V-2

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Aggregat-4/Vergeltungswaffe-2
Fusée V2.jpg
TypeSingle-stage ballistic missile
Place of originNazi Germany
Service history
In service1944–1952
Used by
Production history
DesignerPeenemünde Army Research Center
ManufacturerMittelwerk GmbH
Unit cost100,000 RM January 1944, 50,000 RM March 1945[1]
Produced16 March 1942 – 1945 (Germany)
Some assembled post-war
Specifications
Mass12,500 kg (27,600 lb)
Length14 m (45 ft 11 in)
Diameter1.65 m (5 ft 5 in)
Warhead1,000 kg (2,200 lb); Amatol (explosive weight: 910 kg)
Detonation
mechanism
Impact

Wingspan3.56 m (11 ft 8 in)
Propellant
Operational
range
320 km (200 mi)
Flight altitude
  • 88 km (55 mi) maximum altitude on long-range trajectory
  • 206 km (128 mi) maximum altitude if launched vertically
Speed
  • Maximum: 5,760 km/h (3,580 mph)
  • At impact: 2,880 km/h (1,790 mph)
Guidance
system
Launch
platform
Mobile (Meillerwagen)

The V-2 rocket (German: Vergeltungswaffe 2) was the world's first ballistic missile and first human object to fly in space.[4] All modern rockets are based on the V2 design.[5] The first successful launch was from Peenemünde on 3 October, 1942, reaching a height of 192 km.[6]:7 The V2 was designed by Nazis to bomb London, Antwerp and other European cities. It travelled at four times the speed of sound so was impossible to shoot down. The first V-2 used as a weapon exploded in Paris on 8 September 1944, with a second rocket exploding in London later that day.[6]:10 Over 3,000 V-2s were used by the German Wehrmacht against Allied targets in World War II, resulting in the death of an estimated 7,250 military personnel and civilians.

The victors used captured V-2 rockets to start space and missile programs. In the United States they were helped by the team of German rocket scientists from Peenemünde, led by Wernher von Braun, who had surrendered to the US at the end of the war. The first US assembled V-2, made from parts captured in Germany, was launched from White Sands, New Mexico, in April 1946.[6]:21 There were 66 V-2 rocket flights, the last on October 29, 1951.

Development[change | change source]

In the late 1920s, a young Wernher von Braun bought a copy of Hermann Oberth's book, Die Rakete zu den Planetenräumen (The Rocket into Interplanetary Spaces).[7] Starting in 1930, he attended the Technical University of Berlin, where he assisted Oberth in liquid-fueled rocket motor tests.[7] In 1933 he went to work for the Army designing and building rockets. The final, biggest rocket was the A-4, later called V-2.

Production[change | change source]

On 22 Dec. 1942, Hitler signed the order for mass production, when Speer assumed final technical data would be ready by July 1943. However, many issues still remained to be solved even by the autumn of 1943.[8]

Test launch was recovered by Polish resistance on 30 May 1944[9] and rocket from Blizna was transported to the UK during Operation Most III.

References[change | change source]

  1. Cite error: The named reference Kennedy was used but no text was provided for refs named (see the help page).
  2. 10% of the Mittelwerk rockets used a guide beam for cutoff.
  3. Cite error: The named reference Neufeld was used but no text was provided for refs named (see the help page).
  4. Peenemuende, Walter Dornberger, Moewig, Berlin 1985. ISBN 3-8118-4341-9.
  5. NOVA science program(s). Sputnik Declassified. Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). 2008.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Furniss, Tim (2001). The History of Space Vehicles. London: Grange Books. ISBN 1-84013-370-8.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Wernher von Braun#Early life.
  8. Speer, Albert (1995). Inside the Third Reich. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. pp. 496–497. ISBN 9781842127353.
  9. # (Polish) Michał Wojewódzki, Akcja V-1, V-2, Warsaw 1984, ISBN 83-211-0521-1

Notes[change | change source]

Further reading[change | change source]

  • Dungan, Tracy D. (2005). V-2: A Combat History of the First Ballistic Missile. Westholme Publishing. ISBN 1-59416-012-0.
  • Huzel, Dieter K. (ca. 1965). Peenemünde to Canaveral. Prentice Hall Inc.
  • Piszkiewicz, Dennis (1995). The Nazi Rocketeers: Dreams of Space and Crimes of War. Westport, Conn.: Praeger. ISBN 0-275-95217-7.

Other websites[change | change source]