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Fieseler Fi 103 "V1"

The Museum's Fieseler Fi 103 on display in the Great Gallery
Manufacturer: Fieseler
Model: Fi 103 "V1"
Year: 1944
Span: 5.715m / 19ft
Length: 7.72058m / 25ft
Wing Area: 5.1095m² / 55ft²
Empty Weight: 1651.1kg / 3,640lbs
Gross Weight: 2202.23kg / 4,855lbs
Maximum Speed: 699.915km/h
Cruise Speed: 667.735km/h / 415mph
Power Plant: One Argus As 109-014 Schmidt-Rohr pulsejet engine of 3040N or 310kp (685 lbs) thrust at 1000m (3280ft) at 700 km/h (435 mph)
Range: 209.17km / 130miles
Payload: 850.5kg / 1,875lbs
Warload: 851kg

Only two Luftwaffe bomber units air-launched V-1s. This rare photo shows a V1 suspended from a Heinkel He 111 belonging to III./KG 3 ("Blitzgeschwader"), the original air-launching unit. (from the Bowers Collection)


The Museum's Fieseler Fi 103 on display in the Great Gallery

Fieseler Fi 103 "V1"

On 13 June 1944, Nazi Germany unleashed a new type of weapon: The Fieseler Fi 103 "flying bomb," a small, pilotless, medium-range cruise missile.  Launched from bases in northern France, the Netherlands, and western Germany, the Fi 103 enabled the German Luftwaffe to bombard Belgium, England, and France when the Allied air forces possessed air superiority over Western Europe. Because the Fi 103 could thus "avenge" Allied bombing raids on Germany, the German Propaganda Ministry called the Fi 103 Vergeltungswaffe Eins ("Vengeance Weapon 1"), or "V1" for short, and V1 is the name by which it is best remembered.

The entire V1 was a disposable vehicle powered by a primitive yet powerful "pulsejet" engine which gave the V1 a loud, raucous noise that could be heard from more than ten miles (sixteen kilometers) away.  This rasping sound earned the V1 the nicknames "Buzz Bomb" and "Doodlebug."

Germany built some 30,000 V1s and launched approximately 22,400 - most from ground-based ramps, but nearly 2,000 from modified Heinkel He 111 bombers.  The Museum's V1 was restored from parts salvaged from the notorious Mittelwerk factory at Nordhausen, Germany, where slave laborers from Concentration Camp Dora built V1s and V2 ballistic missiles.