Werk Süd (South Works) Peenemünde: Highlighting the Fertigungshalle Eins or F1 V2 missile factory
The F1 missile factory: its vast size reflected its ambition
By August 1943 the F1 V2 missile factory at Peenemünde was central to Nazi armaments plans as one of the three sites each expected to produce 300 V2 missiles per month, being one-third of a grand total expected to reach 900 missiles monthly by early 1944. The RAF’s Operation Hydra raid, in the night and early morning of 17/18 August 1943, involving over 600 British bombers, actually caused only slight damage to F1; although sadly it killed 16 slave workers domiciled in the ground floor ‘basement’. However, the raid did sufficient damage to the research complex as a whole and planners were forced to move all production of the V2 missile to a secure bomb-proof site under the Heartz mountains at Nordhausen in central Germany.
The picture gallery also shows the area once enclosed by the almost equally giant Repair and Maintenance workshops, just 120 meters to the north of the missile factory. The ghost of the V2 rocket can be seen in the plethora of decaying relics that still litter the ground in many of these locations. Please note: some of the areas illustrated here are not open to the public and there is a threat from unexploded ordinance. See our information page for details of expert guided tours (in English and German) of these areas.
The photo shows a Lichtstrahl empfänger (In English: Light-beam receiver) environmental protection case, originally one of a group of 40 or so we first found in 2010 abandon in an area adjacent to the train platform for the administration block. On subsequent visits this number has declined to just ten or so, mostly very decayed examples. The environmental casing was vital to the Lorentz Light-Beam equipment on-board the V2 missile as the critical radio frequency would otherwise drift with the large change in temperature as the missile climbed into the stratosphere. The case was thickly insulated with rock wool or fibre-glass strands and designed to help maintain a stable temperature - indeed, the same temperature as the radio equipment was when at ground level when calibration and adjustment was completed before launch. The F1 pre-production hall is located about 200m North-West of the point where this photo was taken. Scroll down to see map below (click map and switch to 'satellite view' for clearer indication of location).