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V2 (A sort of Anniversary)

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North Star

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Whenever the subject of the V2 and Von Braun hits the newsgroups I am always encouraged that some US rocketeers remind their countryfolk that the rocket had a darker side. Its use as a terror weapon against my country killed as many as the terror attacks on Sept 11th.

Today was the 60th anniversary of the first launches against England and there is a particularly poignant article on the BBC website;

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3634212.stm

I have no problems with modelling the V2 (and have done so twice), but if you happen to be flying one this next weekend, please spare a thought for those on the receiving end during those final months of WW2.
 

MetMan

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Thanks for posting this, Brian. It's definitely a complex issue. In fact, more died producing the V2s as slave laborers than were killed by them as weapons.

I suppose in the end, thank goodness the Nazis dedicated as much to the V-weapons as they did. Far fewer fighters, bombers and tanks to be produced. I've heard more than once that the V-weapons produced one good outcome for Germany--the first A-bomb was used on Japan, not Berlin!

MetMan
 

sandman

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OK...I knew I recorded the documentary on the V-2...but I never watched it!

I'll do that tonight!;)
 

North Star

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Originally posted by MetMan
In fact, more died producing the V2s as slave laborers than were killed by them as weapons.
MetMan
A work colleague is the son of one of the youngest survivors of the Dora concentration camp and the Mittlewerk. The rest of his family (all Czech Jews) died there.
 

JStarStar

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Originally posted by North Star
Whenever the subject of the V2 and Von Braun hits the newsgroups I am always encouraged that some US rocketeers remind their countryfolk that the rocket had a darker side. Its use as a terror weapon against my country killed as many as the terror attacks on Sept 11th.

Today was the 60th anniversary of the first launches against England and there is a particularly poignant article on the BBC website;

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3634212.stm

I have no problems with modelling the V2 (and have done so twice), but if you happen to be flying one this next weekend, please spare a thought for those on the receiving end during those final months of WW2.
I flew my Estes V-2 yesterday for the first time, had a great flight, it was a very enjoyable day launching rockets, but that is something to be remembered.

I've always been much more interested in modeling research vehicles than military weapons.

Partly because of this reason, I finished the V-2 with one of the White Sands research paint patterns. I'd rather commemorate the part the rocket played in research and learning, rather than its use as a weapon of war.
 

graylensman

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Originally posted by JStarStar
Partly because of this reason, I finished the V-2 with one of the White Sands research paint patterns. I'd rather commemorate the part the rocket played in research and learning, rather than its use as a weapon of war.
I wrestled with this myself, before I finally built a V2 model. I too finished it in White Sands markings rather than Wehrmacht colors.

On a related matter, this touches on VonBraun's legacy. In the US he's a hero that helped put man on the moon. In Europe he's a villian that willingly helped the most heinous regimes wage world war. So who's right? I suspect its greater than any mere person could judge...
 

rbeckey

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I have always liked to model military aircraft and missiles. I suppose that I consider the scientific and personal achievement each of them represent, rather than the tragedy they may have caused. I recognize the genius of VonBraun, or for that matter John Moses Browning, seperate from whatever purpose others had for their inventions. An ace fighter pilot is one country's hero and another's dastardly villian. A samurai sword is to some a thing of simple beauty to be examined and admired for the detail and craftsmanship of its construction, to others a horrible murderous weapon best relegated to the smelter, and to others still, nothing but a big knife. I guess I like the V2 for its shape, porportions and lines. It simply pleases my eye. I certainly do not build it to celebrate the evil intentions that fostered its original use. The Bomarc, Nike Ajax, Patriot, Honest John and other missiles from the US arsenal are presumed to be "good" by some and "evil" by others. They were designed as weapons, but I believe that they can be modeled without the intent to celebrate that fact.
 

MetMan

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Originally posted by graylensman
On a related matter, this touches on VonBraun's legacy. In the US he's a hero that helped put man on the moon. In Europe he's a villian that willingly helped the most heinous regimes wage world war. So who's right? I suspect its greater than any mere person could judge...
I've never heard of the feelings for von Braun in Europe, and have actually never thought about it before, although I've wrestled with our treatment of the "good Germans" after the war. I even sent an email to Homer Hickam once and asked his opinion. It was cool--a thoughtful reply in my inbox the next morning!

If you have any references to European feelings about WvB, I'd be really interested.

On a side note, how many Americans climb into their Mitsubishi/BMW/Mercedes automobiles and curse their use of slave laborers in production of war materiel...

MetMan
 

JStarStar

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Wernher von Braun was not stupid, certainly he was fully aware of the objectives the German military had for the A-4.

At the same time, I suspect he was probably not fully aware of the use of slave laborers in construction of the V-2, and moreover, if he had been aware of such facts, was probably not in a position to do anything about it.

There weren't that many people in Nazi Germany with the authority to do anything much about it if they didn't like what the government was doing.

That doesn't absolve von Braun of all responsibility - it mitigates some of it. Of course, there were people on all sides of the conflict who invented terrible weapons of war- they all bear some responsibility. But the leaders who make the decisions to put those terrible weapons into action bear a lot more.
 

sandman

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Von Braun kept Hitler at bay with new "ideas" like the Amerika's rocket so thast he wouldn't take his slave laborers away and have them exterminated.

Not saying he was a Schindler but sort of the same idea.

His ultimate motive was "space"

According to the Historyu Channels special on the V-2 1,000 V-2's were launched against London and 9,000 people wer killed.

As a weapon it wasn't very cost effective. More of a terror weapon.
 

illini

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I remember meeting the last of the original German rocket team still working for NASA back in 1988. He was head of the division at Marshall Space Flight Center that sponsored my fellowship. Werner Dahm was/is his name. First time we went down there for a meeting Mr. Dahm asked us into his office. There we were, just Mr. Dahm, my dissertation advisor, and me sitting there talking about the internal fluid dynamics of solid rocket motors. Very nice guy. Sitting in his office I couldn't help but look around at all the mementos. On one wall hung a 40 year service award from NASA. It occurred to me that NASA had been in existence only 30 years at the time. Apparently they had tacked on 10 years for his service at Redstone Arsenal with the Army.
 
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