Adolf Hitler’s plans to blow up London with a nuclear bomb nearly succeeded, a new documentary has revealed.
A Nazi ship with the secret mission of the transportation of heavy water – an ingredient that is used for nuclear reactors, was found by scientists and marine historians in Norway.
The 170ft Hydro ferry, that Winston Churchill ordered it to be sunk in 1944, was towed from the bottom end of a 460-m-deep Norwegian lake in the vicinity of Oslo.
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Churchill was not informed of the ship’s purpose but ordered its sinking anyway, a choice that is now believed to have stored in the british capital.
The National Geographic series to Drain the Oceans to see teams discover 40 barrels of heavy water when they virtually lifted the ship.
This volume of heavy water would have been more than enough to catapult Germany on her way to be a nuclear power.
Naval historian professor Eric Go told the Daily Telegraph: “After the war, who was involved in the German nuclear program, said that the loss of heavy water was absolutely decisive. Stopped their reactor program in its tracks.”
Norway was a goal of the Allies after the beginning of the production of water in 1934, above the More of You in Vemork.
Five years later, in 1939, the country began its ‘uranium club’. Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann had placed Germany at the head of the peloton in the nuclear race, after they discovered nuclear fission.
Nuclear fission is the radioactive decay process in which an atom, the nucleus splits into smaller parts.
The scientists needed heavy water to control the fission process.
After Hitler invaded Norway in 1940, he commanded his troops to move right for the nuclear power plant in Vemork.
Consequently, Operation Gunnerside was launched in 1943 after Britain feared Hitler for the use of this substance against his enemies.
Despite the blow-up of the plant, while the Hydro was sunk, the Norwegians do not destroy all of Germany’s supply of heavy water, the Nazis began to move in the next year with the train and ferry.
However, Churchill was already a step ahead.
He and his generals had already ordered their Norway counterparts for the connection of a bomb on the ship.
The mission was later described in The Heroes of Telemark.
The drain of the Ocean will appear on National Geographic every week from 6 September.
This story originally appeared in The Sun.