22 December 1942

Adolf Hitler signs the order to develop the V-2 rocket as a weapon.

The V-2 rocket, also known as the A-4, was the world’s first long-range guided ballistic missile. It was developed by Nazi Germany during World War II and played a significant role in the later stages of the conflict.

Development: The V-2 was developed by a team led by German engineer Wernher von Braun at the Peenemünde Army Research Center. The project began in the 1930s but gained momentum during World War II.

Technology: The V-2 was a revolutionary piece of technology for its time. It was a liquid-fueled rocket that used a combination of liquid oxygen and ethanol. The rocket engine featured a sophisticated guidance system, making it the world’s first long-range guided ballistic missile.

Range and Speed: The V-2 had a range of approximately 200 miles (320 km) and could reach altitudes of over 180 km. It could travel at speeds of more than 5,000 km/h (3,100 mph). This made it extremely difficult to intercept or defend against.

Military use: The V-2 was primarily used as a weapon against Allied cities during the latter part of World War II. The first operational launch occurred in September 1944. Targets included London and Antwerp, among others.

Impact: While the V-2 was technologically advanced, it had a limited military impact due to its high cost, production difficulties, and the late stage of the war in which it became operational. However, it had a significant psychological impact on the civilian population due to its speed and the inability of existing defenses to counter it effectively.

Post-War Developments: After World War II, both the United States and the Soviet Union sought to capture German rocket scientists and engineers, including Wernher von Braun, to work on their own rocket programs. Von Braun, along with many of his colleagues, went on to play a crucial role in the development of rockets during the Cold War, including the development of the Redstone and Saturn rockets in the United States