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Hitler's V-2 is 70 years old

Discussion in 'Wonder Weapons' started by PzJgr, Oct 2, 2012.

  1. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    It was one of the most significant advances in technology of the 20th century, but its anniversary will not be celebrated and may bring back horrific memories for some. For tomorrow it will be 70 years since the first V-2 rocket was launched - the weapon developed by Hitler's scientists which brought terror to British cities during the Second World War. The rocket - the world's first long-range combat-ballistic missile and the first known human artifact to enter outer space - was demonstrated for the first time on October 3, 1942.


    Read more: Hitler's lethal weapon: Seventy years since the first deadly V-2 rocket was launched | Mail Online

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  2. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Incredible looking weapon and pretty much unstoppable. No wonder many Germans saw it as a wonder weapon whereas it never could produce the kind of destruction needed to bring the "final victory". Nice toy you could say though...
     
  3. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    Back then it pretty much would have looked 'space-age'. I wonder what the people in the photo with the V-2 in the street thought about it looking at the weapon that fell from the skies.
     
  4. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    Yes, not a real "wunderwaffen", but the most expensive toy ever developed as a weapon. Couldn't deliver much of a warhead, had a rather poor successful launch record, and killed more people in its production than in it deployment.
     
  5. Sentinel

    Sentinel Member

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    But combined with the American invention of the atomic bomb, it became the ICBM which dominated strategic warfare planning for the next 50 years.

    Ineffective in its time, it heralded a revolution in warfare.
     
  6. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    If one is referring to the ballistic missile this is true, but not using any of von Braun's V-2 ideas or concepts. The fuel was different (American Edward Hall's formula), the gimbled nozzles were American (Goddard and Hall), and in the most glaring departure from the V-2 was the solid fuel booster (Hall again) used in the Polaris and Minuteman systems. Weirdly enough, Ed Hall was the older brother of the largely unknown Soviet spy in the Manhattan Project; Ted Hall. Ed was unaware of his little brother's political leanings, and was surprised when he learned of the accusations.

    Ed Hall had abandoned the liquid fuel approach at Rocketdyne (sp?) on the west coast, giving von Braun the few remaining liquid fueled prototypes he had supervised which became the Redstone (I believe) with modifications. The Saturn system was probably the only pure von Braun design ever put to use, for the moon shots.

    For fun, see if you can round up the book A Fiery Peace in a Cold War; by Neil Sheehan. It really gets into the rocket development in America, from its stumbling beginning with the captured V-2s of von Braun, and the major shift away from his path after the Sputnik went up. General Schiever, Ed Hall, Rocketdyne, RAND, and the east coast Alabama rocket men were separated by not only great distance, but completely different approaches to ballistic missiles.

    There was something "game changing" that happened right before the Cold war really "took off". The USAF was split away from the US Army and became an independent branch. This left von Braun under Army control, and to be honest they really sort of left him diddling his time away on short range tactical rockets, not orbital systems as he would have liked. Great book.
     
  7. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    Thankfully they were more of a "Terror Weapon" (like the Iraqi Scud missile) and a better guidance system hadn't been installed.

    If anyone wants a great site for the development of the US early missile programs here's a link Sniper1946 put up a few years back;

    Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles - Appendix 1
     
  8. dude_really

    dude_really Doesn't Play Well With Others

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    Last time in museum La Coupole in France I learned that the range of V2 vs V1 was about the same, and the payload was only a fraction more for V2 over V1, but the costs at the time were 1000fold or more.

    What I thus didnot understand is why the nazis didnot know that too, but still continued V2 despite being far more inefficient than the V1 ?
    Even if 20% of V1 can get shot down or tipped over by airplanes, it was overall much cheaper/effective than the V2. (with effective being "hit something in an urban area")
    (Unless you compare their terror effect..which for V1 became less).
     
  9. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    One reason, the V1 was a Luftwaffe project, V2 army, another example of the competition between power centers that hampered the German war effort.

    Another aspect of the V2's undetectability was that the British couldn't sound air raid alarms or send people to shelters, whereas approaching V1s might send thousands of people away from their work until the all-clear was sounded. In that respect the V2 was actually less disruptive to the war effort.
     
  10. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    there was NO defense against it......warhead 2200 pounds!! shelters were useless....not only destroyed with its blast but also with the vacuum created...you don't want to be under 1 ton of supersonic explosive coming down on your head!! it didn't kill many per rocket, but many did not fall in populated areas.....I wouldn't say 2200 pounds isn't a lot of warhead...
     
  11. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Well to put it in perspective it was about the weight of a single 16" shell. It's also less than the "very long range" bomb load of a B-24 and less than 1/3 that of the "short range" bomb load of the same.

    Where did you get info on the destruction due to "vacuum created"? Was it any greater than other equivalant explosvive devices?
     
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  12. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ..I didn't think the 'normal' bomb load of a B17 included 2000lb bombs...?....I'm saying 2000lbs is enough of a warhead to do 'some' damage...per bomb, the warhead is equal or greater to a standard bomb...I'm reading ''Hitler's Last Weapons''...
     
  13. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Indeed bombers could have their load tailored by mission. If you look at US bombs though they do include the following:
    AN-M66 which weighed in at 2,000 lbs and carried 1,061lbs of explosive
    AN-M56 which weighed in at 4,000 lbs and caried 3,245lbs of explosive
    see http://www.303rdbg.com/bombs.html
    Which also mentions an M34 2,000 lb bomb and also at least implies that the use of 2,000 lb bombs was fairly common.

    So while the V-2s could indeed do "some" damage the above were standard bombs and in some cases a bunch of lighter bombs can do more damage than a single heavy one. A salov of 16" HC rounds likewise was potentially more damaging than a V2 if the target was in range. Note that at short range a B-24 had the carrying capacity to handle two of the M56s. I'm not sure if they ever did so however.
    Then there are the British bombs according to:
    http://www.constable.ca/caah/bombs.htm
    Lancasters frequently carried a 4,000 lb bomb along with 20 500 lb bombs. Then there were the "special" bombs which were considerably heavier. See also:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blockbuster_bomb
    Note also that a TBF like most torpedo bombers could and sometimes did carry bombs that weighed in around 2,000 lbs and apparentlly there were occasions when P-38's carried two of them.
     
  14. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    I see what you're saying, but the longer the range, the less bomb load...and I didn't think the ''standard'' bomb load of B17s carried many 2000 ones...now when you look at many German bombers, if I'm not mistaken, had even less of a load than Allied bombers..
     
  15. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Well the V-2 had a range of about 200 miles. I'm not certain but a P-38 may well have been able to carry a couple of 2,000 lb bombs that far. Short range for a B-24 was considered to be twice that and it could carry 8,000lbs of bombs at that range indeed the same is true of B-17s at that range. The Lancaster's normal bomb load was almost twice that. The German bombers did indeed carry lesser loads but a JU-88 could carry a 2,000 lb and a 1,100 lb bomb internally or 3,000 Kg of bombs externally, I don't know what their range was with that load by I suspect it was more than 200 miles.
     
  16. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    granted, the V weapons were taking away from other, better defensive weapons....I started a post on what were the German options[ for bombing/offensive bombing ] what would've been more effective--hundreds of V1s and V2s or bombing by air?? the Allies had air supremacy ....
     
  17. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    I've seen a diagram of the B-17 bomb bay on which the largest bombs accommodated were 1600-pounders, up to six, with underwing racks for a pair of 2000- or 4000-pounders. That would make up the maximum bombload of 17,600lb that you often see in reference books, although I've never seen reference to -17s actually carrying that. They did carry two 2000lb for some attacks on submarine pens, although it was not a full load by weight.
     
  18. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    The Germans really didn't have an option or at least a good one. If they built a strategic airforce then the materials and resoucres had to come from somewhere else. Had they persued that option would they have been able to defeat France? If not then even without attacking the USSR they are in a war of attrition that they are going to have a hard time winning.
     
  19. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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  20. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    If you are interested in that question a good place to start is the somewhat weighty tome Wages of Destruction Not the easiest read in the world but lots of goog info. Fair warning when he gets to the military operations side of things he's not always the most accurate.
     

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