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The Vergeltungswaffe V-Weapons

Discussion in 'Wonder Weapons' started by Kai-Petri, Dec 21, 2002.

  1. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    V-1

    This cheap weapon of fairly simple design is the fore-runner of all cruise missle weapons. Catapulted from a long ramp to bring its speed up to where a pulse jet engine started to function the V-1 then flew on using three simple gyroscopes for basic guidance. Flying at 2,000 - 3,000 ft ( 600 - 900 m ) a propeller screw kept track of the distance travelled, when the desired distance was reached the engine cut off and the missile dove down - detonating just above ground.

    Number lauched: 10,000 against the UK, 12,000 against Western Europe (up to 18,000 V-1s launched total.)

    Number built of V-1s : more than 32,000

    Out of some 10,000 V-1s fired at the UK 2,419 of them hit London and the surrounding area. The V-1s caused 45,731 casualties including 5,126 deaths. Over 130,000 homes were destroyed and a further 750,000 damaged as a result. From July 1944 on Heinkel He 111H-22 bombers carried a modified V-1 missile aloft to fire against England. 1,200 V-1s were launched in this manner resulting in 235 hits on population centers, some against northern cities.

    2,448 V-1 "buzz bombs" hit the vital port of Antwerp and the surrounding area out of some 12,000 launched.

    The RLM gave its go-ahead for a flying bomb to be developed on June 19, 1942 after showing little interest in the concept for several years.

    V-2

    The A-4 (V-2) ballistic weapon carried a one ton warhead 200 miles (320 km) in less than five minutes and impacted at speeds faster than sound. It was a frightening weapon against which there was no defense and no warning. It was also a technological marvel and a grim vision of the future, foreshadowing the inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) of the cold war era.

    The first test of a complete A-4 was on June 13, 1942 when the missile toppled over and exploded at launch. The second A-4 launch on August 16 made the V-2 the first missile to exceed the speed of sound. The third test flight on October 3, 1942 was a complete success. The weapon landed within 2.5 miles (4 km) of its aiming point after flying 118 miles (190 km.) Hitler ordered mass production of the rocket as the Vergeltungswaffe 2 V-2 on December 22, 1942. A total of thirty-one test launches were made out of 50 orginally planned.

    The warhead was 2,006 lb (910 kg) of Amatol chosen for its tolerance to high temperatures since the thin steel of the nose reached 600 degrees Centigrade (1,112 degrees F) due to atmospheric friction.

    The huge engine was supplied with propellants from high-capacity Walter turbo-pumps driven by turbines on C-stoff and T-stoff and generating 730 hp. Readied for launch the V-2 weighed 28,000 lb ( kg ) most of this being LOX (liquid-oxygen) and Ethyl alcohol. The rocket engine generated 56,000 lb ( kg ) of thrust rapidly sending the missile on its way.

    Flight control was achieved by using graphite vanes in the exhaust, as speed increased aerodynamic rudders on the four large fins exerted more control over flight trajectory.
    A maximum height of 60 miles (96 km) was reached before the weapon started to arc down towards its target.

    Preliminary production began in a new plant south of Peenemunde in late '43 but mass production took place at Mittelwerke, a huge underground facility that used 50,000 slave laborers to build the giant rockets under horrible conditions. Nervertheless 300 A-4s were constructed in the month of April '44 reaching a peak of just over 1,000 rockets during October of '44.

    Total production of V-2 rockets exceeded 10,000.

    The V-2 campaign opened up on September 6, 1944 with more than 1,800 missiles stockpiled with army units. 836 Artillerie Abteilung was the unit responsible for the offensive and started with two poorly aimed shots at Paris, France. P> Two days later the V-2 offensive began with missiles fired from heavily concealed and camoflaged sites near Wassenaar, Holland.

    1,120 were launched against England (1,050 actually impacting the ground in that country )

    About 4,320 V-2 rockets were fired by March 27, 1945 with another 600 expended in training which mainly took place near Blizna, Poland.

    The V-2 cost many times the cost of a V-1 buzz bomb but caused about the same amount of damage since the missile pentrated the ground before exploding. Unlike the V-1, though, the launchers for the V-2 were quite mobile, including the Meillerwagen which carried the missile itself.

    The V-2 campaign against England killed 2,754 people and seriously injured 6,523 others.

    Targets of V-2 Rocket Launches between September 6, 1944 and March 27, 1945:

    Antwrep 1,341
    England 1,120
    Liège 98
    Brussels 65
    Paris 15
    Remagen Bridge 11

    A submarine V-2 launch was comtemplated against the United States and even worked on it but never actually carried it out due to technical problems.

    Another operational procedure was envisaged for the A-4 in order to reach the North American continent: firing from sea at a short distance off the coast, where the missile should be transported in submersible contain-ers towed by the new Tupe XXI submarines. This project of Wolfsburg-Volkswagen (Test Stand X11) is dated at the end of 1944 and it wasn't made effective when future performances of the A 9/A 10 were known. In January 1945 the "Test Stand XII" was canceled when several containers had been already built and tested in the Vulcan-Stettin dockyards.

    http://www.danshistory.com/ww2/vweapon.shtml
     
  2. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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  3. TA152

    TA152 Ace

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    Did it say who was in charge of the v-1,and v-2's? The German Army or the German Airforce? or some other branch ?
     
  4. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Ta152,

    I recall it was Himmler who was in charge of the German secret weapons.I´m not sure if it was before the Peenemünde bombings but anyway after that I think the secret weapons experiments were transferred to him.
     
  5. Sniper604

    Sniper604 Member

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    no, it was von Braun who was in charge of both the V-1 and V-2 rockets. He and his staff produced them and when he was captured by the americans they pardoned him so he could help them start up nasa later on. didnt know a nazi was one of our founding fathers in nasa, did u?
     
  6. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Actually it was more than von Braun who was captured and used to get the competitive space program for the US underway. Something like 8-10 of Brauns closest associates and the Soviets also got their fair share.

    ~E
     
  7. TA152

    TA152 Ace

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    What I meant to ask was, of the V-1's and V-2's fired at England and Antwerp, who was in command and control of these ? The army or the airforce ? Were the missle crews in the army or air force or other ?
     
  8. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Ta, the buzz bombs were fired off by Luftwaffe crews. My excellent friend Helmuth Reichert has a brother still living in Germany that would "drive" the V's to the ramps in his truck and kettenrad. He served in the Luftwaffe as an Oberfeldwebel and when Peenumünde was squashed he served in a Luftaffe coastal 88mm Flak battery near Kiel.
     
  9. wilconqr

    wilconqr Member

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    Just saw another History Channel program about kamakazie and German suicide groups. They really seemed to have trumped up the German use of piloted V-1's as suicide weapons; a team of which was, supposedly, under Skorzeny. I have read that the pilot was (theoretically) supposed to bail out when he got the target in sight (precarious proposition with a pulse engine right behind your head). Is there much validity to their claims or is this just more History Channel revisionist crap???
     
  10. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    there was talk of this but it did not come into being. Skorzeny possibly. could of been Hajo Hermann.

    A special assignment which has been covered was the Rammkommando Elbe in april of 1945 with use of unarmored Bf 109G's attacking the rear postions of B-17 formations. The 109's were sitting ducks and their protective escorts had their hands full with the flocks of P-51's.

    also a later mission and suicidal was performed against the bridges over the Donau against Soviet troops and MT columns. More on this in the new JG 300 book coming........

    ~E

    [​IMG]
     
  11. KnightMove

    KnightMove Ace

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    I don't see any possible advantage of ramming bombers over shooting them, so... why did the Germans do this?
     
  12. AndyW

    AndyW Member

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    You can see originals of the V-2, the Bachem "Natter" (which comes pretty close to a suicide machine), a Me-163 and a Me-262 in the Deutsches Museum in Munich.

    Pretty kewl.

    Cheers,
     
  13. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The idea was something like dropping about 500 Bombers from the sky and buy some time for building new planes and saving factories from bombings for a while.

    The idea is 1 Fighter=1 bomber by hitting the tail with the propeller. I twas hoped that the fighter pilot could bail out so it was not totally a suicide mission even if in principle it was.

    Theere were so many Mustangs that the German fighter planes could not usually get through. This time there were me-262´s to get the Mustang´s attention and mean while the other planes that were meant to ram the B-17´s. However this did not work out as there were too many Mustangs and as well the Germans for several reasons could not get all the planes to attack at the same time.
     
  14. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    Per these numbers the V-1 appears to have been a lot more effective weapon than the V-2. Why the difference? Were the V-2s simply missing their targets? What were the CEPs (Circular Error Probable) for each weapon?

    I'd have loved to see that submarine lauched V-2! Most likely all the environmentalists would raise an uproar, with all the fish killing that would ensue!

    In any case, the US Navy shortly after the war started fiddling with V-1 like missiles (Regulus?), but a V-2 would be a different thing altogether. A massive blowtorch slicing the submarine in half? That's what I like about the III Reich: all the loony ideas were followed through :)

    Cheers,
     
  15. Greenjacket

    Greenjacket Member

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    The Imperial War Museum in London has a nice array of German rockets and jets in its entrance hall - V-1, V-2, and He-162, and an Fw-190 hanging from the ceiling (accompanied by a Spitfire I and a P-51D).

    [ 31. October 2003, 03:11 PM: Message edited by: Greenjacket ]
     
  16. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Za Rodina

    One factor in the difference in fatalities between the V1 and V2 was the location of launching sites.

    Most V1s were launched from the Pas de Calais area and therefore approached London over densely populated areas of the Thames Estuary, Kent and Essex. If they fell short, they would often land on residential areas.

    The V2s were generally launched from Holland and approached London ( obviously at a far higher altitude ) over sparsely-populated East Anglia. Many 'shortfalls' therefore impacted on farmland.

    Another factor was the effect of blast. The V1 was relatively unsophisticated but had a tremendous blast effect; usually leaving hardly any crater. It could be quite easily seen descending with the naked eye and impacted at a - relatively - low speed.

    The V2, however, descended at supersonic speed ( the 'whoosh' being heard by survivors after the explosion ) and frequently left a huge crater; but this of course meant much of the blast being absorbed by the earth.

    [ 31. October 2003, 04:10 PM: Message edited by: Martin Bull ]
     
  17. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    I see. Thanks!
     
  18. wilconqr

    wilconqr Member

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    Is there any validity to the suggestion of German use of chemicals sprayed in front of bomber formations by Luftwaffe aircraft to render the (bomber) canop[ies opaque? and towed explosives set to explode behing Luftwaffe aircraft in heavy bomber formations? I recently read this for the first time but the book didn't elaborate much on it..........
     
  19. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    NO ! there were rockets and bombs dropped of different weights some by the use of hanging cables. Of course experiments of different cannon calibers were also extensively fitted
     
  20. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    An interesting book and person:

    Agent extraordinary
    Michel Hollard,DSO

    http://hnn.us/articles/866.html#england11-21-03

    Almost exactly 60 years ago, in November 1943, a bundle of rough sketches reached the British intelligence service MI6 that were to rescue London from destruction and change the course of the Second World War.

    The drawings had been hurriedly copied from a master plan left in an overcoat pocket by a German engineer who lingered too long with his newspaper in the lavatory.

    Although Hollard was decorated in the late 1940s by both the British and French governments, his story has been largely forgotten in recent years - partly because he operated outside the recognised French resistance networks.

    According to the late Lt-Gen Sir Brian Horrocks - a D-Day commander and later one of the first TV historians - Michel Hollard was "literally the man who saved London".

    The sketches that reached MI6 in November 1943 showed a launch-pad for the world's first unmanned weapon, the V-1 flying bomb. They showed a launch site under construction in northern France that had, as its centrepiece, an inclined runway with guide rails that pointed directly at the British capital.

    The British reacted rapidly. From the end of December 1943, the 103 V- 1 launch sites in France, in an arc from lower Normandy to the Pas de Calais, were repeatedly bombed by the RAF and destroyed or severely damaged.

    The flying-bomb attack - intended as Hitler's trump card - came six months later than he had planned. It contained only a fraction of the vast barrage of V-1s - up to 300 missiles a day over a period of eight months - with which the Nazis had intended to pulverise London and other strategic targets in southern England.

    If knowledge of the V-1 sites had not reached Britain when it did, the attack on southern England could have been devastating.

    :confused: :eek:
     

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