Hitler's Vengeance Weapons: V 2 (Vergeltungswaffe 2)

They were Nazi Germany's weapons of revenge. A marvel far ahead of their time. A testimony to German excellence and inventive genius. The Vergeltungswaffe. The V weapons. Vengeance weapons. V1 was the father of the modern drones. V2 was the first missile ever made.

The ballistic missile A4 (V2)

The V-2 rocket (German: Vergeltungswaffe 2, i.e. retaliation weapon 2), technical name Aggregat-4 (A4), was a ballistic missile that was developed at the beginning of the Second World War in Germany, specifically targeted at London and later Antwerp.

General Wehrmacht Army Signal Erich Felgibel congratulates members Wernher von Braun at Peenemunde on the successful launch of the V-2. October 3, 1942 General Felgibel (left) shakes hands with Gen. Walter Dornbergeru (center). To the right Felgibel - General Janssen. From left to right in back row: Werner von Braun, the captain and Dr. Gerhard Shtoltsel Reyzig.

The liquid-propellant rocket was the world's first long-range combat-ballistic missile and first known human artifact to enter outer space. It was the progenitor of all modern rockets, including those used by the United States and Soviet Union's space programs.

Two V2 being launched in Antwerp

During the aftermath of World War II the American, Soviet and British governments all gained access to the V-2's technical designs and the actual German scientists responsible for creating the rockets, via Operation Paperclip, Operation Osoaviakhim and Operation Backfire.

London. After a V2 fell.

The weapon was presented by Nazi propaganda as a retaliation for the bombers that attacked ever more German cities from 1942 until Germany surrendered. Over 3,000 V-2s were launched as military rockets by the German Wehrmacht against Allied targets during the war, mostly London and later Antwerp. The attacks resulted in the death of an estimated 7,250 military personnel and civilians, while 12,000 forced labourers were killed producing the weapons.red.

The launch trailer of the V2


In the late 1920s, a young Wernher von Braun acquired a copy of Hermann Oberth's book, Die Rakete zu den Planetenräumen (The Rocket into Interplanetary Space). Starting in 1930, he attended the Technical University of Berlin, where he assisted Oberth in liquid-fueled rocket motor tests. Von Braun was working on his creative doctorate when the Nazi Party gained power in Germany. An artillery captain, Walter Dornberger, arranged an Ordnance Department research grant for von Braun, who from then on worked next to Dornberger's existing solid-fuel rocket test site at Kummersdorf.Von Braun's thesis, Construction, Theoretical, and Experimental Solution to the Problem of the Liquid Propellant Rocket (dated 16 April 1934), was kept classified by the German army and was not published until 1960.By the end of 1934, his group had successfully launched two rockets that reached heights of 2.2 and 3.5 km (1.4 and 2.2 mi)

At the time, Germany was highly interested in American physicist Robert H. Goddard's research. Before 1939, German scientists occasionally contacted Goddard directly with technical questions. Von Braun used Goddard's plans from various journals and incorporated them into the building of the Aggregat (A) series of rockets.

A V2 fell here

A production line was nearly ready at PeenemĂĽnde when the Operation Hydra attack caused the Germans to move production to the Mittelwerk in the Kohnstein where 5,200 V-2 rockets were built. Period of Production Production Up to 15 Sep 1944, 1900 15 Sep to 29 Oct 1944 900 29 Oct to 24 Nov 1944 600 24 Nov to 15 Jan 1945 1100 15 Jan to 15 Feb 1945 700 Total 5200

The devastation wrought by a V2 in London


Unlike the V-1, the V-2's speed and trajectory made it invulnerable to anti-aircraft guns and fighters, as it dropped from an altitude of 100–110 km (62–68 mi) at up to four times the speed of sound (approximately 3550 km/h). A plan was proposed whereby the missile would be detected by radar, its terminal trajectory calculated, and the area along that trajectory saturated by large-caliber anti-aircraft guns. The plan was dropped after operations research indicated that the likely number of malfunctioning artillery shells falling to the ground would do more damage than the V-2 itself.

The defence against the V-2 campaign was to destroy the launch infrastructure—expensive in terms of bomber resources and casualties—or to cause the Germans to "aim" at the wrong place through disinformation. The British were able to convince the Germans to direct V-1s and V-2s aimed at London to less populated areas east of the city. This was done by sending false impact reports via the German espionage network in Britain, which was controlled by the British (the Double Cross System).

There is a record of one V-2, fortuitously observed at launch from a passing American B-24 Liberator, being shot down by .50 caliber machine-gun fire. The limitations of any countermeasures can be understood by two facts: 20 seconds after launch, a V-2 was out of reach; the time from launch to impact in London being merely 3 minutes. 

Ultimately the most successful countermeasure was the Allied advance that forced the launchers back beyond range. 

V2 in London

November 27, 1944. Antwerp. A V2 fell here.

A V2 being launched

A V2 on its way

An aerial view of the platform from where a V2 was being launched

A V2 in 1944

A V2 being transported to its launch pad

A London boy sits in the ruins of his home. A V2 destroyed it.

At the crash site of German guided missile BV-143 August 27, 1941

Salvaging the parts of a V2

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Points To Ponder


It is difficult to distinguish between the quality of both the German and Russian soldiers. Both were motivated by their love for their motherland. But there were others factors that drove the two sides to such desperate fighting.

One, both sides knew that this was a no-holds bar war. Not fighting was thus not an option.

Second, both Hitler and Stalin had squads that killed any deserter. Turning away from fighting was just not possible.

Thus was seen some of the most bitter, brutal and desperate fighting on the WW2 eastern (Russian) Front.
"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
-- George Santayana


"Be polite; write diplomatically; even in a declaration of war one observes the rules of politeness."
--Otto von Bismarck

"When the enemy advances, withdraw; when he stops, harass; when he tires, strike; when he retreats, pursue.'
--Mao Zedong


"The main thing is to make history, not to write it."
--Otto von Bismarck

"When you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite."
--Winston Churchill


"In time of war the loudest patriots are the greatest profiteers."
--August Bebel

"God is not on the side of the big battalions, but on the side of those who shoot best."

Quotes about War....

"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war."
---Otto von Bismarck


"Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
--Hermann Goering


"To conquer the enemy without resorting to war is the most desirable. The highest form of generalship is to conquer the enemy by strategy."
--Tzu Sun

"All men are brothers, like the seas throughout the world; So why do winds and waves clash so fiercely everywhere?"
--Emperor Hirohito