Scots lecturer explores secret Nazi ‘supergun’

‘Building Hitler’s Supergun’ will be broadcast on Sunday 22 November and will feature analysis from Dr Iain Murray of the University of Dundee’s School of Science and Engineering.

A prototype of the V-3 weapon is pictured. It was never fired against the UK and was destroyed by the end of the war. Photo: Bundesarchiv

As well as his role as a computing lecturer, Dr Murray is also a leading authority on the life and work of Sir Barnes Wallis, the designer of the “Tallboy” deep-penetration bomb which ended the Nazis’ Vergeltungswaffen 3 programme.

The documentary tells the story of the V-3 “supergun” that the Nazis developed to drop hundreds of shells upon London daily.

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Unlike its V-1 and V-2 forerunners, however, the weapon was never used against the United Kingdom as the Brits used the Tallboy to devestating effect.

Dr Iain Murray of the University of Dundee will star in the Channel 4 documentary "Building Hitler's Supergun" alongside the actor David Tabor, playing Sir Barnes Wallace. Photo: University of Dundee

Dr Murray has to date written three books about the work of Wallis, whose Tallboy bomb succeeded the famous “Bouncing Bomb”.

The engineer’s first creation was the key to success in 1943’s Operation Chastise; the “Dambusters” raid which brought down the walls of Germany’s Eder and Möhne Dams and struck a blow to the Nazi war effort.

Documentary makers consulted Dr Murray about aspects of the construction and dropping of the 6-ton bomb designed for a subterranean explosion. He was also given access to the “Barnes Wallis Office” in the RAF Museum of Hendon, North London.

Dr Murray said: “It was great to get inside this office, as it contains many genuine artefacts fo Wallis’s projects, includig the famous aerial photo of the breached Möhne Dam signed by Guy Gibson and many others from 617 Squadron.”

The university lecturer also met John Bell, a Bomb Aimer with 617 Squadron in 1944 who dropped more than 20 Tallboys on targets throughout Germany and France, during filming at the Brooklands Museum in Surrey.

He added: “It was great to meet John, and to stand with him beside a Tallboy and ask him about his many exploits with the bomb - although he is 94, his memory of events was truly excellent, and he had many tales to tell.”

In addition to the saga’s contemporary Scottish connection through Dr Murray, it has been revealed that some of the Tallboys were built at Nairn’s Linoleum Factory in Kirkcaldy to help the war effort.