Book 'V2-VERGELTUNG' from The Hague

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Operational use of the V2 Rockets

In 1943 the tide was turning for Germany on almost all fronts. They failed to win The Battle of Britain and the U-boats had lacked further successes, Rommel was defeated at El Alamein in Northern Africa by Montgomery, and in Stalingrad Von Paulus was forced to surrender to the Soviets with his 6th army. The Allies possessed air superiority, and from 1943 onwards continuous heavy bombing was carried out on German cities, compounds, railway junctions etc. The war industry was also bombed, including the Peenemünde V-rocket site on August 17th 1943.

Using the so-called ‘V’ weapons was a last effort of the Third Reich to turn the war in its favour. The Total War was also declared, which meant that all civil interest and production for civil means was subordinated to the war economy. Despite the bombings, Minister of Production Speer and Saukel2 managed to expand the weapon production by rationalization and getting more factories involved; also by using forced labour and robbing the occupied countries. The highest priority was given to the production of V-weapons.

After the first successful test flight on October 3rd 1942, it took till the end of 1943 before the first rockets rolled off the production line in the underground factory of Dora. The idea was to launch the rockets from the west of France. Therefore, a range of heavy purpose-built bunkers were erected near Watten and Wizernes. Naturally, the building activities could not be hidden from the Allies. Because a huge number of bunkers were also simultaneously built for housing the V1, and the British were aware, through espionage, of the latest rocket developments, they decided to destroy these specific buildings one by one. The heaviest bombs available, the Tallboys, were used for this purpose. The bunkers were all heavily damaged and had to be dismantled.

On June 6th 1944 the Normandy Invasion resulted in a speedy advance into western France. As a result the Germans lost their fixed V1 and V2 launching sites. In the meantime, movable V2 launching equipment was developed. Operators were trained in, amongst others, the test site at Blizna in Poland.

On September 6th 1944 the V2 was launched for the first time. The target was Paris, but both launches failed. Two days later, on September 8th 1944, the first rocket on London was launched from Wassenaar. The hit at Chiswick was at 18.44 hrs. On November 26th 1944 the thousandth rocket was launched. On that occasion a survey of the target areas and number of launches towards those cities was drawn up:































After October 12th 1944 the firing was concentrated on London and Antwerp, with the exception of a launch on the bridge at Remagen. On March 27th 1945 the last V2 hit the United Kingdom. By that time there had been 1115 hits on greater London, of which 517 on the centre of London and 598 on other areas. As a comparison: during the same time span 2419 V1s landed on London. In and around Antwerp 1712 V2s and 4248 V1s hit their target.


Bagel-Bohlan, A.E.: Hitlers industrielle Kriegsvorbereitungen 1936-1939. Beiträge zur Wehrforschung, Band XXIV. Koblenz-Bonn, 1975. ISBN 3-8033-0235-8.

Cuich, M.N.: Armes secrètes et ouvrages mysterieux de Dunkerque à Cherbourg. Tourcoing, 1984. ISBN 2-902883-01-3.

Graillet, L.: Liège sous les V1 et V2. n.d.

Hautefeuille: Constructions Spéciales. Histoire de la construction par l’Organisation TODT dans le Pas de Calais et le Contentin des neufs grands sites protégés pour le tir de V-1, V-2, V-3 et la production d’oxygène liquide, 1943/1945. s.p., 1985.

Henshall, P.: Hitler’s V-weapon sites. Sutton Publishing, 2002. ISBN 0-7509-2607-4.

Iddekinge, P.R.A.: Nederland en België en de V-Wapens. In: Bericht van de Tweede Wereldoorlog, No. 79, p. 2211-2212.

Jungbluth, U.: Hitlers Geheimwaffen im Westerwald. Zum Einsatz der V-Waffen gegen Ende des Zweiten Weltkrieges V1, 2, 3. Werkstatt. Beitrage zum Westerwald Nr. 2. Wiesbaden, 1996.

ISBN 3-0949-4839.

Ogly, B.: Doodlebugs and rockets. The battle of the flying bombs. Westerham, 1992. ISBN 1-872337-21-X.

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© text: drs J.R. Verbeek © title: drs. J.R. Verbeek
All rights reserved. No parts of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

First English edition, Almere – The Hague, August 2005
Translation: Dily Damhuis, Paul Fowlie, Sylvia en Johan van Oosten en Trees Teunissen.
Original Dutch version published, Almere – The Hague, September 2003 (2nd edition)