On June 12, 1944, under the codename Operation Eisbär (Polar Bear), Nazi Germany unleashed a new type of weapon against London, England: 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 at a time 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. V1 is the name by which it is best remembered.

The V1 was an expendable vehicle powered by a primitive yet powerful pulsejet engine, which gave the V1 a loud, raucous noise that could be heard from a great distance. This rasping sound earned the V1 the nicknames "Buzz Bomb" and "Doodlebug." The missile incorporated an early guidance system, enabling it to fly a programmed magnetic bearing to its target at a preset altitude. A small, propeller-like device in the nose was used to track distance travelled, and the missile would be commanded to pitch down at the appropriate point. To complete its mission, the V1 carried a warhead of 1,870 pounds of high explosives, with multiple impact fuses.

Following initial pulsejet and airframe design studies begun in 1941, Germany eventually built some-30,000 V1s in 1944 and 1945. Over 22,000 were launched -- most from ground-based ramps, but nearly 2,000 from modified Heinkel He-111 bombers. Although the missiles caused panic and significant civilian casualties, their inaccuracy and high crash rate prevented them from affecting the course of the war. However, the Allies devoted significant resources to countering the V1 threat. In the years following the war, variants of the V1 were evaluated and produced by the United States, Soviet Union, and France.

The Museum's V1 was acquired from a collector in 2006. It is a hybrid, assembled and restored from parts recovered from the notorious underground Mittelwerk factory at Nordhausen, Germany, where slave laborers from Concentration Camp Dora built V1s, along with V2 ballistic missiles. It has the early A-1 warhead installed on a later, long-range B-1/E-1/F-1 airframe with wooden wings. The missile also has an FuG 23 trailing-wire tracking antenna installed in the tail. The characters "PVC 1006," stamped into the V1's lifting lug, indicate that the Museum's V1 was intended to be air-launched from modified Heinkel He-111 bombers.

Wingspan:
18.75ft
Length:
25ft
Wing Area:
55.00ft²
Empty Weight:
3,640lbs
Gross Weight:
4,855lbs
Payload:
1,875lbs
Maximum Speed:
435mph
Cruise Speed:
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:
130miles

On June 12, 1944, under the codename Operation Eisbär (Polar Bear), Nazi Germany unleashed a new type of weapon against London, England: 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 at a time 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. V1 is the name by which it is best remembered.

The V1 was an expendable vehicle powered by a primitive yet powerful pulsejet engine, which gave the V1 a loud, raucous noise that could be heard from a great distance. This rasping sound earned the V1 the nicknames "Buzz Bomb" and "Doodlebug." The missile incorporated an early guidance system, enabling it to fly a programmed magnetic bearing to its target at a preset altitude. A small, propeller-like device in the nose was used to track distance travelled, and the missile would be commanded to pitch down at the appropriate point. To complete its mission, the V1 carried a warhead of 1,870 pounds of high explosives, with multiple impact fuses.

Following initial pulsejet and airframe design studies begun in 1941, Germany eventually built some-30,000 V1s in 1944 and 1945. Over 22,000 were launched -- most from ground-based ramps, but nearly 2,000 from modified Heinkel He-111 bombers. Although the missiles caused panic and significant civilian casualties, their inaccuracy and high crash rate prevented them from affecting the course of the war. However, the Allies devoted significant resources to countering the V1 threat. In the years following the war, variants of the V1 were evaluated and produced by the United States, Soviet Union, and France.

The Museum's V1 was acquired from a collector in 2006. It is a hybrid, assembled and restored from parts recovered from the notorious underground Mittelwerk factory at Nordhausen, Germany, where slave laborers from Concentration Camp Dora built V1s, along with V2 ballistic missiles. It has the early A-1 warhead installed on a later, long-range B-1/E-1/F-1 airframe with wooden wings. The missile also has an FuG 23 trailing-wire tracking antenna installed in the tail. The characters "PVC 1006," stamped into the V1's lifting lug, indicate that the Museum's V1 was intended to be air-launched from modified Heinkel He-111 bombers.

Wingspan:
18.75ft
Length:
25ft
Wing Area:
55.00ft²
Empty Weight:
3,640lbs
Gross Weight:
4,855lbs
Payload:
1,875lbs
Maximum Speed:
435mph
Cruise Speed:
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:
130miles