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"Why no V weapons to the east." Topic

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Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP04 Aug 2018 9:11 p.m. PST

Why didn't Hitler order V1 and V2 rockets to be aimed to Russia? Could they not be brought east for launching sites? Are they only good against population sites, and not at large troop concentrations.

Natxoman04 Aug 2018 11:25 p.m. PST

Lack of range??

They fired lots of those against GB and other tatgets in Belgium (specially against the Antverp área) and northern France , with the range being (at worst) of a few hundred kilometers…

Not to talk about the support they needed , and that was hardly available in Russia… not to talk about decent roads to transport , deploy , and employ such weapons and the huge quantities of highly trained personnel they needed .

foxweasel05 Aug 2018 1:24 a.m. PST

I think it's a lot to do with the perceived and actual reaction to casualties. The Germans expected them to be seen as terror weapons that would lower British morale through casualties and the sheer terror of not knowing there destination. I think the Germans probably realised that Stalin wouldn't care less about civilian casualties. And they couldn't have been produced in sufficient numbers to affect troop numbers.

Giles the Zog05 Aug 2018 1:27 a.m. PST

It was also probably part of Hitler's efforts to give the western allies a hard time, so they would join with Germany to halt the Soviet advance.

Cockeyed strategy but there you go.

Keith Talent05 Aug 2018 1:49 a.m. PST

Range and accuracy.
They were only capable of hitting major city sized targets, and there were no Russian cities in range.
They were never designed to be used against troop concentrations.

Griefbringer05 Aug 2018 2:36 a.m. PST

Also, they were only available rather late. V1 rockets were first used in anger in June 1944, by which time the Germans had been pushed back so far back towards west that there were no particularly juicy targets available within the range (250 km). Plus later that month Soviets launched the operation Bagration, which would see the Germans pushed further back.

By the time V2 rockets come available in September 1944, operation Bagration is over but the Germans have been pushed so far west that big targets are even sparser – and the new weapon has only a bit longer range.

Had the rockets been available in 1941 or 1942, they could have been employed against such large targets as Leningrad, Moscow or Sevastopol. Whether they would have made any real difference is another issue – back at the time Luftwaffe was still quite capable of dropping big bombs against such targets.

The main advantage of the V rockets was that they could be employed against targets that had good air defenses. Granted, V1 rockets could still be shot down from the air, but they did not need pilots and could not suffer "morale failure". But V2 rockets with their very high trajectories were very difficult to stop once in flight.

In any case, all that the V rockets could be used for was terror bombings of civilian populations – an approach that caused a lot of suffering, but brought little military advantage. Considering that the British had not given up in 1940-1941, expecting them to do so from a rocket bombardment of London in 1944 was quite far stretched.

As said, against troop concentrations they were of limited use, due to the lack of accuracy. Never mind that by 1944 the Soviets were also pretty capable in maskirovka, so detecting troop concentrations behind the lines was not a trivial feat.

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP05 Aug 2018 4:05 a.m. PST

The V-weapons were barely cost-effective.

They caused some impressive levels of damage on targets like cities, but were too inaccurate to reliably hit such targets.

I can speak from personal experience, the house of my great-grandmother lost its entire front when a V1 landed in the middle of the street. My mom was a toddler back then and emerged unharmed from under the table. The bomb was aimed at Antwerp and landed in a village 15 km to the north.

10km or more off the mark was not unusual. That's not good enough as a battlefield weapon unless you are targeting supply areas and key railroad networks. Trying to hit an army concentration is difficult at best.

They did however cause quite a bit of disruption, despite people keeping up stiff upper lips they required a massive boost in attempts to defend London and Antwerp from attack (CF Antwerp X, several brigades worth of AA-assets forming a ring of steel around the city) You put stress on emergency services and infrastructure and cause delays and various problems. Sure in the greater scope of the water it's a drop in the bucket, but compared to the effort spend it's not that crazy, sure it could have been spent on something else, but it was a nasty surprise to those who thought the war would end without a hitch.

Keith Talent05 Aug 2018 9:46 a.m. PST

"The V-weapons were barely cost-effective"
Considerably more cost effective as terror weapons than Germany's conventional bombers.
But..useless in the context of the war in the east

Landorl05 Aug 2018 2:29 p.m. PST

The Russians didn't seem to care about civilian casualties. The allies were horrified. He hoped that this would cause them to press for peace.

dwight shrute05 Aug 2018 3:16 p.m. PST

Did they not fire 11 V2 rockets at Remagen bridge the nearest hit being 200 metres from the bridge ?

Frontovik06 Aug 2018 2:49 a.m. PST

They're only useful against point targets.

Which there was rather a lack of in the second half of 1944 in the East.

What are you going to do? Make the rubble of Warsaw jump?

Keith Talent06 Aug 2018 7:37 a.m. PST

"They're only useful against point targets"

CITY-SIZED point targets.

TMPWargamerabbit06 Aug 2018 1:55 p.m. PST

Russians wouldn't have noticed…… ammo truck just exploded would be the local story line.

Durrati06 Aug 2018 2:43 p.m. PST

The aim in developing the V weapons were solely for use against Britain. When the British bombing campaign against Germany began (at the time the only way for Britain to strike at Germany and an offensive that sucked up huge British resources) the Nazi's promised vengeance. This was something that was broadly supported by the German people by the way – not in a particularity pro Nazi way but more in a they are bombing our cities and killing woman and children and we should strike back, kind of way.

For a few years nothing could be done. During that time the British – and then the Anglo American bombing campaign, intensified, with no 'vengeance'. And the war was obviously going badly as well. So a belief / hope developed in the German population that the new weapons that were promised but had not materialised would be so powerful and cause such damage that they would swing the war back in Germany's favour. This belief was not stoked by Nazi propaganda by the way, as they were afraid of the downside reaction when the 'wonder weapons' were used and did not deliver all that was hoped (ie win the war).

So as we know, they were used in their intended role – and did indeed deliver some measure of 'vengeance', mainly against London. They could not achieve all that the German people hoped however – nothing short of an atomic weapon could have.

So, they were not used against the Soviet Union as they were never intended to be. They were used in a slightly differing role from 'vengeance', as in their use against Antwerp in a vain attempt to stop its use as a harbour. That was just in line with all the other desperate and useless measure the Nazi leadership took that late in the war.

Mark 106 Aug 2018 9:49 p.m. PST

Also, the Eastern Front was a vast expanse, and the battle lines were fluid.

V weapons were fired from fixed sites. It took a long time to survey the locations (the right distance to the target), and to install the launching sites. With the V-1 in particular, you had very little flexibility in targeting from any given launch site. A few degrees either way, and range variations done by estimating time-of-flight and setting where the engine would cut out and it would fall from the sky.

Hardly makes sense to spend 2 months building a launch site when the front might well change by more than the range of the weapon over those two months.

On the western front, once the Germans were at the coast, the front didn't move. The channel was pretty much in the same place in 1944 as it was in 1940.

(aka: Mk 1)

Legion 409 Aug 2018 6:30 a.m. PST

Good points Mark. And probably the Germans thought they could possibly knock out the UK with V weapons. For some of the reasons mentioned here … E.g. :

The Russians didn't seem to care about civilian casualties. The allies were horrified. He hoped that this would cause them to press for peace.

Russians wouldn't have noticed…… ammo truck just exploded would be the local story line.

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