V-1 & V-2 German Rockets

The German V-1 "buzz bomb" altered WWII considerably. The psychological impact this weapon had was tremendous, as were the casualties and physical damage it caused. Its existence was first noted by a British air photo analyst. She noted, "Right at the edge of the road there was something ... unlike anything I had seen before ... a tiny cruciform shape, set exactly on the lower end of the inclined rails - amid jet aircraft actually in position for launching." (Source)

It was called the "buzz bomb" because it was powered by jet engines, this added to the psychological impact because people living in target cities could hear it coming and then the blast of the subsequent explosion. The V-2 marked a revolution in terms of rocketry however because it was liquid fueled and it had a longer range (220 miles). The development of a liquid fueled rocket, and gyroscopic guidance system, eventually led to the development of launch vehicles that could escape Earth's atmosphere.

Dr. Wernher von Braun was responsible for the German V-1 and V-2 rockets. After the war von Braun and his team of scientists worked on rockets at White Sands, New Mexico and then, in 1950, he moved to Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama and became the director of guided missile development. He also worked for Hollywood as a technical director, notably for Disney. Rockets similar to the V-2's shape were popular in many movies of this time period.
V-2 Rocket at White Sands NM Left: V-2 design, White Sands
Below: Mobile V-2 Launcher
Bottom: ME-262 Jet
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WWII - German ME 262 Fighter Jet - Click to Enlarge

WWII Aerial Reconnaissance History

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