PMA P0322 German V-2 Long-Range Guided Ballistic Missile with Meillerwagen Launch Trailer and Brennstand - V-2 Rocket Division, Dark Green [Operational Scheme] (1:72 Scale)
"Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down? That's not my department."
- A quote attributed to Wehrner von Braun, head of the German rocketry program
The V-2 (German: Vergeltungswaffe 2, "Retribution Weapon 2"), technical name Aggregat 4 (A4), was the world's first long-range guided ballistic missile. The missile with a liquid-propellant rocket engine was developed during the Second World War in Germany as a "vengeance weapon", assigned to attack Allied cities as retaliation for the Allied bombings against German cities. The V-2 rocket also became the first artificial object to cross the boundary of space with the vertical launch of MW 18014 on June 20th, 1944.
Research into military use of long range rockets began when the studies of graduate student Wernher von Braun attracted the attention of the German Army. A series of prototypes culminated in the A-4, which went to war as the V-2. Beginning in September 1944, over 3,000 V-2s were launched by the German Wehrmacht against Allied targets, first London and later Antwerp and Liege. According to a 2011 BBC documentary, the attacks from V2s resulted in the deaths of an estimated 9,000 civilians and military personnel, and a further 12,000 forced laborers and concentration camp prisoners died as a result of their forced participation in the production of the weapons.
As Germany collapsed, teams from the Allied forces - the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union - raced to capture key German manufacturing sites and technology. Wernher von Braun and over 100 key V-2 personnel surrendered to the Americans. Eventually, many of the original V-2 team ended up working at the Redstone Arsenal. The US also captured enough V-2 hardware to build approximately 80 of the missiles. The Soviets gained possession of the V-2 manufacturing facilities after the war, re-established V-2 production, and moved it to the Soviet Union.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a German V-2 long-range guided ballistic missile with Meillerwagen launch trailer. Comes in a monotone dark green pattern indicative of a late war operational scheme used by Germany's V-2 Rocket Division.
Note: Prime mover not included.
Release Date: October 2017
Historical Account: "Mobile Friendly" - Originally, plans called for the V-2 to be launched from massive blockhouses located at Eperlecques and La Coupole near the English Channel. This static approach was soon scrapped in favor of mobile launchers. Traveling in convoys of thirty trucks, the V-2 team would arrive at a staging area where the warhead was installed before towing it to the launch site on a Meillerwagen. There, the missile was placed on the launch platform, armed, fueled, and the gyros set. This set up took approximately 90 minutes and the launch team could clear an area in 30 minutes after launch.
This mobile system proved highly successful and up to 100 missiles a day could be launched by German V-2 forces. Also, due to their ability to stay on the move, V-2 convoys were rarely caught by Allied aircraft. The first V-2 attacks were launched against Paris and London on September 8th, 1944. Over the next eight months, a total of 3,172 V-2 were launched at Allied cities including London, Paris, Antwerp, Lille, Norwich, and Liege. Due to the missile's ballistic trajectory and extreme speed which exceeded three times the speed of sound during descent, there was no existing and effective method for intercepting them. To combat the threat, several experiments were conducted involving radio jamming (the British erroneously thought the rockets were radio-controlled) and massing anti-aircraft guns. These ultimately proved fruitless.