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The German V-2 rocket, Hitler´s "brain child" of World War II, is the grandfather of America´s family of large missiles.

Based on findings made by America´s Dr. Robert H. Goddard following World War I, the Germans hit a peak production of V-2´s during 1944 and 1945 at Peenemunde, and terrorized Allied populations of Europe and England until the end of the war.

Photo: V2 Rocket Launch The German program started in early 1940, and the first V-2 was launched July 6, 1942. The third missile, launched in October 1942, flew 170 miles and was the first successful V-2 in flight.

Between August 1944 and February 1945, the Germans made some 3,000 rockets with a peak production of 30 missiles in one day. Hitler´s production target was for 3,600 rockets in one year.

The Germans had an underground production plant in Nordhausen with a 900,000 square-foot production area. The plant was constructed in two parallel tunnels 500 feet apart, each a mile and a quarter long and cut completely through a mountain.

The main rocket assembly line started at one end of the first tunnel and missiles, moved along on rails, were finished and tested upon reaching the opposite end of the tunnel and were ready for delivery to launching sites.

The second tunnel was used for bringing in units and parts for subassembly lines which were 46 smaller tunnels cross-connecting at strategic points the two main missile arteries.

Subassemblies were channeled to tunnels and timed so that they reached the main assembly line at the time and place required. The total length of the entire tunnel-web was 18 miles.

This page was last updated on 4/8/2010 10:38 AM 
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