The wreckage of a V2 rocket launched by Nazi Germany in London during World War II was excavated in a field in southeastern England, crashing and exploding before reaching its target.
This is the sixth major V2 site conducted by conflict archaeologists and brothers Colin and Sean Welch, who spent more than a decade investigating the Nazi “Revenge Weapons” site launched in the British capital. It is an excavation.
They also unearthed dozens of V1 impact sites Flying bombThe predecessor of modern cruise missiles, mainly launched from the Nazi-occupied French catapult in 1944 and 1945.
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In the latest V2 archaeological excavation near Pratt, a village near Maidstone, researchers said Crater locator — Since the rocket exploded at midnight on February 14, 1945, we have recovered over 1,760 pounds (800 kilograms) of metal fragments, including large debris from the rocket’s combustion chamber.
The farmland is now open, but it was an orchard when it was hit by a rocket. No one was injured because the shock was far enough away from any house, but an older woman later said that the sound of the blast hurt her hearing, Sean Welch told live science. I told you.
At the end of September, the team used a mechanical excavator and shovel for four days to excavate an explosion crater that was filled with soil, even though it was known. They currently spend up to 18 months to save objects before producing an archaeological report in the county’s official historical archive.
According to Colin Welch, the team used a metal detector to identify the deepest blast debris over 14 feet (4.3 meters) underground.
“”[Although] The rocket is moving up to 3.5 times the speed of sound, and the explosion is not supersonic, “he said. [1.5 m] On the ground before it begins to explode properly. “
Weapon of revenge
The V1 flying bomb and V2 rocket were one of the last “wonder waffes” or “mysterious weapons” that Nazi leaders wanted to turn the tide of war, but Germany lost it. But it was too late.
according to Smithsonian Institution’s Aerospace MuseumAdolf Hitler ordered V1 and V2 deployed against London following the devastating Allied bombings of German cities in 1943 and 1944, and his minister of publicity Joseph Goebbels called them “. Called “Vergeltungswaffe” or “V-weapons”. The first V1 struck London on June 13, 1944, and the first V2 struck September 7, 1944.
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The V1 flew at about the same speed as the fighters of the time, and Royal Air Force pilots quickly learned to shoot them down or take them off course. Their pulse jet engines also made a lot of noise — they were called “buzz bombs” — people could hear them coming and trying to evacuate. ..
However, the V2 rocket was the first supersonic weapon, and was very feared because no one could hear them coming and it was too high to fly fast and intercept. German troops launched rockets from the German site to an altitude of about 50 miles (80 km). After that, I reached my goal and reached a maximum speed of 3,500 mph (5,600 km / h).
Although the V2 was more sophisticated, the V1 was much cheaper to manufacture and tended to explode on the ground rather than after it entered the ground, making it a more effective weapon, Colin Welch said.
An estimated 9,000 civilians and military personnel were killed in the V2 rocket attack on London, and up to 30,000 people were killed in both Germany’s Vergeltungswaffen. Imperial War Museum In London.
Some V2 rockets did not reach the British capital and landed in Kent. Colin and Sean Welch believe this is due to the launch on a night with poor targeting accuracy. They claim that as the V2 campaign progresses, Allied radar operators may discover the launch and guide the fighter squadron to its location. To avoid attacks on Allied aircraft, the Germans launched V2 on nights when most fighters were unable to fly. They said this reduced the accuracy of the ground crew aiming at the rocket.
Some of the V2’s twisted metal debris, which crashed and exploded near Pratt in 1944, are embossed with a three-letter code that indicates the Nazi-occupied European factory where the parts were manufactured.
Until recently, historians believed that all later V2s were built under the guidance of German rocket scientist Wernher von Braun in an underground tunnel near Nordhausen at the foot of the Harz Mountains in Germany. ..
But now the Nordhausen plant seems to have been nothing more than an assembly line, and the three-letter code indicates that the Nazis manufactured V2 parts at a Czechoslovak-occupied plant.
Von Braun himself is a controversial character. He claimed he was unaware of the Nazi atrocities, but he was a member of the Nazi paramilitary SS (meaning “Schutzstaffel”, “Protection”) and White Sand Missile Range Museum Over 12,000 forced laborers died on his V2 production line in a year.
However, von Braun was captured by Americans after the war and became a pioneer in the space race. In 1960, he was appointed director of NASA’s NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. So he developed a rocket to propel the Apollo spacecraft to the moon.
Postwar German US troops also captured several V2s at various stages of assembly and shipped them to the United States. So they became the basis of a fledgling space program. Launched from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico in 1946, the modified V2 reached an altitude of 65 miles (105 km) and took the first picture of the Earth from space. Reported by Air & Space Magazine..
Originally published in Live Science.
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