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Author Topic: V1 and V2 hits on Kent (general)  (Read 38321 times)

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Offline peterchall

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Re: V1 and V2 hits on Kent (general)
« Reply #36 on: August 24, 2011, 21:42:15 »
I've done some delving and find that we must have known of the V2's existence when the one dropped on Salters Cross in February 1945.
The Germans themselves announced their existence on 8 November 1944, and Winston Churchill announced their existence in the House of Commons on 10 November 1944. The first V2 was actually launched against Paris on 8 September 1944, followed by 2 more, and then 1 on London on the same evening, so they were kept secret by both sides for 2 months.

There is some discrepancy between Wikepedia and the V2 map earlier in this thread. Wiki states: Aimed at London = 1358, Norwich = 43, Ipswich = 1. The most heavily hit target was actually Antwerp, Belgium, which received 1610. Not strictly Kent history, but for interest the total V2s fired were against: Belgium = 1662. England = 1402, France =76, Holland = 19, Germany (Remagen, where the US armies crossed the Rhine) = 1


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Offline peterchall

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Re: V1 and V2 hits on Kent (general)
« Reply #35 on: August 23, 2011, 22:08:35 »
Thanks, that would have been the one. I know it was a Sunday morning because I was not at work and was out with a mate on our bikes, but I canít remember where. Rochester Castle Gardens was a favourite, although from there we would have seen a V-2 hitting Rede Court. Another favourite bike trip was to Rochester Airport if they were test flying Stirlings from the factory. Or, at the age of 15, perhaps we were just cruising around to see what we could find, if you get my meaning :). I donít know if it was before or after the existence of the V-2 was officially acknowledged (until then they were attributed to gas main explosions!), so I donít remember if we even knew what it was Ė I just recall the bang followed by a rumbling noise.

And on that subject and contrary to some accounts, a falling bomb didnít whistle but made a slithering noise like a piece of furniture being dragged across a carpet. Which brings us back to the morale effect. While the Medway towns were never subjected to a full-scale blitz, we did have our share of bombing but I doubt if I actually heard more than a half dozen bombs actually falling. And there was always a Ďrestí between raids, even during the blitz, and the result of a V-2, even if we knew what it was, was over and done with. But the V-1s were continuous and announced their presence in no uncertain manner Ė no wonder they were probably the biggest morale destroyer of the war.

Those of us that were born or grew up after the war are very fortunate to have escaped the horrors that you lived through. The relief that it wasn't you was obviously tempered by the knowledge that it most probably was somebody else.
Relief that it wasn't us - yes, but after all this time I honestly can't remember what we felt about someone else copping it instead. All I know is that early in the war as kids, even if we had been scared during the raid itself, we would have gone to gawp at the wreckage of somebody else's home, but by 1944 we were grown up (15 years old and working!), and had seen it all anyway. I hope the following does not seem as if I'm pushing my own topic, because there is a lot there from other members, but if anyone hasn't read "Home Life in WW2" in 'Wartime Memories', there is a lot about feelings and conditions of life for the hoi-poloi:
http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=5154.0
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Offline Megapack162

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Re: V1 and V2 hits on Kent (general)
« Reply #34 on: August 23, 2011, 14:07:33 »
As the V-2 map shows, there were no hits within the Medway towns, and few even close. I can definitely remember hearing only one classic 'signature' - because the missile was super-sonic there was the bang of the exposion followed by the rumble of its arrival. We may have heard the explosions of others in the distance, but too far away to hear the sound of the passage through the air.

You probably heard this one http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=7506.0 that hit Salters Cross / Rede Court Road or possibly one of the handful that impacted on the Hoo Peninsula.

Quote
And that, I think, is the reason why the V-2 did not hold the terrors for us that the V-1 did - you couldn't hear it coming and if you heard the explosion you knew it hadn't hit you.

Those of us that were born or grew up after the war are very fortunate to have escaped the horrors that you lived through. The relief that it wasn't you was obviously tempered by the knowledge that it most probably was somebody else.

Offline peterchall

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Re: V1 and V2 hits on Kent (general)
« Reply #33 on: August 23, 2011, 12:28:36 »
As the V-2 map shows, there were no hits within the Medway towns, and few even close. I can definitely remember hearing only one classic 'signature' - because the missile was super-sonic there was the bang of the exposion followed by the rumble of its arrival. We may have heard the explosions of others in the distance, but too far away to hear the sound of the passage through the air.

And that, I think, is the reason why the V-2 did not hold the terrors for us that the V-1 did - you couldn't hear it coming and if you heard the explosion you knew it hadn't hit you. I suppose that once we knew of their existence (it was some while before the Government published news of them) there must have been the thoughts that at any moment it could be 'lights out' but, like most unpleasant possibilites even in everyday life, they were kept at the back of the mind. There was certainly not that gut-wrenching feeling of listening to an approaching V-1 and wondering if it would go past before its engine stopped or it was shot down, and going through that many times during the course of a day.
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Offline peterchall

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Re: V1 and V2 hits on Kent (general)
« Reply #32 on: August 21, 2011, 15:32:13 »
Another cause of bombs falling short of the target was the unreliabilty of the pulse jet engines. Designed to last for only one flight, the flimsiness of the rows of intake shutters meant they often didn't last for even this one flight. I will never forget that awesome sound and the feeling of relief when it was realised that the V-1 had gone past. It was a truly heart-stopping feeling when the engine stopped while it was still approaching.

It's a sobering thought that the fatal incident rate from V-1s in Kent was only about half that of the Battle of Britain/Blitz period of 1940/41, yet we were far more affected than we were then. Probably it was because they came in a continuous stream with no respite as there was between manned air raids. We had spent 4 years learning just how difficult it was to beat the ordinary German serviceman on the battlefield, at sea, and in the air, and the German civilian on the home front, but at last we were winning and our armies were ashore in France - it wasn't going to be long before the celebrating could begin. Then came this inhuman thing that couldn't be scared away and was going to crash on you whether it was shot down or left alone, and we were war weary - it was like having climbed a mountain only to find another one when you got to the top. I believe that confidential reports stated that public morale was closer to collapse than at any previous time in the war.

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Offline Leofwine

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Re: V1 and V2 hits on Kent (general)
« Reply #31 on: August 21, 2011, 14:52:35 »
Off of Sheppey, a V.1. was responsible for the derailment of the London-Margate express train at Newington nr. Sittingbourne on the 16th August 1944. Percy Mount, a Sheppey farmer and dairyman, was badly injured in the incident and lost part of a leg.

http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=1241.0
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Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: V1 and V2 hits on Kent (general)
« Reply #30 on: August 21, 2011, 14:29:09 »
There was an intelligence operation where German agents that had been captured radioed back false information that the V1s were 'overshooting' London. So the realigned shots fell short. Tough on Kent !
mmitch.
The person responsible was Dr R V Jones, Assistant Director of Intelligence (science.)

From Most Secret War, British scientific intelligence 1939-1945 R. V. Jones. 1978. Pages 420-422.

"......the operational bombs were....tending to fall short.....in south-east London, near Dulwich. In a flash I saw that we might be able to keep the bombs falling short, which would mean fewer casualties in London as a whole, and at the same time avoid arousing any suspicions regarding the genuineness of the agents.
We could give correct points of impact for bombs that tended to have a longer range than usual, but couple these with times of bombs which in fact had fallen short.
.......I realized well that what I was doing was trying to keep the mean point of impact in the Dulwich area, where my own parents lived.......But I knew....my parents......would not have had it otherwise.
When we overran Wachtel's headquarters........we were able to see the results of our work, for he had recorded the points of impact of the flying bombs, both as reported by the agents and as plotted by.........sample bombs fitted with radio transmitters. We had not known beforehand of these radio-transmitting samples, which.....contradicted the agent's reports which showed they were tending to over-shoot.
A written comment by Wachtel's organization......on the discrepancy stated that the agents were particularly reliable, and therefore their information was to be accepted, and that there must be something wrong with the radio D/F method."

Dr Jones estimates that; "Assuming, therefore, that the Germans had quickly discovered their error and lengthened the range, up to fifty per cent more casualties might have been incurred...... Even if only a fifth of these figures is ascribed to the success of our deception, it was clearly worthwhile."
Hometown Blues Syd Arthur

seafordpete

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Re: V1 and V2 hits on Kent (general)
« Reply #29 on: August 21, 2011, 11:16:30 »
Also google KZ Dora or Concentration Dora for more. Much of this site is stil sealed and as abandoned. Also shows on the Sub Brit website. See also http://www.lacoupole-france.com/en/musee/default_dedie.asp#

Offline de Mol

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Re: V1 and V2 hits on Kent (general)
« Reply #28 on: August 21, 2011, 11:11:54 »
Little known.
Close to where I live there was a small V1 Factory.Parts from all over Germany were
delivered to the site where they were then fitted together.Everything was Top Secret
even local Carpenters built the wings not knowing what they were used for.
At the height of prduction,240 Flying Bombs left the "Luftmuna Karwitz 5/XI z.b.v.
ervery month.
Spring 45 the manned  "V1 Reichenberg" was also built there.
Here two Links(sorry German):

http://www.vordem.de/2006-Neu-Tramm.htm

http://www.razyboard.com/system/morethread-militaerbahnen-im-kreis-luechow-dannenberg-delegatic-1488856-2942631-0.html

de Mol.

Offline mmitch

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Re: V1 and V2 hits on Kent (general)
« Reply #27 on: August 21, 2011, 10:23:16 »
I recently read about the photo reconnaissance looking for the V weapons.
The main factory where V1s were built was underground and imposable to destroy.
But bombing the distribution system stopped over 2000 ever being fired!
mmitch.

Minsterboy

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Re: V1 and V2 hits on Kent (general)
« Reply #26 on: August 21, 2011, 06:23:20 »
At least two rockets landed on Sheppey. One dropped alongside Rayham Cottages (now gone), at the foot of Jenkins Hill, where one of the occupants, who had just sat down to his evening meal, saw it disappear in a cloud of soot as the chimney came down through the cottage.
The other landed on Southlees Far, off the Lower Road. Many years later, when I was talking to a guy who had worked on the farm at the time, he swore that in the rocket's wreckage a carburettor was found with a Birmingham maker's name plate on it.

Off of Sheppey, a V.1. was responsible for the derailment of the London-Margate express train at Newington nr. Sittingbourne on the 16th August 1944. Percy Mount, a Sheppey farmer and dairyman, was badly injured in the incident and lost part of a leg.

Offline peterchall

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Re: V1 and V2 hits on Kent (general)
« Reply #25 on: August 20, 2011, 22:42:57 »
I wonder how many of the ones landing on Kent had been knocked out of the sky?
One of the warís most tragic incidents was caused by just such an event. At 3:17am on 30 June 1944 a V-1, shot down by AA fire, crashed on Weald House, Westerham. It was occupied by 30 children all under 5, and 11 female staff, evacuated from a London County Council school that had been destroyed in an air raid. 22 children and 8 staff were killed, and all the others injured. Front Line County, by A. Rootes.

It was when listening to a V-1 approaching that one prayed to our defences, guns or fighters, "please leave it alone!"
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Merry

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Re: V1 and V2 hits on Kent (general)
« Reply #24 on: August 20, 2011, 21:34:46 »
Probably just as well!

The main reason the deception ceased was that the radar-controlled anti-aircraft batteries were getting much better at shooting the V1s down.  I wonder how many of the ones landing on Kent had been knocked out of the sky?

seafordpete

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Re: V1 and V2 hits on Kent (general)
« Reply #23 on: August 20, 2011, 21:28:41 »
So the KM map here would probably have made MI5 very cross indeed!

it was originally  published post war and again in the '70s or '80s

Merry

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Re: V1 and V2 hits on Kent (general)
« Reply #22 on: August 20, 2011, 19:43:34 »
In Ben MacIntyre's excellent book Agent ZigZag he describes how double agents were used to feed inaccurate reports on V1 landing sites to the Nazis.  The rationale was that if the Germans believed the bombs were falling to the North of London, they would adjust the trajectory in order to hit the centre of the capital.  Of course, the bombs were, by and large, on target (aimed for Charing Cross and mainly hitting the Dulwich area), but changing the trajectory would make them fall in South London or the South East and thus spare the middle of London. 

Needless to say this was a deadly secret as the effect on morale would have been appalling had people in South London and Kent known they were being sacrificed.  The plan seems to have worked for a while, until the press began to print maps of bomb sites, which of course meant that the deception had to be abandoned.

So the KM map here would probably have made MI5 very cross indeed!

 

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