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.

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Startup: Dora the Exploder

Hitler inspects the Schwerer Gustav (English: Heavy Gustav), the largest rifled artillery ever deployed in combat, that fired 7 ton, 800mm shells. The gun was named after Gustav Krupp, the senior director of the company that built it. The thing was so large that it required mounting on parallel sets of railway tracks. It […]

Genius Innovators

Approximately Fuzed

The Germans tend to be a pretty smart lot. I’m not just saying that because I’m part German. They have built a reputation for identifying problems and then searching out solutions to them. This is probably why they have been reputed to be good at engineering. Their biggest failing, though, is their lack of follow through. A good example of this is the proximity fuze.
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Shutdown: Stealthy “D’oh!” Edition

Before RADAR existed, “stealth” had a number of meanings – quieter flight, using terrain as cover, and reducing your visibility to human eyes. The Linke-Hofmann R1 was a WWI-era attempt to make an aircraft partially transparent using Cellon. Unfortunately, the Cellon reflected sunlight, turned yellow due to UV light, and was generally a […]