Episode 159: Operation Valkyrie

Air Date: December 22, 2010

Operation Valkyrie, a World War II plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler with a bomb, failed only because Hitler’s meeting was moved from an underground bunker to an aboveground conference room with windows.


As Jamie examined photographs and reports of the explosion, Adam used a water tank to demonstrate the ability of shock waves to rebound off solid surfaces. For a small-scale test, Adam built models of both the bunker and the conference room from steel plates. When a blasting cap was set off in each, the peak pressures were measured at 14 and 55 pounds per square inch for the room and the bunker, respectively.

To set up a full-scale test, two intermodal containers were outfitted as replicas of the two scenes. Adam cut window openings and fitted glass for the conference room, while Jamie dug a trench and buried the bunker (partially, due to time constraints). Each was equipped with a rupture disc set to burst at 100 psi, a block of polyurethane foam to gauge shrapnel injuries to Hitler, and a charge of C-4 with the same explosive power as the actual bomb. Peak pressures were measured at 18 psi (room) and 30 psi (bunker), with heavy damage in both scenes, intact rupture discs, and non-lethal shrapnel injuries consistent with the reports. Adam and Jamie concluded that the higher blast pressure was survivable due to its short duration, and that factors such as the quantity and placement of the explosive would have had the main effect on its lethality.

It is possible to bring an impaired/shocked person back to some degree of proper mental functioning by slapping him/her in the face.


As Kari consulted a military emergency physician to learn about the fight-or-flight reflex, which can be triggered by sudden trauma, Grant and Tory built a face-slapping rig to deliver a controlled amount of force. Grant was first to take a series of four tests covering reflexes, calculation, coordination, and visual/communication skills. The tests were conducted under three conditions: “normal,” “impaired” (sitting in a truck full of ice blocks for 30 minutes before each test), and “impaired” followed by a slap before each test. Grant’s “impaired/slapped” results were not as good as his “normal” baseline, but markedly better than his “impaired” scores.

For a different test of judgment and coordination, Kari and Tory did an exercise on a shooting range and added more impairments: going without food or sleep for an entire day, then sitting in the ice for 30 minutes and being slapped. Their results followed the same trend as Grant’s, leading the Build Team to declare the myth confirmed.


  1. Diego says:

    The slapping myth result is totally useless if the subjects know they are being tested. The same applies for the drunk myths, angry myths, and so on. A lot of conditioning and placebo effect.

    • Mart says:

      …yeah that totally doesnt apply to every test they ever did on themselves ever. A slap is a slap, dont start bringing placebo effect into it, you cant suddenly become alert after not sleeping/eating for 24 hours thanks to bloody placebo effect.

      Its not a myth they should ever had to test anyway. Pain give you an adreneline rush, anyone who knows a little bit about medecine can tell you that.

  2. Rory says:

    Would slapping a kid that boxed have a different effect on slapping a kid that didnt box? Bringing fight or flight down to its literal meaning might help.

  3. Dat Gai says:

    There’s a huge issue with the operation Valkyrie myth. Most bunkers have much smaller doors, were made of concrete, and generally intended to be able to withstand an explosion from without. With all the way the door of the container blew open I think that myth needs revisiting.

  4. Darrell Thompson says:

    Operation Valkyrie underground bunker test was bogus. The container should have been reinforced concrete fully buried with a connecting tunnel and staircase to the surface. Any bunker meeting room doors would have been closed for privacy and security. A partially buried wooden crate with an easily opened 8×8 opening does not an accurate test make.

  5. Ds says:

    Myth busters rule!

  6. Nikiforos says:

    Mythbusters is crazy,funny and very dangerous!!

  7. shawn wey says:

    just a note to let u now,about the episode that the cylinder with a broken valve.It happened in Tobermory Ontario Canada.a few years ago.at a dive shop.The cylinder went through wall cross the street to another house.killing a person.! just watched the episode and thought i would write in. thxs ,keep up the gd work.and its gd seeing Jamie like the show more know.Kari,my name is shawn wey,im a gentelman,u r very beautiful and if u ever r single i would marry u in a second,love u,U three r a blast to watch,kari,torry,grant

    • jim says:

      I knew the guy who died. We were roomies for a while.

  8. allan says:

    i want to see if the difference in the shape of c 4 makes a difference in the explosion like can c 4 cut through a piece of cast-iron

  9. Dave says:

    In the Operation Valkyrie underground bunker test, there was a glaring inconsistency in the PSI data. The small scale bunker showed a peek pressure of 55, almost 4x that of the conference room, yet the full scale only showed 2x that of the full scale conference room. I have to agree with Darrell Thompson – Was the construction of the full scale bunker historically actuate according to your research?

  10. Gabor says:

    The container door got blast open, the pressure escaped, as Adam demonstrated at the begining of the show with waterwaves that the pressure will escape through the windows. The test result is inconclusive for me, unless the door on Hitler’s bunker was also not blastproof .

  11. Bart says:

    In one of episodes, Youes couldn’t smash cardoor glass under the water by boots,cellphone etc. but Youes didn’t try headrest.

  12. Aaron Peavler says:

    Operation Valkyrie is busted Hitler was in the wrong spot when the bomb went off and he survived

  13. michael says:

    u should test if a worm explodes in a microwave

  14. Sandy says:

    Adam was also wrong when he was joking about allied bombs and valkyrie – it was not an Allied attempt to kill hitler but within his officers

  15. isaac roebuck says:

    the shipping container had huge doors on the end. all of the blast went out the end what is the point in testing the myth. why don’t you just set off plain c4 in the middle of the desert. :(

  16. Mark Green says:

    Hitler’s Bunker truly deserves a revisit. The container’s doors breaking open allowed much of the kinetic energy to escape through instead of reverberating through the interior again and again.

    Effectively, there was little difference between the two containers.

  17. 36 x8 -78 /3 -12 50% -7 _17 x4 -9
    on this episode they gave the answer as 147.
    I can’t get that answer can anyone help with how this should be solved?

Leave a Reply