34/85 medium tanks that over-ran them in 1950. M3 half-tracks with Assault Guns in Hamilcar gliders towed by 4-engined USAF C-54s or a surplus B-17s/B-24s from Japan to South Korea could have made all the difference needed to stop the North Korean invasion. The Hamilcar gliders could land onto any large, flat, unimproved surface to deliver their armored half-track assault guns, delivering them directly to TF Smith of the non-Airborne 24th Infantry Division. As long as the USAF aircrews were skilled enough to tow them and a small cadre of Army glider pilots from WW2 recalled to active duty were in the Hamilcars flying them, the capability would have been available. Later on in the war, quad-50 caliber HMG M3 half-tracks were used to devastating effect on Chinese Communist (CHICOM) mass human wave attacks. Go figure. Typical American adaptation--a day late and a dollar short.

99 Luftballons

Text: Carlo Karges
Musik: J. U. Fahrenkrog-Petersen

Hast du etwas Zeit für mich
Dann singe ich ein Lied für dich
Von 99 Luftballons
Auf ihrem Weg zum Horizont
Denkst du vielleicht g'rad an mich
Dann singe ich ein Lied für dich
Von 99 Luftballons
Und dass so was von so was kommt

99 Luftballons
Auf ihrem Weg zum Horizont
Hielt man für Ufos aus dem All
Darum schickte ein General
'ne Fliegerstaffel hinterher
Alarm zu geben, wenn es so wär
Dabei war'n da am Horizont
Nur 99 Luftballons

99 Düsenjäger
Jeder war ein großer Krieger
Hielten sich für Captain Kirk
Das gab ein großes Feuerwerk
Die Nachbarn haben nichts gerafft
Und fühlten sich gleich angemacht
Dabei schoss man am Horizont
Auf 99 Luftballons

99 Kriegsminister -
Streichholz und Benzinkanister -
Hielten sich für schlaue Leute
Witterten schon fette Beute
Riefen Krieg und wollten Macht
Mann, wer hätte das gedacht
Dass es einmal soweit kommt
Wegen 99 Luftballons

99 Jahre Krieg
Ließen keinen Platz für Sieger
Kriegsminister gibt's nicht mehr
Und auch keine Düsenflieger
Heute zieh' ich meine Runden
Seh' die Welt in Trümmern liegen
Hab' 'nen Luftballon gefunden
Denk' an dich und lass' ihn fliegen


99 Luftballons - English

German Text: Carlo Karges
Translation: Hyde Flippo
Musik: Uwe Fahrenkrog-Petersen

Have you some time for me,
then I'll sing a song for you
about 99 balloons
on their way to the horizon
If you're perhaps thinking about me right now
then I'll sing a song for you
about 99 balloons
and that such a thing comes from such a thing.

99 balloons
on their way to the horizon
People think they're UFO's from space
so a general sent up
a fighter squadron after them
Sound the alarm if it's so
but there on the horizon were
only 99 balloons.

99 fighter jets
Each one's a great warrior
Thought they were Captain Kirk
then came a lot of fireworks
the neighbors didn't understand anything
and felt like they were being provoked
so they shot at the horizon
at 99 balloons.

99 war ministers
matches and gasoline canisters
They thought they were clever people
already smelled a nice bounty
Called for war and wanted power.
Man, who would've thought
that things would someday go so far
because of 99 balloons.

99 years of war
left no room for victors.
There are no more war ministers
nor any jet fighters.
Today I'm making my rounds
see the world lying in ruins.
I found a balloon,
think of you and let it fly (away).

James Bond is For Real.