The V1 and V2 Weapons

The V1 Flying Bomb

The V1 flying bomb eing prepared for launch: Original image: Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1975-117-26 / Lysiak / CC-BY-SA

The V1 flying bomb being prepared for launch: Original image: Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1975-117-26 / Lysiak / CC-BY-SA

The flying bomb was a predecessor of the modern cruise missile. Developed by the German air force the bomb’s jet engine gave a distinct buzzin

g sound, which later gave rise to several nicknames such as Buzz Bomb and Doodlebug. The engine, which would often cut out just before hitting its target, added to the fear of the weapon amongst civilians

V-1 flew at an average speed of 400 mph (640 km/ph), which was faster than most propeller aircraft of the day. Around a third of the aircrafts weight was the explosive warhead. The missiles were launched from concrete and metal catapult ramps at sites in occupied France and Holland – taking around thirty minutes to reach London. Some flying bombs were also air-launched from converted German bombers.

During the campaign approximately 2419 flying bombs got through to impact on London. Forty one V1 flying bombs fell on Enfield.

The V2 ballistic missile

Original image: V2 rocket at launch Bundesarchiv, Bild 141-1880 / CC-BY-SA

Original image: V2 rocket at launch Bundesarchiv, Bild 141-1880 / CC-BY-SA

The V-2 was the world’s first long-range ballistic missile. Developed purely as a combat weapon its birth provided the foundation of all modern missiles and rockets – including the Saturn

V moon rocket. Commissioned before the war by the German army the V2 used technology that was far ahead of its’ time. Its potential as a strategic weapon was largely overshadowed by Hitler’s desire to simply hit back against Allied bombing.

Standing fourteen metres tall the V2’s warhead was a 1,000 kg (2,200 lb) of explosive. The rocket would blast off and continue under power for just over a minute before the engines would cut out. From here it continued on a curved trajectory touching the edge of space before falling back down on to earth and its target. Crashing down faster than the speed of sound the V2 took approximately five and half minutes from launch in occupied Holland to impact on London. The V2 was impossible to intercept in flight and it was launched from mobile road transporters which made it virtually impossible to locate and attack on the ground.

During the V weapon campaign approximately 1358 V2 rockets got through reached London. Twenty six V2 rockets fell on Enfield.

The Diagram below shows the size of the V1 and V2 compared with a modern double decker bus.

v1 v2maindiagram144

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