|Peenemunde - Credit: Mark Wade.|
Latitude: 54.1 N. Longitude: 13.9 E. Minimum Inclination: 56.0 degrees. Maximum Inclination: 56.0 degrees.
First launch site in the world, used for development of A-4/V-2 missile, engine test stands built for A-9/A-10, A-11, A-12 intercontinental missiles/satellite launchers.
Eventually, Allied intelligence became aware of the importance of Peenemünde and on the night of August 17/18, 227 bombers from the RAF were ordered to attack the site. The objective of Operation “Hydra” was to kill as many German rocket scientists as possible and destroy key targets such as the liquid oxygen plant, the power plant, the Experimental/Development Works, and the test stands. The Peenemünde West area was ignored because the Allies didn’t know of the V-1 flying bomb development there. In the event, the bombing left 732 people dead and much of the facility undamaged. But the vulnerability of Peenemünde was now evident and the remaining field trials of the V-2 were carried out at Bliszna in Poland. Heinrich Himmler persuaded Hitler that production and deployment of the V-2 should henceforth be handled by the SS and a suitable site for mass production was found in the complex of tunnels beneath the Kohnstein Mountain near Nordhausen, in central Germany. This subterranean V-2 factory, in which PoW’s were forced to work under brutal conditions, became known as the Mittelwerke.
Research into rocketry and rocket weapons continued at Peenemünde but on a
much-reduced scale. The autumn of 1944 saw testing of the Wasserfall anti-aircraft
missile, a winged version of the V-2 designed to carry explosives into the midst
of Allied bomber formations where it would be detonated. At Peenemünde West
development continued of the Me 163 “Komet” rocket-powered fighter plane along
with the Me 262 jet fighter.
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