This week in the War, 4–10 Sept 1944: First V-2 rockets are launched

V2 rocket in flight [Public domain]

V2 rocket in flight [Public domain]

This week in the war saw the first V-2 rockets launched against Paris and London and, soon after, Antwerp.

Unlike the much slower V-1 flying ‘bombs,’ which RAF Spitfires could sometimes chase and shoot down, the liquid-oxygen powered V-2 was capable of exceeding the sound barrier and was essentially unstoppable once it had been launched. Both V-weapons were developed at the German Army Research Centre at Peenemünde on the Baltic Sea.

Before the war was to end, V-2s were to hit London (over 1,300), Antwerp and its important port facilities (over 1,600), Paris (over 20), and various other cities in Europe, including Remagen in Germany, after the Allies had seized an important bridge there across the Rhine.

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