.: Bob Williams' V1 Doodlebug & V2 Rocket "Terror Weapons"

The V1 was variously known as a FLY  (official designation), Pilot- less plane (PP) Buzz bomb or Doodlebug. The latter was the nickname that entered into popular circulation after a few days of the campaign. It is a perhaps a typically British trait to come up with a diminutive, rather comical name for this terror weapon. Perhaps it was a way of dealing with it.

This weapon was capable of killing large number of people, inflicting terrible injuries and causing huge material damage to buildings and homes. What is apparent from studying bomb damage maps is the wide area over which the V1 caused blast damage. The missile exploded on the surface, and a huge blast wave rippled out from the epicentre. As it did so it left a vacuum, which
caused a second rush of air as the vacuum was filled. This caused a devastating pushing and pulling effect.

At the impact site houses or buildings were totally demolished. In inner London suburbs where terrace houses were packed together, sometimes up to 20 houses would totally collapse. Brick walls were pulverised into small fragments.
A little bit further out from the epicentre walls, roofs and window frames were ripped out exposing the contents and innards of the house. Further out still, all the windows were blown out and roofing slates blown off. Every time a Doodlebug landed hundreds of houses were damaged. ranging from demolition to  slight damage. Perhaps having roof slates broken and glass broken does not sound too bad, but it must be remembered that this was a cold, wet summer and repairs would take many months.

Click to magnify

Click to magnify

 

The V2 rocket was the world's first ballistic missile. It was originally designated the A-4, as it was the fourth in a line of rocket developments, however, Joseph Goebbel's propaganda ministry renamed it Vergeltungswaffe 2 (Retaliation Weapon 2). It was naturally shortened to V-2.


Engineer Werner von Braun was the driving force in the development of the German ballistic missile program .  He became the director of the German Rocket Development Center in Peenemunde.  As an engineering student he was a member of the Verein fur Raumschiffahrt (Society for Space Travel) and was always interested in furthering the cause of rockets as a means of space travel. At the request of the Reichswehr Ordnance Department, he began work on rockets in 1932 upon graduation from the Berlin Institute of Technology. The fledgling Reichswehr's interest in rocketry was to legally get around the restrictions on the number and size of artillery pieces laid out in the Treaty of Versailles following WWI. Rockets were not included as artillery pieces.


Unlike the V-1 developed by the Luftwaffe, which flew low, and slow enough to be intercepted by fast aircraft, the V-2 was a true, guided, ballistic missile, rising into the stratosphere before plunging down to the target. The only warning of an approaching V-2 was the double boom as it broke the sound barrier shortly before impact. There was no defense against the V-2, so the English went after the launching sites. They did this very effectively in the Pas de Calais so that only mobile V2s could be launched. None of these systems were ever successfully attacked.


The U.S. War Department was very interested in this new weapon.  After the army occupied the Peenemunde base, all the remaining V-2s were shipped back to the United States, along with many of the German scientists and engineers.   About 500 German rocket specialists were used in "Operation Paperclip" for this purpose, including Wernher von Braun.  The V-2 became the army's Redstone

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