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back to article Paul Allen buys lovingly restored vintage V-2 Nazi ballistic missile

Ex-Microsoft gazillionaire Paul Allen has acquired a V2 rocket for his Flying Heritage Collection. First human artifact into outer space ... en route to London or Antwerp with a one-tonne warhead The Microsoft co-founder stumped an undisclosed amount for the Mittelwerk GmbH Vergeltungswaffe 2, having found himself with a few …

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Joke

If he also buys an island with an extinct volcano, I'd be very worried.

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If I were Google

I'd buy some ARP tin hats and fire buckets

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Happy

Re: If I were Google

If I were Balmer

I'd buy some ARP tin hats and fire buckets...and sandbags.

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Go

For Sale

One white cat

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Mushroom

Re: If I were Google

Naah...Ballmer can't put anything larger than an office chair in orbit.

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: Re: If I were Google

True, but it requires an impressive amount of energy to get furniture up to escape velocity.

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Anonymous Coward

He might want to treble his money and sell it to North Korea.

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Re: If I were Google @Frankee L

Don't forget the stirrup pump!

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Coat

That seems fine.

Now, if Larry Ellison had bought it to install on his volcanic island, I'd be worried.

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Don't say I didn't warn you

Mega yacht + Nazi ICBM* technology = evil dictator.

* for small values of C.

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Re: Don't say I didn't warn you

Oh shit - c is a constant!

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Big Brother

Re: Don't say I didn't warn you

Meanwhile at MI6...

"We get message!"

"Main screen turn on!"

"It's Allen...!"

"Dear Your Majesty's Secret Service. Respect MY PATENTS! Or else ..."

"What you say!"

"You have no chance to survive, I have vintage ICBM!

"MUAHAHA ....." [meow]

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404
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You have to admit...

...it would be refreshing to have a Dr. Evil or a SPECTRE to contend with.

Government miscalculations and terrorism being so passe - if you understand where I'm coming from. Honest international for-pofit criminals is what we need.

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Re: You have to admit...

Where vintage ICBM= inter country ballistic missile rather than intercontinental...

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Re: Don't say I didn't warn you

Somebody set up us the V2!

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Windows

Google and Apple must be worried

It might be fired in anger at them (Well obviously not as I doubt they would sell a fully working one)

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Re: Google and Apple must be worried

...I doubt they would sell a fully working one...

I see no reason why not. The internals are fairly simple items anyway, which could easily be reproduced nowadays.

Of course, it depends on what you mean by 'fully working'. They would not sell one fueled up, with a functioning warhead. And damage may have occurred to the items during the elapsed years - for instance, any battery inside would be long past its best. But I don't suppose they intentionally broke all the fins off the turbo pumps and drilled holes in the fuel tanks.

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Vic
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Re: Google and Apple must be worried

> They would not sell one fueled up, with a functioning warhead

It would be simple enough to make up the fuel - it's a water/ethanol mix, and the proportions are well-known.

As for a warhead - well, if you can afford to buy one of the last remaining V2s, I can't see that being a major problem...

Vic.

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Happy

Re: Google and Apple must be worried

All of Paul Allen's collection work. Even the V1 has run, but not flown, and when I visted the docent was very clear that everything is restored to as in period.

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That is an obscene amount of money to spend on a toy

Feed starving children like Bill Gates? No, it's a V2 rocket for me!

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FAIL

Re: That is an obscene amount of money to spend on a toy

Oh get over it.

Just how much money have YOU donated to "feed starving children"?

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Thumb Down

Re: That is an obscene amount of money to spend on a toy

He skanked the money in the first place from taxpayers around the world using anti competitive methods which has also harmed technological progress for mankind.

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Mushroom

Werner Von Braun's autobiography was called 'I Aim For The Stars'.

Swiftly subtitled 'But Usually Hit London'.

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lol

Well as Freeman Dyson said he didn't like seeing the occasional destruction of the V2 but he knew considering they cost as much as a new fighter plane that each one was helping end the war. Germany needed Me232s but kept building V2s instead. Still the secret Nazi weapon that was the scariest was the whole using a giant mirror in space to destroy cities and boil oceans (said 50 years away from having).

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Headmaster

Re: lol

Is there a nitpick icon (had to use the grammar Nazi one...)?

It's Me 262, and you probably didn't mean the Me 323. Though I did check whether there may have been a Me 232 as some obscure blueprint-only-hacked-out-3-days-before-WW2-ended brainscheme - doesn't look like it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: lol

"[...] but he knew considering they cost as much as a new fighter plane that each one was helping end the war. Germany needed Me232s [...]"

It is my understanding that Hitler wouldn't accept the idea that the Me262 should be a defensive fighter. He ordered the production to concentrate on it being an offensive light-bomber.

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Boffin

Re: AC Re: lol

"..... Hitler wouldn't accept the idea that the Me262 should be a defensive fighter....." Yes and no. The problem with procurement in the Luftwaffe was they often had the right experts in the wrong places, and even more often just good Nazi "yes men" in positions of control. When the prototype was demonstrated in 1943, Hitler asked if it could carry bombs for ground-attack in the same way as the FW190 did. Now, this in itself was not an unrealistic request, but the reaction to it shows the schism in the German command structure. By the time Hitler even asked the question it was too late due to incompetents like Udet, who advised Goring to cancel jet development in February 1940 because they were convinced Germany would have won the War by 1941, so blaming Hitler alone is short-sighted.

Adolf Galland, who was the Luftwaffe General of Fighters, was obsessed with restoring the tarnished image of his jagdfliegers. Indeed, little mention is made of the fact Galland originally opposed the whole jet fighter idea, thinking the Me209 development would realistically provide his jagdfliegers with a better mount than the Bf109 - the Me209 program was a complete failure. Due to his post-War popularity, Galland's version of history - Hitler stopped the Me262 being effective by insisting on a bomber version - has become almost gospel, neatly deflecting criticism from Galland himself. But Galland had an almost myopic preoccupation with air superiority fighters as that was his personal pleasure, and failed in the basic strategic understanding that wars are eventually won by soldiers capturing and holding ground.

In 1943, when Galland flew the Me262 prototype and suddenly changed his mind to wanting it as the Luftwaffe's main interceptor, the Axis forces had just been kicked out of Africa. The Panzers complained long and hard that the real reason they lost in Africa was because (a) the Luftwaffe fighters did not provide good enough cover against Allied air attacks, and (b) because the Luftwaffe's own air attacks on the advancing Allies were all too often intercepted because the Luftwaffe did not have a fast enough light bomber. This was despite the jagdflieger units in Africa having had a better fighter (the Bf109F and G models) than the local RAF units for most of the North African campaign. In facing the coming Allied invasion, Hitler foresaw that he would need a means to attack the beaches and invasion ships, and what better way than a bomber that would be almost impossible to intercept? When he found out that Galland and Milch had conspired to keep all the Me262s as fighters in the vain daylight battles against the USAAF bomber fleets he went off in one of his rages, but by then it was too late anyway. Hitler is criticised but his desire for an effective means of attacking any Allied invasion force was actually a sound notion.

By the end if the War, jet fighters were rolling off hidden and often underground factory lines in large numbers, largely unhampered by the USAAF bombers, but many never got airborne. The Allies had smashed German synthetic fuel production so the "wonder jets" often had no fuel, and when they did there were often no trained pilots to fly them. The Germans failed to train enough pilots, having also scaled training back in 1940, and then failed to identify that problem in time to redirect resources. All too often the resources and skilled technicians had been directed to work on the wrong projects, such as the V2. So, to claim that Hitler personally stuffed the Me262 is not completely true.

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Re: AC lol

A4, Fi103 and the jet fighters where basically all a waste of resources. The germans would have been better off producing FW190D/TA152 - good enough to kill Mustangs and B17s as well as building HE219 night fighters to kill Mosquitos and Lancasters. Lower production cost, less strategic materials and proven, rugged technology.

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Meh

Re: AC lol

... The Panzers complained long and hard that the real reason they lost in Africa was because (a) the Luftwaffe fighters did not provide good enough cover against Allied air attacks, and (b) because the Luftwaffe's own air attacks on the advancing Allies were all too often intercepted because the Luftwaffe did not have a fast enough light bomber....

The Africa campaign was almost entirely a battle of logistics and intelligence - with both sides at the end of a long supply chain.

In the beginning the Germans had considerable success with intercepting US liaison officers reports - the US were not at war at that point, but talked to the Brits and then radioed off reports with poor security - as did the Brits, initially. But then the Brits wound up Ultra and used their wide Air Force/Navy reach to take out most of the German supply route. End result - Rommel unable to fight for lack of fuel....

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Boffin

Re: Dodgy Geezer Re: AC lol

"......The Africa campaign was almost entirely a battle of logistics and intelligence....." Once again, I would refer you to the fact that wars are won by putting soldiers in control of the ground. The Germans and Italians had a much shorter line of supply for most of the North African campaign, controlling most of the Med islands, but suffered from RAF interdiction of their supplies. In the air, the RAF had sent the Hurricane and Curtis Tomahawk fighters to Africa, assuming that all they would have to deal with was Italian biplanes. This plan came unstuck when Hitler decided to help his Italian allies and sent Luftwaffe units including ones equipped with the superior Bf109. The RAF fighters were outclassed - the Hurricane was already slow before the addition of sand filters, leaving it almost 80mph slower and climbing at half the rate of the Bf109F, and the Tomahawk had an operational ceiling of only 28,000ft, a good 10,000ft less than the Bf109F, and climbed like a brick. The RAF failed to send Spitfires to the theatre until mid-1942, but the Germans still failed to capitalise on their air superiority.

Partly this was due to another failing in Luftwaffe - promoting the wrong officers to lead units. At the start of the Battle of Britain Goring started promoting high-scoring pilots, like Galland, to lead units, replacing experienced "old timers". This policy of promoting the high-scorers caused a fixation on the success of the few over that of the unit. Jadgflieger like Marseille concentrated on building up their own scores rather than making sure their units were concentrating on shooting down the RAF bombers that were actually destroying Rommel's supplies. Marseille is lionised for claiming to have shot down 158 RAF aircraft, but only four of those were the bomber aircraft he needed to shoot down. Many members of his JG27 unit hardly scored, despite their superior fighters, because they spent too much time watching and applauding Marseille and a few other experten shooting down the lumbering Hurricanes and Tomahawks (and the later and almost as bad Curtis Kittyhawk) which were escorting the bombers Marseille actually should have been shooting at. JG27 had to be withdrawn from the theatre a month after Marseille died (in September 1942) because the unit's morale was shattered without Marseille. Meanwhile, the RAF fighters were concentrating on shooting down the Axis bombers actually attacking British ground forces and shipping, therebye helping ensure the eventual success of the British ground forces. Indeed, the Luftwaffe pilots flying the Ju-87s and Ju-88s in North Africa often complained their escorts left them unprotected because the jagdflieger were more concerned with scoring than actually protecting the bombers!

By 1944 and the Allied invasion of France the Stuka units had switched to the speedy FW190A fighter-bomber, but this was never as effective as the more accurate dive-bombing of the Ju-87 and Ju-88. They had to because the Luftwaffe fighter units were being concentrated by Galland on defending Germany from the USAAF bomber raids, meaning the FW190s had to often fly unescorted. They would dearly have loved the much enhanced survival chances of flying an Me262 fighter-bomber as Hitler had wanted. Instead, the massed Allied fighters had complete daytime control of the airspace over the Normandy beaches, with only two small attacks actually penetrating the fighter screen on D-Day.

".....In the beginning the Germans had considerable success with intercepting US liaison officers reports....." This was actually an Italian intelligence coup. Before the Yanks joined the war the Italians broke into the US embassy in Rome and copied the US diplomatic codes, including the top secret "Black Code" used for military attache traffic and spying. After the war started the US didn't change their codes, despite British advice. This wasn't too much of a problem until an American officer, Colonel Fellers, was sent to the Middle East as an observer in early 1941 (before the US entered the war). Churchill wanted to get as chummy as possible with the Yanks and soon ordered that Feller have full access to the daily Middle East HQ briefings. He was even taken on guided tours of the units at the front. For almost a year he supplied daily reports to Washington that gave exact British dispositions, appraisals of defences and attack plans, and even casualty reports, all in the "Black Code". Within 24 hours Rommel had a deciphered copy of every report, courtesy of the Italians. Worse, Fuller's reports gave the Axis comprehensive advance warning of all the convoys attempting to lift the seige of Malta. Yet the Yanks refused to change their codes even after specific British warnings. Rommel was not the military genius he is often made out to be - when the Brits finally persuaded the Yanks to change codes it was just before the Second Battle of Alamein, and Rommel floundered without his usual supply of intelligence.

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Anonymous Coward

A question for rocket scientists on El Reg...

If German Engineers/Scientists could achieve this 70 years ago, how come the likes of N.Korea struggle to get anything off the ground without blowing themselves up?

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Headmaster

Re: A question for rocket scientists on El Reg...

Germans ... the only thing they can't do is fix the UK's LA-85.

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Joke

Re: A question for rocket scientists on El Reg...

'Cos the NORKs use Windows 95...

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Boffin

Re: A question for rocket scientists on El Reg...

Because making rockets is hard to do in any age, We understand the physics, but making the many components all work together properly so the rocket flies is hard.

The same goes for making atom bombs. That's why I'm not unduly worried about Iran's programme.

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Re: A question for rocket scientists on El Reg...

These things had no intelligent guidance system - an internal gyroscope was spun up to keep them stable and they were pointed in the right direction with approximately the right amount of fuel, e.g., "anywhere in London" not grid reference TQ123456 or whatever

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A question for rocket scientists on El Reg...

Most North Korean tech is derived from a few imported Soviet Scud missiles (which came via Egypt in the 1970's), which in turn can trace their lineage directly back to the original V2 technology.

As stated in the article - these aren't much more accurate than 'city sized' and only have a few hundred mile range.

The bigger systems tend towards multi-stage for which complexity rises heavily; but NK tend to get a lot of help from Iran in this area - they have managed to get an object into orbit, so they aren't complete failures in this area - even if the latest KN-08 system looks like it is mocked up out of old bits of Scud and painted canvas.

To be honest - a lot of the failures probably come from human error, lack of engineering skills, demotivated workforce etc rather than a lack of technology. Don't forget the V2 failed spectacularly on multiple occasions too...

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Coat

Re: A question for rocket scientists on El Reg...

Wow! Only 5 "Rocket Scientists" here? Really?

Hmmm...sure thought there would be more.

Mine's the one with the slide rule in the pocket.

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Re: A question for rocket scientists on El Reg...

"even if the latest KN-08 system looks like it is mocked up out of old bits of Scud and painted canvas."

I suspect someone is now on the Nork shitlist for leaking military secrets.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A question for rocket scientists on El Reg...

They have the theory, they even have some old SCUD's to copy.

They don't have quality materials or tools to make their own version.

Everything is slap-dash and poor quality - something you just can't get away with in the larger missiles they're trying to develop.

for every 'success' they've got a host of failures.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A question for rocket scientists on El Reg...

Are you sure about that? I thought they were steered by radio control from the launch site. Since it's a ballistic missile the engine is switched off not long after launch so the risk of enemy jamming isn't too high.

There's one in the Science Museum in London. Quite impressive.

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Re: A question for rocket scientists on El Reg...

Obviously the quality of the beer

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A question for rocket scientists on El Reg...

"That's why I'm not unduly worried about Iran's programme."

Ummmm.... I'm not that worried myself, but the Iranians are actually quite smart. Their system of government might be a nutty, mullah infested theocracy, but Iranians in general are pretty clever.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A question for rocket scientists on El Reg...

"The same goes for making atom bombs. "

One of my boys' comics in the 1950/60s (Victor, Valiant?) was a superior one with written stories. It had a series about a secluded part of the world where the inhabitants used atomic explosions to do terraforming. The supposed technique was to dig a very deep well. A sub-critiical lump of fissile material was then placed at the bottom of the well - and an identical piece dropped from the top. Can't remember how they did a low-tech enrichment to get the fissile material though.

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Boffin

Re: A question for rocket scientists on El Reg...

Exactly. It's the shear complexity.

Secondly, the V2s didn't even qualify as suborbital. They were barely intercontinental by only the most technical of definitions.

The Norks, and everyone else not part of the orbital club, are trying to jump all the way to sub orbital intercontinental and then to low stable orbit.

That's still a VERY big leap.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A question for rocket scientists on El Reg...

"They were barely intercontinental by only the most technical of definitions."

According to the News Chronicle article they had 240 miles range.

Was it Tony Robinson who did a TV series on the blast effects of wartime bombs and missiles on a row of houses? He argued that the V2 penetrated a long way into the ground before the fuse had time to fire. So there was very little damage to nearby buildings - as the blast was channelled upwards. However the amount of earth thrown up into the air killed people by burying them.

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Re: A question for rocket scientists on El Reg...

"Mullah infested theocracy"

Or "Mullocracy" for short? Just being a bit cheeky, sorry.

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Paris Hilton

Re: A question for rocket scientists on El Reg...

I used to live in Antwerp and there was, when i was there in the 80s, still many gaps between the houses from the old V1 and V2 damages. Quite often one or two houses in a street would be gone and that's it.

But that's not to say the effect that they had; because there were so many there were literally a weapon of terror.

My faher was in Antwerp for a while during the war and he'd say that one would drop an hour - on the hour. So everyone would be waiting nervously for the next one knowing full well when it was going to come. He said that he was glad to get back to the front line for 'peace of mind'.

One, of course, fell on the Rex cinema on the De Keyser Lei killing hundreds of allied soldiers.

Horrible things. I can't see why anyone would want to spend money on one. The man has gone further down in my estimation.

- Paris because they never reached her. Thankfully.

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Mushroom

Re: A question for rocket scientists on El Reg...

The problem is that, unless the two subcritical lumps are mechanically constrained when bumped together, the criticiallity will, almost certainly, mechanically separate them before an explosion can result. Remember the two "Demon Core" incidents, and how the two criticiallity incidents only killed two people:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demon_core

Dave

P.S. I'll get my coat; it's the one with the Iodine tablets in the pocket.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A question for rocket scientists on El Reg...

"Quite often one or two houses in a street would be gone and that's it."

In much of England the German bombing was not intensive - often a sneak raider with specific strategic targets. After a while civilians didn't take any notice of the sirens. One stick missed the main railway station in Stoke-on-Trent and mostly fell on nearby fields. One bomb took out an end of terrace house - which after the war was just a gap at the end of the shortened block. My aunt lived in the next street. Family stories said she was busy making sandwiches for when her husband came home - and never heard the explosion. The falling shrapnel from anti-aircraft fire was a bigger danger for many civilians who were outside their houses.

There is a story of the old ICL (Power Sammas, Hollerith?) factory in Letchworth experiencing such a lone raider alarm. By the time the works' defence squad had carried their machine gun to the roof the raider was disappearing into the distance.

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Silver badge

Re: A question for rocket scientists on El Reg...

"Horrible things. I can't see why anyone would want to spend money on one. The man has gone further down in my estimation."

The first line of the article might give a bit of a hint.

Some things need to be preserved to reinforce the education of those not old enough to have witnessed history.

And FWIW, the gap in the row of house three doors up from me is a car park thanks to Herr Hitlers bombs (not V2). The guy who used to live next door witnessed that and the others dropped in a line, one on every other street due to the falling pattern. I don't think about it all the time. Not even every time I walk or drive past it. But I do know how it came about. being very old house, no doubt some day the are will be redeveloped and no longer will kids ask why there's a "missing" house on three of five rows and then learn something.

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