- Grades: 6–8, 9–12
The V-2, or Vengeance Weapon 2, was a liquid-propellant rocket developed at Peenemünde, Germany, between 1938 and 1942 under the technical direction of Wernher von Braun. The rocket was part of a development series known as Aggregate, begun under the auspices of the German army at Kummersdorf in 1932. The V-2, fourth in the series, was also known as the A-4. Originally intended for battlefield use, it was eventually used to bomb Britain and other countries.
The V-2 stood over 14 m (46 ft) tall and at liftoff weighed 12,873 kg (28,380 lb), including a 998-kg (2,201-lb) warhead. It reached a maximum speed of about 5,705 km/h (3,545 mph) and had a range of about 320 km (200 mi).
Although the first successful V-2 test occurred on Oct. 3, 1942, it was not until July 27, 1943, that Adolf Hitler authorized full-scale development of the rocket. More than 4,300 were launched between Sept. 6, 1944, and Mar. 27, 1945, against London and southeastern England, Antwerp, and other targets. Many exploded before reaching their targets or were misdirected. Much postwar rocket technology was based on the V-2.