V-2 Rockets

The V-2 was a liquid fuelled (liquid oxygen and alcohol) rocket, with a 975 kilogram high explosive warhead, and a range of 320 kilometres. It was the second of Germany's "vengence weapons" or vergeltungwaffen, from which the "V" designation was derived - although it was more commonly known by the German Army as the A-4. Developed at the secret weapons establishment at Peenemónde, the V-2 flew for the first time in October 1942 but due to a continuing series of faults and design refinements, mass production did not begin until May 1944. The V-2 was manufactured at a notorious underground factory at Nordhausen, south west of Berlin, using slave labour working in atrocious conditions.

The first operational launch of the V-2 took place near The Hague, Belgium, on 8 September 1944 and about four minutes after take-off it crashed into south-west London travelling at 4,000 kilometres per hour. The accuracy of the V-2 was such that it could be expected to land within a rectangle 26 kilometres long by 21 kilometres wide around its intended target. Close to 10,000 V-2s were eventually produced. Of this total, 1,115 were launched against Britain, 1,341 against Antwerp, 65 against Brussels, 98 against Lige, 15 against Paris, 11 at the Remagen Bridge on the Rhine, and 5 into Luxembourg. The last V-2 launch, against London, occurred on 27 March 1945. The rocket campaign against London had inflicted over 2,700 fatal casualties for a cost of 51 dead among the rocket crews.

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