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

German V-2 Rockets, preserved

Aggregat A-4 Vergeltungswaffe-2 (V-2) Raketen, konserviert

Data current to 13 April 2020.

 (Bundeswehr Archive Photo)

V-2 rockets mounted on a launch site at Peenemunde, Germany, ca 1944.

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 all V-2s that are known to have been collected and preserved, along with a few photos of them in museums where they may be found.  

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.

Während und nach dem Ende des Zweiten Weltkriegs wurde eine Reihe von deutschen Aggregat A-4 / Vergeltungswaffe-2 (V-2-Raketen) von den Alliierten erbeutet und ausgewertet. Die meisten dieser V-2 wurden für Testflüge ausgegeben, einige wurden verschrottet und deshalb haben nur eine Handvoll überlebt. Dies ist eine unvollständige Liste von alle V-2, von denen bekannt ist, dass sie gesammelt und aufbewahrt wurden, zusammen mit einigen Fotos von ihnen in Museen, in denen sie möglicherweise zu finden sind.

Aktualisierungen und insbesondere Daten und Fotos dieser V-2-Modelle, die nicht in der Liste aufgeführt sind und die im Internet frei geteilt werden können, wären sehr willkommen.

The V-2 Vergeltunswaffe 2 (Retribution Weapon 2), was technically named Aggregat 4 (A4).  The V-2 was the world's first long-range guided ballistic missile and was powered by a liquid-propellant rocket engine.  It was developed in Germany during the Second World War as a weapon designed to attack Allied cities in retaliation for the Allied bombings of  German cities.  The V-2 rocket was the first man-made object to travel into space by crossing the Kármán line with the vertical launch of rocket No. MW 18014 on 20 June 1944.

(Bundeswehr Archive Photo)

Research into military use of long-range rockets began when the studies of graduate student Wernher von Braun attracted the attention of the German Army.  A series of prototypes culminated in the A-4, which went to war as the V-2.  Beginning in September 1944, over 3,000 V-2s were launched by the German Wehrmacht against Allied targets, initially London and later Antweerp and Liège.  It is estimated the attacks from V-2s resulted in the deaths of an estimated 9,000 civilians and military personnel.  Another 12,000 casualties included forced laborers and prisoners from the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp died while constructing the V-2s at the Mittelwerk site, as a result of their forced participation in the production of the V-2.

 (Bundeswehr Archive Photo)

V-2 rockets prepared for delivery.

 (Bundeswehr Archive Photo)

V-2 rockets mounted on a mounted on a Meillerwagen.

 (Bundeswehr Archive Photo)

V-2 rockets prepared for launch.

V-2, test range at Peenemunde, worker on the gantry.

As Germany collapsed, teams from the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union raced to capture key German manufacturing sites and technology.  Wernher von Braun and over 100 key V-2 personnel surrendered to the Americans and many of the original V-2 team ended up working at the Redstone Arsenal in the USA.  The Americans also captured enough V-2 hardware to build approximately 80 missiles.  The Soviets gained possession of the V-2 manufacturing facilities after the war, re-established V-2 production, and moved it to the Soviet Union.

 (RAF Photo)

V-2 rocket on display in England post war. 

RAF teams visited all the American collection sites and dumps with much of it found at Hanau.  In addition to the V-2s, 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. 

(Internet: http://www.constable.ca/V-2.htm; and, http://www.scienceandsociety.co.uk)

 (Bundeswehre Archive Photo)

V-2 Rocket launch, with another on a hardstand and one mounted on a Meillerwagen.

 (RAF Photo)

V-2 rocket in rhe UK, possibly Farnborough, post war.

 (CNE Photo)

V-2 rocket on display at the Canadian National Exhibition, Toronto, Ontario, 1950.  This rocket was recovered from Europe in 1945 by Captain Farley Mowat and his Director of History and Heritage (DHH) Intelligence Collection Team, examined at Camp Valcartier, Quebec, 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 Photo)

V-2 rocket on display at the Canadian National Exhibition, Toronto, Ontario, 1950.

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 V-1 and V-2 weapons as well as jet engines.  128 V-2s, (plus A-4 rocket component parts) were evacuated from Nordhausen before the site was handed over to the Russian forces.

 (Mil.ru Photo)

R-1 rocket (V-2 rebuilt by Russia) on a Vidalwagen at Kapustin Yar, USSR.  The USSR collected a number of V-2 rockets and assembled the German staff, allowing them to remaining in Germany for a time to help the Russians examine the program in detail.  In October 1946 (as part of Operation Osoaviakhim) more than 170 German rocket scientists and engineers were obliged to move to Branch 1 of NII-88 on an island 200 km north of Moscow.  Here, they participated in the design of the R-14 and R-1 rocket, a version of the V-2 manufactured with Russian parts.  These rocket duplicate of the V-2 were completely manufactured in Russia, ands first launched at Kapustin Yar in October 1948

From 1947 until the end of 1950, the German team elaborated concepts and improvements for extended payload and range under the projects G-1, G-2 and G-4.  The German team had to remain on Gorodomlya island until as late as 1952 and 1953.  In parallel, Soviet work was focused on larger missiles, the R-2 and R-5, based on further developing the V-2 technology with using ideas of the German concept studies.  Details of Soviet achievements were unknown to the German team and completely underestimated by Western intelligence until, in November 1957, the Sputnik 1 satellite was successfully launched to orbit by the Sputnik rocket based on R-7, the world's first inercontinental ballistic missile.

In the autumn of 1945, the group led by M. Tikhonravov K. and N. G. Chernyshov at NII-4 rocket artillery institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences developed on their own initiative the first stratospheric rocket project.  BP-190 called for vertical flight of two pilots to an altitude of 200 km using captured German V-2 rockets.  (Soviet Space Program)

 (RAF Photo)

Captured V-2 rocket set up at Altenwalde, Germany, Oct 1945.

 (RAF Photo)

RAF personnel examining a captured V-2 rocket, Project Backfire, Germany, ca Oct 1945.

 (USAAF Photo)

V-2 rocket and Junkers Ju 388 on display at Freeman Field, Indiana, post war. 

  (USAAF Photo)

V-2 rocket and Junkers Ju 388 on display at Freeman Field, Indiana, post war. 

 (USAAF Photo)

V-2 rocket and Junkers Ju 388 on display at Freeman Field, Indiana, post war. 

 (NMUSAF Photo)

V-2 rocket engine on display in the  National Museum of the USAF.  This rocket engine was a technical achievement, using high-speed pumps to move large volumes of fuel into the thrust chamber very quickly.  The V-2's liquid oxygen and alcohol propellants produced a thrust of 56,000 pounds, giving the rocket a maximum range of 220 miles, a ceiling of 50-60 miles and a speed of 3,400 mph.

 (NMUSAF Photo)

 (Goshimini Photo)

V-2 rocket on display in the National Museum of the USAF, Dayton, Ohio.

 (Pi3.124 Photo)

V-2 rocket on display at Fort Bliss, Texas.

 (xiquinhosilva Photo)

V-2 rocket on display in the National Air & Space Museum, Washington, D.C.

 (NASM Photo)

V-2 rocket on display in the National Air & Space Museum, Washington, D.C.

 (Ad Meskens Photo)

V-2 rocket on display in the Flying Heritage Collection, Payne Field, Everett, Washington.

 (Patrick Pelletier Photo)

V-2 rocket on display inside the Kansas Cosmosphere, USA.

 (Velvet Photo)

V-2 reproduction inside the Bunker of Éperlecques, Éperlecques, Département of Pas-de-Calais, Region of Upper France (former Nord-Pas-de-Calais), France.

   

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

 (Flicker.com Photo)

V-2 rocket on display at La Coupole, Pas-de-Calais, France. 

 (Romainberth Photo)

 La Coupole de Saint Omer, Pas-de-Calais, France. 

 (Zairon Photo)

V-2 rocket on display at La Coupole, Pas-de-Calais, France. 

 (Zzztriple2000 Photo)

 (RAF Photo)

V-2 Rocket on display in London, 1945.

 (Joseolgon Photo)

V-2 rocket on display at the Imperial War Museum, London.

 (Hugh Llewelyn Photo)

V-2 rocket on display in the RAF Museum, Hendon, England.

 (Rept0n1x Photo)

V-2 rocket on display in RAF Museum Cosford, Shropshire, England.

 (Bidgee Photo)

V-2 rocket located at the Australian War Memorial Treloar Centre Annex.

 (Nick-D Photo)

 (Bundeswehr Archive Photo)

V-2 rocket located at the Australian War Memorial Treloar Centre Annex.V-2 rocket erected on a Meiler wagon.

 (Marek7400 Photo)

V-2 rocket on display in Krakow, Poland.

V-2 rocket on display in Dresden, Germany.  (Membeth Photo)

 (Einsamer Schütze Photo)

V-2 rocket replica on display at the Historisch-technisches Informationszentrum Peenemünde, Germany.

Some of the V-2 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

 (USN Photo)

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.

 (Bundesarchiv Bild 141-1898)

Wasserfall rocket launch, Prüfstand IX, Herbst, Peenemünde, Germany, 23 Sep 1944.

The Flugzeugabwehrrakete Wasserfall was a German guided supersonic surface-to-air missile about 1/2 the size of the German A-4 (V-2) rocket.  The Wasserfall required much development work, which was not completed before the end of the war.  Since the missile had to fly only to the altitudes of the attacking bombers, and needed a far smaller warhead to destroy these, it could be much smaller than the V-2, about 1/4 the size. The Wasserfall design also included an additional set of fins located at the middle of the fuselage to provide extra maneuvering capability. Steering during the launch phase was accomplished by four graphite rudders placed in the exhaust stream of the combustion chamber, as in the V-2, but once high airspeeds had been attained this was accomplished by four air rudders mounted on the rocket tail.

The original design had called for a 100 kilograms (220 lb) warhead, but because of accuracy concerns it was replaced with a much larger one of 306 kilograms (675 lb), based on a liquid explosive. The idea was to create a large blast area effect amidst the enemy bomber stream, which would conceivably bring down several airplanes for each missile deployed. For daytime use the operator would detonate the warhead by remote control.

Thirty-five Wasserfall trial firings had been completed by the time Peenemünde was evacuated on 17 Feb 1945.

 (NMUSAF Photo)

Wasserfall rocket preserved in the National Museum of the USAF.

Axis Warplane Survivors

A guidebook to the preserved Military Aircraft of the Second World War Tripartite Pact of Germany, Italy, and Japan, joined by Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia; the co-belligerent states of Thailand, Finland, San Marino and Iraq; and the occupied states of Albania, Belarus, Croatia, Vichy France, Greece, Ljubljana, Macedonia, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, Cambodia, China, India, Laos, Manchukuo, Mengjiang, the Philippines and Vietnam.

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