The Vergeltungswaffe Zwei (Reprisal weapon 2) was the name that the Nazi propaganda gave to the first ballistic missile. Complied one of the Hitler objectives: owning a terror weapon of mass destruction. In September 1944 the Germans launched the first V-2.
It was powered by an engine that used liquid oxygen and alcohol as fuel, reaching supersonic speeds and surpassing the 70,000 meters. The V-2 was able to carry a warhead of almost a ton and had an operating range of 320 kilometers.
The V-2 launchers were movable and once launched they were not interceptable as with the V-1. They were launched from the territory occupied by the Germans, like the Netherlands.
Once in the air, V-2 was driven by radio frequency signals emitted from the ground or by gyros installed on board. Without any prediction, the V-2 reached its goal through the disconnection of its engine, falling taking advantage of the gravity.
The development project was known as A-4. The V-2 was the fourth weapon within a research program of the German army that had been created by the technical direction of Wernher von Braun in 1932 when he was only 24 years old. It is believed that the V-2 was designed by a group of aerospace scientists whose actual aim was to stimulate the development of a space program.
|Speed||6,000 km / h|
|Fuel||alcohol and liquid oxygen|
|Margin of error||radius of 8 km|
Moreover, it was under development a program to create an intercontinental ballistic missile long-range, which would be called by A-10, which could cross the Atlantic and reach the city of New York.
In 1942, priority was given to the research program and the first race with the army took place that year. At a meeting between von Braun and Hitler, it was convinced of the potential of the V-2, immediately ordered its mass production. The first tests carried out successfully occurred in October 1942 from Peenemunde.
The V-2 were manufactured in underground factories in Peenemünde peninsula, the peninsula in the Baltic Sea at the mouth of the river Oder. For their production, prisoners of concentration camps were used as slave labor. Due to Allied bombing, it was decided that the production of V-2 would be carried out underground in the Harz mountains in central Germany. The mass production of this missile was the primary goal of the year 1944, and almost until the end of the war, nearly 700 V-2 were produced monthly in underground factories of Nordhausen.
During the Second World War, a total of 5,000 V-2 were produced. Of these, 600 were used in trials, and the rest were released on the UK, France and Belgium. More than a thousand copies were dropped over London and the Belgian city of Antwerp was severely punished by the use of this weapon of terror, which making a trajectory of 350 miles in just five minutes.
It is estimated that the V-2 made about 7000 deaths in Europe.