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)
Eyewitness Eileen Alexander remembers how she was caught up in the V-1 explosion that destroyed her childhood home in East London.
Eyewitness Eileen Alexander remembers how she was caught up in the V-1 bomb explosion that destroyed her childhood home in East London. As thousands of British people were being killed by the V-1 campaign, the Allies fought back by attacking the launch sites across Nazi Europe and shooting the bombs down in mid-flight.
Photographic Interpreters (PIs) from RAF Medmenham working in aerial reconnaissance recount how they discovered that mysterious structures across Nazi Europe were designed to launch the V-1 flying bombs.
Photographic Interpreters (PIs) from RAF Medmenham working in aerial reconnaissance recount how they discovered that mysterious structures across Nazi Europe were designed to launch the V-1 flying bombs towards southern England. This discovery during the planning of D-Day prompted Operation Crossbow - the destruction of the bombs, their launch sites and supporting infrastructure.
Aerial intelligence experts reveal how difficult it was to defend England from the V-2 supersonic rockets.
Aerial intelligence experts reveal how it was impossible to defend England from the V-2 supersonic missiles. The attacks ended when the Allied armies over-ran Europe after D-Day, and destroyed the V-2's supporting infrastructure.
Throughout the war, the Nazis were secretly developing missiles at Peenemunde, their research centre on the Baltic coast of Germany.
Throughout the war, the Nazis were developing missiles at Peenemunde, their research centre on the Baltic coast of Germany. By 1942 they had successfully test-launched a flying bomb (the V-1) and a supersonic missile (the V-2). Hitler believed these ‘vengeance’ weapons would win him the war.
V-weapons, known in the original German as Vergeltungswaffen (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, 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.
They were part of the range of the so-called Wunderwaffen (English: superweapons or literally 'wonderweapons') of Nazi Germany.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.