Dr. Mario Zippermayr, an eccentric Austrian inventor working at an experimental establishment at Lofer in the Tyrol, designed and built a series of highly unorthodox anti-aircraft weapons that were observed very closely by the Reichsluftfahrtamt (Office of Aeronautics) in Berlin. Due to the overwhelming numerical air superiority of the Allies every effort was made during the last year of the war to find ways of exploiting any known phenomenon that could bring down the heavy bombers of the USAAF and RAF.
Dr. Zippermayr constructed both a huge Wirbelwind Kanone (Whirlwind Cannon) and Turbulenz Kanone (Vortex Cannon). Both had the same goal - to knock down enemy bombers through clever manipulation of air.
To achieve this, the “Wind Cannon” used a detonation of hydrogen and oxygen to form a highly compressed plug of air that was channeled through a long tube that was bent at an angle and fired like a shell towards enemy aircraft. Impossible as this may seem the Wind Cannon did particularly well on the ground - breaking one inch thick wooden boards from a range of 200 yards! This promising development, however, meant nothing against the Allied bombers that were flying at 20,000 ft! Nevertheless, taken from the Hillersleben Proving Grounds the Wind Cannon was used in defense of a bridge over the Elbe River in 1945. Either there were no aircraft present or the cannon had no effect because it was still intact where it was found.
Even though Zippermayr could not make either of these weapons any more potent, three outcomes came from his research. The first was the coal dust shell application used with light artillery in the Warsaw Ghetto which involved nothing more than shortening the barrel of the artillery piece and detonating the shells in flight. The improvised weapon was named “Pandora” and was sadly used to deadly effect against the Jewish freedom fighters.
Major Rudolf Lusar, who was involved with German disc development with Schriever’s Flugkreisel Projekt had seen the test footage of both the Wind Cannon and Vortex Cannon in action. He was especially interested in the vortex effect and destructive power of coal dust. Many late-war German fighter projects were to be powered by coal-fired ramjets including Dr. Alexander Lippisch’s Lp-13b and Skoda-Kauba P.14-01.
Major Lusar investigated the coal dust produced vortex as a means of exotic propulsion and considered if it might be applied to one of the Flugscheiben (Flight Discs).
The third outcome of Zippermayr’s work was even deadlier. The proposed Flak shells containing coal dust powder were to be developed into a super bomb. The SS took Zippermeyer’s basic idea and enlarged it into a bomb containing 60% liquid oxygen and 40% fine coal dust powder. This alone would create immense destruction but the SS pushed the idea further by adding a waxy reagent to the mix. When detonated the Superbomb would create a huge explosion with a latter unnatural electrical storm effect at ground level, consuming all oxygen and burning everything alive in a 4.5 km radius - a form of plasma weapon. However, the decision to proceed with this bomb was only granted on March 9, 1945 and was to be constructed at the Jonastal S-3 complex as well as the German discs. The complex was never finished in time and worked stopped that same month, even after 25-50 kg test versions of the bomb were detonated in remote locations near the Baltic.
Postwar, Ing. Faulker was not heard of again. He was captured by the Russians in the advance and taken to the USSR. The Russians had considered the development of coal dust explosives too but decided against it and developed their own “thermobaric” weapons which ultimately were tested in Chechnya. No Russian flight disc development seems to have resulted from Faulkner’s capture.