Where would the Nazis test an atomic bomb?

…assuming, all other things being equal, they had an equivalent of the “Gadget” device used in the Trinity test that they wanted to test out. What place would they have picked to set one off?

Granted, there are a couple of other big factors that would be involved, here—first off, the territory the Germans would have available during the life of the Third Reich would have fluctuated wildly. Plus the military situation would probably have precluded testing it at all at some point. Assuming they could even deliver it.

So, for the purposes of the question, let’s put it as: “What would have been the most likely place the Nazis would test an atomic bomb, as of the 1st of January in every year from 1934 to 1945?” Any thoughts?

Most likely N Africa if they got it sometimes before 1943.

Then London.

Downtown Warsaw?

The obvious options are those that were used to test the V-weapons: bits of the Baltic and Poland.

Why not some remote location in the ocean? Germany certainly had a military presence there.

Poland, definitely.

  1. It’s filled with Poles so who cares?

  2. Jews!

  3. Fallout blows towards the USSR. Bonus!

Anywhere they damn well pleased.

They were Nazis!

Eh, presumably even Nazi’s would want to test it somewhere where no one would notice. Don’t want to give the Allies a heads up on your super-weapon. I don’t think there are too many places in Poland that are so isolated that no one would notice a mushroom cloud.

Northern Norway maybe?

Way too risky. The expense of a nuclear program would mean a single bomb would probably represent a sizable chunk of German GDP. Putting it on a boat when one of their adversaries was a major naval power would be crazy.

New York harbour. By sub.

A fjord in Norway. Terrain would restrict collateral damage, and fallout was poorly understood anyway.

Someone is writing alternative history?

A mine in Norway, a mine in Poland, someplace like that.

The Nazis had several tests sites, Peenemunde on the Baltic was used to test V1 rockets.

As for atomic weapons, by 1942 Germany had figured out most of the mechanics of building an atomic weapons, Werner Heisenberg the lead Nazi scientist has been both praised and villified for his roles. He switched his statements a lot but in the end he said, Germany simply could never have built the bomb under the wartime conditions. There were far too many shortages of food, material, raw goods, and if they couldn’t come up with the basics, what the scientists needed was so far out of reach it was un-doable.

Kurt Diebner Heisenberg’s friendly rival seemed a bit better at conceptualizing and managed to come up with plans for a plutonium weapon.

Thuringia was the test site of a Nazi atomic weapon centering around Ohrdruf

Now there is dispute to this, some historians doubt it happened. If it DID happen what the Nazi’s tested wasn’t a device like was dropped on Japan, it was, more akin to a dirty nuke. With a bomb going off and spreading nuclear fallout. Soil analysis confirms higher than should be, normal radiation samples, but natural causes can’t be ruled out.

This test occured in early March of 1945 and General Patton was in the city by mid April of 1945. And he found over a thousand miles of underground tunnels, some as deep as 50 feet underground. It is believed though this was to be a place of retreat for Nazi higher ups after they got bombed out of Berlin

Ohrdruf was the site of a concentration camp and Soviet documents confirm seeing liberated prisoner with symptoms similar to radiation sickness but again nothing was confirmed by Western Allies.

The island of Rugen is the supposed site of another test of crude Nazi nukes. This is doubtful as well.

The Americans took over 125,000 people develop the bombs for Japan. Germany never had more than a dozen scientists at any one time working on any nuclear project. The general belief is by the end of WWII, the Nazis were approx at the place where the Americans were in 1942, when it came to building the bomb.

In answer to the OP question, if the Nazis could’ve had a bomb, they could’ve gotten it no eariler than 1945. So they would be vastly limited in the places they could test it because their armed forces didn’t control as much as they did. It seems an island in the Baltic sea would be their best bet or in the mountainous areas of Germany or Poland they still controlled.

Hey, Markxxx, no Family Circus for this one?

If I remember “gadget” was a plutonium bomb, and they were a little concerned that it might not work, so they tested the design before dropping one on Nagasaki. However, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima was uranium, which they were so sure would work they didn’t bother to test it first. So my guess is a uranium bomb “tested” by dropping it on Moscow or London.

Or New York. By the time they could have had a bomb, the US was a major thorn in their side, too. And the fact that it was harder to hit the US with conventional weaponry might have made it a better target for a nuke: What can you do in London with a nuke that you can’t do with a few thousand V2s?

If you can’t get a bomber with conventional bombs to New York City, how are you going to get a bomber with a nuclear bomb to New York City? If you’re Germany in 1944-5, and you get the bomb, your best bet isn’t to drop it on a civilian target at all…you can’t easily reach any sort of civilian targets anyway, and Allied and Soviet air superiority makes it tough to even get to those places… Your best bet is to drop it on a military target…on some sort of big Allied or Soviet troop concentration, and then follow it up with a conventional attack in the hole you’ve just opened in their lines, and hope that Allied/Soviet command is too dead or confused to stop you.

Is it true (after the war) that Heisenberg claimed to have sabotaged the bomb project?
From what I read (years ago), the german effort was headed down a blind alley-their crude, heavy-water-moderated reactor would have blown up and killed everybody arpound it, had it gone critical.
Plus, the german physicists never understood the phenomenon of reactor “poisoning”-the poorly refined uranium they were able to make would not sustain a long chain reaction, anyway.

It’s certainly true that he claimed it. Whether he actually did or not, who can say?

They couldn’t have gotten enough conventional bombers to NYC, but it’s a lot easier to deliver one bomb than thousands. Plus, they could have delivered it by u-boat, which wouldn’t have been an option for conventional weapons.

If Germany acquires the bomb after the catastrophic summer of 1944, a Hiroshima-sized weapon wouldn’t have been enough to stop conventional defeat. They weren’t dealing with enemies whose armies covered five miles of frontage, they were dealing with enemies whose armies covered hundreds of miles of frontage.

The logical thing would have been to nuke London and Moscow and announce they had twenty more, and hope the Allies would’t have wise to the truth - though, to be honest, given the imbalance in intelligence gathering, it’s unlikely they would have fooled anyone.

The diesel submarines at the time could not travel across the Atlantic entirely submerged, which means that any u-boat on such a mission would expose itself to potential discovery and depth charges on several different occasions. That’s a pretty big risk if you only have one or two such bombs, particularly in 1945 with a strengthened anti-submarine warfare grid of surface ship and air patrols running from the US/Canada to Greenland to Iceland.

In addition, there is the problem of delivery. Obviously, a submarine launched a-bomb is well outside of the capabilities of any power in 1945. The only possible ways to actually use it by this route would be to detonate it inside the submarine - effectively making it a suicide weapon to the sub’s crew - or somehow smuggling it into NYC, which would not likely be successful.

The Family Circus members kind of shy away from nukes but Jeffy has dealt with the nuclear issue before

Usually Billy and Jeffy have other agendas when it comes to bombs