First man-made object in space.

V2

One could be forgiven for thinking that the space race was between the USSR and the USA, and that the USSR were the first to initiate the race.

But it was in fact the Germans who on this day 75 years ago ,sent  the first man-made object to reach outer space.

The test launch of the MW 18014 ,a German  A-4/V-2 rocket  took place on 20 June 1944. It attained an apoapsis(The point of a body’s elliptical orbit about the system’s center of mass where the distance between the body and the center of mass is at its maximum) of 176 kilometers

MW 18014 was part of a series of vertical test launches conducted in June 1944, in Peenemunde, designed to gauge the rocket’s behavior in vacuum. MW 18014 broke the altitude record set by one of its predecessors to attain an apoapsis of 176 km.

It was the first man-made object to cross  the 100 km Kármán Line, which is the currently accepted boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and outer space. About 20 months later on October 24,1946 the US Air force took the first photo taken of Earth from outer space. with a camera mounted on an adapted V2 rocket.

earth

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Dirk Bogarde-Not just an actor.

Dirk

I don’t know why but ever since I moved to Ireland I have found myself explaining my name quite a bit. I have been called Derek,Declan,Kirk and other variations.Nowadays I usually say “Dirk like Dirk Bogarde” it mostly takes another few minutes for people to get my last name right. Most people will have heard of the actor

He was a British actor although his Father was of Flemish ancestry.

Although I do mention his name while explaining my name to people. I have to be honest. I am no Dirk Bogarde. I wish I was for he was not only a great actor he was also a formidable human being.

I will not go into his acting career but will focus on some of his activities. During the war, Derek Bogarde served in the British Army, at the start with the Royal Corps of Signals before in 1943 being commissioned at the age of 22 into the Queen’s Royal Regiment  as a second lieutenant.

He served for a while at RAF Medmenham a unit specialized in photographic intelligence.  in the Army reconnaissance section as a visual inspector. Analyzing aerial photographs using special glasses to create 3D effects.

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The unit played a  pivotal role in gathering intelligence  on the V1 and V2 programs.

Bogarde was one of the first Allied officers in April 1945 to reach the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany, this experience had the most profound effect on him and about which he found it difficult to speak for many years afterward. In an inteview he described what he saw. He got the dates wrong, the camp was liberated on the 15th of April.

“I think it was on the 13th of April – I’m not quite sure what the date was”  “when we opened up Belsen Camp, which was the first concentration camp any of us had seen, we didn’t even know what they were, we’d heard vague rumours that they were. I mean nothing could be worse than that. The gates were opened and then I realised that I was looking at Dante’s Inferno, I mean … I … I still haven’t seen anything as dreadful. And never will. And a girl came up who spoke English, because she recognised one of the badges, and she … her breasts were like, sort of, empty purses, she had no top on, and a pair of man’s pyjamas, you know, the prison pyjamas, and no hair. But I knew she was girl because of her breasts, which were empty. She was I suppose, oh I don’t know, twenty four, twenty five, and we talked, and she was, you know, so excited and thrilled, and all around us there were mountains of dead people, I mean mountains of them, and they were slushy, and they were slimy, so when you walked through them … or walked – you tried not to, but it was like …. well you just walked through them, and she … there was a very nice British MP, and he said ‘Don’t have any more, come away, come away sir, if you don’t mind, because they’ve all got typhoid and you’ll get it, you shouldn’t be here swanning-around’ and she saw in the back of the jeep, the unexpired portion of the daily ration, wrapped in a piece of the Daily Mirror, and she said could she have it, and he” [the MP] “said ‘Don’t give her food, because they eat it immediately and they die, within ten minutes’, but she didn’t want the food, she wanted the piece of Daily Mirror – she hadn’t seen newsprint for about eight years or five years, whatever it was she had been in the camp for. … she was Estonian. … that’s all she wanted. She gave me a big kiss, which was very moving. The corporal” [MP] “was out of his mind and I was just dragged off. I never saw her again, of course she died. I mean, I gather they all did. But, I can’t really describe it very well, I don’t really want to. I went through some of the huts and there were tiers and tiers of rotting people, but some of them who were alive underneath the rot, and were lifting their heads and trying …. …. trying to do the victory thing. That was the worst.

“After the war I always knew that nothing, nothing, could ever be as bad … … but nothing could frighten me any more, I mean, no man could frighten me any more, no Director … … nothing could be as bad as the war, or the things I saw in the war.”

Bergan

Dirk Bogarde truly remarkable man.

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Sources

BBC

 

The other casualties of the V2 weapon.

V2

So many people say that World War 2 should be left in the past, it’s been more then 7 decades now and we should move on.

And to an extend they are right. However what these people forget is that the effects of WWII are still current in ways that they didn’t even consider, many of them look up at the sky at night and try to see the International Space Station, not knowing that the ISS is there as a direct result of WWII. But it came at an awful high price, a price too high.

The V2(technical name Aggregat 4 or A4) was the world’s first long-range guided ballistic missile.

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On 29 August 1944  Adolf Hitler signed declaration to begin V-2 attacks as soon as possible, the offensive began on 8 September 1944 with an initial single launch at Paris.

The following  months about 3,172 V-2 rockets were fired at the following targets:Belgium, 1664: Antwerp (1610), Liège (27), Hasselt (13), Tournai (9), Mons (3), Diest (2)United Kingdom, 1402: London (1358), Norwich (43),[14]:289 Ipswich (1)
France, 76: Lille (25), Paris (22), Tourcoing (19), Arras (6), Cambrai (4)
Netherlands, 19: Maastricht (19) Germany, 11: Remagen (11)

An estimated 2,754 civilians were killed in London and a further 1,736 dead in the greater Antwerp area.

800px-V-2victimAntwerp1944But so many more died in forced labor whilst working on the V2 program.On 18 August 1943, a bombing raid by the Royal Air Force on Peenemünde causing so much  damage to  the facilities that they had to end the construction of the V2 there.

On 19 October 1943, the German limited company Mittelwerk GmbH was issued War Contract No. 0011-5565/43 by General Emil Leeb, head of the Army Weapons Office,for 12,000 A-4 missiles at 40,000 Reichsmarks each.

Adolf Hitler ordered Heinrich Himmler to use concentration camp workers in future A4/V-2 production.One of the sites selected was at the mountain known as Kohnstein, near Nordhausen in Thuringia.

Albert Speer, was put in charge to oversee the creation and operation of the new construction facility. This fact alone contradicts Albert Speer’s claims that he wasn’t aware of the mass killings.330px-Bundesarchiv_Bild_146II-277,_Albert_Speer

 

On 28 August 1943, the first 107 Concentration camps prisoners from Buchenwald arrived with their SS guards at the Kohnstein facility. In 1943, prisoners of Buchenwald  began construction of large underground factories and development facilities for the V-2 missile program and other experimental weapons.

 

A new subcamp with the name ‘Dora’ or ‘Mittelbau Dora’  was created-In October 1944, the SS made Dora-Mittelbau an independent concentration camp with more than 30 subcamps of its own.-

By Christmas 1943 the amount of slave labourers from Buchenwald had risen to 10,500. Because there were no living quarters, prisoners were forced to sleep in the tunnels.

Tunnel

Prisoners  who were too weak or too ill to work were sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau or Mauthausen to be killed.

Prisoner came from almost all occupied European countries, many of them were so called ‘political’ prisoners. After May 1944, Jews were also transported to Mittelbau. With the closing of the so-called Zigeuner-Familienlager  at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the SS transported many Roma and Sinti to Mittelbau between April and August 1944.

On 10 December 1943, Albert Speer and his staff had paid a visit to  the tunnels, where they saw  the terrible conditions and had observed how the tunnels  littered with corpses. Some members of Speer’s staff were so supset that they had to take an extra period of leave. A week later, Speer wrote to Kammler, an appointed board member, congratulating him on his success “in transforming the underground installation from its raw condition two months ago into a factory.

In 1944, a compound to house forced laborers was built above ground level south of the main factory area.

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Some prisoners organized resistance operation in the camps but every prisoner suspected of carrying out sabotage was executed by hanging.

It is estimated that about 60,000 prisoners had worked as forced labourers in  the Mittelbau camps between August 1943 and March 1945. The exact number of people killed is nearly impossible  to establish. According to some SS Data an estimated 12,000 died. In addition, an unknown number of unregistered prisoners died or were murdered in the camps. Additionally 5,000 sick and dying were sent in early 1944 and in March 1945 to Lublin and Bergen-Belsen.

One of the architects and designers of the V2 program was Wernher von Braun,and he must have been well aware of the way his weapons were build and how many lives it had cost,aside from that, his weapon had not only caused the deaths of thousands of civilians in the UK and Belgium it had also caused psychological terror. Despite this he escaped prosecution by the allies.

Peenemünde, Dornberger, Olbricht, Leeb, v. Braun

On June 20 1945 the United States Secretary of State, Edward Reilly Stettinius Jr. approved the transfer of Wernher von Braun and his team of Nazi rocket scientists to the U.S. under Operation Paperclip.

Wernher_von_Braun_-_ABMA_Badge

During the late 1960s, von Braun was instrumental in the development of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, he was also director of Marshall Space Flight Center from 1960 to 1970. He spearheaded development of NASA’s Mercury and Apollo space programs.

The development of the V2 played a pivotal part in the development and progress of the US space program.

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In fact the very first photo from space was taken from a V-2 launched by US scientists on 24 October 1946.

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Don’t get me wrong I am not against space exploration in the contrary, it intrigues me but I  do question the manner how it initially was conducted, so many were tortured and killed for it.

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I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

USHMM

NASA

 

Operation Paperclips-Evil deeds rewarded.

Project_Paperclip_Team_at_Fort_Bliss

Operation Paperclip (also Project Paperclip) was the code name for the O.S.S.–U.S. Military rescue of scientists from Nazi Germany, during the terminus and aftermath of World War II. In 1945, the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency was established with direct responsibility for effecting Operation Paperclip.

The primary purpose for Operation Paperclip was for the U.S. to gain a military advantage in the burgeoning Cold War, and later Space Race, between the U.S. and Soviet Union.

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By comparison, the Soviet Union were even more aggressive in recruiting Germans: during Operation Osoaviakhim, Soviet military units forcibly (at gunpoint) recruited 2,000+ German specialists to the Soviet Union during one night.

Lager Friedland, wartende Kriegsheimkehrer

The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) established the first secret recruitment program, called Operation Overcast, on July 20, 1945, initially “to assist in shortening the Japanese war and to aid our postwar military research.” The term “Overcast” was the name first given by the German scientists’ family members for the housing camp where they were held in Bavaria.[4] In late summer 1945, the JCS established the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA), a subcommmittee of the Joint Intelligence Community, to directly oversee Operation Overcast and later Operation Paperclip.

The JIOA had one representative of each member agency of the Joint Intelligence Committee: the army’s director of intelligence, the chief of naval intelligence, the assistant chief of Air Staff-2 (air force intelligence), and a representative from the State Department.In November 1945, Operation Overcast was renamed Operation Paperclip by Ordnance Corps (United States Army) officers, who would attach a paperclip to the folders of those rocket experts whom they wished to employ in America. President Truman formally approved Operation Paperclip and expanded it to include one thousand German scientists in a secret directive, circulated on September 3, 1946.

One of the most well-known recruits was Werner von Braun, the technical director at the Peenemunde Army Research Center in Germany.(dresses as civilian in the picture below)

Peenemünde, Dornberger, Olbricht, Leeb, v. Braun

who was instrumental in developing the lethal V-2 rocket that devastated England during the war.

Peenemünde, Start einer V2

Von Braun and other rocket scientists were brought to Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Proving Grounds, New Mexico, as “War Department Special Employees” to assist the U.S. Army with rocket experimentation. Von Braun later became director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and the chief architect of the Saturn V launch vehicle, which eventually propelled two dozen American astronauts to the Moon.

SS General Hans Kammler, who as an engineer had constructed several concentration camps, including Auschwitz, had a reputation for brutality and had originated the idea of using concentration camp prisoners as slave laborers in the rocket program. Arthur Rudolph, chief engineer of the V-2 rocket factory at Peenemünde, endorsed this idea in April 1943 when a labor shortage developed. More people died building the V-2 rockets than were killed by it as a weapon. Von Braun admitted visiting the plant at Mittelwerk on many occasions, and called conditions at the plant “repulsive”, but claimed never to have witnessed any deaths or beatings, although it had become clear to him by 1944 that deaths had occurred.He denied ever having visited the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp itself, where 20,000 died from illness, beatings, hangings, and intolerable working conditions.

Some prisoners claim von Braun engaged in brutal treatment or approved of it. Guy Morand, a French resistance fighter who was a prisoner in Dora, testified in 1995 that after an apparent sabotage attempt, von Braun ordered a prisoner to be flogged, while Robert Cazabonne, another French prisoner, claimed von Braun stood by as prisoners were hanged by chains suspended by cranes.However, these accounts may have been a case of mistaken identity.Former Buchenwald inmate Adam Cabala claims that von Braun went to the concentration camp to pick slave laborers: “[…] also the German scientists led by Prof. Wernher von Braun were aware of everything daily. As they went along the corridors, they saw the exhaustion of the inmates, their arduous work and their pain. Not one single time did Prof. Wernher von Braun protest against this cruelty and bestiality during his frequent stays at Dora. Even the aspect of corpses did not touch him: On a small area near the ambulance shed, inmates tortured to death by slave labor and the terror of the overseers were piling up daily. But, Prof. Wernher von Braun passed them so close that he was almost touching the corpses.

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Von Braun was not the only one who had actively taken a part in the genocide. Many more of the Operation Paperclip scientist had committed awful crimes, but yet they were rewarded with a comfortable job working for

Every year since 1963, the Space Medicine Association has given out the Hubertus Strughold Award to a top scientist or clinician for outstanding work in aviation medicine.

Hubertus Strughold

In April 1935 the government of Nazi Germany appointed Strughold to serve as the director of the Berlin-based Research Institute for Aviation Medicine, a medical think tank that operated under the auspices of Hermann Göring’s Ministry of Aviation

In October 1942, Strughold attended a medical conference in Nuremberg at which SS physician Sigmund Rascher delivered a presentation outlining various medical experiments he had conducted, in conjunction with the Luftwaffe, in which prisoners from the Dachau concentration camp were used as human test subjects.

 

These experiments included physiological tests during which camp inmates were immersed in freezing water, placed in air pressure chambers and made to endure invasive surgical procedures without anesthetic. Many of the inmates forced to participate died as a result. Various Luftwaffe physicians had participated in the experiments and several of them had close ties to Strughold, both through the Institute for Aviation Medicine and the Luftwaffe Medical Service.

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Space Monkey

space-rhesus-monkey-e1475256881212

There are many brave astronauts that have participated – and even given their lives – in the quest to put human beings into space. But before those astronauts had a chance to take flight, there was a long line of other creatures that paved the way for human spaceflight. The first living beings were fruit flies, which were sent up along with some seeds of corn in 1947 to test the effects of radiation on DNA. The container of flies flew aboard a V2 rocket to a height of 106 miles (171 km), and the capsule was recovered with the flies alive and well.

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The first monkey to be sent successfully into space was Albert II, a male rhesus monkey, who made it to a height of 83 miles (134 km) on June 14, 1949. Albert II was carried aboard a V2 rocket as well, though his fate was not as lucky as that of the fruit flies: a problem with the parachute on the recovery capsule sadly led Albert II to his death from the force of the impact upon landing.

Albert II was preceded by Albert, whose capsule only made it to a height of 39 miles (63km) on June 11, 1948. Albert did not last long, and possibly suffocated even before his capsule left the ground. Space officially begins at 100 km above the surface of the Earth, and this height is called the Karman Line. After Albert II made it into space, a number of other monkeys, named Albert III, IV, and V all flew aboard rockets, though none survived the flight, either dying on impact or during the flight.

All of the monkeys were anesthetized during their missions, and implants and sensors – as well as cameras on later missions – allowed scientists to study the effects of weightlessness and radiation at high altitudes on living creatures. Without the sacrifice of these animals, there would have been much loss of human life during the space program.

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Mikhail Devyatayev-Heroic escapee from a Nazi Concentration camp-branded a Criminal.

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Born in 1917 at Torbeyevo, Mikhail was the thirteenth child born to the family of a Mordovian peasant. In 1938 he graduated from a School of River Navigation (Речной Техникум) and worked as the captain of a small ship on the Volga. That same year he was conscripted into the Red Army and began education at a Chkalov Flying School, graduating in 1940.

Devyataev was an early entrant of World War II, destroying his first Ju-87 on 24 June 1941 just two days after Germany attacked the Soviet Union.

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Soon he was awarded the Order of the Red Banner. On 23 September he was seriously wounded (he was hit into his left leg). After a long stay in the hospital he was assigned to slow-speed aviation (Night bomber Po-2) and then to medical aviation. He resumed his duties as a fighter pilot after his meeting with the famous Soviet ace Aleksandr Ivanovich Pokryshkin in May 1944. Commander of an echelon with the 104th Guardian Fighter Pilot Regiment (9th Guardian Fighter Pilot Division, 2nd Airforce Army, 1st Ukrainian Front), Senior Lieutenant Devyatayev destroyed 9 enemy planes.

On 13 July 1944 Devyataev was downed near Lwów over German-held territory and became a prisoner of war, held in the Łódź concentration camp. He made an attempt to escape on 13 August but was caught and transferred to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. He soon realised his situation was perilous-as a Soviet pilot, he could expect extreme brutality; therefore, he managed to exchange identities with a dead Soviet infantryman.

With his new identity,  Devyataev was later transferred to a camp in Usedom to be a part of a forced labor crew working for the German missile program on the island of Peenemünde.

 

 

Under hellish conditions, the prisoners were forced to repair runways and clear un-exploded bombs by hand. Security was rigidly enforced with vicious guards and dogs, and there was little chance of escape. Even so, by February 1945, Devyataev concluded that, however remote, the chance of escape was preferable to certain death as a prisoner.

Devyataev managed to convince three other prisoners (Sokolov, Krivonogov and Nemchenko) that he could fly them to freedom. They decided to run away at dinnertime, when most of the guards were in the dining room. Sokolov and Nemchenko were able to create a work gang from Soviet citizens only.

At noon on 8 February 1945, as the ten Soviet POWs, including Devyataev, were at work on the runway, one of the work gang, Ivan Krivonogov, picked up a crowbar and killed their guard. Another prisoner, Peter Kutergin, quickly stripped off the guard’s uniform and slipped it on. The work gang, led by the “guard”, managed to unobtrusively take over the camp commandant’s He 111 H22 bomber and fly from the island. Devyataev piloted the aircraft.

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The Germans tried to intercept the bomber unsuccessfully. The aircraft was damaged by Soviet air defences but managed to land in Soviet-held territory. The escapees provided important information about the German missile program, especially about the V-1 and V-2.

 

The NKVD did not believe Devyataev’s story, arguing it was impossible for the prisoners to take over an airplane without cooperation from the Germans. Thus, Devyataev was suspected of being a German spy and sent to a penal military unit along with the other nine men. Of the escapees, five died in action over the following months. Devyataev himself spent the remainder of the war in prison.

Devyataev was discharged from the army in November 1945. However, his classification remained that of a “criminal” and was unable to secure long term employment.. Eventually, though, Devyataev found work as a manual laborer in Kazan. Soviet authorities cleared Devyataev only in 1957, after the head of the Soviet space program Sergey Korolyov personally presented his case, arguing that the information provided by Devyataev and the other escapees had been critical for the Soviet space program. On 15 August 1957, Devyataev became a Hero of the Soviet Union, and a subject of multiple books and newspaper articles. He continued to live in Kazan, working as a captain of first hydrofoil passenger ships on the Volga.

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In 1972, he published his memoirs.Devyataev was awarded the Order of Lenin, the Order of Red Banner twice, Order of the Patriotic War (first and second class), and many other awards.

 

He became an honoured citizen of Mordovia Republic, the cities of Kazan, Wolgast and Zinnowitz (Germany).

He died at Kazan in 2002, aged 85, and is buried in an old Arsk Field cemetery in Kazan near a World War II Memorial. There is a museum of Devyataev in his native Torbeyevo (opened 8 May 1975) and monuments in Usedom and Kazan.

 

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Sources

Open Soutce Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikhail_Devyatayev

Cine Rex V2 attack

 

le-rex10It is amazing how big event can sometimes overshadow smaller but nonetheless awful events. A friend of mine had mentioned the event of Cine Rex to me.

On the 16th of December the German launched one last offensive campaign in the Ardennes which is widely know as the battle of the Bulge.

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On Dec. 16 the Germans launched their pincer attack on Antwerp. Half a million German soldiers burst upon 830,000 Americans. For 10 days they advanced.

On that same day  at 15.20, a V-2 rocket fired from the Netherlands by the SS Werfer Battery 500 directly landed on the roof of the cinema during a showing of The Plainsman.

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There were approximately 1,100 people inside the cinema and the explosion killed 567 people including 296 Allied servicemen (194 further servicemen were injured) and 11 buildings in total destroyed.

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The rockets were more then likely launched from the Hague in the Netherlands

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The destruction was total. Afterwards, many people were found still sitting in their seats, stone dead. For more than a week the Allied authorities worked to clear the rubble. Later, many of the bodies were laid out at the city zoo for identification.

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The death toll was 567 casualties to soldiers and civilians, 291 injured and 11 buildings were destroyed. 296 of the dead & 194 of the injured were U.S., British, & Canadian soldiers. This was the single highest death total from one rocket attack during the war in Europe.

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It took nearly a week to dig all the bodies out of the rubble. It was the single highest death total from a single rocket attack during the war.Following the attack all public performance venues were closed and the town council ordered that a maximum of 50 people were allowed to congregate in any one location.

Antwerp had been hit by both V1 and V2 rockets between October 1944 and March 1945

During the V-weapon onslaught, over a period of 175 days and nights, the German launching crews fired more than 4,000 V-1s and more than 1,700 V-2s at greater Antwerp. Of those, 106 V-1s and 107 V-2s hit the heart of the city. During that period more than 3,700 civilians were killed and some 6,000 injured in the provence of Antwerp. Only about 30 percent of the V-2s launched against Antwerp reached the city. The rockets that were off-target kept falling all around the Antwerp area and often very far away from the port area. Several factors come into play for the modest number of V-2s Antwerp suffered each day, but the main reasons were the German bottleneck in their alcohol and liquid oxygen supply and the enormous dispersion of the still imperfect weapon.

In March 1945 TIME magazine had called Antwerp “The City of Sudden Death”

As for the Cinema itself it was rebuilt in 1947 but was demolished in 1995.

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The V2 attack on Woolworths

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On Saturday 25th November 1944 at 12.26 pm [only 2 weeks since the first V2 rocket hit London]

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at a busy shopping parade in New Cross a V2 rocket hit without warning destroying most of the parade [including the Woolworths and Co Op stores, now Iceland and New Cross Library] in the massive explosion 168 people lost their lives [24 were never identified] and 122 were injured.

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The parade was bustling with shoppers and included a Woolworths store. The dead included Mothers with their children and the elderly as well as local people many came from outside the Borough.

Saturday 25 November, 1944 was mild. The Allies’ success in Europe had raised peoples’ spirits at home. In New Cross word spread that the local Woolworth’s had 144 tin saucepans. These had been in short supply, so a queue built up quickly. Mums, grandparents and even soldiers on home leave stood in line, hoping to be lucky.

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All of the full-time staff were at work on the busiest trading day. They were assisted by Saturday boys and girls, most of whom were just fourteen years old, and out to earn a little pocket money.

At noon the Council’s manual workers clocked off after collecting their wages from Deptford Town Hall, opposite the store. Many went shopping.

Also at noon, far away on Walcheren Island off the Belgian Coast, a select group of German dignitaries were celebrating.

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They had arranged drinks to mark the 250th launch of a V2 rocket, which was despatched skywards as they watched. A few minutes later it malfunctioned and exploded in the sky above St Paul’s Cray in Kent. No-one was hurt.

At 12.15 second break started at Woolworth’s and the next wave of store staff headed upstairs for a cooked lunch in the canteen. The train cleaners from New Cross Station on the Southern Railway slipped off early, hoping to get a hot drink of Bovril at the Woolies Tea Bar. The pile of saucepans near the back tills was going down. And the 251st rocket was launched.

Suddenly, with no warning, at 12.26 the V2 rocket hit the rear of the flat roof of the Woolworth store. After a moment’s silence the walls bowed, and the building collapsed and exploded. The Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society store next door and the queue of people waiting for a tram in the street outside were caught in the inferno. As the dust settled shards of glass and debris stretched ankle-deep all the way to New Cross Station, half a mile (0.4km) away. It is believed that the station had been the target.

In the hours that followed local people helped the emergency services to lift the rubble by hand. As it was cleared the full horror was evident. 168 people had died, both customers and staff. 122 passers-by were injured. Just one person survived. These terrible losses would have been even worse if traffic problems had not causes a suspension of the tram service along New Cross Road a few minutes before the attack.

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Test Stand VII-V2 launch: October 3rd 1942

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Today marks the 74th anniversary of the first successful launch of a V-2 /A4-rocket from Test Stand VII at Peenemünde, Germany.Making it the 1st official man made object to reach space, making space exploration a fact.

However the Nazi’s weren’t really interested in space exploration for the betterment of humankind.

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Test Stand VII(P-7) was the principal V-2 rocket testing facility at Peenemünde Airfield and was capable of static firing of rocket motors up to 200 tons thrust. Notable events at the site include the first successful V-2 launch on 3 October 1942.

Two distinguishing features of P-7 were the 670-yard-long ,elliptical high-sloped sand wall and the wide concrete-lined trench (flame pit) with a large symmetrical water-cooled flame deflector of molybdenum-steel pipes. The concrete trench, nearly 25 feet (7.6 m) wide with 3 feet (0.91 m) concrete walls, sloped gradually away from each side of the flame deflector to a depth of 20 feet (6.1 m), rising again symmetrically toward the side of the arena. Beside the flame pit was a long underground room where 4 feet (1.2 m) diameter delivery pipes were housed to route cooling water at 120 gallon per second from three huge pumps in the pumphouse to the flame deflector in the pit.

While the elliptical sand wall was for blocking high sea winds and blown sand, concrete structures were integrated into the wall and under the ground to protect equipment and personnel from rocket explosions and enemy bombing (a sand-filled dummy warhead, called “the elephant”, was normally used). A large gap in the wall allowed easy entry by vehicles (particularly rail cars with propellants), and an open tunnel through the ellipse wall at the narrower southern end also allowed entry. Integrated into the ellipse wall next to the tunnel was a massive observation and measuring blockhouse containing the control center. The control center had a double door with a bulletproof glass window from which an observer maintained telephone communication with the Telemetering Building at a remote location from P-7. A receiver in a lighthouse near Koserow provided telemetry from rockets with the Wolman System for Doppler tracking. For rockets that used radio control for V-2 engine cutoff, the Brennschluss(burn-out) equipment included a transmitter on the bank of the Peene about 7.5 miles (12.1 km) from P-7 and the Doppler radar at Lubmin (a motorized Würzburg radar, the “rhinoceros”

Frankreich, Radargerät "Würzburg"

Beginning in September 1944, over 3,000 V-2s were launched by the German Wehrmacht against Allied targets during the war, first London and later Antwerp and Liège.

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According to a 2011 BBC documentary, the attacks resulted in the deaths of an estimated 9,000 civilians and military personnel, while 12,000 forced laborers and concentration camp prisoners died producing the weapons.

“This third day of October, 1942, is the first of a new era in transportation, that of space travel…”

— Speech at Peenemünde, Walter Dornberger, 3 October 1942
Walter Dornberger
The control room  had switchboards, a row of four periscopes, manometers, frequency gauges, voltmeters and ammeters, green/red/white signal lamps, and switches at the propulsion console and guidance panel to dynamically display approximately 15 measurement points within the rocket. Additionally, the control room had a big “X-time” countdown clock that display the time until launch, which was announced via loudspeakers as “X minus four minutes“, etc. In addition to the control room, the blockhouse also contained offices, a conference room, a small dormitory with double bunks and an adjoining shower, a wash room, and a workshop. A long underground corridor led from the measurement blockhouse to a room in the concrete foundation by the flame pit, and multiple rows of measurement cables covered the walls of the tunnel. A different gradually rising tunnel led from the long flame pit room to the exterior of the arena near the pumphouse . Near the pumphouse were high wooden towers to cool the water, and 25 feet (7.6 m) high tanks for the recooling water were integrated into the ellipse wall.
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The prominent tower within the arena was a mobile test frame/crane (Fahrbare Kranbühne)which could be moved over the flame pit to position the rocket nozzle 25 feet above the deflector, and which allowed an entire missile to be gimbaled in two directions up to five degrees from vertical. The tower included an elevator and a German-made Toledo scale for thrust measurements. Actual launches were from a steel table-like structure (firing stand, Brennstand) across the railway from the flame pit on the test stand’s large concrete foundation. Under the concrete foundation were the recorder room, a small shop, an office, compressed nitrogen storage cylinders, and catch tanks. The arena also included an engine cold-calibration pad for conducting flow test measurements by pumping water (instead of Liquid oxygen) and alcohol(which was recovered afterward) via the turbopump through the combustion chamber. Since the V-2 motor had no controller for the turbopump, cold-calibration allowed the determination of “freak cases” of equipment.
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Launch Description

“The heavy missile … rose only 15 feet above the firing table. Then it stood still! It stood upright in the air, showing no desire to turn over or to revolve about its longitudinal axis. It was an unbelievable sight. At any moment the rocket would topple or fall back, crash and explode. … But I still kept my binoculars on the rocket. … There must have been an interruption in the output of the steam generator for the propellant-pump turbine. … The film operator, Kühn, had taken up position facing me on the [elliptical] wall of the test stand. He must have had good nerves. The rocket hung in the air just 100 yards away.[from Kühn] Nothing daunted, … He certainly knew from experience that the moment the projectile fell back he would be in mortal danger. He just went on cranking. … Our exhaust vanes were doing a wonderful job. The rocket stood unsupported in the air, as straight as a ramrod. Only 4 seconds had passed, … The rocket was bound to topple now. The tilt [for trajectory control] would now begin automatically. … The rocket grew lighter owing to the steady fuel consumption. Almost imperceptibly, yard by yard, it began to climb. Its nose turned very gradually eastward. … At a height of 30 to 40 feet it moved slowly, still practically upright, toward the cameraman. He went on cranking. I caught my breath. Just a little more tilt and the rocket would certainly capsize and explode … Now it was over the wall. Kühn knelt down and pointed his camera almost straight upward. It was going to be some film! … I knew what was bound to come. … I saw him get up slowly, still cranking. His camera was now practically horizontal. Then he pointed it diagonally down from the high wall. Boom! … Smoke, flames, fragments of sheet-metal, branches, and sand whirled through the air. The rocket had crashed … 40 yards beyond the wall … The cameraman was still cranking. … I was filled with an immense pride. … only with men like this, could we finish the job that lay before us.”

Walter Dornberger, c. 1943.

It is such a shame that the Nazi’s only had death,destruction and annihilation in mind when they designed both V1 and V2 programs.
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