One example of extracting science from myth would be Mercury, the legendary hero, the symbol and the element. Mercury in Roman and Hermes in Greek mythology was the swift messenger of the gods, as well as the god of commerce and travel. The symbol of Hermes staff shows a disk on either end of a central shaft, with two inter-twined serpents, with wings of flight above their heads.
The intertwining could indicate the vortex principles understood by Victor Schauberger. The dual disks on the shaft representing the electro-magnetic energy generated from the mercury vortex, with the result being flight as represented by the wings.
This is the very technology the Nazis are claimed to have obtained by their unorthodox view of mythology. The Nazis may have constructed Mercury plasma gyros. This system used an electrified mercury vapor.
Further evidence of an unusual use of mercury was discovered in April of 1944. The ill-fated submarine U-859 left Germany and was sunk off the straits of Malacca in Indonesia. This sub had a cargo of 33 tons of mercury. This was strange cargo in such a huge amount and being treated as an important military cargo.
Unterseeboot 859 (U-859) was a German IX type U-boat built during World War II. She was one of a select number of boats to join the Monsun Gruppe or Monsoon Group, which travelled to the Far East for service alongside the Imperial Japanese Navy. U-859 was built in Bremen during 1942 and 1943, and was heavily adapted following her completion in July 1943, with the addition of a Snorkel to enable her to stay underwater for longer during the perilous passage to Penang in Malaya. Thus she was not ready for war service until the spring of 1944, when following her working up period and all modifications she departed Kiel for the East.
Although U-859 only had a single war patrol from which she never returned, her six month career was highly eventful and carried her halfway across the world and into an entirely different theatre of conflict. Following her departure on the 4 April, the boat avoided shipping lanes and remained underwater for as long as possible during the dangerous daylight hours, when allied aircraft constantly patrolled the Northern Atlantic Ocean. U-859 was participating in the trade of vital low-bulk war supplies with the Japanese, and was reported to be carrying mercury and possibly Uranium-oxide for use by Japanese scientists. It was vitally important for both industrial and diplomatic reasons that this trade link was kept open and so Kptlt. Johann Jebsen was instructed to avoid all unnecessary contact with allied units.
Three weeks into the cruise however, Jebsen saw a target he could not refuse. The MV Colin, formerly an Italian freighter taken over by American authorities and registered in Panama, was slowly steaming unescorted in the North Atlantic following engine failure. Three torpedoes sank her before the U-859 went on her way southwards. The passage of the boat continued smoothly for the next two months, and she rounded the Cape of Good Hope and entered the Indian Ocean without further trouble. On the 5 July she was spotted by a Lockheed Ventura aircraft, which swooped down on the boat only to be brought down by the 88m flak gun on the conning tower. There were no survivors from the aircraft's crew.
Her second victim was her most famous, and became one of the most famous treasure shipwrecks of the Twentieth Century. The unescorted liberty ship SS John Barry was transporting a cargo of 3 million silver one-riyal coins to Saudi Arabia as part of an American government agreement with the Saudi royal family. The silver coins were stacked in huge boxes in the hold, and went down with the ship when she was torpedoed about 100 miles south of the entrance to the Arabian Sea. A massive salvage operation succeeded in retrieving many of the lost coins in 1994. Three days later another unescorted merchant, the British SS Troilus was also sunk, with six hands drowned.
Setting sail for Penang, U-859 was nearing the end of her exhausting patrol, when on September 23 disaster struck. In the Far East, unlike in the Western theatre, it was allied submarines, not German ones who were the top hunters, and as Penang was a Japanese-held port, it was unsurprising that there would be a predator waiting nearby. In the Malacca Straits hid the British submarine HMS Trenchant, who saw the U-859 sail past on the surface one evening and did not let the opportunity escape. A single torpedo hit the U-boat which sank immediately with several compartments flooded and 47 men drowned, including her commander.
Twenty of the crew did manage to escape however, opening the hatch in the relatively shallow sea and struggling to the calm surface, where they remained for sometime until picked up. Eight were discovered by Japanese naval units passing through the region and taken to shore to await repatriation. Twelve more found their way to Allied prison camps, having been collected by Allied units.
In 1944 mercury was used for thermometers and switches, with no known military purpose. Some sort of unconventional use can only explain this strange cargo. It has been speculated by Childress and Vesco in their book Man Made UFO’s that the ship was headed for a base in the Antarctic, as one of many that headed in that region during the late 30s and early 40s.
Liquid mercury was sometimes used as a coolant for nuclear reactors; however, sodium is proposed for reactors cooled with liquid metal, because the high density of mercury requires much more energy to circulate as coolant.
Mercury was a propellant for early ion engines in electric propulsion systems. Advantages were mercury's high molecular weight, low ionization energy, low dual-ionization energy, high liquid density and liquid storability at room temperature. Disadvantages were concerns regarding environmental impact associated with ground testing and concerns about eventual cooling and condensation of some of the propellant on the spacecraft in long-duration operations. The first spaceflight to use electric propulsion was a mercury-fueled ion thruster SERT-1 launched by NASA at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in 1964. SERT stands for Space Electric Rocket Test. The SERT-1 flight was followed up by the SERT-2 flight in 1970. Mercury and Cesium were preferred propellants for ion engines until Hughes Research Laboratory performed studies finding Xenon gas to be suitable replacement. Xenon is now the preferred propellant for ion engines as it has a high molecular weight, little or no reactivity due its noble gas nature, and has a high liquid density under mild cryogenic storage.
Experimental Mercury vapour turbines were proposed to increase the efficiency of fossil-fuel electrical power plants.
Another curious note was the death of Jack Parsons. He was the American rocket scientist who invented solid rocket fuel. He died in a fire while working with mercury. He was involved with occult societies (Agape Lodge, part the O.T.O.) that had Nazi connections during the war.
There does seem to be more to Mercury than just switches, thermometers and mythology. This is only one small example of how the Nazis approached legends and myths and attempted to extract a practical physics from them
Unterseeboot 864 (U-864) was a German Type IX U-boat sunk on February 9, 1945 by the British submarine HMS Venturer, killing all 73 onboard. It is the first instance in the history of naval warfare that one submarine sank another while both were submerged. The shipwreck was located in March 2003 by the Norwegian Navy 2.2 miles west of the island of Fedje in the North Sea, at 150 metres.
Commanded throughout its entire career by Korvettenkapitän Ralf-Reimar Wolfram, it served with the 4th Submarine Flotilla (4 Unterseebootflottille) undergoing crew training from her commissioning until October 31, 1944. She was then reassigned to the 33rd Submarine Flotilla (33. Unterseebootflottille).
The submarine was taking part in Operation Caesar, an attempt by Germany to prop up their flagging Japanese ally by providing them with advanced technology, and en route from Kiel to Japan with plans for the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter, jet engine parts, about 65 tons of metallic mercury and German and Japanese scientists and engineers.
She set off through the Kiel Canal but grounded on the sea bed and had to make an unscheduled stop at the Bruno U-boat pens at Bergen. The crew left on shore leave, which lasted longer than expected after the pens and shipping in the harbour were attacked on 12 January by 32 Royal Air Force Lancaster bombers and one Mosquito bomber of Numbers 9 and 617 Squadrons. At least one of the tallboy bombs penetrated the roof of the bunker causing severe damage inside, and leaving one of the seven pens unusable for the rest of the war. Cryptographers at Bletchley Park had already learned of the plan.
British submarine HMS Venturer (commander, Lieutenant James "Jimmy" S. Launders, 25) was sent on her eleventh patrol from the British submarine-base at Lerwick in the Shetland Islands out to Fedje. After the U864 messages had been decrypted, she was rerouted to intercept the U-boat. The U-boat meanwhile had left Bergen, and of February 6th passed the Fedje area without being detected, but despite repairs at Bergen one of her engines began to misfire and she had to signal that she would again return to Bergen. A return signal stated that a new escort would be provided her at Hellisoy on 10th February. She made for there but on 9th February Venturer heard U-864's engine noise (Launders had decided not to use ASDIC since it would betray his position) and spotted the U-boat's periscope.
In an unusually long engagement for a submarine and in a situation for which neither crew had been trained, Launders waited 45 minutes after first contact before going to action stations, waiting in vain for U864 to surface and thus present an easier target. Upon realizing they were being followed by the British submarine and that their escort had still not arrived, U-864 zig-zagged in attempted evasive manoeuvres and each submarine risked raising her periscope. Venturer had only 4 torpedoes as opposed to U-864's 22, and so after 3 hours Launders decided to make a prediction of his opponent's zig-zag, and release a spread of his torpedoes into its predicted course. The first torpedo was released at 12.12 and then at 17 second intervals after that (taking 4 minutes to reach their target), and Launders then dived suddenly to evade any retaliation from his opponent. U864 heard the torpedoes coming and also dived deeper and turned away to avoid them, managing to avoid the first three but unknowingly steering into the path of the fourth. Exploding, she split in two, was sunk with all hands and came to rest more than 150m (500ft) below the surface on the seafloor.
There it lay until the Royal Norwegian Navy, alerted by local fishermen, found the wreck in early 2003. The mercury, contained in 1,857 rusting steel bottles located down in the vessel's keel, has started to leak and currently poses a severe environmental threat.
So far 4 kilograms per year of mercury is leaking out into the surrounding environment, resulting in high levels of contamination in cod, torsk and edible crab around the wreck. Boating and fishing near the wreck has been prohibited. Although attempts using robotic vehicles to dig into the half-buried keel were abandoned after the unstable wreck shifted, one of the steel bottles was recovered. Its original 5 mm thick wall was found to have corroded badly, leaving in places only a 1 mm thickness of steel.
The delicate condition of the 2,400-ton wreck, the rusting mercury bottles, and the live torpedoes on board would make a lifting operation extremely dangerous, with significant potential for an environmental catastrophe. A three year study by the Norwegian Coastal Administration has recommended entombing the wreck in a 12 meter thickness of sand, with a reinforcing layer of gravel or concrete to prevent erosion. This is being proposed as a permanent solution to the problem, and the proposal notes that similar techniques have been successfully used around 30 times to contain mercury-contaminated sites over the past 20 years.