Operation Backfire V-2


As the War drew to a close, Peenemünde was evacuated during January and February of 1945, prior to its capture by the Russian army in March. Von Braun and most of his group defected to the advancing American armies. The story of their exodus to American-controlled southern Germany, and concealment of tons of vital rocket documents in a mine shaft in Dörnten, is told by Dieter Huzel (1962). The scientists were temporarily taken into custody in Gamisch-Partenkirchen, southern Bavaria (Huzel 1962, p. 191). Additional sources of information are (Clarke 1968) and Ordway and Sharpe (1979).

Following their detention, many of the scientists were taken by the British to the former German Naval Artillery Range at Altenwalde on the North Sea. Here, they participated in the British Operation Backfire which, according to Huzel, p. was designed simply to completely evaluate the entire V-2 system, interrogate German personnel specialized in all phases and subsystems of it, and then actually launch several missiles over the North Sea (Huzel 1962, p. 200). The first Backfire launching occurred on October 2, 1945 across the Baltic, and was a complete success. The second occurred two days later on October 4, 1945, but did not achieve full range. The third and final launch occurred on October 15, 1945, and went off without major difficulties.

Operation Backfire V-2 Launches

Vehicle Launch Date Status
1 02 Oct 1945 complete success
2 04 Oct 1945 did not achieve full range
3 15 Oct 1945 without significant difficulties

German technicians erecting a V2 rocket at Cuxhaven during Operation Backfire, October 1945.

Ref.: #17, #102 - update: 21.07.15 Home