V1 – The First Cruise Missile
It is safe to say that the V rockets were an obsession of Der Fuhrer who was very much wrapped up in the creation of these rockets.
Many felt this compulsion caused the Luftwaffe’s compromised state in 1944 since the development of the V rocket diverted precious resources that could have been used for repair parts and new planes.
Yet despite these accusations, one can see the rationale behind improving these unguided killing machines.
During the last year of the war, over 5,000 V1 rockets were fired into London and the surrounding areas from launch sites in Holland and France.
At times, over a hundred a day fell on Britain’s island nation.
In some ways the launch of these rockets might have been seen as a response to D-Day since the first V1 rocket was launched on June 13, 1944, seven days after the Normandy Landings.
Despite the large onslaught from these deadly weapons, the V rocket suffered from two fatal flaws.
One was that they could go only as far as fuel would allow them to; if they ran out of fuel before reaching their targets they would land wherever they fell.
The other flaw was that there was very difficult to aim these rockets or make corrections if calculations were off.