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I had no idea V1s were air launched.

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I had no idea V1s were air launched.

Old 20th Jun 2019, 13:36
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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Both my parents had close shaves with V weapons...

Father's school survived a near miss during assembly, although the windows smashed...
Mother had a V2 land nearby...
That and the aerial mine that took out the church 100yds down the road from my Father, make me wonder how lucky I am to be here!
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Old 20th Jun 2019, 20:15
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Blossy View Post
In the book Target London (which some kind soul had recommended on this forum) some astonishing figures were given.
32,000 V1s were made. 10,492 were launched against our capital. 4,261 were shot down by AA, fighters or collided with barrage balloons.
17,981 (mostly civilians) were injured and 6,181 killed.
No less than 1,402 V2 rockets were launched against the UK. There was no defence possible against these.
The damage caused by both these weapons was staggering. 107,000 homes destroyed and over 1.5 million damaged.
The figures given almost beggars belief.
Err, I make that about ONE person per V1....
10,492 launched at UK of which 4,261 destroyed en route by fighters, AA and balloons, which leaves approx 6,000 reaching their destination.
Deaths 6,181 from 6,000 V1's = 1 death and 3 wounded (injured more appropriate to non hostile actions in my belief)

V2's estimated some 1,400 launched at UK with some 2,700 deaths or approx 2 per V2. Obviously this is too simplistic for reality, even now, play a recording of a V1 droning, then silence and a roomful of elderly people will instantly recall what happened when they heard one and was unnerving as you had to hope the motor wouldn't cut out by you... but on some other poor sod.
The V2 you had no warning of, just a huge explosion, debris everywhere and shocked people stumbling around hardly aware of where they were or what they were doing.

I suppose quite appropriate that we're talking of this 75 years on...
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Old 21st Jun 2019, 06:48
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Icare9 View Post
Err, I make that about ONE person per V1....
10,492 launched at UK of which 4,261 destroyed en route by fighters, AA and balloons, which leaves approx 6,000 reaching their destination.
Deaths 6,181 from 6,000 V1's = 1 death and 3 wounded (injured more appropriate to non hostile actions in my belief)
You are, of course, quite right. In mitigation, I plead late night posting, and although it may be true that in vino veritas, it is definitely a threat to arithmetic.
As you rightly point out, deaths are a poor measure of effectiveness (as well as being distasteful to think about). Perhaps a better measure of the effectiveness of the weapon was the cost of delivering a certain weight of explosives to the target.
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Old 21st Jun 2019, 07:43
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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We had a thick, heavy, solid oak dining room table which we used to hide under when we heard a V1 coming. The silence and then the bang and we would rush out to see where it had landed.

Sometimes we would run out before the bang.
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Old 22nd Jun 2019, 15:10
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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I lived in Tonbridge, Kent during the war and saw quite a few Doodlebugs. Some landed within a mile or so of our street Most seemed quite low and very noisy. My most vivid memory was seeing a Hawker Tempest firing at a Doodlebug at a height of around 2000 ft and directly above Tonbridge railway yards. The Tempest was about 200 yards directly behind the Doodlebug and fired its cannons. The was a huge explosion as the Doodlebug blew up in mid-air and the Tempest flew through the flame, smoke and wreckage a second or so later. It had absolutely no chance of avoiding the maelstrom but obviously survived.

One night a V2 rocket landed in a field close to Judd School at Tonbridge. The explosion woke me up. There was some damage to the school. In the morning, I picked up a tiny piece of shrapnel from the crater and proudly took it home to our house in Deakin Leas, Tonbridge. It was highly magnetic. My family migrated to Australia in 1947. About 20 years later I visited relatives at Deakin Leas and my uncle disappeared into the garage for a moment and came out with this tiny lump of shrapnel which I must have left there from war days. It was still magnetic. It is now in a box in my study in Melbourne, Australia and still magnetic. Perhaps its supersonic flight in 1944 caused the metal to become magnetic?
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Old 23rd Jun 2019, 10:32
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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Giles take on the effects on Londoners of the V1 campaign.

'It's ridiculous to say these new flying bombs have affected people in any way!'


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Old 25th Jun 2019, 04:20
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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Smile One of the last v1s

This V1 was probably air launched given the lateness in the war March 1945 and its crash site in the fen near Somersham, Cambridgeshire.

I was in bed when we heard this weird sound totally different from the Merllins we were used to being surrounded by 3 Group aerodromes. My Father immediately said "That's a Doodlebug", we all went quiet and listened, fortunately the noise slowly diminished and we slowly relaxed. I think we heard it cut out and a final thump. However in its journey it must have over flown every house in the Isle of Ely!!!!
Next morning we learnt it exploded harmlessly in a field seven miles westish
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Old 26th Jun 2019, 11:45
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Blossy View Post
17,981 (mostly civilians) were injured and 6,181 killed .... No less than 1,402 V2 rockets were launched against the UK. There was no defence possible against these.
The damage caused by both these weapons was staggering. 107,000 homes destroyed and over 1.5 million damaged.
When doing the tour of NASA at Cape Canaveral a few years ago, the tour guide was just a bit too complimentary for my liking about Werner von Braun, who devised both the V1 and V2, and was subsequently signed up by the US rocket/space/NASA programmes, and worked at The Cape. Not just him but various German former colleagues as well (apparently they all conversed among one another in staccato German during Cape launches). So I asked him in front of everyone else how the US would have felt if Osama Bin Laden and his team had been welcomed to Britain and given a substantial and well paid government job. Americans in the group then asked about the detail of the events.

I think they were a bit shocked. Guide moved us on quickly back into the bus and kept well clear of me for the rest of the trip. I wonder if it had been raised there before. Incidentally, the whole trip there highly recommended.

How did Von Braun escape the Nuremberg Trials ?

Last edited by WHBM; 26th Jun 2019 at 11:57.
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Old 26th Jun 2019, 15:01
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Pom Pax View Post
This V1 was probably air launched given the lateness in the war March 1945 and its crash site in the fen near Somersham, Cambridgeshire.
All the V-1's that landed in UK after October 1944 were air launched, as all the land based launch sites within range of UK had been overrun by the advancing Allied armies by end of October '44.
My aunt narrowly missed getting killed by the last V-1 to land west of the centre of London, in March '45, when it landed on the ordanance depot in Greenford. Other than singed eyebrows, she was unharmed, while her friend who was standing next to her, turned around and bent down to take cover and ended up with a hot molten piece of shrapnel in her arse. My aunt still laughed at her friends misfortune even when re-telling the story to me a few years before she passed away in 2017.
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Old 26th Jun 2019, 16:15
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by PDR1 View Post
There are far worse stats. The most startling [for me] was to discover that 75% of all the men who went to sea in a german submarine during WW2 died in a submarine. That's a shockingly high number,
My father said of his cohort who joined Bomber Command (Halifaxes) together with him, the loss rate by the end of their FIRST tour (fortunately his only one) had been the same.
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Old 26th Jun 2019, 16:34
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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The air launched V-1's from the North Sea also led to the introduction (as a trial!) of the first AEW aircraft, although the concept had been discussed for some years before. I believe the introduction of the RAF Wellington which flew these sorties even pre-dated the USN introduction of the Avenger in the Pacific, but as it was a secret unit its history was 'overlooked'.
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Old 26th Jun 2019, 22:00
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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WHBM, you might be interested to know that the Atlanta, Georgia High School from which I graduated in 1967 (gulp!) counted Wernher von Braun's daughter among its student body. Miss von B., who was two years my junior, was lovely and hyper-intelligent; she was, in fact, her class Valedictorian in 1969. Her proud father was to give the commencement address that year. Our school had a strict (and I mean STRICT!) prohibition against the consumption of alcoholic beverages. The single exception was Communion wine.

The day prior to Graduation, Miss von B. was spied by a faculty member actively drinking at a bar not far from campus. She was expelled the next morning and, to the best of my knowledge, never received a diploma. Her father was absent from the proceedings that day.

Perhaps he was too busy counting backwards from 10....

- Ed

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Old 27th Jun 2019, 00:31
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by WHBM View Post
When doing the tour of NASA at Cape Canaveral a few years ago, the tour guide was just a bit too complimentary for my liking about Werner von Braun, who devised both the V1 and V2, and was subsequently signed up by the US rocket/space/NASA programmes, and worked at The Cape. Not just him but various German former colleagues as well (apparently they all conversed among one another in staccato German during Cape launches). So I asked him in front of everyone else how the US would have felt if Osama Bin Laden and his team had been welcomed to Britain and given a substantial and well paid government job. Americans in the group then asked about the detail of the events.

I think they were a bit shocked. Guide moved us on quickly back into the bus and kept well clear of me for the rest of the trip. I wonder if it had been raised there before. Incidentally, the whole trip there highly recommended.

How did Von Braun escape the Nuremberg Trials ?
Von Braun's reputation was carefully crafted by the US Government during something referred to as 'Operation Paperclip' - he wasn't exactly alone, roughly 1,600 German scientists and engineers were brought to the US in the immediate aftermath of the war. There has always been some controversy about his involvement in the Nazi party - the accepted story is that he viewed it as a necessary evil - he would have rather worked on rockets for peaceful purposes but that wasn't an option, although some claim he was an enthusiastic supporter of the Nazi party, only changing his tune when it was obvious that Germany was going to lose. BTW, I didn't think Von Braun had major involvement in the V-1, only the V-2.

That being said, why would Von Braun be any more responsible than any other German weapons designers? They were doing their job as they saw it - just like the people who designed the Spitfire or Lancaster, or the Rolls engines that powered them? Sure, the V2 was used as a terror weapon, but so was the Lancaster. When you start charging the people who design or manufacture the weapons of war with war crimes, you open up a pretty nasty can of worms. Comparisons to Bin Laden are rather unfair - Bin Laden would be more comparable to Hitler.

Personally, I view Von Braun as a brilliant rocket scientist and a bit of a personal hero for the work he (and his cohorts) did on the US Space program, but accept he had a seriously flawed background. Personally, I find his apparent indifference to the slave labor and working conditions at the Mittelwerk underground V-2 production facility more disturbing that his decision to perform what he stated he considered his patriotic duty in developing the A-4 (it was Hitler that renamed it V-2).
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Old 27th Jun 2019, 00:55
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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tdracer: concur!

- Ed
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Old 27th Jun 2019, 08:27
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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There is a very interesting book, Operation Paperclip (in a box somewhere after house move), which details the scurrilous way German engineers, scientists and doctors were spirited to the US after the war, wholly illegally. In particular some of the doctors had been closely involved in some of the nastiest experiments on live prisoners from concentration camps
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Old 27th Jun 2019, 12:54
  #36 (permalink)  
 
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There was of course the famous incident just before the premiere of the film about Von Braun in Leicester Square in 1960.
The big film poster outside of course had the title " I AIM AT THE STARS " in large letters
To which some wag had added:


" Yes, but sometimes I hit London"

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Old 27th Jun 2019, 19:43
  #37 (permalink)  
 
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why would Von Braun be any more responsible than any other... weapons designers?
The Mittelwerk and Mittelbau-Dora are two decent enough reasons, Id say.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mittelwerk
​​​​​​​

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitt...entration_camp
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Old 27th Jun 2019, 20:55
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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Tom Lehrer sings a very good song about Werner von Braun on the world’s favourite video channel. Well worth finding.
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Old 27th Jun 2019, 21:50
  #39 (permalink)  
 
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Here you go, Peter G-W! That song and the countdown was my inspiration for my post #32 above. Like Freiherr vonBraun, Harvard/M.I.T. Mathematics Professor and music composer Tom Lehrer was a true genius. I wonder if Wernher had a sense of humo(u)r equal to Dr. Lehrer....


- Ed
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Old 27th Jun 2019, 23:30
  #40 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by cavuman1 View Post
... Tom Lehrer was a true genius...
IS!
He's still with us at age 91.
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