V2 Rocket History: Technology, People, and Places

V2 Rocket History will present our investigations into the history and technological development of the world’s first ballistic missile and – spaceship.  The WWII German A4 missile; better known to history as the V2 rocket.

V2 missile exposed to show guidance servos at the British army workshops at Cuxhaven in 1945

Investigate the A4-V2 missile with us

At V2 Rocket History you’ll find articles on the technology of the V2 rocket in a detailed but accessible way. The V2 liquid fuel rocket engine missile is undoubtedly one of the technical masterworks of humanity, but it’s a story that is marred in its latter stages by appalling cruelty and callousness. Over 70 years have passed but the spectre of the V2 rocket still haunts our world today and there is much we can learn about society’s relationship with scientists and technocrats from the case of WWII’s deadly V2 ballistic missile. 

Our mission on this website

Our focus is on the technology and hardware of the missile, and we prefer to explore the development narrative of the V2 from the standpoint of what the Germans technicians actually did, with correspondingly less stress on what they said they did.

Why bother?

It follows from the fact that the existing history of the V2 is heavily centred on documentary evidence – pieces of paper – found in national and academic archives, and that these documents are primarily from the hands of the principals involved, that there was always a risk of some degree of systematic bias. Add to this the fact that from the 1960s onwards it became increasingly clear that some of the leading people in this story had strong associations with some of the most egregious and cruel aspects of the Third Reich. They committed war crimes and other violations of international law directly or were just one subordinate away from such events. These people had much to lose from candid disclosures of their conduct, from severe reputational damage to possibly even their liberty. With this in mind, it becomes a vital article of investigative rigour to adopt a position of critical scepticism regarding all views arising from the testimony of this group.

“The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie – deliberate, contrived and dishonest – but the myth – persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic.” ~ John F. Kennedy

There are a number of modern studies detailing the development of wartime German ballistic missiles that do not fall into the trap of awarding too much credibility to the principal actors simply because they have the most easily accessible and intimate view of events. Chief among them are the works of Dr Micheal Neufeld, and we recommend his work without reservation. But many historians and other researchers have, over many decades, worked this tainted material into a compelling narrative detailing the history of the V2 missile. It is our opinion, that taken as a whole, the historical record is still biased in favour of the self-serving and defensive testimony of the German military and civilian technicians responsible for the V2’s development. Even now, the combined effect of their expurgated memoirs, interviews, career letters, functional reports etc, has led to their viewpoint being given too much weight in the orthodox narrative of this seminal 20th-century technology.

Robert J Dalby 24/02/2019

So where should I start researching the German A4 V2 missile? 

If you haven’t found it already, to start finding out about the V2 missile, we recommend that you visit www.v2rocket.com. Tracy Dungan’s excellent site is easily the world’s best online resource dealing with the V2 rocket. It may seem a little odd, gleefully sending you elsewhere like this, but it’s important for you to know that our aim is not to repeat any of the excellent work already available on www.v2rocket.com.