Weatherwatch: Hitler’s plan for savvy meteorologists | Meteorology

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“Weather forecasting is not a science that can be learned mechanically,” Adolf Hitler said in October 1941. Germany had invaded Russia, and forecasting was becoming a big problem.

Hitler, who had not finished high school, believed that weather forecasting required a special skill, rather than scientific instruments and models: “What we need are men with a sixth sense, who live in nature and with nature – whether or not they know something. on isotherms and isobars.

The Führer wanted to recruit a body of natural talent and install telephones in their rural barracks. They used predictions based on their German feelings and traditions, interpreting the signs of clouds, birds, insects and plants.

This plan, although it was never implemented, may have caused some frustration among Wehrmacht Scientific Meteorological Services. Their operations included meteorologists, weather ships and unmanned weather stations in the Arctic. The Luftwaffe had 12 weather reconnaissance squadrons piloting converted bombers, as accurate forecasts were vital in planning military operations.

Hitler’s comments indicated that he was moving away from scientific expertise and taking a more intuitive approach. The first snow fell in western Russia on October 7, but no winter clothing was distributed. The disaster that followed for the German military suggests that sometimes it pays to listen to the experts.

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