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The Wheezers and Dodgers

The Inside Story of Clandestine Weapon Development in World War II

By Pawle, Gerald
2009, Seaforth Publishing
ISBN 1848320264
Paperback, 304 pages


This is the fascinating story of the Admiralty's Department of Miscellaneous Weapon Development, the so-called 'Wheezers and Dodgers', and the many ingenious weapons and devices it invented, improved or perfected.

The author was one of a group of officers with engineering or scientific backgrounds who were charged with the task of winning the struggle for scientific mastery between the Allies and the Germans in what Churchill enthusiastically called 'the wizard war'. Their work ranged from early stop-gap weapons like the steam-powered Holman projector, via great success stories like the Hedgehog anti-submarine mortar, to futuristic experiments with rockets, a minefield that could be sown in the sky, and the spectacularly dangerous Great Panjandrum, a giant explosive Catherine-wheel intended to storm enemy beaches.

The development of these and many other extraordinary inventions, their triumphs and disasters, is told with panache and humour, and a diverse group of highly imaginative and eccentric figures emerge from the pages.

From the review: The story of perhaps the most dangerous enemy the Germans faced in the war; British scientists. The story told in this book is usually skipped completely or very lightly covered. The focus is the Admiralty department that became the Depa ...
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