Military-Grade Awesome

German V-2 Tests im Video!

Peenemünde, Start einer V2

As a weapon system, the V-2 was fairly ineffective. It’s real purpose was to terrorize and punish Germany’s enemies, hence it’s use on England and Antwerp. More people died producing the V-2 than were killed by it in military use. At the time the V-2 program went into high gear, Germany had bomber systems capable of delivering bombs and rockets to London with higher accuracy and at less cost to Germany in terms of both Reichsmarks and diversion of resources. Despite all this, Germany pressed on with the V-2 program. The Fuhrer wanted to terrorize London, and he wanted a propaganda win for his loyal subjects. It’s an absolutely horrible weapon system, and it’s failure as a weapon system should have relegated it to a historical footnote. It did inflict significant damage on its targets, though, and it laid the groundwork for all modern rocket systems. For that reason, it is quite important.

Hit the jump for some video of test failures of the V-2 rocket.

[youtube width=”640″ height=”480″][/youtube]

[Image Credit: Bundesarchiv, Bild 141-1880 / CC-BY-SA]

  • Recurveman

    If you look back into the war, there are a number of weapons that the Germans invented that were really ahead of their time or revolutionized one thing or another. The V2 and and Me-262 were prime examples of this on the aviation front (as well as the "stealth" fighter that the Germans developed, but I dont count that on the grounds that it was never actually used in the war) However on the ground, they developed two rifles that were ahead of their time. The first and more well known of the two being the STG-44 and the second being the G-43. IT is really amazing though to think about how much good came from so much horror.

    War is evil, and some try to argue that it is not a necessary evil, but no one can deny that just wars in this century sparked so many technological advances, that without it, we would still be living in the 1930's.

    • ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq

      I think war is a destructive thing on the whole, using up so many resources for destruction. Look at a largely peaceful times and notice technological advance as well.

    • Devin

      Tech tends to advance when it has cause to advance. In war, it's to kill the other guy. In peace, it's to sell more than the other guy.

      It's pretty clear when you see what tech has advanced the furthest in those time frames. Right now there have been plenty of advances, but most are on the consumer level, with increasingly advanced phones and televisions. If the iPhone was developed during war, to use an example of a modern thing, it would have some very different features and would be made out of different materials – less glass, more rubber and plastic.

      But, since survival trumps all, the rate of advancement during war is going to be much greater. Gradual improvement makes sense on the consumer level because you want people buying stuff all the time. Sudden improvement needs a more urgent impetus.

    • Plecostomus

      From what I see of the 30's, would us having been stuck in the 30's have been such a terrible thing?

      Seaplanes and beautiful, aerodynamically-inspired automobiles, the burgeoning love-affair with the airplane, art-deco goodness – what isn't do like?

      • TurboBrick

        Gut wrenching recession and slow recovery until the government spent every $ it could borrow on domestic production, and then proceeded to blow the rest of the competitive world economies into pieces?

        War is also an economic action. I say the real winner of that conflict was Sweden who made money during the war, and made even more money after the war by the virtue of being able to walk away from the whole thing without suffering any damage while the industrial powerhouse of the continent was put through a shredder and then torn in half.

    • jalopjackie

      Indeed, I do recall a number of the more fabulous creations which were spawned from the Axis researchers, but what sometimes strikes me is the level of engineering detail which was put into some of the more common-place devices.Case in point is the Daimler-Benz 600-series motors (such as those powering the BF-109s.) I recall seeing a video of a British engineer who was tasked to tear down and examine an original (and untouched) DB-60x motor; I think the video was shot in either the late 90s or early 2000s. When they disassembled the motor (which featured advanced items like an inverted Vee formation and fuel injection), they sent the parts off the Rolls-Royce for examination. The report which came back from RR rather astonishingly showed that all the machined parts were almost exactly in the middle of the acceptable tolerances, quite a feat for the mid-40s. Along with the report came a note from RR advising not to under any circumstances damage the main crankshaft, because even with the modern machining tech at their disposal, the RR engineers admitted that there was no way that they would be able to reproduce the quality of the machining needed to duplicate the original crankshaft.

      This is one of the beasts… it's a 605.

      [youtube 4ZzvKCQwWj0 youtube]

  • ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq

    Very good related video:

    [youtube Gg0zXznU3Tk youtube]

    • Felis_Concolor

      Neat stuff in that clip. I guess I've been around specialized tools too often; the first thought I had was "those smaller holes must be for the fitment wrench" upon seeing the still frame.

  • Felis_Concolor

    I preferred the little known program involving a manned V1 flying bomb as a suicide weapon, simply because while the success rate might not have changed, at least the plan was to man them with willing and eager members of the Hitler Youth, which would have been a good way to dispose of them.

    • fodder650

      The manned V1 was called the FI.103 if I remember correctly. Heck didn't Hanna Reisch test the glider version herself? If you want to see a near suicide German aircraft here is the Natter I wrote up some time ago.

      • All the V1 were FI.103., this was the type of the "airplane" or whatever you call it. There was a manned version, sometimes called V4 or the Reichenberg-Gerät (Gerät = device). According to the mighty ped od wiki, 175 were built, but not put into service.

      • Felis_Concolor

        Damn, that's the closest I think one could practically get to the old "strap a bunch of fireworks to your ass and light the fuse" cartoons.