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"V Weapons on Ostrront?" Topic

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Heedless Horseman Supporting Member of TMP16 Mar 2023 6:55 a.m. PST

Recent drone fighter collision has me curious.
Did Germans use or attempt to use V1 or V2 against Russian targets? Have only heard about using against targets on Western front.

Griefbringer16 Mar 2023 7:12 a.m. PST

To my knowledge, they were only used in the western front. Considering their limited accuracy, they needed preferably a London-sized target, and the choice of suitable high-value targets in the Eastern front, within the V1 range from front line, in 1944 was a bit limited.

Another issue might have been an assumption amongst the German leadership that the Western powers were sufficiently psychologically soft that they could be convinced to sue for peace with a suitably strong blow, allowing the Germans to concentrate in facing just the enemy to the east. In practice this did not work out, whether it was the aerial bombing campaigns of London in early war, V1 bombardment in late war or the Ardennes offensive in December 1944.

Heedless Horseman Supporting Member of TMP16 Mar 2023 7:38 a.m. PST

London, Antwerp and Liege had very numerous attacks. There was attenpt to take out Ludendorf Bridge at Remagen… no effect. Just never heard of any attemps on Russian rail network, for example?
V1 launch ramps needed time to costruct… front might have ben too rapidly lost.

Griefbringer16 Mar 2023 8:12 a.m. PST

Just never heard of any attemps on Russian rail network, for example?

Hitting even a major rail junction with V1 would require a fair bit of luck, and even then the damage to the rails themselves might be repairable relatively quickly (though damaging locomotives and carriages present could complicate things).

The critical bits of railroad infrastructure tended to be the bridges, which would be rather tricky to hit.

V1 launch ramps needed time to costruct… front might have ben too rapidly lost.

The front lines were certainly moving rapidly in the east in summer 1944 due to operation Bagration, but in the autumn of the same year there were quieter periods on part of that front.

Personal logo Grelber Supporting Member of TMP16 Mar 2023 10:43 a.m. PST

I didn't realize this, but the V-1 could be air launched from a Heinkel He-111. After the land launch sites were lost, the Heinkels would fly out over the North Sea to launch a missile at London or the ports. Not surprisingly, the British and Americans were not amused and deployed aircraft to shoot down the Heinkels. By January 1945, the Heinkels had taken enough losses that the Luftwaffe suspended operations.
There is the issue of guidance systems. Only about 25% of the V-1s aimed at London actually hit anywhere in greater London, with its 7,000,000 plus population. So, yes, we would be talking about large targets like Leningrad or Moscow, not sniping at bridges.
I suppose the Germans could have sent a few Heinkels against the Soviet Union, but the V-1s would have been lost in the general background noise of artillery and bombing if they attacked Leningrad.
While one or two hits on Moscow might cause the Soviets to rearrange their air defense assets, the thing only had a range of 150 miles, and the front lines had long receded from that point by 1944, when the V-1 appeared.

The V-2 had a range of 200 miles, not that much better than the V-1. They had mobile ground launchers but were out of range of Moscow by the time they became operational. Their accuracy was better than the V-1. The Germans thought at least half would land within 6 kilometers of the target. Even so, you really did need to target a city. Bridges and other military targets were pretty much a waste of missiles, though the Germans did try to take out the bridge at Remagen with 11 missiles.
The V-1 and V-2 were called Vergeltungswaffe, vengeance or retribution weapon. They were going for revenge against the people who were bombing their cities, the British and Americans. The ranges were adequate for that purpose, but not for striking the Soviet Union. It looks like the Germans didn't really think about blowing up Russians with them, starting with the design phase.


Heedless Horseman Supporting Member of TMP16 Mar 2023 12:02 p.m. PST

V1 was a 'blast' weapon, to destroy buildings, and cause casualties / inflict Fear. V2 a lot heavier. WOULD make serious 'Hole'!
Can see why V1 used to 'try' to target bridge… but 'desperation'.
Just… 'developed' on Baltic coast, so just curious.

Martin Rapier17 Mar 2023 1:08 a.m. PST

My Dad's house was destroyed by a V1. It made a big enough hole that a kid drowned in it after the war when he fell in (it was full of water by then).

As noted, the V1 and V2 were not tactical weapons, but for use against city sized targets. The V3 would have been far more accurate, but was a static emplacement and destroyed before it was operational.

4th Cuirassier17 Mar 2023 4:45 a.m. PST

Was there any way in theory that the guidance system for the Fritz anti-ship missile could have been adapted to steer an air-launched V1 to a suitable target?

These things were basically indiscriminate blast weapons. This means they needed targets where a large bang pretty much anywhere would produce the required effect, i.e. cities. It didn't make much difference on this score whether your V1 fell in south-east London or north-west London or any point in between, nor does it much matter if it falls on a house or a road.

Iron bombs dropped out of Allied bombers were equally indiscriminate. So when the Allies needed a precise and small target hit, they either dropped a very large amount of ordnance on it (Peenemunde, Normandy) or used a bespoke weapon (Upkeep, Tallboy) delivered by a highly skilled crew to deliver it.

It does seem at least feasible that if you could hit a ship with a Fritz you could launch 15 or 20 V1s at, say, a bridge, hit it with 3 or 4 weapons, and blow it up.

It's always struck me as interesting that the Luftwaffe's V weapon was an aeroplane and the Army's was a projectile…

Andy ONeill17 Mar 2023 7:22 a.m. PST

They developed manned v1. First two crashed and they weren't so keen on suicide missions.

4th Cuirassier17 Mar 2023 10:03 a.m. PST

Yes, the Ohka / Baka was kind of a manned V1. But since you couldn't man a Fritz, they had to find a better way. I would have thought a Staffel of Heinkels could have done quite a lot of damage with standoff V1s that were guidable to the same extent.

Martin Rapier18 Mar 2023 1:10 a.m. PST

This stuff was all bleeding edge 1940s technology, and to develop a guided V1 would have required a degree of cooperation and strategic direction between all the competing groups which was anathema to Hitlers social Darwinist leadership style.

Griefbringer18 Mar 2023 2:42 a.m. PST

Guided V1 rocket with 1944 technology would have presumably gulped up even more development and production resources than the unguided version, but it could have resulted in something of tactical value. Could be of some interest for those into Weird World War II gaming.

However, issue in 1944 was that the German leadership (i.e. Herr Adolf) was expecting a strategic Wunderwaffen that could unleash such Gotterdammerung or Ragnarok on the British population (whose stoicity he heavily underestimated) that they would force their government to negotiate a peace deal, thus allowing Germany to concentrate forces on the Eastern front.

Thus, the initial V1 barrages in summer 1944 were aimed at London, which had limited military value but significant symbolic value (and provided a large target). They were not aimed at the Normandy beaches or the embarkation ports of southern England, where they might have been able to hit targets of military value and cause disruption.

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