Wars are filled with ‘what ifs’ but the German Vengeance Weapons had the potential to alter the military balance. The official documents of the time have been compiled to provide the most detailed account of how Britain saw this phase of the war. – Very Highly Recommended
NAME: Hitler's V-Weapons, The Battle Against The V-1 & V2, Written At The Time, An Official History FILE: R3300 AUTHOR: John Grehan PUBLISHER: frontline books, Pen and Sword BINDING: hard back PRICE: £25.00 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: WWII, World War II, World War 2, Second World War, European Theatre, Allied Forces, final stages of WWII, flying bomb, cruise missile, rocket, ballistic missile, German Vengeance Weapons, fight aircraft, anti-aircraft artillery, intelligence, espionage ISBN: 1-52677-005-9 PAGES: 328, an eight page b&w photo plate section IMAGE: B3300.jpg BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/yx8k23nc LINKS: DESCRIPTION: Wars are filled with 'what ifs' but the German Vengeance Weapons had the potential to alter the military balance. The official documents of the time have been compiled to provide the most detailed account of how Britain saw this phase of the war. – Very Highly Recommended
The possibilities for alternative outcomes in war are endless and WWII is no exception. What if the Japanese had not made the mistake of attacking the US? What if British and French politicians had grown backbones in 1938? What if Churchill had been PM in 1938? What if the US had not entered the war? The two most interesting and terrifying possibilities are: what if the Germans had deployed their V-Weapons in 1943? and what if the Germans had completed a nuclear weapon by 1944?
Of the three V-Weapons, the long range gun was not installed along the Channel Coast, leaving the airborne V-Weapons to test some theories.
The V-1 was a relatively small and simple cruise missile with a conventional warhead. If it reached a built-up area, it could cause extensive damage, but it was vulnerable to fighters and bombers. The Allies could locate, often with assistance from Resistance Fighters, new V-1 launch sites and send bombers to attack the sites and destroy the launching ramps, together with any missiles collected there. Where V-1s succeeded in launching, the faster piston engined fighters and the Meteor jets could intercept and destroy large numbers of V-1s. Moving AAA out of London to the Kent Coast was very successful in bringing down many of the V1s that the fighters missed. That still left some reaching their targets. To reduce damage, an ingenuous use of double agents sent false information to the Germans who retargeted so that the few missiles getting through mainly struck empty farmland.
What might have changed matters would have been the use of multi-engined aircraft to air-launch the V1. It was launched from bombers, but the Germans lacked heavy bombers that could have carried two V-1s. This would have enabled the Germans to launch large numbers of V1s from many different moving points and at a wider selection of target cites. As it was the British were spared most of the potential threat of the V1.
The V2 was a very different animal. The first ballistic missile to enter service with any nation, it was impossible to intercept on its decent to target. That meant that the only effective counter was to use rocket and cannon equipped aircraft to strike V-2s either before they were ready to launch and in the first moments from engine start when the rocket was still moving slowly. That was a major challenge but the Allied Tactical Air Forces did destroy many V-2s. Those V-2s that did reach their targets were devastating, the more so because the sound arrived after the warhead had detonated. In the event, the Allied armies landed in France and drove into Germany, denying the Germans launch locations within range of Britain and capturing the factories.
John Grehan has assembled and compiled official documents, produced at the time, to show how the new weapons were perceived at the time, and how efforts were made to counter them.