Fact of the day: 16th March

On this day in 1942 the first V-2 rocket test launch. It exploded at lift-off.

download (2)

Commonly referred to as the V-2 rocket, the liquid-propellant rocket was a combat-ballistic missile, now considered short-range, and first known human artifact to enter outer space. It was the progenitor of all modern rockets, including those used by the United States and Soviet Union’s space programs. During the aftermath of World War II the American, Soviet and British governments all gained access to the V-2’s technical designs as well as the actual German scientists responsible for creating the rockets, via Operation Paperclip, Operation Osoaviakhim and Operation Backfire respectively.

The weapon was presented by Nazi propaganda as a retaliation for the bombers that attacked ever more German cities from 1942 until Germany surrendered.

Beginning in September 1944, over 3,000 V-2s were launched as military rockets by the German Wehrmacht against Allied targets during the war, mostly London and later Antwerp and Liège. According to a BBC documentary in 2011, the attacks resulted in the deaths of an estimated 9,000 civilians and military personnel, while 12,000 forced labourers and concentration camp prisoners were killed producing the weapons.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s