Peenemünde Interviews Project: Karl Heimburg 11/9/1989 (Tape 3 of 3) A


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Michael Neufeld: An interview with Karl Heimberg. Now, we can return from the present to 1944 [[laughter]] and figure out what, what was it that, uh, what things have we need to cover of what you were doing. We talked about your time with, under Hans Hutter.

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Karl Heimberg: Yeah.

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Michael Neufeld: And, to some extent I don't know whether, is there more to say about the, your experience working under him with the production problems and so forth?

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Michael Neufeld: Um, is there any aspects of that story that, that I haven't covered in my questions? Can you think of--

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Karl Heimberg: Right now I do not have the feeling that we had, uh, then open problem.

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Karl Heimberg: You know what I believe what we should discuss now is since the production of the V-2 became considerably higher, and since it was obvious you could not produce without testing, especially on the combustion chamber side and even on the pump side.

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Karl Heimberg: They all had to be tested, so they needed, you needed more testants, and therefore new facilities were created as that one in Leighston we had discussed shortly before with two combustion testants for power plants, well not power plants, but combustion chambers.

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Karl Heimberg: And the same way, and that's what I forgot to look up, uh, you know where that station was located in Austria?

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Michael Neufeld: Mm-hmm. [[affirmative]]

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Karl Heimberg: Um, but it was closer to the Leberian border.

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Michael Neufeld: Mh-hmm. [[affirmative]] Was it, was it in the southern part near Saltsberg along that alpine part?

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Karl Heimberg: [[cross talk]] It was not far from Saltsberg.

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Michael Neufeld: It wasn't far from Saltsberg.

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Karl Heimberg: No.
Michael Neufeld: And it was originally a brewery you said.

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Karl Heimberg: [[cross talk]] A beer brewery. And, uh, you could then put the oxygen plants in the brewery because brewery was underground.

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Karl Heimberg: That was built underground, since you had, didn't have cooling plants in order to have the year over channeling an even temperature wise and even climate in the brewery.

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Karl Heimberg: And you could prepare the combustion chamber for the test and they built on one end a tower.

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KARL HEIMBURG: —and you had to have a jet deflector.

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KARL HEIMBURG: It was not as in Lehesten, you had a natural wall, a perpendicular wall.

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KARL HEIMBURG: You had to have a jet deflector, and on the other hand, in order to protect it from bomb raids, they had a heavy concrete layer on top of that tower.
MICHAEL NEUFELD: Mmhmm.

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KARL HEIMBURG: Now you had two test stands inside and the--

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KARL HEIMBURG: --you have to see it this way.

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MICHAEL NEUFELD: Could you describe that visually?

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KARL HEIMBURG: Yeah. In the middle is the room from where you direct each test, to the left and the right.

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KARL HEIMBURG: You had a concrete wall separating you from the test tank, but you were very close by.

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KARL HEIMBURG: But you had the concrete wall and you had a double window, so that the noise was not too, uh, damaging to you, too damaging to your ears.
MICHAEL NEUFELD: Mmhmm.

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KARL HEIMBURG: And uh, you had, then, the containers sitting on scales, for the--for the oxidizer and for the fuel.

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KARL HEIMBURG: Uh, so that you knew how much fuel did you use and how much oxidant did you use during the test.

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KARL HEIMBURG: And you could see your containers is, on account of the scale, getting empty.

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KARL HEIMBURG: Now I have to tell you something about that scale.

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KARL HEIMBURG: When I arrived there, uh, the container, on account of the vibration by the test, as it was close by, had shifted slightly against the wall.

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KARL HEIMBURG: And then of course, made the scale worthless.

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KARL HEIMBURG: This was ONE thing which they had not watched.

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KARL HEIMBURG: And on the other hand, when you pressurize your container and you, the scale—

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KARL HEIMBURG: —let me say: when you fuel your container and your scale is not working properly—

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Karl Heimberg: Your fuel goes out of the de-airing line when you take the pressure off. You have the line to take the pressure off.

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Karl Heimberg: And when you have your scale plucked, they're over-fueled, and it run out the other side but, now comes a but,

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Karl Heimberg: there was a welding seam in this tube, and the welding seam had broken.

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Karl Heimberg: So, when they over-tanked, the fuel run back.

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Michael Neufeld: Is that alcohol that's running?

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Michael Neufeld: That's alcohol run back, and you could smell it.

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Michael Neufeld: Mmhmm.

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Karl Heimberg: [??] something badly, and they didn't care about.

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Karl Heimberg: So you knew that is highly dangerous for fire, and the first thing I did when I came there, I closed the door and said, "That's an impossibility," they have first to correct that.

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Karl Heimberg: And we corrected it, and I could only say, "Okay, the other side you have to correct as well"

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Karl Heimberg: "You cannot leave it that way, and you have to watch it."

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Karl Heimberg: And after I was gone, after a month are so, that line broke again,

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Michael Neufeld: mmhmm

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Karl Heimberg: and that tank again came close to the wall, [].

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Karl Heimberg: When I left, I could only say that the facility is highly dangerous.

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Karl Heimberg: And then one day we got a call, you know the, uh, there was a big explosion and, uh, the whole crew has been killed.

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Michael Neufeld: Mmhmm.

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Karl Heimberg: So, I was sent there, and told you that story with--

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Michael Neufeld: With Oberth's daughter was killed in it.

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Karl Heimberg: ...got killed and,

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Karl Heimberg: I had to see them, but a new great group of people came there who built it up and could operate it again.

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Karl Heimberg: Okay, that was one, uh, part of, uh, my activity being called from Peenemünde but--

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Karl Heimberg: This uh, test stand did not, uh, belong to Peenemünde. That belonged to a completely different organization.

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Karl Heimberg: Only Peenemünde was called, you have to help out here.

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Michael Neufeld: Okay, under what, organi-- was that officially under Middelvac or--

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Karl Heimberg: That was officially under Middelvac, same company, exactly the same control.

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Michael Neufeld: Leighston was also owned by Middelvac?
Karl Heimberg: Leighston, same, same thing.

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Michael Neufeld: The, uh, first I want to ask you the detail of-- when was the first time you went to, was it Schlier?

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Karl Heimberg: Schlier.
Michael Neufeld: Schlier.
Karl Heimberg: Schlier.

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Michael Neufeld: When you, first time you went to Schlier, um, when was that?

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Karl Heimberg: That must have been the middle of '44

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Karl Heimberg: Around that time.
Michael Neufeld: And the, the accident--

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Karl Heimberg: I know I had mentioned that the Russians came closer to Rega, and that friend of that director of Middelvac, uh, the name you know, too. I don't accommodate it now.

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Michael Neufeld: The director, the director of Middelvac's name, Ricci?

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Karl Heimberg: Ricci, Ricci! That was a friend of Ricci.

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Karl Heimberg: Who was put in that facility,

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Karl Heimberg: And uh--
Karl Heimberg: Uh, Ricci was the one who had requested that the man in charge was taken out, and I could only say the man in charge was, uh, pretty weak.

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Karl Heimberg: When I came there first I told him a few of the weak spots as I saw them, said, "Well, don't forget you are in that, and you were continuously in it," and I was outside?

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Karl Heimberg: I didn't see that, but on the other hand you could say, "Why didn't you every month once go back to Peenemünde and see what kind of changes had been made?"

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Karl Heimberg: In a development you have continuous changes.
Karl Heimberg: Mmhmm

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Karl Heimberg: Uh, this is where I saw the difficulties, and that the tanks were hanging on the wall, and that this case didn't work properly, and that you had to split,

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Karl Heimberg: and that could honestly can only close it down now and correct it.

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Michael Neufeld: And we have to correct the other side, too, and if you do not watch it so that this repeats it, it's back again, then you can have from today to tomorrow an explosion.

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Michael Neufeld: The last facility was also built towards the middle of '44, or earlier in?

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Karl Heimberg: Yeah, early, early, in '44.

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Michael Neufeld: Mmhmm.

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Karl Heimberg: And that facility was by far better organized and, and, uh, in a by far better condition than to the South. And, uh

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Karl Heimberg: There was a very energetic manager who dictated, and properly I could only say, so I was surprised. That plant was in very good condition.

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Michael Neufeld: Did more Peenemünders have contact with that facility than the other one? Or was it just the manager?

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Karl Heimberg: [[crosstalk]] The same.

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Karl Heimberg: It was just the manager. It was the manager.

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Michael Neufeld: That brings up the question--

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Karl Heimberg: Just an example to show you what kind of nonsense a manager can do when you work with liquid oxygen or gaseous oxygen coming from the tank.

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Karl Heimberg: This is a very, very cold gas, and you cannot take steel. You have to take copper, because steel or iron gets so brittle that with one hammer blow you can destroy the piping.

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Karl Heimberg: And we had an accident at Schlier very early where one of those lines broke and then they had an explosion, because the manager said, "No, we do not take copper. Copper is so scarce in Germany we cannot use it." And he took steel without knowing how dangerous it was.

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Michael Neufeld: So you must have had a problem with those operations then in effect they were created new without sufficient knowledge of all your experience at Peenemünde, and they were largely staffed without any people from Peenemünde.

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Karl Heimberg: [[crosstalk]] Yeah. That's right.

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Karl Heimberg: The bar was hardly anyone in, here in that case one man, but he himself didn't have enough experience.

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Michael Neufeld: Now, maybe you can make more sense of me how the whole production process and testing of the engines was done on a mass production basis.

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Michael Neufeld: Did, were the combustion chambers still made in Breslau or a whole bunch of different places?

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Karl Heimberg: As far as I remember they were manufactured in Breslau, and I am not clear how many or which percentage was manufactured, for example, at [[?]].

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Karl Heimberg: There was, maybe later on when Tessman is coming we can ask him that question. I told him I would give him the reign.

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Karl Heimberg: So when we are through I can do that and we can ask him that question: Where was the manufacturing done of combustion chambers?
Karl Heimberg:

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And that I don't believe all the combustion chambers were manufactured especially after this started with the high production figures that Linke-Hofmann was the name of the company in Breslau could manufacture them all, but the point I was making, they all had to be tested.

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KARL HEIMBURG: And, at the time when that came up, neither Lehesten was in--at work, nor, uh, Schlier was ready to test, so we had to test at that one test stand,

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number eight, at ‎Peenemünde, whatever we could, and they worked in one shift, 16 hours a day,

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and they ran the test and took the chamber out and put the next one in, in spite of the fact that they might have to repeat the test.

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It was faster to exchange the combustion chamber in the test stand than to wait until they had the evaluation of the test.

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So some of the tests had to be repeated, so they put it in for a second time.

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And I know that von Braun at that time was very hard-pushing, get out whatever you can.

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And one day I told him they have to close it because the jet deflector is damaged, and we have to repair it.

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And he told me— Look, go as long as you can, and even if the whole deflector is blown out. And we did that.

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So, it was a lousy situation, and we finally had to close it down. It didn't help we had to repair that deflector.
MICHAEL NEUFELD: Mmmhmm

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MICHAEL NEUFELD: Was that earlier in '44? The first half?
KARL HEIMBURG: I think that was the first half of '44 when that happened.
MICHAEL NEUFELD: Mmmhmm.

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MICHAEL NEUFELD: That's the point where you didn't have any alternative place to calibrate?
KARL HEIMBURG: It was only that one test stand.
MICHAEL NEUFELD: Mmmhmm.

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MICHAEL NEUFELD: So—
KARL HEIMBURG: The others weren't ready yet.
MICHAEL NEUFELD: Mmhmm

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—from the standpoint of manufacturing the, uh, — — the injectors were made someplace, were made at Breslau,

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or other locations at the same place as combustion chambers? Or were they combined-- the combustion chamber itself was made somewhere—

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KARL HEIMBURG: I could not tell you where the different parts were made. I'm pretty sure that, for example, the little nozzles,

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which were in this 18 small combustion chambers were not manufactured at Breslau.

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They were manufactured somewhere else and were sent to Breslau. So, in that sense, Breslau was, uh,—

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KARL HEIMBURG: —the plant where it was, put together.

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MICHAEL NEUFELD: Yeah of course I think, when you get down towards the end of the war, then you find that so many things have been put underground at Mittelwerk, that, yeah, increasingly operations that were once at somebody's factory, they've picked up the whole, they picked up the labor force and the mach- the tools, and they shipped them off, and put them underground. And they joined-- So that,—

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MICHAEL NEUFELD: I think probably in the last part of the war at Lehesten, they were testing engines that were made right there at Mittelwerk. Probably. At least-parts of them, not all parts.

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KARL HEIMBURG: I'm not sure if combustion chambers were manufactured in the Mittelwerk, I don't believe so. I believe we still got them out of the east, you know the west coast of Germany was badly damaged by air attacks; the east side of Germany was not so bad off.

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MICHAEL NEUFELD: Mhm. Yeah. Silesia — was relatively, Silesia was relatively protected from air raids.
KARL HEIMBURG: Yeah, right, right.

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MICHAEL NEUFELD: Umm. So you- As you were doing it in the beginning, the combustion chambers with injectors would be shipped to you, you would calibrate them and then send them to Mittelwerk for integration into vehicles?
KARL HEIMBURG: Right, right.

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MICHAEL NEUFELD: Does that mean, that, as you were saying that they had to be individually tested and calibrated- Does that mean that for each engine there would be a specified performance — whatever attached to it? So adjustments would have to be made in fitting it into the final missile?

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KARL HEIMBURG: Yes, yes. Yes, you know, with the pumps, this was exactly the same. The pumps were calibrated too. And you took them - when you had a higher pressure loss in the combustion chamber - you took a pump which was a little bit more powerful, together with that one.
MICHAEL NEUFELD: Mhm.

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MICHAEL NEUFELD: So you tried to match them?
KARL HEIMBURG: Yep.

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MICHAEL NEUFELD: And you were getting turbo pumps shipped from companies — to Peenemünde at the beginning?
KARL HEIMBURG: Right. Yeah.
MICHAEL NEUFELD: And you also had to run longships there?

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KARL HEIMBURG: That's what I had mentioned. When we put them together in a vehicle, we calibrated in the vehicle the pumps together with the combustion chamber. That is all. You had the whole power plant there.

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KARL HEIMBURG: And there we learned enough that we could say— All right, if the pump has this calibration characteristic, you put it together with such a combustion chamber. If it has such a characteristic, you put it with such and together. Because later on we didn't test the whole vehicle anymore. You know, we tested only the pumps and the combustion chamber, separately.

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MICHAEL NEUFELD: Did you, uh, continue to do that, in any large numbers after you had Lehesten and Schlier? I mean- Did you continue to get large shipments of pumps of combustion chambers, that had to do part of the workload of that stuff at Peenemünde, or was that pretty much gone?

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KARL HEIMBURG: No. As I mentioned, after we had run let's say 100 - I take it out of the air the figure right now - 100 different pumps, and combustion chambers, together in this calibration test stand, so that you had now, your combustion chamber calibration and you had 100 different pumps,

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you could say— OK, this is the characteristic now of the combustion chamber, therefore you take such a pump without testing them- together. You tested them separately and you could THEN coordinate it according to the results of your calibration test of the pump.

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MICHAEL NEUFELD: Uh, you misunderstand my question. I'm asking you- Did you, uh, the Peenemünde stop with the sort of testing of mass numbers of industrial pumps at any time? Or did you continue right through the war doing part of the work for Mittlewerk, in terms of the mass production?

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KARL HEIMBURG: We did, on that test stand number 8, we did part of it, for the Mittelwerk—

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MICHAEL NEUFELD: All the way through?
KARL HEIMBURG: —because we tested by far more combustion chambers than we launched vehicles. You know, the vehicles we launched, the highest time was every two weeks one, and later on, that was less.

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KARL HEIMBURG: And we tested at least, uh, 24, 30 combustion chambers in one shift.

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KARL HEIMBURG: So, the surplus was sent to the Mittelwerk, whatever we did not use, and that was by far less. So mainly we tested for the Mittelwerk.

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MICHAEL NEUFELD: And that all the way through to the end — until things fell apart?
KARL HEIMBURG: Till the end of February. Right, right.

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MICHAEL NEUFELD: But that continued right down to February 1945? When you began to evacuate?

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KARL HEIMBURG: We, I do not even remember anymore when we started to evacuate. That was earlier than February. Uh--

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KARL HEIMBURG: Oh definitely, definitely, because we were already on Christmas 1944, we were at least. So we had evacuated, let's say in November of 1944.

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MICHAEL NEUFELD: You were evacuated at that time as well?
KARL HEIMBURG: Right.

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MICHAEL NEUFELD: See, that's different than- that's different than the most of Peenemünde.

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I mean, obviously there had been dispersion of people and dispersion of tasks throughout this time before that,--

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but most of that place was really evacuated in February and March. — But that testing of engines was pulled out before Christmas.
KARL HEIMBURG: Right. — And besides that for the testing itself, especially when you intended to build a new facility for total vehicles, you had to take material along, too.

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KARL HEIMBURG: And that you didn't do only in one transport, so you had to have quite a few transports from Peenemünde to Lehesten.

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MICHAEL NEUFELD: Um, alright so, before that time, I had a question that- I had a couple of organizational type questions which may not, you may not know much about at your level.

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Number one- In 1943 Dornberger moved away, was became this General Z-B- Zett Be Vau, you know— ­
KARL HEIMBURG: ZBV, ja, 'zur besonderen Verwendung'.
MICHAEL NEUFELD: —yeah, he was out of- he was away from direct control over that time.

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A different group of ordnance officers took over under General Rossmann. And I was wondering whether you—
KARL HEIMBURG: Rossmann, yeah.

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MICHAEL NEUFELD: Did you have any experience with the change in the relationship with the Army office ordnance people then?

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I note some people told me that there was friction, but uh,-

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Did it make any- Did you see any difference at all?
KARL HEIMBURG: I did not see any difference. Not at all, not at all.

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You know, I could imagine that in the general, uh, on the business side, that there were differences of opinion.

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You know— How do we pay for that? How do we pay for that? Can we build this up? Can we invest that money for that or that or that, uh, possibility which came in new?--that they had difficulties. But I was not aware of difficulties there.

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MICHAEL NEUFELD: You weren't aware that there was any greater- There were any more influence or- Anymore friction with the Army ordnance officers or anything—
KARL HEIMBURG: No.
MICHAEL NEUFELD: —at that, before or after that time?

00:25:50.000 --> 00:26:01.000
KARL HEIMBURG: You know there was a change every year or every half year. Half a year Dornberger was in, and half a year- what was his name, a Colonel?

00:26:01.000 --> 00:26:13.000
MICHAEL NEUFELD: Zanssen was there.
KARL HEIMBURG: Zanssen. Zanssen. With Zanssen it was by far more difficult to work than with Dornberger, and they changed.

00:26:13.000 --> 00:26:29.000
Half a year Dornberger was in Berlin, and half a year Zanssen was in Berlin. And it was always either Zanssen at Peenemünde or Dornberger. And Rossmann, he was the last one then.

00:26:29.000 --> 00:26:45.000
Uh, Zanssen had asked - uh, in spite of the fact that he was a pessimist and he knew the war was lost - but he asked for a transfer to the Eastern front.

00:26:45.000 --> 00:26:51.000
MICHAEL NEUFELD: So you didn't hear the story of Zanssen's removal, did you?
KARL HEIMBURG: No.

00:26:51.000 --> 00:27:05.000
MICHAEL NEUFELD: Did you, did you know that he was actually accused by the S.S. of being — involved with the oppositional — Catholic priest and was essentially, you know, forced out as a result of that? [[crosstalk]]
KARL HEIMBURG: Yes. Yes.

00:27:05.000 --> 00:27:09.000
MICHAEL NEUFELD: That was I think after he had asked for transfer already.

00:27:09.000 --> 00:27:32.000
KARL HEIMBURG: You know, Zanssen had shown very clearly that he was not convinced of the Nazi side, in spite of the fact that he was an early member - an early member - of the Nazi party before 1933.

00:27:32.000 --> 00:27:43.260
KARL HEIMBURG: And it could well be that Zanssen thought because he was an old member, he could open his mouth once in a while.

00:27:45.000 --> 00:27:56.000
KARL HEIMBURG: I believe that played a role in that, too. But in the final end, he was, he was- he decided himself, I want to get out of here.

00:27:56.000 --> 00:28:04.000
Probably, because he knew if he didn't do it on his own, he would be removed by the SS. This could well be.

00:28:04.000 --> 00:28:08.000
MICHAEL NEUFELD: Uh, he was actually forced out, 'cause I've seen the documents on this.
KARL HEIMBURG: Oh-

00:28:08.000 --> 00:28:22.000
MICHAEL NEUFELD: He was really forced out. I mean, he wasn't, it's not- The SS didn't push super hard, but they brought up these charges against Zanssen, and—
KARL HEIMBURG: I know that-
MICHAEL NEUFELD: —and the army, army-

00:28:22.000 --> 00:28:31.000
And I don't know the full story, but it appears that the army leadership decided it isn't worth the touble of protecting Zanssen. We'll just transfer him somewhere else.

00:28:31.000 --> 00:28:39.000
And so they didn't cover for him. I know he was a very close friend of Dornberger.
KARL HEIMBURG: He was, he was.

00:28:39.000 --> 00:28:54.000
MICHAEL NEUFELD: Uh, did you know a lieutenant colonel Stegmaier?
KARL HEIMBURG: Stegmaier? Yes, I knew him. By the way, he was an old member of the party too. Stegmaier.

00:28:54.000 --> 00:29:12.000
I had very little to do with him. Um, Schilling and Thiel had by far more to do with him than I.

00:29:12.000 --> 00:29:26.000
So, I heard only through them the difficulties that once in a while arrived, uh, arose with him. But I personally had no contact with him.

00:29:26.000 --> 00:29:34.000
MICHAEL NEUFELD: What were their complaints about Stegmaier?
KARL HEIMBURG: Narrow mindedness.

00:29:34.000 --> 00:29:40.000
MICHAEL NEUFELD: Yeah? Just very rigid in the way he wanted to do things?
KARL HEIMBURG: Yeah, exactly. That, yeah.

00:29:40.000 --> 00:29:57.000
MICHAEL NEUFELD: Was he considered a competent administrator?
KARL HEIMBURG: Well, since he was so narrow minded, you can only say he was a competent administrator if difficulties arose- how he would help to solve them.

00:29:57.000 --> 00:30:05.000
And in that sense, I would say, he was not a good administrator.

00:30:05.000 --> 00:30:19.000
But I had no direct connection, therefore, I could only repeat what I had heard from Schilling and Thiel.

00:30:19.000 --> 00:30:25.000
MICHAEL NEUFELD: Do you know, I don't even have Stegmaier's first name,- Do you know his first name?

00:30:25.000 --> 00:30:33.000
KARL HEIMBURG: Why don't we ask? [[Laughing]] [[inaudible]] he's coming. Okay, okay—

00:30:33.000 --> 00:30:37.090
MICHAEL NEUFELD: Okay, but [[crosstalk - whisper]] he did not have a—

00:30:40.000 --> 00:30:51.000
MICHAEL NEUFELD: You knew that he was an old member of the party. Did he have a reputation of being an enthusiastic Nazi? Or not?
KARL HEIMBURG: I could not answer that.
Michael Neufeld: Mhm
Karl Heimberg: I could not answer that.

00:30:51.000 --> 00:30:54.000
MICHAEL NEUFELD: I've seen that said, about him.
KARL HEIMBURG: Uhhuh, Uhhuh.

00:30:54.000 --> 00:31:06.000
MICHAEL NEUFELD: I don't, I don't- I'm trying to get as many views as I can—
KARL HEIMBURG: Yeah, okay.
MICHAEL NEUFELD: —because of the evidence. But I do know one thing, which indicates that he probably was. He had very good connections with the top of the SS.

00:31:06.000 --> 00:31:22.000
MICHAEL NEUFELD: There's documentary proof of his intervention at the top levels of the SS and, uh, as well as documentary proof that he was the person who did in Zanssen.

00:31:22.000 --> 00:31:39.000
MICHAEL NEUFELD: That he- that he told- that he said things to, that, that after the, Zanssen's problems came up, Stegmaier was the one who, who said, told various nasty rumors about Zanssen, which weren't probably true.

00:31:39.000 --> 00:31:43.000
MICHAEL NEUFELD: I found these things in, uh, files, in Washington.

00:31:43.000 --> 00:31:55.000
KARL HEIMBURG: I know only one thing, you know the, uh-- the Gauleiter, from Stettin, came for a visit.

00:31:55.000 --> 00:32:11.000
Zanssen mounted his horse, and didn't say hello to him. Just as an example, in spite of the fact that he was an old member of the Party, he didn't want to see him.
Michael Neufeld: Mhm

00:32:11.000 --> 00:32:14.000
And that-- he showed that to all the people.

00:32:14.000 --> 00:32:23.000
MICHAEL NEUFELD: Mhm. So he was a little foolish, do you think?
KARL HEIMBURG: Certainly in my opinion, that was foolish. This was not a necessity.
MICHAEL NEUFELD: Mmhmm, yeah.

00:32:23.000 --> 00:32:33.000
That's something, I'm getting the picture from other people, the same- that Zanssen was a little careless—
KARL HEIMBURG: Yeah.
MICHAEL NEUFELD: —in showing his, uh, his distaste for the Regime.

00:32:33.000 --> 00:32:48.000
KARL HEIMBURG: You know, you can say careless is, is very - 'tender' to Zanssen. It was in my opinion more than—
MICHAEL NEUFELD: It was more like- reckless?
KARL HEIMBURG: —it was dumb.

00:32:48.000 --> 00:32:56.310
MICHAEL NEUFELD: But, uh, when Rossman came in, you didn't note any difference. He was, you didn't have much to do with him — at all, or any of those people?
KARL HEIMBURG: No, not at all, not at all.

00:32:59.000 --> 00:33:08.000
Michael Neufeld: The second organizational change is when you are converted into a government company instead of civil service officially as [[??]]

00:33:08.000 --> 00:33:11.000
Karl Heimberg: Ohhh yeah yeah right right right [[crosstalk]]

00:33:11.000 --> 00:33:18.000
Michael Neufeld: Did you notice much difference when that happened?

00:33:18.000 --> 00:33:26.000
Karl Heimberg: Yeah there was a difference because from browns[?] uhh

00:33:26.000 --> 00:33:34.000
I'd say power was not anymore as big as it was before.

00:33:34.000 --> 00:33:47.000
His... how do you say... his inference was, too quite some extent, reduced.

00:33:47.000 --> 00:33:57.000
Too give you an idea all of a sudden [[?]], Shilling, we are put in the same level as Von Brown,

00:33:57.000 --> 00:34:01.000
Michael Neufeld: mm-hmm[[affirmative]]
Karl Heimberg: Organisationally

00:34:01.000 --> 00:34:13.000
uhh which did not affect lets say Shilling or the others. They worked the same way with Von Brown as before

00:34:13.000 --> 00:34:27.000
But they showed him your influence is somewhat reduced by the organisation

00:34:27.000 --> 00:34:34.000
Michael Neufeld: Ummm thats interesting I get different answers from different people when they answer a question.

00:34:34.000 --> 00:34:40.000
Some people dont see any difference and some people see a significant difference

00:34:40.000 --> 00:34:51.000
Karl Heimberg: Yes and as I tried to explain since there was still Shilling or [[??]] they listened to him the same way as before.

00:34:51.000 --> 00:34:58.000
There was no inference in this respect only from the top side. They showed him, you are now on the same level with the others.

00:34:58.000 --> 00:35:02.000
From the top side, not from the side below.

00:35:02.000 --> 00:35:05.000
So then you see it from the side below, that was exactly the same

00:35:05.000 --> 00:35:10.000
Michael Neufeld: Uh-Huh it looked like it functioned, informally, more or less the same.

00:35:10.000 --> 00:35:11.000
Karl Heimberg: Correct

00:35:11.000 --> 00:35:29.000
Michael Neufeld: Umm did you have anything to do with Storch[?]? You know this new Seamans[?] director who was imposed on you as president[scoffs] of this company as it was structured?

00:35:29.000 --> 00:35:40.670
Karl Heimberg: I did not see any big changes in the total[?] approach which we had

00:35:43.000 --> 00:35:46.000
Karl Heimberg: There were a few things were different than before, okay.

00:35:46.000 --> 00:36:06.000
Karl Heimberg: You could see when a new boss was coming he always has his own properties, and introduces a few changes, which, in my mind, did not make any big difference whatsoever.

00:36:06.000 --> 00:36:23.000
Michael Neufeld: One of the funny things I see when I looked at some documents from the period is that Storch seemed to issue a blizzard of memos about, about little things, but, you know, whether it's vacations or other things it seems. [[laughter]]

00:36:23.000 --> 00:36:31.000
Michael Neufeld: But I don't now whether maybe those same kinds of things were produced before and I just didn't have the documents for it.

00:36:31.000 --> 00:36:36.000
Karl Heimberg: I could say that that was of little influence to us.

00:36:36.000 --> 00:36:37.000
Michael Neufeld: Mh-hmm [[affirmative]] yeah.

00:36:37.000 --> 00:36:38.000
Karl Heimberg: Of very little influence to us.

00:36:38.000 --> 00:36:41.000
Michael Neufeld: You were working incredibly long hours.

00:36:41.000 --> 00:36:48.000
Karl Heimberg: That's right. And this did not change when Storch came in. This was exactly the same as before.

00:36:48.000 --> 00:37:02.000
Michael Neufeld: You just sort of went on a daily basis you spent virtually all of the time there from morning 'til night, and you just slept usually on Peenemünde all week long.

00:37:02.000 --> 00:37:03.000
Karl Heimberg: Right, right.

00:37:03.000 --> 00:37:10.000
Michael Neufeld: So it didn't leave much time to do anything else through 1943, 44 I suppose.

00:37:10.000 --> 00:37:16.000
Karl Heimberg: I hardly read any, at that time, I hardly read any newspaper.

00:37:16.000 --> 00:37:31.000
67
Karl Heimberg: You came out from your job, you had your lunch at the site too and your dinner, and Peenemünde had one advantage.

00:37:31.000 --> 00:37:48.000
Karl Heimberg: Since it was close to the water you had fish, and the fish were not on stamps, so you were better off when you were outside of Peenemünde, Germany. You had better food.

00:37:48.000 --> 00:37:56.000
Michael Neufeld: So you ate a lot of fish from the local fishermen and so forth.

00:37:56.000 --> 00:37:54.000
Karl Heimberg: Oh fish, yeah, right.

00:37:54.000 --> 00:38:08.000
Michael Neufeld: Would you say that living conditions deteriorated in 1944 regarding, or you were reasonably well maintained?

00:38:08.000 --> 00:38:12.000
Karl Heimberg: We were reasonably well maintained, that's all I can say.

00:38:12.000 --> 00:38:22.000
Michael Neufeld: But it, in terms of, did you feel isolated from the outside world to a great extent there?

00:38:22.000 --> 00:38:35.000
Michael Neufeld: I guess if you're involved a lot with thinking about industrial production in other parts of the Reich and how you were going to get things done you did have some sense of the impact of air raids and everything else.

00:38:35.000 --> 00:38:51.000
Karl Heimberg: Yeah, you, I always had the possibility if I want to find something out I could go in [[?]] and could, could check personally, uh how's that, how's that, how's that when we had shortcomings some year.

00:38:51.000 --> 00:39:05.000
Michael Neufeld: Yeah, this is really minor stuff but I'm just trying to get an atmosphere of what it was like, what it was like there and you know get a sense of atmosphere in terms of the living conditions.

00:39:05.000 --> 00:38:56.000
Karl Heimberg: [[crosstalk]] Yeah, right, right.

00:38:56.000 --> 00:39:07.000
Karl Heimberg: [[crosstalk]] No I could not, I could not complain, I could not complain about that.

00:39:07.000 --> 00:39:23.000
Michael Neufeld: Was the mass, this, this incessant testing of calibration of engines and so forth day in and day out was that, did that become very tedious? The same work over and over and over?

00:39:23.000 --> 00:39:34.000
Karl Heimberg: No, not so, because your business was only in case something went the other way. Whatever went normal, you will not address it.

00:39:34.000 --> 00:39:40.000
Michael Neufeld: So you were not directly involved in the daily testing? You were in the office--

00:39:40.000 --> 00:39:39.000
Karl Heimberg: [[crosstalk]] I was not. In the daily testing I was not involved.

00:39:39.000 --> 00:39:43.050
Karl Heimberg: Only in case something went wrong, then I was in.

00:39:45.000 --> 00:39:55.000
Michael Neufeld: But the testant crew were almost doing assembly line testing virtually on testant 8.

00:39:55.000 --> 00:40:11.000
Karl Heimberg: It was, it was. It was an assembly line, and I could only say that I kept so busy I had no time to think about that. [[laughter]] Their own life.

00:40:11.000 --> 00:40:22.000
Michael Neufeld: Um, so, I guess, I'm trying to think if there's anything else left.

00:40:22.000 --> 00:40:35.000
Michael Neufeld: You talked about the [[?]] before in 1944, and I guess we said just about everything there was to say, I mean that project was completed?

00:40:35.000 --> 00:40:36.000
Karl Heimberg: The project was completed.

00:40:36.000 --> 00:40:38.000
Michael Neufeld: But, but never used?

00:40:38.000 --> 00:40:53.000
Karl Heimberg: Never used. Not that I know of. You know after we had left Peenemünde we had nothing to do anymore with the Air Force, so they probably worked on their own.

00:40:53.000 --> 00:41:00.000
Karl Heimberg: I know only from [[?]], [[?]] was in the Middelvac, but he was concerned with a small [[?]].

00:41:00.000 --> 00:41:02.000
Michael Neufeld: Typhoon.

00:41:02.000 --> 00:41:03.000
Karl Heimberg: Typhoon.

00:41:03.000 --> 00:41:08.000
Michael Neufeld: Did you have anything to do with Typhoon at all?

00:41:08.000 --> 00:41:12.000
Karl Heimberg: Nothing. Nothing at all. That was [[?]] business.

00:41:12.000 --> 00:41:20.000
Michael Neufeld: So that was carried on pretty much by this [[?]] officer [[?]]. Where was his location in the organization? Who was he under?

00:41:20.000 --> 00:41:35.000
Karl Heimberg: In the organization he was under me, right. But after, he had his own project, his Typhoon, then he was strictly only under the Air Force.

00:41:35.000 --> 00:41:48.000
Karl Heimberg: And they had a major there, I forgot the name, who was in charge of the total Air Force operation, Air Force group.

00:41:48.000 --> 00:41:53.000
Michael Neufeld: This, was it under the label of [[?]]?

00:41:53.000 --> 00:41:54.000
Karl Heimberg: [[?]].

00:41:54.000 --> 00:42:07.000
Michael Neufeld: [[?]]. Did they have a distinct location? In other words, a building or, uh, distinct offices separate from you?

00:42:07.000 --> 00:42:16.000
Karl Heimberg: They had, they had an office in our headquarter building, but that's all I can say.

00:42:16.000 --> 00:42:22.000
Michael Neufeld: It wasn't like they were concentrated all in one place? Or, you know.

00:42:22.000 --> 00:42:38.000
Karl Heimberg: Like we at Peenemünde, yes. But you had people who were responsible for the manufacturing that was a Lieutenant Minning. He came here, too. He's somewhere on the East coast.

00:42:38.000 --> 00:42:41.000
Michael Neufeld: How do you spell that?

00:42:41.000 --> 00:42:44.000
Karl Heimberg: M-I-double N-I-N-G.

00:42:44.000 --> 00:42:47.000
Michael Neufeld: Okay, straightforward. Okay, Minning, right?

00:42:47.000 --> 00:42:49.370
Karl Heimberg: Minning.
Michael Neufeld: I don't need to write that down.

00:42:51.000 --> 00:42:54.000
Michael Neufeld: So you had the production side you were saying.

00:42:54.000 --> 00:42:58.000
Karl Heimberg: A production side for, for the Wasserfall.

00:42:58.000 --> 00:42:59.000
Michael Neufeld: MmHmm.

00:42:59.000 --> 00:43:05.000
Karl Heimberg: And he was in charge of the first vehicle switch rare manufacture at Peenemünde.

00:43:05.000 --> 00:43:06.000
Michael Neufeld: Mmhmm.

00:43:06.000 --> 00:43:16.000
Karl Heimberg: And, I do not know if he had responsibility to, to transfer and to industry for bigger numbers.

00:43:16.000 --> 00:43:19.000
Karl Heimberg: This I have not the slightest idea how that was handled.

00:43:19.000 --> 00:43:21.000
Karl Heimberg: I had nothing to do with that.

00:43:21.000 --> 00:43:25.000
Michael Neufeld: Yeah. I, uh, don't have much information myself.

00:43:25.000 --> 00:43:31.000
Karl Heimberg: You know that's the reason that I can't say after we left Peenemünde I do not know, where the Schwimmweste went.

00:43:31.000 --> 00:43:32.000
Michael Neufeld: MmHmm.

00:43:32.000 --> 00:43:31.000


00:43:31.000 --> 00:43:35.000
Karl Heimberg: And if the Schwimmweste was ever used.

00:43:35.000 --> 00:43:37.000
Karl Heimberg: Uh, Tiesenhausen could eventually know that.

00:43:37.000 --> 00:43:41.000
Michael Neufeld: MmHmm.

00:43:41.000 --> 00:43:53.000
Michael Neufeld: Umm, but as far as the presence of the Wasserfall airforce people was the Flakfezushtal people, they were dispersed throughout the installation.

00:43:53.000 --> 00:43:54.000
Karl Heimberg: That's right.

00:43:54.000 --> 00:43:56.000
Michael Neufeld: Mixed in together with the army.

00:43:56.000 --> 00:43:55.000


00:43:55.000 --> 00:43:56.000
Karl Heimberg: Mixed together. Correct.

00:43:56.000 --> 00:43:57.000
Michael Neufeld: Mmhmm.

00:43:57.000 --> 00:43:59.000
Karl Heimberg: Even in the design too.

00:43:59.000 --> 00:44:00.000
Michael Neufeld: MmHmm.

00:44:00.000 --> 00:44:06.000
Michael Neufeld: They just had, uh, a separate little headquarters office for them outside your headquarters.

00:44:06.000 --> 00:44:04.000


00:44:04.000 --> 00:44:05.000
Karl Heimberg: Yeah.

00:44:05.000 --> 00:44:07.000
Karl Heimberg: Right. Right.

00:44:07.000 --> 00:44:19.000
Michael Neufeld: Okay. Umm . . . Now I'm just trying to think of, make sure I've covered all aspects in, the, umm . . .

00:44:19.000 --> 00:44:27.000
Michael Neufeld: There's the submarine launch thing that you talked about before but you said you weren't much directly involved in that.

00:44:27.000 --> 00:44:22.000


00:44:22.000 --> 00:44:23.000
Karl Heimberg: Yeah.

00:44:23.000 --> 00:44:25.000


00:44:25.000 --> 00:44:29.000
Karl Heimberg: I, I was very little involved in that.

00:44:29.000 --> 00:44:34.000
Michael Neufeld: MmHmm.
Karl Heimberg: Testman might, might have been more, I believe I'm pretty sure that he was more involved than I was.

00:44:34.000 --> 00:44:35.000
Michael Neufeld: MmHmm.

00:44:35.000 --> 00:44:34.000


00:44:34.000 --> 00:44:39.000
Karl Heimberg: He was in test in the design.

00:44:39.000 --> 00:44:40.000
Michael Neufeld: MmHmm.

00:44:40.000 --> 00:44:46.000
Karl Heimberg: Ya know, tests had the design groups of its, of its own and Test (Testman) was a head of this design group.

00:44:46.000 --> 00:44:47.000
Michael Neufeld: MmHmm.

00:44:47.000 --> 00:44:46.000


00:44:46.000 --> 00:44:53.980
Karl Heimberg: So he, this design group was involved in the design of, umm. . .

00:45:02.000 --> 00:45:08.000
The floating teststand, the Schwinwaste
Michael Neufeld: Mmhmm. but they were involved in the "Canister Project" for towing a 'A4' underwater.

00:45:08.000 --> 00:45:10.000
Karl Heimberg: I believe so. I am not sure.

00:45:10.000 --> 00:45:18.000
Michael Neufeld: And you said that the idea behind that was to create a distraction for the Americans

00:45:18.000 --> 00:45:22.000
Karl Heimberg: Right. ...right

00:45:22.000 --> 00:45:28.000
Michael Neufeld: So it was kind of a ... almost .... sounds a little it like a desperation measure.

00:45:28.000 --> 00:45:36.000
Karl Heimberg: And it was. In my opinion it was. That's desperation you can say "well that's the end of the world, right?"

00:45:36.000 --> 00:45:44.000
Michael Neufeld: Certainly typhoon gives the sense also of being somewhat of a desperation measure. Yeah, you know, throw it together in the last minute.

00:45:44.000 --> 00:45:48.000
Michael Neufeld: I have to turn over the tape.

00:45:48.000 --> 00:45:51.432
[SILENCE]