Long, sleek and aerodynamic, the rocket was the product of Wernher Von Braun’s dedicated research and leadership over some 15 years. Costing hundreds of millions, it was liquid fuelled, consuming 126kg of alcohol and liquid oxygen per second and emitting an ear-piercing scream when it left its launch site. The fuel lasted for up to 70 seconds, by which time the craft was travelling at 1341 meters per second and was on the verge of leaving earth’s lower atmosphere. Fuel expended, the rocket was still subject to Earth’s gravity however, and now entered a parabolic trajectory, arching down towards a target zone some 350 kms away.
But unlike Von Braun’s Saturn V which propelled the Apollo 11 mission on its way to the moon, this rocket had a more sinister purpose, and the landing place was not an empty tract of wilderness. The target zone instead was London or Antwerp, and the aim was to wreak vengeance on the enemy. The rocket was the Vergeltungswaffe 2, known to history as the V2.