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V-1 file photo [28178]

Vergeltungswaffe 1 Missile

Country of OriginGermany
TypeMissile
Width5,370.000 mm
Length8,320.000 mm
Weight2150.000 kg
Range250,000 m
MachineryArgus As 109-014 Pulsejet
Explosive Charge850kg Amatol-39

Contributor:

ww2dbaseThe Germans started to research the possibilities of pilotless bombs soon after the end of the First War in order to evade the terms of the Treaty of Versailles which had forbade any development of certain internal combustion engines. By the time of the start of the second war, German scientists had an advanced concept of a jet or reaction propulsion unit to power an aircraft or pilotless missile. So research started to develop a missile that would be small and light but capable of carrying up to 1,000 kilograms of high explosive and have the fuel and guidance systems to reach a target across the English Channel. After the Battle of Britain had gone badly for the Germans the research and development of such a weapon was speeded up.

The Luftwaffe experimental station at Peenemünde in Germany was an ideal place for this research; being on an island in the Baltic gave the base security and a large expanse of sea that was free of enemy vessels. Other sites carried out research, developement and manufacture of fuels, gyroscopic systems and other parts. Fritz Gosslau, a scientist with the Argus Motor Company was convinced that the basic idea of the missile was sound and proceeded to simplify the design. As an aircraft engine manufacturer, Argus sought the assistance Heinkel in the design of the fuselage and in January 1942, Robert Lusser, Heinkel's chief designer took up a position with the Fieseler aircraft company. Lusser then decided to develop a single engine, jet-propelled flying bomb.

On November 8, 1943, a British photographic reconnaissance flight over the Peenemünde site provided photographs of a launching ramp with what looked like a small aircraft in place upon it. The British intelligence officials noticed a similarity with sites under construction in the Pas de Calais region of France and reports began to come in of the Germans producing a new weapon but by this time testing over the Baltic and mass production of the V-1 flying bomb was well under way and the sites that the Allies had discovered would prove difficult to destroy and were quickly repaired.

The weapon, Vergeltungswaffe 1 ("Vengeance Weapon 1"), or V-1 for short, was a simple little aircraft made almost completely from mild steel welded together. Powered by a reaction jet motor of what by today's standards was an extremely primitive design. It was designed to be mass produced cheaply in different areas and then to be assembled at or near the launch site. A network of road and rail connections between the manufacturing sites and the launch ramps was already being built as the weapon was undergoing trials.

The structure of the bomb was essentially a plain cylinder with domed tends and with parallel edged wings attached, with a jet unit fixed high at the tail supported on the body of the bomb and at the tail. Upon launch this aircraft would be subjected to 10g (gravitational force) and this was taken into consideration in all aspects of manufacture. A fuel tank held 150 gallons and directly in front of this was the warhead attached by bolts and made from 2-millimeter steel and holding between 850 and 1,000 kilograms of Amatol 39 and later Trialen thus the weapon was essentially a blast bomb as would be seen by the devastating amount of damage caused in built up areas of London later.

In front of the warhead was a duralumin fairing holding the compass free from magnetic fields. Two spherical air bottles bound with piano wire were in a compartment behind the fuel tank. These provided the compressed air to power the spinning gyroscopes in the automatic pilot, operating the pneumatic servos of the rudder and for forcing the fuel up to the motor; the air was compressed to 150 atmospheres. The pulse jet engine was of simple yet reliable design, firing at 45 times per second it gave the V-1 its particular distinctive sound.

The bomb was designed to be launched from a ground based ramp, the missile lowered onto a metal trolley that would be propelled forward as soon as the engine was firing fully. When on the trolley, the tank was filled with fuel and the air bottles pressurised, then the magnetic compass would be set on the calculated course with height and range settings made. An external compressed air supply would be used to fire up the engine which then became a giant blow pipe. Once this point was reached nothing could be done to alter its course, the bomb could only fly once. The wing span was 17.6 feet and a central spar went from wing tip to wing tip, the construction of the wings gave it huge strength and with all plated joints being butted, the flush surfaces gave good lift.

At the very front of the missile was a freely rotating propeller which rotated a counter which would, at a certain pre-set point arm the bomb, cut the fuel to the engine and fire two detonators that forced down spoilers on the tail plane and the rudder became locked. This succession of actions put the bomb into a dive. Before unexploded V-1 flying bombs were examined it was presumed that they had run out of fuel and dived due to that. When the bomb hit the ground the warhead was detonated by one of three fuses in the nose, these covered the possibilities of the bomb gliding rather than diving, something that frequently happened.

The automatic pilot was three air driven gyros, a master with two secondary. To combat any wandering after time in the air the magnetic compass in the nose was connected electrically to the gyro. Height was set by a dial with settings from 2,000 to 10,000 feet, but few bombs were found to be flying above 5,000 feet. Electrical supply was provided by 42 dry cells of 1.5 volts each coupled in two parallel blocks giving 30 volts.

Sources:
Göran Jansson, "Vergeltungswaffen Retaliation Weapons" data base
Smithsonian Institution Archives
ww2dbase

Vergeltungswaffe 1 Missile Interactive Map

Vergeltungswaffe 1 Timeline

7 Sep 1943 RAF aircraft bombed V-1 flying bomb launch sites on the French coast.
30 Dec 1943 10 Lancaster bombers of 617 Squadron RAF and 6 Mosquito aircraft attacked a German V-1 flying bomb launch site but failed to destroy it.
12 Mar 1944 An errant V-1 flying bomb landed in Swedish territory.
13 Jun 1944 The first ten V-1 flying bombs were launched from France between 0330 and 1400 hours. Two blew up shortly after take off, two crashed into the English Channel, two landed and exploded in rural areas and another in a garden destroying the house and greenhouses. Only one reached the target, London, England, United Kingdom. It exploded at Bethnal Green on the railway bridge across Grove Road, killing six people, the first of 6,200 such fatalities that would be caused in the coming months.
16 Jun 1944 For two days after the first V-1 flying bomb exploded in London, none were fired, leading the defence and intelligence committees in the UK to believe that those of the 13 August 1944 had been rangefinders and experiments. To-day this idea was shattered by 224 being fired from their launch sites across the British Channel. The Germans did still have guidance and reliability problems but over twenty-two exploded in South London. Due to the nature of the bomb gliding down the blast damage was greater than bombs dropped at altitude by bombers. In Mayplace Avenue, Crayford, nine people were killed and many seriously injured and in Beckenham seven bombs hit within a couple of hours killing over ten, the worst incident at Maple Grove. In all the Borough had over 200 houses badly damaged, together with gas mains and electricity supplies cut. Other V-1 flying bombs exploded throughout the south-eastern counties. Some of the Germans called it "Day of Vengeance".
18 Jun 1944 A V-1 flying bomb struck the Guards Chapel across from Buckingham Palace in London, England, United Kingdom during worship services, killing 119.
29 Jun 1944 The borough of Penge in south-east London, England, United Kingdom received four V-1 flying bombs or "Divers" as they were now being called by the military. The first three explosions did considerable damage to houses but caused no casualties, the fourth however, fell behind an anti-aircraft gun site and killed a soldier and destroyed the Nissen huts where Z rockets were going to be stored. The afternoon and evening saw over seven explosions causing loss of life in the south London area. The Folkestone and Hythe anti-aircraft batteries brought down eight into the sea during the day.
30 Jun 1944 Weald House in Edenbridge, Kent, England, United Kingdom was being used by London County Council as a home for evacuated mothers and babies. In the early morning a V-1 was deflected by a tree and directly hit the house; twenty-two babies were killed outright or died in hospital, eight staff also died. The mothers at the rear of the building survived.
1 Jul 1944 V-1 flying bombs destroyed 60 houses and killed three residents in Brixton, south London, England, United Kingdom. Another 10 fatalities were caused during the morning in Gibbs Square, Upper Norwood and Lunham Road, Gypsy Hill, both also in London. In the afternoon the Colindale Hospital in Hendon was hit resulting in 5 airmen, 4 WAAFs and a civilian nurse being killed. The death toll rose in the afternoon with hits on the Goat public house, Bermondsey (18 killed) and over 250 seriously injured when the Corporation Refuse Destructor chimney was brought down on houses. A total of 61 people in South London perished during the day.
2 Jul 1944 The V-1 flying bomb assault on London, England and the south-eastern counties of the United Kingdom continued during the early hours with 30 deaths and much damaged property. The bombs continued to arrive throughout the morning, one bomb hitting a US Army camp. Sergeant Ed Bearefoot was trapped for over 3 days beneath the rubble, his two friends who had been in the room with him died shortly after the blast. Allied fighter aircraft were now getting to know how to dive onto the V-1 flying bombs in order to shoot them down. The speed of the bomb was faster than all but the latest Spitfire and Tempest fighters and the pilots had to dive from height in order to gain speed and get their shots in. New aircraft were being brought to the area and many anti-aircraft guns were taken to the coastal areas where the bombs passed overhead.
4 Jul 1944 American servicemen were again killed, and six women of US Army Women's Army Corps were wounded, by a V-1 flying bomb hitting their accommodation in Bexley, south-east London, England, United Kingdom.
5 Jul 1944 22 Heinkel bombers of German III/KG3 flew sorties during the night and launched V-1 flying bombs. The bomb all fell in the south London area in Britain, causing considerable damage to property and killing over fifteen residents. The British were seeing that more damage was caused by these flying bombs than by the bombs dropped by bombers. This was due to the fact that they often glided down in shallow dives and blew up on the ground, the blast of 1,870 pounds of Amatol or Trialen often destroyed over 20 houses and took the roofs off many more.
6 Jul 1944 The Heinkel aircraft of German III/KG3 launched 8 V-1 flying bombs into England, United Kingdom during the night. This squadron lost two planes during take off from their base at Rosi?res, France when they collided on the runway, one crew member was killed. 418 Squadron RAF, flying Mosquito VI aircraft, brought down 12 flying bombs most of them over the cliffs of Beachy Head on the East Sussex coast, while further south after dark, 605 Squadron, flying the Mosquito VI night fighters, shot down 7. Night fighter pilots asked that the aircraft be fitted with dark glass visors as the explosion of the V-1 bomb in the air in front of the attacking aircraft was temporally blinding the pilot and navigator.
7 Jul 1944 German III/KG3 mounted a V-1 flying bomb assault on England, United Kingdom from their base in Rosières, France. Two of the Heinkel He.111 bombers collided on the runway during take off resulting in the death of one of the air crew. The night fighter Mosquito aircraft of 418 Squadron (RCAF) shot down 13 of the bombs mostly over the English Channel. One of the bombs that got through landed in Southampton, causing little damage. No. 91 Squadron RAF flying from their base at RAF Deanland shot down 12 flying bombs whilst No. 3 Squadron's Tempest V fighters brought down another.
8 Jul 1944 A V-1 bomb landed and exploded on Greenwich Police Station in London, England, United Kingdom; several people were trapped in the wreckage of the West London station, no deaths occurred. However, an early arriving bomb killed 6 people in Oakdale Road, Streatham, south west London. Polish pilot, Flying Officer Tadeusz Karnkowski, 316 (Polish) Squadron, after shooting down two V-1 bombs tried to tip over a third with his wing tips, the manoeuvre was successful but also damaged his Spitfire fighter and he was forced to crash land on the runway at RAF West Malling.
9 Jul 1944 The South Metropolitan Gas Company's gasholder in Kennington, south-east London, England, United Kingdom received a direct hit from a V-1 flying bomb causing a huge explosion and a large amount of damage to local houses.
10 Jul 1944 30 sorties were made by the Heinkel bombers of III/KG3 carrying V-1 flying bombs against Britain. A British naval anti-aircraft battery brought down one of the aircraft. The falling V-1 bombs caused deaths in the southern London boroughs of Battersea and Clapham where six people were killed in the Underground Station. The Royal navy Fleet Air Arm Pilot Sub Lieutenant D. P. Davies, whilst returning from an anti-shipping patrol in his Avenger Mk. 1 aircraft, saw a V-1 bomb and his TAG L/Airman Fred Shirmer brought it down at 700 yards, only firing 20 rounds; Shirmer received a mention in dispatches.
11 Jul 1944 London, England, United Kingdom received many V-1 bombs and over 38 deaths were reported. The worst incident, killing 14, was at Annerley Road in Crystal Palace, south-east London. At Public House, The Paxon's Arms was hit close by in Clapham, 11 people in the pub were killed. At Deptford, south-east London, 11 dock workers were killed, with cranes and workshops destroyed.
12 Jul 1944 A V-1 bomb hit "Beechmont House" in Sevenoaks, Kent in southern England, United Kingdom. The house was used as a billet for ATS girls that maintained army vehicles, fortunately most of the girls had left for work, nevertheless two girls were killed and 44 injured. The borough of Beckenham received two fatal hits from the flying bombs; the borough would soon become one of the hardest hit areas in South London.
13 Jul 1944 In the United Kingdom, General Frederick Pile and Air Marshal Roderic Hill held a meeting to discuss the best way for the British Royal Air Force and the anti-aircraft batteries to deal with incoming V-1 bombs. Two distinct areas for fighters were created, one over the sea in front of the guns and the other inland behind them. There were many fatal V-1 bomb impacts over south London during the day; the worse was when the Tiger's Head Inn in Lewisham was hit killing 16 and injuring 40. Five members of a family were killed in the Park Hotel in Bromley, they were due to be evacuated that afternoon.
14 Jul 1944 Heinkel aircraft of III/KG3 flew 23 sorties to launch V-1 bombs against Southampton, England, United Kingdom during the night. Most missed the City or were shot down but night fighters. However, one came down on Newcomen Road in Portsmouth killing 15 and another killed all members of a family that had fled London and were staying with friends in the small village of Goodworth Clatford.
15 Jul 1944 7 people were killed outside London Bridge railway station in London, England, United Kingdom by a V-1 bomb that also demolished a block of apartments. First Lieutenant Donald M. Raine of 412th Fighter Squadron of USAAF 373rd Fighter Group, flying his P-47 fighter, brought down the first of his squadron's V-1 bombs over the village of Kingsnorth in Kent. Pilots were becoming nervous about the bombs they shot down hitting houses and civilians. The Air Ministry put the defence of London as a priority.
16 Jul 1944 Three V-1 flying bombs impacted in quick succession in Brixton, London, England, United Kingdom, hitting Ramsey Road (5 killed), Brixton Road (2 killed) and at Lubbock Street in nearby Battersea (16 killed). The Church of St John in Bermondsey was hit; this church had been badly damaged during the Blitz of 1940 and repairs had been completed. The church was used as an emergency aid station; two workers were killed when the roof collapsed.
17 Jul 1944 A major incident was declared when at 0530 hours a V-1 bomb blew up in Suffield Road, Walworth, south-east London, England, United Kingdom; 17 residents were killed, 40 houses demolished and 150 damaged by the blast. Many houses were damaged beyond repair to the south west in Brixton when another V-1 bomb landed in the middle of Brassey Square. The new defence system announced earlier on in the week came into effect at dawn, it was welcomed by the fight pilots who had been troubled by friendly fire whilst diving on the bombs. 41 Squadron at RAF Lympne lost two of its pilots in a collision above the airfield.
18 Jul 1944 Heinkel aircraft of III/KG3 flew 14 sorties to launch V-1 flying bombs against London, England, United Kingdom; all aircraft returned safely. Meanwhile, another German squadron was working up to operational level at Gilze-Rijen. The borough of Beckenham in London was the scene of the worst bomb incident of the day when the bus station was hit; 18 were killed including 2 soldiers, the petrol supply tanks at the depot exploded adding to more damage and injuries to firemen.
19 Jul 1944 Over 45 V-1 flying bombs were shot down by fighters from the RAF squadrons situated in the Counties of Kent and Sussex in Britain, whilst more were shot down into the sea by coastal anti-aircraft batteries. Two Polish Squadrons (306 and 315) accounted for 14 of them, with Flight Sergeant J. Zaworski PAF (306 Squadron) scoring 3 kills within 2 patrols. However more damage was caused by bombs getting through the defences; Wandsworth in south west London and Peckham in the south east had bombs causing fatalities and over 50 houses were condemned after damage assessment.
20 Jul 1944 A farmer was surprised when a V-1 bomb impacted in woodland by his house in Gipping, Suffolk, England, United Kingdom. It was thought that the automatic pilot system had failed to make the bomb go so far off course.
21 Jul 1944 7 people were killed at 0654 hours when a V-1 flying bomb struck Blenheim Close, Penge, south-east London, England, United Kingdom; over 150 houses were badly damaged. Injured staff at the ice cream factory in Lambeth meant that the factory was unable to supply ice to hospitals. Another Mosquito aircraft was lost when 248 Squadron intercepted enemy aircraft whilst hunting V-1 flying bombs, three Dornier bombers were shot down but the aircraft of Flight Sergeant Walter Scott and his observer Flight Sergeant John Blackburn was hit by return fire and crashed into the sea.
22 Jul 1944 Pilot Officer Ken Foskett became a local hero after bringing down a V-1 flying bomb onto the railway lines near Ashford in Kent, England, United Kingdom. Seeing a train approaching the damaged track at speed, Fosket made low passes over the locomotive, lowering his wheels and dipping his wings. The engineers in the engine got the message and stopped the train.
23 Jul 1944 Tempest V fighters of No. 3 Squadron RAF based at RAF Newchurch in Kent, England, United Kingdom destroyed 13 V-1 flying bombs over the south eastern counties. At the same time further to the south the two Polish Squadrons were busy accounting for 8 more. One, shot down by Kasimierz Siwek PAF (315 Squadron) landed on the perimeter of RAF Kingsnorth, a prototype Advanced Landing Ground, narrowly missing aircraft parked there.
24 Jul 1944 In the early morning five aircraft-launched German V-1 flying bombs impacted on London, England, United Kingdom, the most serious being in Canterbury Terrace in the borough of Kilburn at 0440 hours, killing 16 residents. III KG/3 had launched 11 in total; the other six blew up in the counties of Essex and Hertfordshire. The Tempest V fighters of the Fighter Interception Unit (FIU) of the RAF brought down seven bombs after dark two of which fell onto the military camp at Offham in Mereworth Woods and Gravelly Bottom; No service personnel were hurt but damage to vehicles and offices was severe.
25 Jul 1944 Sorties were flown by aircraft of III KG/3 again during the night, in all 18 aircraft took off to launch V-1 flying bombs on England, United Kingdom. One aircraft, Heinkel He 111 5K+GT of 9 Staffel flown by Unteroffizier Günter Rohne, hit a high communication mast near Eindhoven in the Netherlands and blew up; there were no survivors. London and the counties of Hertfordshire and Essex were again hit but only light casualties were reported. 96 Squadron RAF lost a Mosquito XIII aircraft and the crew when the aircraft failed to return to RAF Ford. It was thought that the plane was hit by friendly fire when returning from the anti-diver patrol.
27 Jul 1944 24 people were killed when a V-1 flying bomb fell onto Church Road in Beckenham, London, England, United Kingdom; it impacted by the road and graveyard by the St George's Church and caused major damage and unearthing graves. Others fell in Norwood elsewhere in London, killing 6 and bringing down houses. A stray flying bomb impacted near the town of Mosstofta in Sweden, causing little damage and no casualties. It was unclear where this bomb was launched from; it could have been from a training flight by III KG/3 or from the research area at Peenemünde, Germany.
28 Jul 1944 One of the worst V-1 flying bomb incidents happened at 0935 hours when a bomb hit the crowded shopping centre in Lewisham, London, England, United Kingdom. It landed on the roof of a street level shelter outside a Marks & Spencer department store. It caused major damage to the store and the Woolworths next to it. Many were killed in the Woolworth's basement restaurant area and passing buses were ripped apart. 51 people were killed instantly and others in hospital later. The blast zone of this bomb stretched for 600 yards in all directions. The day was made worse when another 45 were killed in Kensington High Street in central London.
29 Jul 1944 In south London, England, United Kingdom, two surface air raid shelters were partly destroyed when a V-1 flying bomb impacted at the junction of Hollyoak and Dante Roads in Elephant and Castle; twenty houses were rendered uninhabitable. There were no casualties with this bomb, however another exploded nearby killing five and damaging almost 200 houses. Further south a V-1 flying bomb crashed and blew up near the town of Sevenoaks in western Kent after being shot down by a fighter, as often happened in the countryside, after the explosion schoolboys took parts for souvenirs.
30 Jul 1944 In southern England, United Kingdom, the North Kent village of Swanscombe had a V-1 flying bomb explode in Taunton Road. It killed 11 and badly wounded 22 and the blast resulted in the complete destruction of 60 cottages making 160 people homeless. Flight Sergeant Gedfrey Tate of 1 Squadron was lost when his Spitfire fighter LFIXh crashed into the sea after he went into a dive chasing a V-1 flying bomb.
31 Jul 1944 91 Squadron RAF lost a veteran pilot when Flying Officer Paddy Schade's Spitfire XIV fighter was hit by a Tempest fighter flown by Flight Sergeant Archie Wilson RNZAF of 486 Squadron when Wilson emerged from cloud whilst chasing a V-1 flying bomb. The wing of the Tempest fighter tore off the Spitfire fighter's cockpit; both pilots were killed. Flight Sergeant Stan Rudowski of 306 Squadron (Polish) RAF was vectored onto a V-1 flying bomb approaching the town of Rye, Kent in southern England, United Kingdom, two miles west of the coastal town he attacked from below, the flying bomb slowed, looped and exploded in the sea just off the beach.
2 Aug 1944 A V-1 flying bomb caused the deaths of 12 residents of Pendle Road in the borough of Streatham, South-west London, at 0510 hours, a second bomb impacted on Gypsy Road in Upper Norwood, killing 3, one of whom was an elderly lady awaiting evacuation from the area.
2 Aug 1944 In France, III/KG 100 sent out 9 Do 217M aircraft with V-1 flying bombs attached to attack railways and roads around Pontaubault in Normandie in an attempt to stall the Allied break out of the area. Mosquito fighter from 488 Squadron (RNZAF) intercepted the Germans, shooting down 2 before they had launched their bombs. The other Dornier bombers aborted the mission.
3 Aug 1944 RAF Hendon north of London, England, United Kingdom was hit by a V-1 flying bomb in the early hours; it demolished a barrack block and 5 accommodation huts where 5 airmen were killed and over 25 wounded. The area around Maidstone in Kent in southern England received V-1 flying bombs throughout the morning, one of them fell after snagging the wires of a barrage balloon; it killed 5 workmen on the railway and another 7 had to be hospitalized. First Lieutenant Jack Robinson USAAF of 416th Fighter-Bomber Group flying a P-47 aircraft shot down a V-1 flying bomb; this episode was watched by civilians on the ground near Ashford, Kent who cheered as the bomb veered away and exploded in woodland.
4 Aug 1944 During the early hours of the morning the Tempest aircraft of the Fighter Interception Unit based at RAF Manson in Kent, England, United Kingdom brought down 11 V-1 flying bombs. The bombs all fell in the area around East Sutton and Thurnham. A church was badly damaged, and houses lost their roof tiles but only 8 people were treated for injury from the explosions.
5 Aug 1944 A V-1 flying bomb brought down by a Tempest aircraft landed in Malling Road, Snodland in north Kent, England, United Kingdom; the explosion brought down 10 houses in the village and killed 12 people in them, a further 16 were badly injured; two doctors, both badly injured whose surgery facility was within one of the houses, carried on treating the casualties. Another serious incident happened in East Dulwich in south-east London when the Co-Operative department store in Lordship Lane was hit; 23 people died and many injured; a Salvation Army headquarters was damaged where 29 people were seriously injured when the roof fell in.
6 Aug 1944 A V-1 flying bomb caused massive damage when it exploded in Carrington Road in Dartford, London, England, United Kingdom; 20 homes were wrecked and another 700 houses needed repair; ten people died and 20 hospitalized. Balloons brought down four flying bombs around the town of Sevenoaks in Kent, England; the success was a testament to the skill of the balloon crews in placing them at the correct height and in areas that did not threaten dwellings if the bombs were brought down.
6 Aug 1944 Anti-aircraft batteries along the southern British coast were in action throughout the day, bringing down V-1 flying bombs; the beaches along the coast at Folkestone and Hythe, Kent, England, United Kingdom were becoming littered with wreckage from the bombs. The fighter squadrons were busy too with the Polish 316 squadron bringing down 9, mostly behind the coastal anti-aircraft guns near Hastings, Sussex. Flight Sergeant Don MacKerras RAAF was killed when his Tempest V fighter spun into the ground whilst he was on patrol; he had attempted to tip a flying bomb over with his wing tip but collided with the missile, losing his wing.
7 Aug 1944 A V-1 flying bomb blew up in Underhill Road, East Dulwich in south east London, England, United Kingdom, 4 residents were killed. Three V-1 bombs, brought down by fighters, crashed into the outskirts of Ashford, Kent, England causing damage and one death. The fighter pilots were now taking efforts to avoid their targets impacting on built up areas but the problem remained of the bombs flying erratically once hit. 316 Squadron (Polish) brought down 8 flying bombs, following on from the 9 kills made the previous day. Warrant Officer Czeslaw Bartlomiejczyk shot down four in the space of five minutes when he got behind the V-1 flying bombs flying in single file over the English Channel in his Mustang III fighter. Flight Officer Henry "Dixie" Dean flying the new RAF jet fighter, the Gloster Meteor, brought down a V-1 flying bomb over the village of Rorbertsbridge, east Sussex. 616 squadron now had a dozen of the jet fighters and 33 pilots training with them.
8 Aug 1944 He 111 aircraft flying from their base in Rozières in France flew 23 sorties during the night of 7-8 Aug 1944. One of the Heinkel bombers was shot down by Flight Officer John Smith (604 Squadron); the bomber crashed near Achmer, Lower Saxony, Germany attempting to reach base; Smith also brought down a Do 217 bomber during the patrol over the channel. A V-1 flying bomb launched by another He 111 bomber hit a hostel for agricultural workers near Benenden, Kent, England, United Kingdom, killing four and injuring 33. The balloons around Dartford brought down two flying bombs and another, shot down by a fighter over Bidborough, near Tonbridge Wells in Kent, was the first to be found to be carrying 24 1-kilogram incendiary bombs. Flight Lieutenant "Togs" Mellersh of FIU (fighter interception Unit) shot down four flying bombs on his single night patrol.
9 Aug 1944 A V-1 flying bomb exploded in the air above the town of Lamberhurst, Kent, England, United Kingdom after being shot at by a fighter, the bomb scattered 1-kilogram incendiary bombs. 91 squadron was officially taken off anti-V-1 operations and moved to RAF Hawkinge in Kent to re-equip with Spitfire LFIX fighters. The squadron had accounted for 184 of the bombs, and 2 more would be added whilst they trained in their new aircraft. The squadron's Spitfire XIV fighters were handed to 402 Squadron (RCAF) who commenced anti-V-1 operations three days later.
12 Aug 1944 No. 402 Squadron RCAF, flying Spitfire XIV fighters, began anti-V-1 flying bomb operations in Britain. The squadron was based at RAF Hawkinge in Kent, England, United Kingdom.
13 Aug 1944 There were 19 V-1 flying bombs launched against Britain by Heinkel aircraft from III/KG3 during the night, only half of the number launched by air the previous evening. The Gruppe were having to evacuate their base at Rozi?res, Picardy, France, as the Allied advance was approaching the area, they would fly to Venlo in the Netherlands but would not launch any further bombs for a week. Squadron 274 lost a pilot, Flight Sergeant Royston Ryman flew into a hilltop at Elham, Kent, whilst conducting an anti-Diver patrol. A further seventeen V-1 flying bombs were shot down by anti-aircraft fire, one of which fell and exploded near to Lydden Spout coastal battery at Dover, Kent where a serviceman was badly wounded and four others slightly injured.
14 Aug 1944 The US 127th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment became operational; at the end of the V-1 attacks the regiment had accounted for 56 of the flying bombs. A V-1 flying bomb brought down by British guns tragically fell on Twiss Road, Hythe in Kent in southern Britain. It destroyed houses and killed a family of 5 also injuring a further 17 some seriously. Flight Officer Peter Graham almost lost his life when diving down from 12,000 feet he levelled up too close to his target; the slip stream threw his Spitfire fighter over, but he managed to recover, only to see his target, a V-1 flying bomb, fly between the wires of the balloon defence.
16 Aug 1944 A V-1 flying bomb exploded in High Street of Walthamstow in east London, England, United Kingdom killing 17 and injuring 62. Nine more people were killed further south in Brockley. Deptford in south-east London received its 7th bomb which damaged houses that were already being repaired and killed 7. Officers and men of the squadrons based at RAF Dettling, north-east of Maidstone, Kent, southern England were not amused when a bomb was shot down and exploded not far from their control tower and sending three airmen to hospital.
17 Aug 1944 Anti-aircraft gunners at Folkestone, Kent, England, United Kingdom brought down 27 flying bombs during the day, all landing in the sea close to the beaches. The batteries at nearby Hythe accounted for a further 16. As usual the number of bombs being launched meant that some got through to the London area. One bomb landed only yards from where one exploded four days earlier killing another 3 residents. The worst incident was at Rotherhithe Street in Bermondsey where 17 were killed and more than 60 injured. Later in the afternoon 16 residents of Mossbury Road in Lavender Hill south London were killed.
18 Aug 1944 A V-1 bomb blew up and destroyed the railway bridge over Oak Lane in Newington, Kent, England, United Kingdom. This happened as an express train was approaching. The locomotive and tender jumped the gap, but the first two carriages crashed onto the road. Seven passengers and a railway worker who had run to the bridge for shelter were killed. Two days later the bridge was repaired, and traffic was as normal.
18 Aug 1944 Flight Lieutenant Brian Williams of 605 Squadron RAF flying his Mosquito VI fighter from RAF Manston brought down 2 V-1 flying bombs on his patrol bringing his total to 5 in just two weeks of action. A typically economic report entered by pilots on patrol was written by Flight Lieutenant K. A. Roediger of 456 squadron RAAF: "23.24hrs attacked Diver astern, height 1,200ft, speed 360 mph fired at range of 1,200 feet. Target dived straight in and exploded on ground."
19 Aug 1944 A V-1 flying bomb went astray and impacted in Norfolk, England, United Kingdom near RAF Thorpe Abbots, the base of the 100th Bomber Group (The bloody One Hundredth). The base diarist commented that, "The tannoy gave a red alert and two seconds later the buzz bomb blew". Three Polish squadrons (316, 315 and 306) were in action, shooting down 12 V-1 flying bombs between them, with Warrant officer Józef Feruga (316 Squadronn) taking down 3 of them over Dungeness, Kent.
20 Aug 1944 Three V-1 flying bombs caused 16 deaths in the area around Twickenham Road, Feltham and Studeley Road in Stockwell, both of London, England, United Kingdom. Pilot Officer John Bilodeau RCAF (129 Squadron) flying Mustang III FB395/DV-Y fighter appeared to spin out of low cloud and crash into the sea, this was the squadron's first loss of a pilot whilst combatting the flying bombs.
21 Aug 1944 Willesden in north-west London received its second V-1 flying bomb in two days, the latest impacting in College Road where 20 were killed and many injured another. 29 lives were lost and 58 hospitalized in Wharnecliffe Gardens, Marylebone in south-east London. The anti-aircraft battery in Dover had their best day, shooting down over 36 bombs over the sea and beaches.
22 Aug 1944 111/KG3 of the German Air Force launched 21 sorties during the early hours from their new base at Venlo in the south east of the Netherlands. All Heinkel bombers returned safely after launching their V-1 flying bombs. One of these impacted on just half a mile down Oak Lane, where the railway bridge had just been repaired. Another clipped some elm trees near some cottages and span into on of them killing a man and a woman, orphaning the two children who were dug out of the wreckage unhurt.
23 Aug 1944 At 0801 hours a V-1 flying bomb exploded at Oakleigh Road, Brunswick Park, East Barnet, London, England, United Kingdom, killing 33 and injuring a further 212 people. The bomb impacted on the Standard Telephone and Cable factory.
23 Aug 1944 Fifty-one V-1 flying bombs were brought down by anti-aircraft fire over the coast at Folkestone, Kent, southeastern England, United Kingdom; all but two crashed into the sea. The railway line out of Folkestone was damaged by another bomb shot down by a fighter of 315 Squadron (Polish) RAF. Thirteen more were brought down by the anti-aircraft batteries at Lydd, Kent, one of which exploded and scattered propaganda leaflets over the town. One V-1 flying bomb that made it to South London was brought down when it hit barrage balloon cables at Skeet Hill House, Orpington. A V-1 flying bomb hit Oakleigh Road in Brunswick Park, East Barnet, north of the river Thames, killing 33 as houses and shops collapsed with the blast. Another fell nearby in the centre of the football pitch which had been emptied. Yet another that made it through the defences badly damaged the village church near the perimeter of RAF Stradishall in Suffolk, shortly after it had been crowded with a harvest thanksgiving service.
24 Aug 1944 An heavy anti-aircraft gun position in Annerley road, Penge, London, England, United Kingdom took a direct hit from a V-1 flying bomb, killing all 7 of the gun crew. The anti-aircraft guns along the coast had another good day taking account of over 65 flying bombs, many before they reached the mainland. The spectacle of seeing the bombs get hit and explode had become somewhat of a daily routine along the coast, many of the impact sites were visited by curious boys on their cycles before any home guard unit got to them. Parts of the bombs were being collected as trophies, a spark plug being the big prize.
25 Aug 1944 The amount of V-1 flying bombs being sent over the English Channel was now noticeably decreasing as the Allied armies pushed into the Netherlands and captured and destroyed the launching sites. The German Air Force still were able to launch missiles with the Heinkel bombers of III /KG3 which had been moved east-wards to other airfields. Just before midnight a V-1 flying bomb came down in Carrington Road, Dartford, Kent, England, United Kingdom killing 12 people as they slept in their houses.
26 Aug 1944 Whilst engaged escorting RAF Marauder bombers on a mission Flight Officer Ted Topham (91 Squadron), flying his Spitfire LFIX fighter, sighted a V-1 flying bomb heading across the English Channel which he chased and brought down into the sea. This was his 10th kill and would be the squadron's 186th and final V-1 flying bomb brought down.
27 Aug 1944 A total of 18 V-1 flying bombs were brought down within an hour by the anti-aircraft batteries at Folkstone and Hythe in Kent, England, United Kingdom. Flight Lieutenant Francis "Togs" Mellersh of 96 Squadron flying out of RAF Ford shot down a V-1 flying bomb as it passed the anti-aircraft guns at Dungeness on the Kent coast; this bomb brought his score to 43 and the squadron's to 176. Flight Lieutenant Gordon Bonham RNZAF of 501 Squadron brought down 4 bombs on his patrol and found he had to land on a farm as his Tempest V fighter had run dry of fuel; the farmer's son watched him land and took him to have lunch at the farm after telephoning for fuel to be brought in; the process of refuelling was slow as 4-gallon drums had to be carried over the field; after taking off, Bonham treated the family to a show of aerobatics.
28 Aug 1944 Of 97 V-1 flying bombs launched this day from the Netherlands only 4 got through the anti-aircraft and fighter cordon, the fighters taking down 23 and the anti-aircraft guns 65 (Folkestone hitting 58), the remainder struck barrage balloon wires. Some of the bombs were found to be carrying propaganda leaflets. Only two serious casualties were reported during the day. Although 41 squadron had been stood down from V-1 patrols Flight Lieutenant Terry Spencer whilst carrying out tests in his Spitfire XII fighter saw a bomb passing over the town of Rye, Kent, England, United Kingdom he gave chase and brought it down in farmland; it was the Unit's 53rd and last victory.
29 Aug 1944 One of the last V-1 flying bombs to fall on south-east London, England, United Kingdom glided down in a shallow dive at 1440 hours, its wing collided with the steeple of Eltham's Parish Church; the subsequent blast killed 2 and injured 50 more. 200 houses were badly damaged by blast in the town of Lydd, a village on the Romney marshes in Kent in southern England. Flight Lieutenant D. F. Ruchwaldy, 129 Squadron RAF shot down 4 V-1 flying bombs as he crossed the English Channel; the first over Dungeness and two more in mid-Channel. As he approached the French coast he sighted a fourth and gave chase and opened fire, he then came under friendly fire from a Royal Navy vessel; the bomb blew up and he flew through the blast. Upon landing he claimed the last bomb, saying that the Navy's shooting was not up to much and the could not possibly have hit the thing.
1 Sep 1944 Only 3 V-1 flying bombs were brought down by fighters, the third was attacked in the early afternoon by Warrant Officer Tommy Hetherington of 129 Squadron, the unit's 66th bomb to be destroyed. Hetherington had very little ammunition left and although seeing strikes he ran out flying around the bomb he managed to upset the bombs gyros with his slipstream, the bomb fell into the sea 5 miles from Dover on the British coast.
2 Sep 1944 A sortie was carried out by II/KG 101 of the German Air Force, the target being Allied shipping in the English Channel. The plans were to co-ordinate with bomb-carrying Fw 109 aircraft from 2/KG200 but it was not successful. A Ju 88 aircraft crashed at Warsop in Nottinghamshire in central England, United Kingdom, another was brought down at Hothfield, Kent, southern England. Following this unsuccessful attack, II/KG101 was disbanded and a new unit III/KG66 was formed commanded by Hauptmann Kurt Capesius flying from Burg airfield near Magdeburg, Germany.
3 Sep 1944 Heinkel aircraft of III/KG3 of the German Air Force made 23 sorties with V-1 flying bombs being launched against London, Portsmouth, Southampton, and Gloucester of England, United Kingdom. 3 of these bombs came down in East Anglia, at Hill Farm in Felixstowe on the Suffolk coast, Langham in the east midlands and Dedham, near Colchester in Essex, other bombs fell in various areas of the home counties but caused very little damage. A veteran Luftwaffe pilot, Horst Juventus, who had been posted to III/KG3 recalled that the pilots all felt that the Luftwaffe were finished and hated to fly the Heinkel aircraft with the flying bomb attached. "Some crews", he said, "just dumped the bombs as soon as possible in order to get home safely."
6 Sep 1944 The British government issued a communique after a meeting of the Chiefs of the Imperial Staff saying that the V-1 flying bombs to this date had killed 5,817 people, and with 22,870 slightly wounded another 17,086 hospitalised. It finished by adding that the enemy had been completely driven out of static launch sites and that a small-scale attempt was still being made to launch by aircraft. "Except possibly for a last few shots, the Battle of London is over-we have beaten Hitler's secret weapon, the V-1, which was to have terrorised Britain into making a negotiated peace."
7 Sep 1944 British Member of Parliament Duncan Sandys, Winston Churchill's son-in-law who had been made responsible for coordinating the defences against the V-1 flying bombs, confidently predicted that "Except fot a few shots, the Battle for London is over". It was not within a day the V-2s (the second of Adolf Hitler's secret weapons) would begin to fall on the British capital.
16 Sep 1944 13 He III bombers of I/KG53 of the German Air Force from Varelbusch, near Bremen, Germany took off to launch V-1 flying bombs, one crashed and exploded on take off killing the crew. 3 of the aircraft were intercepted and shot down over the sea. Royal Naval gunners hitting 2 and the other by a Mosquito aircraft of 96 Squadron flown by Lieutenant Ian Dobie. As they crossed the British coast 2 more were shot down by a Tempest aircraft flown by Flight Officer Bud Miller USAAF of 501 Squadron. Of the bombs launched, one hit a water tower at Saffron Walden, a market town in Essex. The tower was at the end of the runway of nearby Debden airfield and shook the men of 4th Fighter Group billet there. General Sir Fredrick Pile in charge of Britain's anti-aircraft defences noted that after an interval the attacks were being stepped up and he was having trouble shifting the guns into places where they could combat the bombs being launched by aircraft.
29 Mar 1945 British anti-aircraft gunners shot down a V-1 flying bomb at Suffolk, England, United Kingdom.

Photographs

British Spitfire fighter attempting to topple a German V-1 flying bomb with its wing tip, date unknownV-1 rocket flew across England, circa 1944
See all 7 photographs of Vergeltungswaffe 1 Missile



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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Anonymous says:
7 Nov 2017 10:49:20 AM

What is this weapon's "common" name?
2. Commenter identity confirmed Alan Chanter says:
7 Nov 2018 12:11:49 AM

The jet engine of the V-1 had an eerie sound. Once heard it was never forgotten. Witnesses described the sound in different, vivid ways:

* A train trundling over a wooden bridge.

* A sinister grunting.

* A washing machine.

* A cough, clattering like a diesel truck.

* A Model T climbing a hill.

* A load of biscuit tins rattling.

This particular engine note led to the British nicknames for the V.1- the 'doodlebug' or the 'buzz bomb'.

The British people soon learned that while a V-1 puttered its noisy way across the sky. they were safe. The danger came when the engine cut out. Flying bombs were loaded with only enough fuel to reach their target. When this ran out, the engine failed and the missile dived. Civilians described a 'dreadful silence' that lasted about twelve seconds-the time from the engine stopping to the warhead exploding.

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Vergeltungswaffe 1 Missile Photo Gallery
British Spitfire fighter attempting to topple a German V-1 flying bomb with its wing tip, date unknownV-1 rocket flew across England, circa 1944
See all 7 photographs of Vergeltungswaffe 1 Missile


Famous WW2 Quote
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Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, 16 Mar 1945