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Target: America: Hitler's Plan to Attack the…

Target: America: Hitler's Plan to Attack the United States (edition 2006)

by James P. Duffy

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Title:Target: America: Hitler's Plan to Attack the United States
Authors:James P. Duffy
Info:Lyons Press (2006), Paperback, 192 pages
Collections:Your library

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Target: America: Hitler's Plan to Attack the United States by James P. Duffy



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This book is an interesting comparison with Luftwaffe over America, reviewed earlier. Author James Duffy states his goal was to debunk claims by Patrick Buchanan that the United States was never seriously threatened by Nazi Germany during WWII. He’s not very successful here; while the Axis powers certainly would have carried the war to the U.S. if the means to do so had dropped into their lap, none of the various schemes considered would have been any more than an annoyance even if they had worked (with, of course, the salient exception of the Axis nuclear weapon projects).

However, Duffy does succeed in making the case that despite the improbability of an Axis attack, many influential people at the time believed such an attack was possible. This is where the interesting differences between Target America and Luftwaffe over America come in. In LOA, author Manfred Griehl describes things from the German perspective, detailing a variety of plans that the Germans at least gave some thought to; in TA, Duffy writes about things we were afraid the Germans would do.

Some of these are quite far-fetched. A Canadian naval officer expressed fears that a fleet of German freighters would sail across the Atlantic, through the Hudson Strait, into Hudson Bay, unload crated seaplanes, assemble them, and send them off to bomb Winnipeg and Duluth. Thanks to our vigilant northern friends standing on guard for us, no such attack took place.

A similar fear taken very seriously by the U.S. Government was that Vichy would join the Axis and make the Vichy navy and colonial possessions available. This resulted in a 36-hour ultimatum to the Vichy admiral in Martinique, requiring the disarmament of the aircraft carrier Bearn and other naval vessels in Fort de France harbor. The admiral complied. The U.S. also feared that access to French North Africa would allow Germany to construct air bases around Dakar and fly troops across the Atlantic to seize Brazil. The US prepared a pre-emptive strike plan (in late 1940, before American entry) to seize Brazilian airfields with a Marine force and two Army divisions.

Late in the war reconnaissance photographs of U-boats with unidentifiable deck structures lead to fears that the Germans would launch V-1s from submarines. This concern actually made it into the New York Times in January 1945. A large hunter-killer force was deployed to intercept the supposed missile carriers. Ironically, although the Germans did have a plan to launch V-2s from canisters towed behind U-boats, and went so far as to begin construction of three towing canisters, there were no plans for launching V-1s. I hadn’t realized this before but in late 1944 the US Army had successfully built and test-flown a copy of a V-1 assembled out of parts recovered and sent over from Britain. The Army used black-powder catapults to launch them, which could get them off in a much shorter distance than the steam catapults used by the Germans. Thus the possibility of a submarine deck launch must have seemed reasonable.

While hindsight makes all these concerns look silly, it’s important to remember the “shock and awe” that ensued after the rapid German conquests of Poland, Norway, and France. The unconventional paratroop and airlanding tactics used made the Allies believe that the Germans were capable of almost anything.

An interesting sidelight deals with Italian plans to carry the war to the New World. It was proposed to load “pigs”, the Italian manned torpedoes, on Cant Z.511 seaplanes and fly them to New York, where the crews would attack shipping. The seaplanes would refuel from an Italian submarine and fly back. Other proposals involved using the small but ultra-long-range P.23R to drop a single bomb, and using Z.511s to conduct a leaflet raid. Exactly how New Yorkers would have reacted to Italian leaflets falling from the sky is best left unconsidered.

Of the two, I prefer LOA. Griehl is much less sensationalist than Duffy, who describes every long-range German aircraft as an “America bomber” and keeps referring to “Hitler’s plans to attack America”, as if nobody but der Führer ever would have thought of it. OTOH, Duffy has obviously done considerable research - I’d never heard of the Italian plans before. I’d say this one is worthwhile, but I’d get Luftwaffe over America first. ( )
  setnahkt | Dec 20, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0275966844, Hardcover)

Did Hitler mean to pursue global conquest once he had completed his mastery of Europe? In this startling reassessment of Hitler's strategic aims, Duffy argues that he fully intended to bring the war to America once his ambitions in the Eurasian heartland were achieved. Detailed here for the first time are the Third Reich's plans for a projected series of worldwide offensives using the new secret weapons emerging from wartime research. Duffy also recounts other Axis schemes to attack American cities through the use of multi-stage missiles, submarine launched rockets, and suicide missions against ships in the New York harbor. Taken together, these plans reveal just how determined the Axis powers were to attack the United States.

Whether German forces could actually reach America has been long debated. What is certain is that Wehrmacht planners explored various options. In 1942 a secret plan was submitted to Hermann Goring for the use of long-range bombers against targets across the globe. The scheme, prepared by a select group within the Luftwaffe, is believed to be the result of direct discussions with Hitler. Long rumored to exist, this document was recently discovered in the military archives in Freiburg. This account provides the first detailed analysis of the plan and places it in the context of Germany's global war objectives.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:08 -0400)

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