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Project Habakkuk a Forgotten wonder weapon and it's benign application.

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posted on Mar, 4 2016 @ 12:06 PM
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During WW2 the allies in the pacific theatre of the war faced an almost unsurmountable problem due to the distance between allied bases and the Japanese home island's, of course we know how the war was finally resolved with the use of the ultimate wonder weapon of WW2 the atomic bomb but while the manhatten project was still in the work's the US and it's allies had not put all of there proverbial egg's into one basket.

So of course they had multiple projects such as this which would have created artificially cooled ship's made of ice with theoretically no size limit, ideal platform's to base aircraft upon and also to act as troop staging area's since they would have been almost unsinkable.

But I wonder if this technology was really abandoned, I can for instance see the potential while building damn's if the same technology was used to create managed ice damn's upstream from the building site's for diversion etc or even undersea construction using the sea turned into ice as a building medium, as long as the power remained in place the structure would too.

What got me thinking on this matter was as I was pondering sunken continent's such as Zealandia and land reclamation project's, the vast areas of currenly unusable (but once desalinated fertile) coastal plain's just off the shore of many nations and the almost cyclic tragedys of low lying countrys like bangladesh with a spin off of this ice making technology originally envisages to make ships of war instead potentially being turned to life saving ice damn's as one possible application (though of course the likes of the micro continent of Zealandia of which only new zealand is above water is far too large and too deep or is it, how far could this technology be pushed if we had the will and the the intent as a species).

Some more reading on one of the allies own wonder weapon's, Project Habakkuk
www.nmrn-portsmouth.org.uk...
www.thewarillustrated.info...
www.todayifoundout.com...
www.combinedops.com...
www.modelshipgallery.com...

It is also interesting to see that while there are always argument's of what NAZI Germany would have achieved had the war lasted just a little longer they were not alone in that the Allies were also creating such amazing invention's and indeed the balance would not likely have shifted that far in the German's favour, indeed it may have swung decisively against the axis even if the Normandy landing's had not happened until 1945 which given the erratic weather in the English channel was a distinct possibility, imagine for example giant ice landing ships running right up onto the beach's and discourging hundred's of tanks and thousands of troop's at a time while mobile massive ice ship's served as mid atlantic air fields' hunting the NAZI wolf packs to extinction.

Feel free to steer this post as you wish by your own thought's on this subject, it is open to any and all wonder weapon and other military project's and there real or potential peace time application's.

edit on 4-3-2016 by LABTECH767 because: (no reason given)




posted on Mar, 4 2016 @ 12:21 PM
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One problem as I recall was that it could only operate in northern latitudes. At the time, the proposal was a stop gap to do just that. A lot of sea action was in colder climes guarding convoys north of England, Europe and Russia.

Todays tropical theatre of operations would melt them.



posted on Mar, 4 2016 @ 12:23 PM
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a reply to: LABTECH767

We also built ships out of concrete. Neither of these ideas was ultimately practicable.



posted on Mar, 4 2016 @ 12:26 PM
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War sure brings out the imagination in scientists.
Pretty wild idea there, never heard of it.



posted on Mar, 4 2016 @ 12:32 PM
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originally posted by: LABTECH767
It is also interesting to see that while there are always argument's of what NAZI Germany would have achieved had the war lasted just a little longer they were not alone in that the Allies were also creating such amazing invention's and indeed the balance would not likely have shifted that far in the German's favour, indeed it may have swung decisively against the axis even if the Normandy landing's had not happened until 1945 which given the erratic weather in the English channel was a distinct possibility, imagine for example giant ice landing ships running right up onto the beach's and discourging hundred's of tanks and thousands of troop's at a time while mobile massive ice ship's served as mid atlantic air fields' hunting the NAZI wolf packs to extinction.


This is a good point, all these documentaries we see today focus on the strange and potentially powerful inventions of Nazi Germany. But the allies had some too, such as these ships of ice, or pykrete I guess. Not to mention all the weird stuff the Russians cooked up, truly or supposedly.

But I'm not sure if this material would be efficient for the peacetime uses you mention. I think they used pykrete mainly because steel became so expensive during the war, but I'm just guessing here, so correct me if I am wrong. It takes a lot of steel to build a carrier, and so this pykrete was a tempting alternative.

I'm not sure if you can use this to fight flooding related to global warming. It takes energy to keep the pykrete frozen. Seems like a loosing proposition, if we use fossil fuels. Of course it might be viable on a small scale, keeping a couple of islands afloat. But in the Netherlands they have been doing this for centuries, with regular dikes.

Still, it's a very interesting proposition. And I think Habakkuk is a really good name for a battleship.
edit on 4-3-2016 by Subnatural because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 4 2016 @ 12:45 PM
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a reply to: intrptr

Yes but with cooling within them and modern thermal insulation even painted onto the outside like a think skin of some kind they would be more than practical today.

And AugustusMasonicus, you must also remember the absolute success of the mulberry harbours which facilitated our rapid invasion of Nazi occupied France, even Rommel could not have stopped that though admittedly counter intelligence was just as important if not more so.

Concrete is still a viable medium but of course not as ductile as metal or ceramic and it's granular nature work's against it were ice or an ice based composite is far more flexible as well as being far more readily repairable, it was not technical difficulty that stopped it's use but rather a lack of will and indeed need for it toward the end of the war and post war it remained a largely unproven idea.
www.concreteconstruction.net...
en.wikipedia.org...

Of course a concrete or a picrete ship would displace more water and be of a far heavier build than a steel or aluminium equivellent design but as the old saying horses for courses goes it is all dependant upon what you want to use it for

A container ship, a coaster or bulk grain carrier are best build from plate metal as they are essentally floating containers themselve's and this facilitates thinner hull's maximising space for cargo as well as lower empty displacement for the vessel's.

Where a floating or permanently moored or even sea bed based large structure would be best made simply for stability and durability and of course there metal is not always the best or most practical material, the ice based composite for this with recooling pipes in place would work perfectly well in most northern or southern conditions as well as with recooling be practical but requiring more power in warmer climate's while a concrete structure would be even be more practical as it then would require nothing more than periodic inspection, concrete sea based structures are used today extremely widely by the oil industry for example and around our coast line over here in Britian we have many now abandoned military installations that once served both war time and peacetime maritime use, Sealand is one notorious example, this is actually a royal navy facility which was abandoned and then 'stolen' by an entrepreneur as a bit of joke which turned out quite well for his wallet in the end.
www.sealandgov.org...

edit on 4-3-2016 by LABTECH767 because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 4 2016 @ 12:57 PM
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a reply to: LABTECH767


Yes but with cooling within them and modern thermal insulation even painted onto the outside like a think skin of some kind they would be more than practical today.

Except they haven't developed the ice coating yet.

Slight differences in temperature precipitate melting, making the surface slick especially for personnel and double especially for aircraft.

The engines to provide power for cooling (let alone navigation) also heat up and melt through the ice.

Thats the problem, ice melts. No way around it.

By the way, ice dams aren't built because they are notoriously dangerous and unpredictable. And this idea was proposed at a time when the German Uboat fleet was sinking shipping in the North Atlantic and there weren't enough carriers to stop them.



posted on Mar, 4 2016 @ 01:03 PM
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a reply to: LABTECH767


And AugustusMasonicus, you must also remember the absolute success of the mulberry harbors which facilitated our rapid invasion of Nazi occupied France,

Mulberrys were hollow bathtubs of concrete floated to their destination and sunk off the coast to make footings for piers and offload supplies. Brilliant but not seaworthy as vessels go, they would have sunk in inclement weather before they arrived.

Same with oil rigs, they need to be towed to their destination in calm weather or they too risk sinking before they are anchored at their well heads.

The problem with converting ice bergs to transport or defensive platforms was largely understood, they can turn over suddenly.



posted on Mar, 4 2016 @ 01:07 PM
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a reply to: Subnatural

No you are quite correct it was indeed driven by the shortage of steel but it had other benefit's, you can't really sink a block of ice for example so torpedoing such a vessel would have been nearly useless, bombing it would merely pock the runway which could be filled back in with nothing more than water and maybe some saw dust as well while the only real damage to the cooling system would concievable have been simple to repair.

Then as in the video modern idea's of using it are also still at large with ideas for floating off shore tax haven's having considered using pikrete (thank's for the spelling I spelt that wrong in another reply).

I still think it has potential application and as long as the refigeration is powered it would be resistant to melting away, indeed what if we replaced the saw dust with something a little more up to date, making it into a hard water based gel or crystal structure with a higher temperature tollerance, it would be interesing if the money was put into it what a polymer chemist could come up with in place of saw dust, the saw dust in Pykrete acted to insulate it and also to give it flexibility probably down to the cellulose in the wood.

But is it possible to create a binding agent capable of holding water solid at high temperatures and requiring only small amount's relative to the water content in order to turn the water into a viable material, imagine land based applications of such a material, is it possible, I suspect it is.



posted on Mar, 4 2016 @ 01:10 PM
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originally posted by: intrptr
a reply to: LABTECH767


And AugustusMasonicus, you must also remember the absolute success of the mulberry harbors which facilitated our rapid invasion of Nazi occupied France,

Mulberrys were hollow bathtubs of concrete floated to their destination and sunk off the coast to make footings for piers and offload supplies. Brilliant but not seaworthy as vessels go, they would have sunk in inclement weather before they arrived.

Same with oil rigs, they need to be towed to their destination in calm weather or they too risk sinking before they are anchored at their well heads.

The problem with converting ice bergs to transport or defensive platforms was largely understood, they can turn over suddenly.


Correct but that was not my argument, my argument is that they are practical in there use when used in those way's and as for the mulberry it was more down to there design than there material which limited there sea worthiness, they were never intended to float more than the few miles of the short channel crossing and were intended of course to actually be sunk once the valves were opened, they did there job splendidly and helped to defeat the old NAZI's.



posted on Mar, 4 2016 @ 01:15 PM
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a reply to: LABTECH767

Ice carriers were to be provided with ballast too, but they found the ore they got into the project of using ice the (m)ore complex it became, they decided in the end to just use steel, which resists melting…

Edit: weird, I had to spell (M)ore with parenthesis so it doesn't come out "ore".
edit on 4-3-2016 by intrptr because: esit:



posted on Mar, 4 2016 @ 01:20 PM
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a reply to: intrptr

Yes ice melt's but what you are missing is the fact that the material Pykrete was a mixture of water and saw dust into a kind of slurry, presumably adding small gravel to the ice would have negated this slippery effect somewhat and of course spread gravel or even solid non ice structure's over the top of the ice would have been used for the runway, the ice would have been shielded enough to allow it to resist the melting while the internal refrigeration pipes would have prevented it from melting away, there would presumably have been depletion of the outer surface exposed to the sea of course but that too would have been compensated for by the internal refrigeration creating a frozen shell of sea ice to protect the bulk of the carrier.

It is actually far more practical than you are giving it credit.

Remember these would have acted more like movable floating island's with structure that were not made of ice for the majority of there use and as for an ice runway it is not as impossible as you think, sled's instead of wheels are used in arctic runways today and would have worked just as well with these if they had unsurfaced ice runways', catapult's and capture net's/hook cables could also have been used if they had been needed on these 2000 foot long runway's.



posted on Mar, 4 2016 @ 01:50 PM
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originally posted by: intrptr
a reply to: LABTECH767

Ice carriers were to be provided with ballast too, but they found the ore they got into the project of using ice the (m)ore complex it became, they decided in the end to just use steel, which resists melting…

Edit: weird, I had to spell (M)ore with parenthesis so it doesn't come out "ore".


You are correct of course, I actually still think it has potential though, I do not have any idea how they would have began these vessels but for me the real problem is where do you build the ship in the first place it is I would imagine not like building a normal ship, instead of laying the keel you would probably build a scaffold of cooling pipes and then place them in a ship shaped mold then pour the water in and let it freeze, melt the outside to release it and let it float up but that would be a massive first ship yard, then again there is no reason they could not clad the ship in a thin shell of steel or other material while the ice would have then provided the structure and support.

Think back to what happened to my countrymen in the Falklands conflict, the Argentinian's used Exocet missiles they had purchased from the French fired from French build Mirage fighter jet's at our ship's which thank's to successive budget cut's were not fit for service since they were made from aluminium and of course aluminium has a decidedly nasty side to it's personality, get it to over 1000 degrees and it burns, once burning this is self sustaining as it oxydises and a lot of our boy's died horribly because of this as the very metal of there ship burst into flames.

There were alternative's back then but they all cost money of course and high temperature ceramic's are one solution which was rejected on cost ground's, they had advantages though with low magnetic signature due to no iron in the hull and this was one of the benefit's of the much less temperature stable aluminium which is still widely used today despite it's poor combat applicable temperature characteristic's, of course more updated royal naval ship's have far superior fire suppression technology's and this does offset this weakness but I still don't like it.

Steel these days has gone the way of the dodo for most Naval military applications at sea due to it's high ferromagnetic signature, even degausing is no longer able to resolve this but today as you know there are still steel naval ships in service in many of the worlds navy's while the Royal Navy and the US Navy have moved toward Ceramic's for there attack and nuclear ballistic boats and of course the US probably has several ceramic hulled surface vessels, stealth and otherwise.

Minesweepers are generally made from GRP type materials today though and of glass reinforced plastic is of course superior to and far more resiliant to the older fiber glass used before it in those applications.

Still the beauty of Pykrete was the potential to rapidly churn out easily repairable vessels in vast quantity's and to far larger size if it had ever been brought into actual application.

And if you hade to construct something massive at sea like a huge polder dam why not simply drop refrigeration rig's in the form of a matrix of cooling pipes and simply freeze the sea water itself to make it from that, artificially cooled glacial dam's may not be that far into the twilight zone, especially if they were merely the stage one while once drained from an area of reclamation they were then replaced by more permanent structures built inside the then dry glacialy dammed area.



posted on Mar, 4 2016 @ 05:00 PM
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The idea remains very practical today.....read about this when I was a kid and always thought it a great plan....
It would be impervious to shellfire or bombs of a conventional sort....



posted on Mar, 4 2016 @ 05:46 PM
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a reply to: LABTECH767


Think back to what happened to my countrymen in the Falklands conflict, the Argentinian's used Exocet missiles they had purchased from the French fired from French build Mirage fighter jet's at our ship's which thank's to successive budget cut's were not fit for service since they were made from aluminum and of course aluminium has a decidedly nasty side to it's personality, get it to over 1000 degrees and it burns, once burning this is self sustaining as it oxydises and a lot of our boy's died horribly because of this as the very metal of there ship burst into flames.

I remember those engagements, studied them extensively. Seems that lessons learned from Japan Kamikazes including the cherry blossom or Okra, was not lost on the designers of anti ship missiles. Of course the tech today is far superior, the cost per unit small (as opposed to cost of combat aircraft delivery of bombs or missiles and the aircraft carriers to project force across oceans to put bombs on target). Anymore, floating vessels are tin cans bobbing on the ocean…



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