Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
German Second World War Aggregat A-4/Vergeltungswaffe-2 (V-2) Rockets preserved

German Second World War Aggregat A-4/Vergeltungswaffe-2 (V-2) Rockets preserved

During and after the end of the Second War a number of German Aggregat A-4/ Vergeltungswaffe-2 (V-2 Rockets were captured and evaluated by the Allied forces.  Most of these V-2s were expended in test flights, a few were scrapped and therefore only a handful have survived.  This is a partial list of aV-2s that are known to have been collected and spreserved, along with a few photos of them in museums where they may be found.  

Data current to 14 Sep 2016.

Updates and particularly data and photos of those V-2s missing from the list that can be shared freely on the net would be most welcome.

* Photos 1 & 2.  V2 rocket on display in England post war.  (RAF Photos)

RAF teams visited all the American collection sites and dumps with much of it found at Hanau.  In addition to the V2s, 100 jet engines and between 400 and 500 tons of material were transferred to Farnborough or to concentrations points in the British zone.  In addition, very large quantities of documents were obtained and flown to the Air Ministry.

The V-2 Rocket (also called the A-4 or Aggregat 4) was an unmanned, guided, ballistic missile, developed in Germany by Werner von Braun, Walter Dornberger and Hermann Oberth at the rocket research station at Peenemünde, and first successfully tested in 1942. Unlike the V-1 developed by the Luftwaffe, which flew low, and slow enough to be Intercepted by fast aircraft, the V-2 was a true, guided, ballistic missile, rising Into the stratosphere before plunging down to the target. The V-2 was propelled by a rocket engine, which used alcohol and liquid oxygen as fuel. It carried about 2000 lb (900 kg) of high explosive in its warhead, and had a preset guidance system with no in-flight corrections. The rocket was 47 feet long, capable of supersonic speed and could fly at an altitude of over 50 miles.

German rocket troops were trained to erect 3 missiles at a time, fuel, align, and launch them in a matter of 2 hours. The only warning of an approaching V-2 was the double boom as it broke the sound barrier shortly before impact. As a result, it could not be effectively stopped once it had been launched. Of the 5,000 V-2s launched, only 1,100 successfully managed to reach Britain. The first to hit Britain fell on Chiswick in West London on 8 September 1944. About 1000 of these missiles were fired at the cities of London and Norwich, while about 2000 more were fired at targets on the European continent, primarily Antwerp in 1944-1945. These rockets killed 2,724 people and badly injured another 6,000. Another 500 or so were used in test and training launches. A total of about 10,000 were built and shipped from a central German assembly facility located in the Hartz Mountains, in the area known as the Mittelwerke.

After the D-Day landings, Allied troops were able to capture the launch sites and by March 1945, the attacks came to an end. After the war, the Russians occupied Peenemünde and destroyed much of it. The site was later used as an East German air base. Many of the rockets were captured by the Allies from abandoned launch sites in France. After the war, British forces supervised the launch of three V-2s by German technicians in order to learn more about the missile. At least 50 V-2 test flights were carried out in the USA. A number of A-4/V-2 Rockets have been preserved around the world.[1]

[1] Internet: http://www.constable.ca/V-2.htm; and, http://www.scienceandsociety.co.uk.

* Photos 1 & 2.  V2 rocket on display at the Canadian National Exhibition, Toronto, Ontario, 1950.  This rocket was recovered from Europe in 1945 by Captain Farlehy Mowat and his DHH Intelligence Collection Team, examined at Camp Valcartier, and shown here at the CNE.  It is believed to be buried somewhere on the grounds of former RCAF Station Clinton, Ontario, ca 1960 (TBC).  (CNE Photos)

When hostilities ceased, Allied Armies had advanced beyond what was to be the eventual boundary between the British, American and Russian zones.  There were huge underground factories at Nordhausen which had been producing V1 and V2 weapons as well as jet engines.  128 V2s, (plus A-4 rocket component parts) were evacuated from Nordhausen before the site was handed over to the Russian forces.

* Photo.  Captured V2 rocket set up at Altenwalde, Germany, Oct 1945.  (USAAF & RAF Photo)

* Photos 1 & 2.  V2 rocket and Junkers Ju 388 on display at Freeman Field, Indiana, post war.  (USAAF Photos)

* Photo.  V2 rocket engine on display in the  National Museum of the USAF.  (Stahlkocher Photo)

* Photo.  V2 rocket on display in the National Museum of the USAF.  (NMUSAF Photo)

   

* Photos 1 & 2.  V2 rocket on display in the National Air & Space Museum, Washington, D.C.  (Ad Meskens Photo, left and Nijuuf Photo, right)

* Photo.  V2 rocket on display inside the Kansas Cosmosphere, USA.  (Patrick Pelletier Photo)

   

* Photos 1 & 2.  V-2 on display at the Musée de l'Armée in Paris, France.  (BrokenSphere Photo, left, and Ben pcc Photo, right)

* Photo.  V2 rocket on display at La Coupole, Pas-de-Calai, France.  (Crucialpod Photo)

   

* Photos 1 & 2.  V2 rocket on display at the Imperial War Museum, London.  (Zzztriple2000 Photo, left, and Arnaldo Mira Photo, right)

* Photos 1 & 2.  V2 rocket on display in the RAF Museum, Hendon, England.  (Panhard Photos)

* Photo.  V2 rocket located at the Australian War Memorial Treloar Centre Annex.  (Bidgee Photo)

* Photo.  V2 rocket located at the Australian War Memorial Treloar Centre Annex.  (Nick-D Photo)

* Photo.  V2 rocket on display in Dresden, Germany.  (Membeth Photo)

* Photo.  V2 rocket replica on display at the Historisch-technisches Informationszentrum Peenemünde, Germany.  (Chmee2 Photo)

Some of the V2 rockets were subsequently used in Operation Backfire.  1,368 V1s were found in the British Zone of Germany and 2,271 other V weapons, 96 were found in Denmark and 635 were found in Norway, for a total of 3,002.

Operation Sandy: Launching a V-2 Rocket at Sea

After preliminary testing on an aircraft carrier deck mock-up at White Sands Missile Range, on September 6. 1947 a captured German V-2 was launched from the deck of USS Midway several hundred miles south of Bermuda. The V-2 tilted at an angle during liftoff, subsequently breaking up at 15,000 feet and landing 6 miles away.

In 1949, Operation Pushover tested the potential damage from a fully fuelled and armed V-2 tipping over and exploding on an aircraft deck. Two tests were carried out on simulated aircraft carrier decks at White Sands Missile Range.

 (USN Photos)