Monday, March 9, 2015
Target London 1944-45
The V-1 'Buzz Bomb'
The Fieseler Fi 103, better known as the V-1 'Buzz Bomb', (German: Vergeltungswaffe 1, retaliation weapon), also colloquially known in Britain as the 'Doodlebug', was an early pulse-jet-powered example of what would later be called a cruise missile. The V-1 was developed at Peenemünde Airfield by the German Luftwaffe during the Second World War. The first of the so-called Vergeltungswaffen series designed for terror bombing of London, the V-1 was fired from "ski" launch sites along the French (Pas-de-Calais) and Dutch coasts. The first V-1 was launched at London on 13 June 1944, one week after (and prompted by) the successful Allied landing in Europe. At its peak, over a hundred V-1s a day were fired at southeast England, 9,521 in total, decreasing in number as sites were overrun until October 1944, when the last V-1 site in range of Britain was overrun by Allied forces. This caused the remaining V-1s to be re-targeted on the port of Antwerp and other targets in Belgium, with 2,448 V-1s being launched. The attacks stopped when the last site was overrun on 29 March 1945. In total, the V-1 attacks caused 22,892 casualties (almost entirely civilians).
The underground V-1 storage depots at Saint-Leu-d'Esserent, Nucourt and Rilly-la-Montagne, as well as the launch sites, were bombed during Operation Crossbow.
The V-2 rocket
The V-2 rocket (German: Vergeltungswaffe 2, i.e. reprisal weapon 2), technical name A4, was a long-range ballistic missile that was developed at the beginning of the Second World War in Germany, specifically targeted at Belgium and sites in southeastern England. The rocket was the world's first long-range combat-ballistic missile and first known human artifact to achieve sub-orbital spaceflight. It was the progenitor of all modern rockets, including those used by the United States and Soviet Union space programs, which gained access to the scientists and designs through Operation Paperclip and Operation Osoaviakhim.
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, resulting in the death of an estimated 7,250 military personnel and civilians. The weapon was presented by Nazi propaganda as a retaliation for the bombers that succeeded in attacking ever more German cities from 1942 until the end of the war