Once a missile designer for the Germans, he became a invaluable rocket scientist for the Americans
Today, Germany celebrates the day of German unity. The German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany became a united country twelve years ago. This day is celebrated for another event in history as well. Sixty years ago, on October 3, 1942, The first A-4 rocket, more commonly known as the V-2, was launched. This rocket was called Hitler’s rocket during WWII.
The V-2 was a creation of the main Nazi missile designer: Wernher von Braun. A lot of researchers think that the successful test of the rocket was one of the major steps on the way to the space exploration. This could be true, but the V-2 served another purpose. Over 4300 V-2 missiles struck London and other European cities by September of 1944.
Work on the V-2 missile started at the end of the 1930s. However, the first tests were held in the summer of 1942. At first, they was not successful, but October 3 went down in history as the first successful launch of the V-2 missile. However, it turned out that many more successes would be needed. Two additional years were spent on the completion of the missile before Germany was able to use it to help the war effort.
The English knew that the Germans were working on the new weapon. Polish partisans sent the V-2 design and a plan of the Peenemunde base, where the missile was tested, to London in July of 1943. A week later, the base was attacked by about 600 English bombers. The base was completely destroyed, but the Germans managed to set up the production of missiles in an underground factory in the mountains. Thirty thousand concentration camp prisoners worked in the factory.
Wernher von Braun also developed the A-9/A-10 missile by 1943. The missile was then called V-3. The range of the missile was immense: it could easily reach the US eastern coast from Europe. However, the V-3 project was delayed for a certain period of time when the Germans experienced failures on the Eastern front. However, Von Braun did forget about his creation. He suggested that Germany use the V-3 to strike New York. Work on the V-3 project was resumed in November of 1944 under the code name “Project America.”
After the war, there were rumors that Nazis were about to strike New York. It was also rumored that there was a group of commandos deployed on the eastern coast of the United States. This group allegedly was to set up radio beacons. Supposedly, this group was destroyed by the American coast guard. It is hard to say whether this was true or not. At any rate, there is no official evidence or documents to prove this version of events. Yet, there are also no rejections either.
According to the official reports, the V-3 missile was successfully launched only three times. Production the new missile was never started. The Nazis lost the war, and Russians and Americans got their hands on all of Germany's projects.
American soldiers found Von Braun on May 10, 1945 at a ski resort in the Alps. He was then sent to the USA, where "Hitler’s scientist" became a leader in designing missiles.
Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969