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Vergeltungswaffe V-Weapons

View several AVI Films of V Weapons

V-2 rocket against the morning sky

V-1 Flying Bomb
V-2 (A-4) Rocket
V-3 High Pressure Pump "Hochdruckpumpe" "Millipede" "Busy Lizzie"


V-1 flying bomb During the 1920s and 1930s German rearmament was greatly restricted under the terms of the Versailles treaty. This had the effect of fostering research into weapon technologies not forbidden; rockets, sail planes, and glider aircraft all received generous government backing because of this factor. It also attracted the best and brightest Germany had to offer.

Rockets were seen as having the potential to out-range artillery, capable of bombarding targets at very long distances. The Vengeance weapons added a new terror to an already terrible war - robot aircraft. Once launched these weapons flew without human intervention to smash into their targets. The V-1 was essentially a small pilotless aircraft with minimal guidance and a large warhead. The V-2 ballistic missile was also unmanned but of a sophistication that put it in a class all it's own. Both weapons could hit a city-sized target but accuracy greater than this was rare. The V-weapons failed to turn the tide of war but they did force the Allies to devout large amounts of time and resources in fighting and defending against them.

Luftwaffe Secret Projects: Fighters 1939-1945 by Walter Schick, Ingolf Meyer

With access to much previously unpublished information the authors bring to life futuristic shapes that might have terrorized the Allies had the war gone beyond 1945. Full color action illustrates and contemporary unit markings show vividly what might have been achieved. Careful comparison with later Allied and Soviet aircraft show the legacy handed on, right up to today's stealth aircraft.

The First Jet Aircraft by Wolfgang Wagner

A very detailed work on all of the jet aircraft projects of World War II. Turbo-jet design and development with schematics, actual documents from Heinkel and other manufacturers and test facilities.

V-1 Flying Bomb

The V-1 was a simple and cheap cruise missile launched by the thousands against Great Britain and Antwerpe, the main port supplying the Allied armies advancing from Normandy.

V-1 Fieseler Fi 103 (FZG 76)
Role: medium range flying bomb ( cruise missile )
Country: Germany

Wing Span: 17 ft, 7.5 in (5.37 m)
Length: 25 ft, 11 in (7.9 m)
Diameter: 2 ft, 7 in (0.8 m)
Height: 4 ft, 77/8 in (1.42 m)

Launch Weight: 4,750 lb (2152 kg)

Engine: One Argus As 109-014 pulse jet
Thrust: 660 lb (300 kg)
Propellants: 568 liters (150 U.S. Gal) 80 octane petrol

Maximum Speed: 390 - 410 mph (624 - 656 km/h)
Typical Ceiling: 2,500 ft (760 m)
Max. Ceiling: 10,000 ft (3050 m)
Range: 150 mi (240 km)
Endurance: 2 hours and 30 seconds

Warhead: 1,832 lb (830 kg) Amatol

FZG 76
flakzielgerat - flak aiming device 76
- cover name for V-1 project

Pulse-jet research began by Paul Schmidt in 1928 led to the As 109-014 engine used to propel the Fi 103 ( V-1.) Also known as the V-1 or FZG 76, this was the first practical cruise missile. The Fi 103 was a small aircraft, with a wing span of 5.3m or 4.87m depending on the model. It was powered by a pulse-jet engine, the noise of which lead to the nickname of buzz-bomb. To bring the V-1 up to the working speed of the engine, the Fi 103 was launched from a ramp or carried into the air by a launch aircraft. A compass controlled the course, and the travelled distance was measured by a small propeller. At the end of the range, the V-1 was steered into a steep dive. The acceleration then caused the engine to stop, but because this gave prior warning of the impact later V-1s were modified to prevent this. The V-1 flew at low altitude, and its speed just allowed the fastest allied fighters to intercept it. This, and the use of proximity fuses by the AAA, made an effective defence against it possible. London was hit by 2419 V-1s; Antwerp by 2448.

This cheap weapon of fairly simple design is the fore-runner of all cruise missle weapons. Catapulted from a long ramp to bring its speed up to where a pulse jet engine started to function the V-1 then flew on using three simple gyroscopes for basic guidance. Flying at 2,000 - 3,000 ft (600 - 900 m) a propeller screw kept track of the distance travelled, when the desired distance was reached the engine cut off and the missile dove down - detonating just above ground.

Other Names: Buzz Bombs  Doddle Bugs  Divers
Number lauched:  10,000 against the UK, 12,000 against Western Europe (up to 18,000 V-1s launched total.)

Ack Ack (Anti-aircraft artillery) was more and more effective in bringing down the V-1. Tempest fighter planes and the jet powered Gloster Meteor shot down many V-1s as well.

A Manned suicide version known as was made in small numbers and flight tested but never actually used.

Number built of V-1s :  more than 32,000

The He 111H-22 - a V-1 flying bomb launcher

Trials conducted at Peenemunde in 1943 demostrated that a modified He 111 could carry and launch a V-1 buzz bomb. About 20 He 111H-6, He 111H-16, and He 111H-21 were modified to carry the V-1 underwing and redesignated He 111H-22.

Starting in July of 1944 Bomber Gruppen III/KG 3 based in Holland and equipped with the Heinkel He 111H-22 began a campaign against the UK code-named Operation Rumpelkammer (Lumber Room).

During the following six weeks these missile carriers successfully launched 410 flying bombs (300 V-1s against London, 90 against Southampton and 20 at Gloucester.) The bombers would approach the British coastline at very low levels to avoid radar detection and rise up to 450m (1,475 ft) long enough to aim and release the V-1 and dive away.

The apparent success of this effort led to all three Gruppen of KG 53 being equipped with the special variant of the Heinkel bomber, a total of one-hundred He 111H-22s joined the campaign in December from bases in western Germany. This enlarged assault with the strength of four Gruppen lasted seven months in which some 1,200 buzz bombs were air-launched at targets in the UK. 77 aircraft were lost while at most only 20% of the buzz bombs fired actually hit their target cities.

V-1 'buzz bomb' falling on London

June 13, 1944 - March 29, 1945

Out of some 10,000 V-1s fired at the UK 2,419 of them hit London and the surrounding area. The V-1s caused 45,731 casualties including 5,126 deaths. Over 130,000 homes were destroyed and a further 750,000 damaged as a result. From July 1944 on Heinkel He 111H-22 bombers carried a modified V-1 missile aloft to fire against England. 1,200 V-1s were launched in this manner resulting in 235 hits on population centers, some against northern cities.

2,448 V-1 "buss bombs" hit the vital port of Antwerp and the surrounding area out of some 12,000 launched.

This weapon was also designated as FZG 76 Flakzielgerat (flak aiming device) to conceal its true nature from the Allies.

The RLM gave its go-ahead for a flying bomb to be developed on June 19, 1942 after showing little interest in the concept for several years.

Watch the launching of a V-1 flying bomb
See a V-1 flying bomb hit the English contryside
See a V-2 Rocket Explode

Watch a V-2 Launch

The A-4 (V-2) ballistic weapon carried a one ton warhead 200 miles (320 km) in less than five minutes and impacted at speeds faster than sound. It was a frightening weapon against which there was no defense and no warning. It was also a technological marvel and a grim vision of the future, foreshadowing the inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) of the cold war era.

Under the direction of Wernher von Braun development of this revolutionary weapon took over ten years. Progress greatly accelerated in 1937 when the whole research team was moved to the remote baltic island of Peenemunde. The first test of a complete A-4 was on June 13, 1942 when the missile toppled over and exploded at launch. The second A-4 launch on August 16 made the V-2 the first missile to exceed the speed of sound. The third test flight on October 3, 1942 was a complete success. The weapon landed within 2.5 miles (4 km) of its aiming point after flying 118 miles (190 km.) Hitler ordered mass production of the rocket as the Vergeltungswaffe 2 V-2 on December 22, 1942. A total of thirty-one test launches were made out of 50 orginally planned.

The warhead was 2,006 lb (910 kg) of Amatol chosen for its tolerance to high temperatures since the thin steel of the nose reached 600 degrees Centigrade (1,112 degrees F) due to atmospheric friction.

The huge engine was supplied with propellants from high-capacity Walter turbo-pumps driven by turbines on C-stoff and T-stoff and generating 730 hp. Readied for launch the V-2 weighed 28,000 lb ( kg ) most of this being LOX (liquid-oxygen) and Ethyl alcohol. The rocket engine generated 56,000 lb ( kg ) of thrust rapidly sending the missile on its way.

Flight control was achieved by using graphite vanes in the exhaust, as speed increased aerodynamic rudders on the four large fins exerted more control over flight trajectory.

Before launch the A-4 was precisely lined in azimuth with the great circle direction of the target. Thereafter guidance was maintained by a system of pendulums creating a stable platform, two LEV-3 gyros and an integrating accelerometer. This guidance package used electro-hydraulic actuators to move control surfaces on the fins thereby modifing the missile's angle of flight. A maximum height of 60 miles (96 km) was reached before the weapon started to arc down towards its target.

Preliminary production began in a new plant south of Peenemunde in late '43 but mass production took place at Mittelwerke, a huge underground facility that used 50,000 slave laborers to build the giant rockets under horrible conditions. Nervertheless 300 A-4s were constructed in the month of April '44 reaching a peak of just over 1,000 rockets during October of '44.

Total production of V-2 rockets exceeded 10,000.

The V-2 campaign opened up on September 6, 1944 with more than 1,800 missiles stockpiled with army units. 836 Artillerie Abteilung was the unit responsible for the offensive and started with two poorly aimed shots at Paris, France. P> Two days later the V-2 offensive began with missiles fired from heavily concealed and camoflaged sites near Wassenaar, Holland.

1,120 were launched against England (1,050 actually impacting the ground in that country )

About 4,320 V-2 rockets were fired by March 27, 1945 with another 600 expended in training which mainly took place near Blizna, Poland.

The V-2 Rocket

The V-2 cost many times the cost of a V-1 buzz bomb but caused about the same amount of damage since the missile pentrated the ground before exploding. Unlike the V-1, though, the launchers for the V-2 were quite mobile, including the Meillerwagen which carried the missile itself. Militarily the V-2 and the Vengeance weapons in general were a failure and a drain on precious resources.

Number Built: about 10,000
Number Launched: 4,320 with another 600 expended in training.

The V-2 campaign against England killed 2,754 people and seriously injured 6,523 others.

Targets of V-2 Rocket Launches between September 6, 1944 and March 27, 1945:

Antwrep 1,341
England 1,120
Li├Ęge 98
Brussels 65
Paris 15
Remagen Bridge 11
A-4 Vergeltungswaffe-2 V-2
Role: Long Range Ballistic Missile
Country: Germany

Maximum Diameter: 5 ft, 61/8 in ( 1.68 m )
Length: 14.03 m ( 46 ft. 3/8 in.)
Span: 3.5 m ( 11 ft. 5 3/4 in.)
Structure: Steel with internal isolation of fibre-glass.
Cladding: Riveted steel plate
Tail unit: movable fins controlled by electrical controls and nozzle vanes with electrohydraulic controls.
Launch Weight: 28,314 lb (12870 kg)
Engine: EMW with a thrust of 27,500 kg ( 60,500 lb. ) and a maximum acceleration of 6 G.
Propellants: 12,200 lb ( 5,533 kg ) of liquid oxygen ( A-Stoff ) and 9,200 lb ( 4,173 kg ) of Methanol ( M-Stoff. )
Pressurizer: T-Stoff (172 kg) and Z-Stoff actuating a turbopump of 730 HP, as well as nitrogen and pressurized air bottles
Equipment: LEV-3 gyroscopic plant, integrated accelerometers ( 1-Gerdt ), and radio control equipment
Warhead: 975 kg ( 907 kg of 60/40 Amatol ) with electrical and mechanical fuses
Maximum speed: 5,760 km/h ( 3,110 mph )
Time of propelled flight: 70 seconds
Ceiling: ( top ) 96,000 m ( 314,880 ft. )
Range: 330 km (178 nm)

Further Developments

A-4b Winged Version of V-2

Flying tests
Structure: steel, internally isolated by fibre-glass
Cladding: Riveted steel plate
Wings: Similar construction to the fuselage and supersonic profile (a piloted version with movable ailerons was foreseen)
Tail unit: Movable tail fins activated by electrical controls and nozzle rudders with electrohydraulic controls
Powerplant: EMW with a thrust of 27,500 kg (60,500 lb.) and a maximum acceleration of 6 G.
Propellants: A-Stoff (5,533 kg) and M-Stoff (4,173 kg)
Pressurizer: T-Stoff (172 kg) and Z-Stoff, delivered by a turbopump of 730 HP, as well as nitrogen and pressurized air bottles
Equipment: LEV-3 gyroscopic plant, integrated accelerometers (I-Gerdt) and radio control equipment (a piloted version was planned with flying controls)
Length: 14.03 m ( 46 ft. 3/8 in. )
Span: 6.2 m ( 20 ft. 4 1/8 in. )
Tail unit's span: 3.99 m ( 13 ft. 1 1/8 in. )
Maximum diameter: 1.68 m ( 5 ft. 6 1/8 in. )
Launch weight: 13,000 kg ( 28,600 lb. )
Maximum speed: 2,900 km/h ( 1,566 mph )
Time of propelled flight: 68 seconds
Ceiling: ( top ) 95,000 m ( 311,600 ft. )
Range: 600 km (324 nm)

A 9 ( first version )
Structure: steel
Cladding: Riveted steel plate
Tail unit: movable tail fins controlled by electrohydraulic controls
Powerplant: EMW with a thrust of 25,000 kg ( 55,000 lb. )
Propellants: "Visol" ( compound of vinylic ethers ) and "Salbei" ( 98% nitric acid. )
Pressurizer: T-Stoff ( 186 kg/260 lb. ) and Z-Stoff, actuating a turbopump of 730 HP.
Equipment: gyroscopic plant, integrated accelerometers, and radio control equipment.
Warhead: 1,000 kg ( 2,200 lb. ) of Amatol 60/40
Length: 14 m ( 46 ft. )
Span: 3.5 m ( I I ft. 7 in. )
Maximum diameter: 1.7 m ( 5 ft. 6 7/8 in. )
Launch weight: 13,000 kg ( 28,660 lb. )
Maximum speed: 2,800 m/sec. ( 9,200 ft./sec. )
Ceiling: (top) 160 km ( 86.4 nm )
Range: 5,000 km ( 2,699 nm )

A 9 ( piloted version )
Structure steel
Cladding Riveted steel plate
Tail unit movable tail fins controlled by electrohydraulic controls
Powerplant EMW with a thrust of 25,400 kg (55,880 lb.)
Propellants "Visol" and "Salbei"
Pressurizer: T-Stoff and Z-Stoff actuating a turbopump of 730 HP
Equipment: cartographic radar, gyroscopic plant, ejectable seat, oxygen, and pressurized cockpit.
Warhead: 2,200 lb ( 1,000 kg ) Amatol 60/40
Length: 14.2 m (46 ft. 7 in.)
Span: 3.5 m (I I ft. 7 in.)
Maximum diameter: 1.7 m (5 ft. 6 7/8 in.)
Launch weight: 16,260 kg (35,850 lb.)
Maximum speed: 2,800 m/sec. (9,200 ft./sec.)
Ceiling: (top) 86.4 nm (160 km)
Range: 2,699 nm ( 5,000 km )

A 10 ( first version ) "Projektil Amerika"

Stage Project Structure steel Cladding riveted steel plate Tail unit with internal shock absorbers and fixed surfaces Powerplant six EMW with a thrust of 27,500 kg leading into a common Venturi nozzle and able to make a differential control at low speed by means of an automatic system of power adjustment connected to an inertial plant. Consumption rate 1,237 kg/sec. (2728 lb./sec.) Propellants A-Stoff and M-Stoff with a total weight of 61,490 kg (136,700 lb.) Pressurizer T-Stoff and Z-Stoff with a total weight of 1,032 kg (2270 lb.) and controlled by six turbopumps of 730 HP Length: ( with an A 9 ) 25.8 m ( 84 ft. 7 3/4 in. ) Span: 9 m ( 29 ft. 6 1/4 in. ) Maximum diameter: 4.3 m ( 14 ft, 5 in. ) Launch weight: 99,960 kg ( 219,912 lb ) ( with an A 9 ) Maximum speed: 1,200 m/sec. ( 3,937 ft./sec. ) Ceiling 24 km (13 nm)

A 10 ( second version )
Stage Project Structure steel Cladding riveted steel plate Tail unit with internal shock absorbers and with fixed surfaces Powerplant EMW with a thrust of 200,000 kg (440,000 lb.) and nozzle vanes electrohydrauli- cally controlled Consumption rate 1,012 kg/sec. (2,231 lb./sec.) Propellants "Visol" and "Salbei", with a total weight of 50,560 kg (111,232 lb.) Pressurizer T-Stoff and Z-Stoff with a total weight of 1,500 kg, controlled by several bombs of unknown design and power Length (with an A 9) 25.8 m (84 ft. 7 3/4 in.) Span: 9 m (29 ft. 6 1/4 in.)
Maximum diameter: 4.3 m ( 14 ft. 1 115 in.)
Launch weight: 85,320 kg ( 187,704 lb. ) ( with an A 9 )
Maximum speed: 1,200 m/sec. ( 3,940 ft./sec. )
Ceiling 24 km (13 nm)

Another operational procedure was envisaged for the A-4 in order to reach the North American continent: firing from sea at a short distance off the coast, where the missile should be transported in submersible contain-ers towed by the new Tupe XXI submarines. This project of Wolfsburg-Volkswagen (Test Stand X11) is dated at the end of 1944 and it wasn't made effective when future performances of the A 9/A 10 were known. In January 1945 the "Test Stand XII" was canceled when several containers had been already built and tested in the Vulcan-Stettin dockyards.

V-3 High Pressure Pump "Hochdruckpumpe" "Millipede" "Busy Lizzie"

Cover name for a massive multi-chambered gun of 490 ft (150m) length to be used in bombarding London. The 150cm (6 inch) caliber weapon had a convential breech at the rear and six auxilarilry chambers just in front of the breech. Designed to hurl fin stabilized shells up to a distance of 93 miles (150 km) the muzzle velocity of some 5,000 ft/sec (1500m/sec) was achieved by having a cartdridge in each auxilarily chamber fire in succesion after the convential cartdridge exploded sending the projectile forward. In 1943 some tests were conducted with various shells fired but no practical weapon came out of this as the shells were found to be unstable in flight. Up to as many as 100 of these guns were invisioned to be built in an underground complex at Mimoyecques, near Calais. The RAF suspecting that this huge concrete covered underground facility was a rocket launch site and bombed it heavily in 1944.

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