Nazi V-Venom

V-1 Robot Bomb. This objectionable contrivance has wings and is jet-propelled. Unfortunately it was relatively simple and inexpensive to produce, while at the same time expensive and bothersome to combat. It had a single virtue from the Allied point of view — sometimes the robot reversed its course and returned its compliments to its senders. The fuselage contains a war head, automatic contro] equipment and two spherical compressed-air tanks for running control, in addition to a supply of gasoline. It obtains its oxygen from the air outside. In appearance the "buzz bomb" is stubby, having a length of twenty-seven feet and a wing span of seventeen feet. The creation has a speed less than sound and an estimated range of 150 miles.

V-2 Dubbed "flying telegraph pole", this weapon is a true rocket, without wings and independent of the surrounding atmosphere for its supply of oxygen. It is approximately forty-eight feet long and five feet in diameter, weighing twelve tons with its fuel load and having a war head of 2,000 pounds of explosive. The V-2 travels at the supersonic rate of 3,000 mph and strikes its target within five minutes after it has been launched. Since its speed surpassed that of sound its approach was unheralded by noise of any kind. Allied advances fortunately checked V-2 progress.

V-3 Again and again and again. One of the last flying pests contributed to society by the firm of Nazi Inc, was the V-3, which was described as being capable of freezing all persons within 150 yards of the point of explosion. Alfred Africano, in a report to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, calculated that a V-3 capable of spanning the 3,000 miles between the US and Germany would not be able to cross in one piece. He estimated that such a weapon would have to weigh approximately 2,500 tons and would probably be the three-step rocket proposed originally by the Belgian, Dr Andre Bing. It is hoped that such an object will certainly end "not with a bang but a whimper."

This article was originally published in the August, 1943, issue of Skyways magazine, vol 2, no 8, p 64.

Editor's note: Wikipedia lists the V-3 as the Hochdruckpumpe "supergun" intended to shell London from the Pas de Calais. According to the Wikipedia article, the weapon was also known as Tausendfüssler. ("millipede").