Dr Hugh Hunt, Reader in Engineering Dynamics and Vibration for the Department of Engineering, will take viewers on a journey to discover how Hitler’s V-3 supergun worked and how Allied forces raced to destroy it.
The technical complexity of the gun, and the sheer scale of it, were amazing.Hugh Hunt
By the spring of 1943, for the first time since the beginning of World War II, Hitler was on the back foot. As Allied bombs rained down on German cities, the Führer was determined to hit back. He drew up plans for the biggest gun the world has ever seen: the V-3 supergun. From its bunker buried deep in a French hillside, this monstrous 25-barrelled cannon was designed to reduce London to rubble and turn the course of the war back in Hitler’s favour.
In a race to knock out the supergun, the allies dreamt up their own miracle weapons. The Americans devised one of the world’s first ever drones: a remote controlled heavy bomber packed with explosives levelled at the gun’s stronghold. The British drafted in Barnes Wallis, the genius behind the bouncing bomb. With his characteristic flair for lateral thinking, he came up with a weapon that would trigger an earthquake.
Exactly how Hitler built his supergun has remained a mystery, and the story of the Allies’ mission to destroy it has never been told. Now, in a series of explosive experiments, Dr Hugh Hunt will set out to discover how the gun worked. With only a handful of grainy photographs to guide him, Hugh will build his own supergun to see if the weapon really could have brought London to its knees. He recreates Barnes Wallis’s earth-shattering tests into bunker busting technology. Finally Hunt will investigate the series of blunders that plagued the American drone strike, carrying out his own accident investigation into the flawed mission, which sealed the fate of a young man born to be president of the United States: Joe Kennedy Junior.
“I hadn’t before heard of Hitler's V-3 supergun,” Dr Hunt said. “It was an incredible journey. The technical complexity of the gun, and the sheer scale of it, were amazing.”
Added Hugh, “I also would like to acknowledge the work of Director Ian Duncan, Producer Catherine Watling and Editor Paul Shepard from Windfall Films for making this all happen. They have done a fantastic job.”
Tune in to Channel 4 at 8pm Sunday 22 November for Building Hitler’s Supergun: The Plot To Destroy London.