The V2 Rocket

 

From the v2rocket web site –

The V2 offensive lasted from September of 1944 until March of 1945. Close to 2,500 rockets were launched in this time period. The London area was hit by over 500 rockets and several hundred more dropped in surrounding  counties. At first London and Antwerp were the primary targets, but  rockets also fell around Ipswich and Norwich, and many Allied held  targets in France, Belgium and Holland, and even on Germany itself. (Quote courtesy of and used with the permission of Tracy Dungan www.v2rocket.com)

An estimated 2,754 civilians were killed in London by V2 attacks with  another 6,523 injured, which is two people killed per V2 rocket. However, this understates the potential of the V2, since many rockets were misdirected and exploded harmlessly. Accuracy increased greatly over the course of the war, particularly on batteries where  Leitstrahl-Guide Beam apparatus was installed, with V2s sometimes landing within meters of the target. Accurately targeted missiles were often devastating, causing large numbers of deaths 160 killed and 108  seriously injured (the worst loss of life in a single V2 attack), in one explosion on 25 November 1944 in mid-afternoon, striking a Woolworth’s department store in New Cross, south-east London and 567 deaths in a  cinema in Antwerp and significant damage in the critically important  Antwerp docks.Quote from the wikipedia web site.


The wikipedia web site also quotes a Channel 4 program “Blitz Street” claiming that as a result of such deadly targeting, British intelligence leaked falsified information implying that the rockets were over-shooting their London target by 10 to 20 miles. This tactic seems to have worked and for the remainder of the war most landed in Kent due to erroneous recalibration. Further a scientific reconstruction carried  out in 2010 for the “Blitz Street” program demonstrated that the V2 creates a crater 20m wide and 8m deep, throwing up around 3000 tons of  material into the air.


The v2rocket web site has a comprehensively researched list of the V2’s launched during the whole campaign but we could not find anything obvious for Sunday 14th January 1945 that might be the one launched that landed in Panmure Road so we contacted them requesting permission to use quotes from their site and to ask if they had any suggestions as to where we might further our research, they very kindly forwarded a copy of our request to one of their colleagues John Pridige who was able to provide us with the information regarding the time the rocket struck, the time and where it was launched and even the serial number of the rocket.


This to our mind this provides a perfect lesson of the undoubted benefits of taking the time and effort of contacting the owners of web sites and  requesting permission to use some of their information rather than just  “lifting” that information – you really have no idea what further information or resources they may have. We had been trying to find the impact time of the V2 for years and yet it was only a matter of a few hours from making initial contact to getting what to us is priceless information.


The next step we shall be taking, as suggested by John Pridige, is to consult the information in document HO 192/728 at the National Archives which contains a damage report on the incident.


 

V2 Rocket© Tracy Dungan

We  thought that this photograph gives a perfect indication of the size of a  V2 rocket and we thank Tracy Dungan for allowing us to use it.

 Posted by at 10:00 am

  One Response to “The V2 Rocket”

  1. I was chief mate on a Liberty ship called Zane Grey. We discharged cargo during January and February 1944 in Antwerp Docks. I was handed a piece of shrapnel that found it’s way into our #2 hold. For years I puzzled, how could a V-1 or V-2 carry the weight of anti- personnel metal. then I read about a multistage rocket called the Reinbott. Do you have anything on this little jem?

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