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 …

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  1. Chris Miller
    Joke

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

    1. Frankee Llonnygog

      If I were Google

      I'd buy some ARP tin hats and fire buckets

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: If I were Google

        If I were Balmer

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

        1. Peter Simpson 1
          Mushroom

          Re: If I were Google

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

          1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

            Re: Re: If I were Google

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

      2. Michael Dunn

        Re: If I were Google @Frankee L

        Don't forget the stirrup pump!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Go

      For Sale

      One white cat

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

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

  2. Paul C
    Coat

    That seems fine.

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

  3. John Latham

    Don't say I didn't warn you

    Mega yacht + Nazi ICBM* technology = evil dictator.

    * for small values of C.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

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

      Oh shit - c is a constant!

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      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]

      1. 404 Silver badge

        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.

        1. Peter2 Silver badge

          Re: You have to admit...

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

      2. Tom 11

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

        Somebody set up us the V2!

  4. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
    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)

    1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

      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.

      1. Vic

        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.

      2. Getriebe
        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.

  5. Crisp Silver badge

    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!

    1. ItsNotMe
      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"?

    2. yossarianuk
      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.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

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

    Swiftly subtitled 'But Usually Hit London'.

    1. asdf Silver badge

      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).

      1. Michael Hoffmann
        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.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        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.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          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.

          1. mmeier

            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.

          2. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
            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....

            1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              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.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    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?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      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.

    2. Ted Treen
      Joke

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

      'Cos the NORKs use Windows 95...

    3. Dunstan Vavasour
      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

        1. Anomalous Cowshed

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

          "Mullah infested theocracy"

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

      2. Anonymous Coward
        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.

        1. Dave 32
          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.

      3. Steve I
        Go

        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."

        This is why Rocket Science is easy (put fuel in a tube closed at one end and set light to it), but Rocket Technology is hard...

    4. gerryg

      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

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      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...

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        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.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

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

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

          Nothing secret about it luckily - all the photos of the parade are on the Web and some kind chaps have even done the analysis of the fake looking bits for us.

          More importantly, I can't believe no one has picked up that we have basically given it the call sign" knob", although it does follow nicely from "no dong" I suppose...

    6. ItsNotMe
      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.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      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.

    8. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

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

      Obviously the quality of the beer

    9. ecofeco Silver badge
      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

        1. BongoJoe
          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.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            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.

            1. Tim Worstal

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

              The bit of Bath I grew up in got bombed in the Baedecker raids. One plane dropped a stick right across the avenue the parentals house is in. Looking at it now you can see a new house on one side of the avenue, 80 years newer than those on either side: and exactly the same on the opposite side.

              That's how the bombs fell.

              About 3 years back the parents changed one of the bedrooms overlooking that middle of the avenue into a bathroom. On doing the alterations they found that the window boxes (ie, what the sashes fit into, not the plant pots outside) were still pushed in a few inches from the bomb blast of those WWII explosions.

          2. John Brown (no body) 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.

            1. Nuke
              Meh

              @John Brown - Re: A question for rocket scientists on El Reg...

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

              I believe you are assuming that people will learn not to repeat such things. On the contrary, the first thing the USA did on learning about V2s was to hire von Braun to carry on designing and improving the things.

              It is a fallacy (it needs a name) to assume that everyone else reacts to things as you do yourself. People are always keen to "show the facts" to others, in the belief that those others will be persuaded to adopt the same opinions as themselves. Not so. It can have entirely the opposite effect. I have known people, who, on seeing the usual pictures of starving Africans, have reacted not (as intended) by wanting to send them food, but by suggesting they be sent something to put them out of their misery.

        2. Nuke
          Unhappy

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

          Wrote : "Was it Tony Robinson who .... 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"

          Tony Robinson talks bollocks - he should have remained a comedian.

          To see a good illustration of the effect of a V2, look on Google Street View at Nutwell Street, London SW17. You will see Victorian Terraces both sides in the northern half, but 1960's houses and a block of flats in the southern half. The newer buildings show the damage extent. It extends across the south end junction with Melison Road and continues 30 yards up Himley Road nearly opposite. So about 140 yds of destruction.

          My grandfather's house was there, and an uncle of mine was killed in that blast. Really bad luck as there are square miles of similar housing that were untouched around there.

          1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

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

            Might have been a V1 (doodlebug, flying bomb), they exploded at ground level and had a larger blast radius, from my memory of "Look and Learn" in the 1970's.

            1. Nuke
              Holmes

              @ Allan George Dyer - Re: A question for rocket scientists on El Reg...

              Wrote :- "Might have been a V1 (doodlebug, flying bomb)" [rather than a V2]

              Not sure, but you seem to be replying to my story of the damage at Nutwell Street. It has always been a V2 in the story as told in my family, and that it was the very last V2 to hit London, but you sent me checking. It was a V2 all right, 6th March 1945, but not quite the last (which was 27th March) :-

              www.rpwbresidents.org.uk/area/local-history/35-rebuilding-raynes-park

              http://hawkley.ctie.org.uk/History/civilian_air_raid_casualties.htm

  8. Don Jefe
    Happy

    Fired in Anger?

    Were they really fired in anger? It seems to me that it would be fairly dispassionate. Longish range weapons aren't very satisfactory for the emotionally driven.

    1. Jediben
      Joke

      Re: Fired in Anger?

      Perhaps it's a typo and he meant they were being launched from between Nantes and Le Mans?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fired in Anger?

      no, in fact they were a peace token, kind of "we admire and envy you so much that we couldn't help ourselves but get this message to you asap"

    3. TeeCee Gold badge
      Coat

      Re: Fired in Anger?

      I dunno. Assembling the launching system would seem to provide numerous opportunities for trapped fingers and there's always the possibility of some arsehat driving the delivery transport over your foot.

      So it's quite possible that a few were fired in anger.....

      1. 27escape
        Joke

        Re: Fired in Anger?

        Maybe it was fired from Angers?

        1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Fired in Anger?

          ..Maybe it was fired from Angers?..

          And probably AIMED at Ongar.....

    4. Pet Peeve
      Stop

      @Jefe

      You may want to look up what "Vergeltungswaffe" means.

      And also, consider that this is a UK site before making light of it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Jefe

        This is the UK, we're fine with making light of tragedy, as long as its funny.

        1. asdf Silver badge

          Re: @Jefe

          >This is the UK, we're fine with making light of tragedy

          Roger Waters said it best. Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way.

      2. Dave 15

        Re: @Jefe

        Yup, we know, but lets be honest it is all now a long time back, they tried to flatten parts of the UK - and really apart from Coventry failed, we did flatten large chunks of Germany - and I do mean flatten, there is a vast difference between the damage of the Blitz and the removal of many large cities from the map. (Coventry really was their only major success).

        Personally, I like the 'don't talk about the war' bit... you started it, no we didn't, yes you did....

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Jefe

          Actually the change to area bombing was prompted by the bombing of Coventry which was a centre for aircraft production, up until that time the RAF had concentrated on specific targets, the German raid showed that if you hit population centre's you not only kill workers you disrupt travel and living conditions for the ones who survive, and therefore disrupt war based industries, it's easy to be judgmental about this now but at the time the country was truly fighting for survival and unfortunately in total war many people die.

          If you think Coventry was the only UK city to be devastated I suggest you look at pictures of other cities including London which took severe damage from bombing of civilian areas, not to mention many towns in Europe and Russia obliterated by the Luftwaffe.

        2. Dave 32

          Re: @Jefe

          I seem to remember that Hamburg and Dresden suffered a bit of "marshmallow roasting" from firestorms:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firestorm#Firebombing

          Of course, the Soviets had their own urban renewal plans for Berlin.

          Dave

          1. mmeier

            Re: @Jefe

            Urban renewal of Berlin. Quite a few germans still have plans. Like "Wall off, cap with concrete. Preferably while the Bundestag is in session. Would be a nice start, only 15 more cities to go after that...

          2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: Dave 32 Re: @Jefe

            "I seem to remember that Hamburg and Dresden suffered a bit of "marshmallow roasting" from firestorms....." Whilst the Allies did do area bombing of German cities, they did have a strategic plan (daylight attacks on aircraft factories by the Yanks, RAF attacks on the German petrol and oil manufacturing and distribution system by night). After a rather inept attempt at attacking the British aircraft industries in 1940, the Germans made little attempt at strategic bombing as the Luftwaffe simply wasn't equipped for the task. Goring had ignored developing proper strategic bombers by concentrating on building a tactical airforce as quickly as possible. Instead, from late 1940 onwards, the Luftwaffe bombing effort did virtually nothing but "revenge" attacks aimed at civilians when not doing tactical support of the German land and naval forces. The V2 and V1 programs were simply extensions of that - too inaccurate to hit specific factories but good enough for shooting at cities. Which is why the Allies did not pursue similar programs - they realised the limits of the guidance technology and instead concentrated on better strategic bombing technologies (such as the Tallboy and the Bouncing bombs, HS2 radar, and Pathfinder Mosquitos). But of course, it's become popular amongst revisionists to simply bleat about the "horrors" of Dresden (or Tokyo) and ignore the campaign to reduce Germany's capability by destroying their transport infrastructure and POL system.

      3. Kubla Cant Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: @Jefe

        What "Vergeltungswaffe" means is that the Nazis had the outlook of melodramatic adolescents*. "Revenge Weapon", "Eagle's Nest", "Wolf's Lair". It's like a bad Dungeons and Dragons.

        *Not their worst fault, admittedly.

  9. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Commentards Confess

      I confess! Can I have a seat in mine?

  10. mantissa
    Big Brother

    British Intelligence

    The more I read about WWII, the more I am amazed at how (supposedly) effective the Intelligence Services were at controlling the information leakage from this country. It is claimed that all German spies were turned by the Brits and used to our advantage. That and a lack of air supremacy would seem to have masked all that was going on here in the UK. That's a truly incredible achievement.

    All this brought to mind by the comment that the UK 'leaked' info that the V2s were overshooting London. We'd never have got away with this had we not got the information scene under complete control.

    Much like the UK government would like to now, I suppose.

    (Recommend R.V Jones - "Most Secret War" book for more details)

    1. Malmesbury

      Re: British Intelligence

      Much of it was down to the fact that Admiral Canaris (head of the German Secret Service) was probably working for/with British Intelligence.

    2. ChrisBoy
      Thumb Up

      Re: British Intelligence

      Upvote for the comment and the mention of "Most Secret War", a book that has enthralled and inspired me all the many times I've read it!

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: British Intelligence

        Further upvote for "Most Secret War".

        And a further recommendation: Leo Marks' "Between Silk and Cyanide".

        1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

          Re: Re: British Intelligence

          Yup, Leo Marks. Top chap: http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-life-that-i-have/

          1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

            The life that I have

            Written, I believe, for Noor Inayat Khan, one of his agents. I have seen her memorial at Dachau where she was executed.

            1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

              Re: The life that I have

              The poem was given to Violette Szabo, I think, but written in memory of Marks' dead girlfriend.

          2. Dave 32
            Unhappy

            Re: British Intelligence

            Originally written in memory of his girlfriend, who had just been killed in a plane crash in Canada. Later, it was given to Violette Szabo, for use by her while on assignment in occupied France (which, sadly, ended rather badly for her). :-(

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

            Dave

        2. Kubla Cant Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: British Intelligence

          Upvote for Between Silk and Cyanide

        3. SteveastroUk

          Re: British Intelligence

          I had the great pleasure and privilege of inviting him to give a talk to the Manchester IEE younger members section, and for him to accept. It was the only time we ever filled a 500 seat auditorium to capacity, and with people standing. It was ALSO the only time a lecturer gave an encore. My dad and I took him to dinner afterwards, a meal I shall never forget.

          Jones was also a brilliant and ingenious experimental physicist, and his other professional works are well worth reading

    3. The Serpent

      Re: British Intelligence

      +1 for Reginald Victor, there was a guy to admire

    4. Pet Peeve
      Thumb Up

      Re: British Intelligence

      Thanks for reminding me about that book - I keep meaning to read it.

      It really is shocking how effective counterintelligence was in WWII. This is what happens when you start ignoring (or worse in the case of WWII, of course) your country's smart people.

    5. Peter Simpson 1
      Thumb Up

      Re: British Intelligence

      (Recommend R.V Jones - "Most Secret War" book for more details)

      a.k.a. "The Wizard War"

      +1

  11. peyton?

    Re: Bootnote

    That. is. awesome. So simple, yet so brilliant!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Recommend R.V Jones - "Most Secret War"

    I like the bit where the resistance spotted the Germans building a decoy airfield in Norway, including wooden aircraft, etc.

    The RAF sent a single bomber to drop wooden bombs on it.

  13. Miek
    Thumb Up

    "*Though British intelligence successfully leaked faulty information in the media suggesting that V2s were overshooting London, causing the Germans to adjust them such that they mostly fell short in the Kent countryside thereafter." -- Genius

    1. Jess--

      hadnt they done the exact opposite with the V1's?

      thought they managed to leak that the bombs were short of london and over time manages to get it to the point that a lot of them were overshooting

      1. graeme leggett

        V1s were low enough and slow enough to be brought down by barrage balloons, fighters (Typhoon, Tempest, Meteors etc) and antiaircraft guns. An interesting subject in itself.

        Intelligence was more use to bomb the launch sites in Northern France etc

        1. Peter Simpson 1
          Pint

          "Intelligence was more use to bomb the launch sites in Northern France etc"

          For which I happen to have copies of aerial reconnaissance photos. I give those photointerpreters credit: I can't find the damn sites. "No Ball" missions, I believe they were called.

          Those WWII bomber crews must have had trouble getting into the air, what with the weight of their big brass ones and all.

          //The beer's for them (and all the others) on Memorial Day, and especially for my friend Louis Paltrineri, radio operator on a B17, shot down and ended the war as a POW...thank you.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "V1s were low enough and slow enough to be brought down by barrage balloons, fighters (Typhoon, Tempest, Meteors etc) and antiaircraft guns"

          One of the many archive films available shows barrages of rockets being fired vertically to try to bring down V1s over Kent.

        3. Dave 32
          Pint

          V1 Flipping

          I seem to remember that one technique for bringing down V1s was for a pilot to edge his plane close to one, and insert a wing under the V1's wing, and flip it. Apparently, the control system in the V1s wasn't able to cope with the device becoming inverted.

          Dave

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: Dave 32 Re: V1 Flipping

            Tipping was not often used as most fighters could not stay in formation with a V1 long enough to place their wingtip under the very small wing of the V1. Apart from the Tempest the majority of Allied interceptors needed good fortune and a height advantage to dive into a firing position. The V1 was a very small target which meant the pilots had to close to very short range to guarantee a hit, and there was a considerable risk of the hit V1 exploding and damaging the attacking fighter, but this was still much preferred to the risk of colliding with a V1 whilst attempting tipping.

  14. JeffyPooh Silver badge
    Pint

    BBC sh*t-cans huge IT project; IT guy buys missile designed to hit London

    Coincidence? I don't think so...

  15. Radium

    I remember reading somewhere that fighter pilots, when out of ammo, would fly up close to a V1 and tip it over by tapping it with their wings.

    That's what I call gutsy flying.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The BBC presenter Raymond Baxter was one such pilot.

    2. Jim Hague
      Pint

      Redirecting V1s

      You didn't want to tap the V1 wing. The shock would probably damage your wing and might well trigger the warhead, which wouldn't be nice with you that close. Instead, you got the wing of your kite close enough under the V1 wing to have the air flowing over yours give a little additional uplift to the V1 wing, thus redirecting the V1.

      A few years ago I accompanied one of my kids on a primary school 'evacuation' outing. One of the grandparents on the trip related how, as a young boy, he'd watched from the top deck of a double decker bus going down Fleet Street as a Spitfire did exactly this.

      Gonads of steel ain't in it.

      Raise a glass tonight.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Redirecting V1s

        "The shock would probably damage your wing and might well trigger the warhead, which wouldn't be nice with you that close."

        Some of the early intercepts used standard fighter tactics by shooting from behind. They lost a few aircraft like that after they had to fly through the explosion debris cloud.

        Some of the older fighter planes had to start high and then do a steep dive to give enough speed to overtake a V1.

        1. SteveastroUk

          Re: Redirecting V1s

          Knocking the bastards off was also one of the first deployments of the proximity fuze on a shell.

        2. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Redirecting V1s

          If you were flying a Tempest V, with 2,500 HP of Sabre engine up front and a decent wing section without compressibility problems, interception speeds from behind weren't that much of an issue. Given that the V1 was a very small target, engaging from behind with matched speeds offered the best chance of a hit.

          Flying through the explosion wasn't too bad either - much of the debris went sideways. One point of interest - as you went through the pressure bubble caused by the detonation your aircraft encountered marked variations in gas density, including a partial vacuum. With the torque from the 4-bladed prop, and no air to bite on, the aircraft would often emerge from the fireball upside down....

      2. Dave 32
        Pint

        Re: Redirecting V1s

        V1s are, apparently, somewhat rare. There is one mounted on a pedestal outside of the courthouse in Greencastle, Indiana, USA:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greencastle,_Indiana

        I happened to be unaware of this fact, and, while driving through Greencastle one night, almost ran off the street from the amazement of seeing it!

        Dave

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          V1 and V2 on display

          http://www.cosmo.org - they have both a restored V1 and V2 on display (as well as being the ones restoring Jeff Bezos's F1 engines.)

        2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: Redirecting V1s

          > V1s are, apparently, somewhat rare. There is one mounted on a pedestal outside of the courthouse in Greencastle, Indiana, USA:

          Is that an actual Fiesler Fi 103 'V1' or the American copy: the Republic Aviation-Ford JB-2 'Loon' which was built as an almost exact copy of the V1 after receiving crashed examples. 1,391 were made in America.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic%E2%80%90Ford_JB%E2%80%902

        3. GitMeMyShootinIrons

          Re: Redirecting V1s

          There are a few around the UK. The RAF museum at Cosford, the Imperial War Museum at Duxford and Eden Camp in Yorkshire spring to mind.

    3. itzman

      Re: Tipping

      1/. it wasn't physical contact. The tip vortices off the aircraft wing were enough to destabilise the thing beyond its ability to recover.

      2/. it was preferable to shooting at a live bomb

      3/. it wasn't that hard since they maintained a straight course at a constant height and didn't shoot back at you.

  16. Simon Cresswell

    I can recommend La Coupole

    Which is near St. Omer - ostensibly a combined V2 factory and launch site which sort of conforms to the volcano theme (massive concrete dome to protect it) which is now a great museum.

    It never saw operation - constant bombing and the Allied advance after D-Day put paid to that.

    One nugget I got from the museum is that Hittler efffectively cut off funding to Von Braun and Co. for over 18 months while he concentrated on the Eastern front - which rather makes you think.

    Other sites near La Coupole too - Eperleques (chuffing great factory bunker) and Mimoeques - which was the installation for the stillborn V3 rockets - but 617 Squadron got there first.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I can recommend La Coupole

      "which was the installation for the stillborn V3 rockets"

      Presumably the V3 was intended to have enough range to reach New York?

      1. ecofeco Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: I can recommend La Coupole

        From Wiki:

        The V-3 (Vergeltungswaffe 3) was a German World War II supergun working on the multi-charge principle whereby secondary propellant charges are fired to add velocity to a projectile.

        The weapon was planned to be used to bombard London from two large bunkers in the Pas-de-Calais region of northern France, but they were rendered unusable by Allied bombing raids before completion. Two similar guns were used to bombard Luxembourg from December 1944 to February 1945.

        The V-3 was also known as the Hochdruckpumpe ("High Pressure Pump", HDP for short), which was a code name intended to hide the real purpose of the project. It was also known as Fleissiges Lieschen ("Busy Lizzie").[4]"

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: I can recommend La Coupole

          I always thought that would be a good tactic (for the opposition)

          Pretend to build some super secret weapon in a mountain, leak lots of details about how dangerous it is and watch as the good guys spend all their time and effort of their premium bomber crews trying to destroy it.

          For a bonus surround it with lots of anti-aircraft defences so bombing it is almost suicide.

      2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        Re: I can recommend La Coupole

        > Presumably the V3 was intended to have enough range to reach New York?

        The 'V2 weapon' was actually the A-4 rocket. Development of other rockets included the A-4b winged version which led to the A9 which was similar to the A4 but with full length delta wings and the A10 which was much larger and was designed to be a stage 1 for the A9/A10 combination to give it a 3000 mile range - sufficient to get to New York. It is likely that the A9 needed to be manned to get adequate accuracy. In theory the pilot could escape. The A10 was supposed to be recoverable by parachute for reuse.

        "Development of the Guided Missile", Gatland, 1952.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aggregate_%28rocket_family%29

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    News Chronicle November 11, 1944

    V2: HERE ARE THE ROCKET SECRETS

    That is the front page headline on the "Late London Edition" of that newspaper. Four-pages in a single sheet - price "one penny". It came from a friend's clearout of accumulated newspapers several years ago. A bit brown and fragile - but a fascinating read after over 70 years

    "MR. CURCHILL'S disclosure yesterday in the House of Commons that certain parts of England have for several weeks been under fire from the latest German terror weapon, the V2 rocket bomb, makes it possible to reveal a much more detailed description of the new missile than has hitherto been possible.

    [...]

    It was one of the best kept secrets of the war so far as the enemy were concerned and there are signs that they still have no accurate knowledge about the actual places that have been hit.

    "

    The paper gives a surprisingly technical description about the rocket - including range etc. Says radio control used for initial part of flight followed by inertial guidance systems - which made it quite accurate in direction but poor on range. There are also some pictures of the damage caused in "a town in southern England".

    Another headline "Patton two miles from Saar; Nazis say tank battle on"

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: News Chronicle November 11, 1944

      Says radio control used for initial part of flight followed by inertial guidance systems - which made it quite accurate in direction but poor on range.

      And ... the analog on-board computer that everyone forgot about: Helmut Hoelzer’s Fully Electronic Analog Computer used in the German V2 (A4) rockets

      It seems to do attitude control and position correction by integrating the sideways accelerations, if I understand weel, though ... where are the accelerometers? And how does it know it is on course?

      1. Mephistro Silver badge

        Re: News Chronicle November 11, 1944

        "where are the accelerometers? And how does it know it is on course?"

        Not an expert in the area, but I think that a gyroscope can double as an accelerometer/orientation sensor. And I don`t think the V2 knew its course. It probably relied on being launched in a given direction, and then it only had to make corrections to keep its orientation.

  18. Marco van Beek
    Boffin

    First V2 to hit London

    Landed, if that is this the right term, in Chiswick, near the bottom end of Staveley rd, which runs down the side of the grounds of Chiswick House. There is a small plaque next to an electricity transformer. It mortally wounded one person. Not the best ROI for a weapon of mass destruction.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    V2 the first artifact into outer space?

    "First human artifact into outer space ... en route to London or Antwerp with a one-tonne warhead"

    Except the V2 never travelled higher than 88km en route to London, and 100km is cosidered the minium height before you're in space.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Devil

    the Mittelwerk GmbH Vergeltungswaffe 2

    "The Microsoft co-founder stumped an undisclosed amount for the Mittelwerk GmbH Vergeltungswaffe 2"

    Hitler reviews the Xbox One

  21. zaax

    With the V1 all he needs is a V3 to complete the set.

  22. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    WTF?

    Why?

    It's not like he can put it to use in an air display. Well, not more than once anyway.

  23. Andy J Poulton
    Coat

    3D Printing designs anyone?

    need I say more?

  24. jokki
    Thumb Up

    Disinformation

    Disinformation . . . love it. There weren't half some clever chaps on our side in that war.

  25. Patrick R
    Devil

    16 V2s remaining in the world, half a dozen of them in the US.

    What a surprise. Von Braun probably had some in his suitcase or did he simply build them in the US?

    They needed the technology against the commies, they welcomed the Nazi scientists and protected them for decades.

    1. mmeier

      Re: 16 V2s remaining in the world, half a dozen of them in the US.

      When the Amis aquired Brown Wernher they also shipped quite a few of his KZ-inmate build A4s over to the USA so the SS missile guy could continue his work.

      Should have tied him to a launch disk and fired the engines instead...

  26. Clive Harris
    Mushroom

    19th century V1 "victim"

    There's a story in my family about one of my ancestors who was blown up by a V1 despite having died around 1850. Apparantly it landed in the graveyard and "relocated" his remains.

  27. Steve I

    Rocket Science...

    Rocket Science is easy (put fuel in a tube closed at one end and set light to it), but Rocket Technology is hard...

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