Hitler’s secret weapons: The V-1 flying bomb

By 1944, it was evident that the Nazis needed snookers to avoid losing the war. Hitler became increasingly desperate for a way to stop the advancing Allies so begun the creation of Wunderwaffe wonder weapons that would turn the tide of the war. Or so he thought. One of these Wunderwaffe was the V-1 rocket.

Length: 7.5 metres (25 feet)
Warhead: 900kg (2,000 lbs)
Top speed: 645km/h (400mph)

Marschflugkörper V1 vor Start

The first type of cruise missile, the V-1 was a jet propelled flying bomb that was sent from hidden bases in the Harz Mountains in Germany to cause havoc on English targets. It was 7.5 metres (25 feet) long and had a warhead of 900 kilograms (2,000 pounds).

In the early hours of 13th June 1944, the first of the missiles appeared on the horizon. More followed, striking targets in Essex, Kent and Greater London. In total, ten were fired at the capital but only four managed to make their destination. By 15th June, this number rose to 144 as Hitler personally watched them launch from their bases in Northern France. By the 29th June, 2,000 of these flying bombs had made their way to London, killing over 2,500 people and destroying buildings.

The British fought back in three ways:

-Erect a defence system of anti-aircraft guns on the coast to shoot down the rockets before they did any damage
-Make a major offensive on the missile factories in mainland Europe.
-Send out aircraft to destroy the airborne V-I’s over the channel.

A spitfire tipping a V1 off course
A spitfire tipping a V1 off course

These methods recorded some success, drastically reducing the amount of bombs landing on British soil. Unfortunately for the British, another Wunderwaffe was just around the corner, the V-2 rocket.

Check back in at historyanswers.co.uk on Tuesday to find out about the V-2, a bomb that could not be defended against.