History

A V-1 'doodlebug' pilotless flying bomb on its launching platform, circa 1944. The background has been retouched by German censors.

V Weapons

Launched from Nazi-occupied Europe, V-1 flying bombs and V-2 supersonic missiles rained down on the south of England during 1944 and 1945, killing almost 9,000 people. These 'Vengeance Weapons' were seen by Hitler as a way of winning World War Two, and are considered the precursors to today's missile technology.


Photo: A V-1 pilotless flying bomb on its launching platform, circa 1944. The background has been retouched by German censors. (Getty Images)

Introduction

A V-1 'doodlebug' pilotless flying bomb on its launching platform, circa 1944. The background has been retouched by German censors. V Weapons

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More information about: V Weapons

V-weapons, known in the original German as Vergeltungswaffen (German pronunciation: [fɐˈgɛltʊŋsˌvafṇ], German: "retaliatory weapons", "reprisal weapons"), were a particular set of long-range artillery weapons designed for strategic bombing during World War II, particularly terror bombing and/or aerial bombing of cities. They comprised the V-1, a pulsejet-powered cruise missile, the V-2, a liquid-fuelled ballistic missile (often referred to as V1 and V2), and the V-3 cannon. All of these weapons were intended for use in a military campaign against Britain, though only the V-1 and V-2 were so used in a campaign conducted 1944–5. After the invasion of Europe by the Allies, these weapons were also employed against targets on the mainland of Europe, mainly Britain and Belgium. The V-terrorbombing killed approximately 18,000 people, mostly civilians. The cities London, Antwerp and Liège were the main targets.

They were part of the range of the so-called Wunderwaffen (English: superweapons or literally 'wonderweapons') of Nazi Germany.

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