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Fusée V2.jpg
Peenemünde Museum replica of V-2
Type single-stage ballistic missile
Place of origin Nazi Germany
Service history
In service 1944–1952
Used by German Army
United Kingdom
United States
Soviet Union
Production history
Designer Peenemünde Army Research Center
Manufacturer Mittelwerk GmbH
Unit cost 100,000 RM January 1944, 50,000 RM March 1945.[1]
Produced 16 March 1942 – 1945 (Germany)
Some assembled post-war
Weight 12,500 kg (27,600 lb)
Length 14 m (45 ft 11 in)
Diameter 1.65 m (5 ft 5 in)

Warhead 1,000 kg (2,200 lb); Amatol (explosive weight: 910 kg)

320 km (200 mi)
Speed maximum:5,760 km/h (3,580 mph)

at impact: 2,880 km/h (1,790 mph)

Gyroscopes to determine direction
Müller-type pendulous gyroscopic accelerometer for engine cutoff on most production rockets.[2][3]:225

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. Kennedy, Gregory P. (1983). Vengeance Weapon 2: The V-2 Guided Missile. Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution Press. pp. 27, 74.
  2. 10% of the Mittelwerk rockets used a guide beam for cutoff.
  3. Neufeld, Michael J (1995). The Rocket and the Reich: Peenemünde and the Coming of the Ballistic Missile Era. New York: The Free Press. pp. 158, 160–162, 190.
  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]