June 13, 1944, the Allies felt that they had achieved air superiority, and few
German aircraft even attempted to enter the British skies. Shortly after 4 AM a
strange little aircraft making a strange pulsating sound appeared in the skies
over Dymchurch. It passed over an observation post and flew over the fields for
another five minutes before its engine stopped some five minutes later and it
dove to earth to explode in an open field. The dawn of the cruise missile had
it was over, the "doodlebugs", or "divers" as they were
nicknamed, created terror again in Britain and caused thousand of sorties
against the "ski-ramp" launch sites in Europe; the removal of all
British fighters outside of 2nd TAF from the Continent for home defense; and the
deployment of over 2,500 anti-aircraft guns, 200 radar installations, and over a
quarter of a million men and women to operate them in the "diver belt"
between the coast and London.
V-1 was a relatively simple aircraft, powered by an Argus 109-104 pulse-jet
engine, giving it a maximum speed of 400 mph and a range of 180 miles. It
carried a warhead of 1,760 pounds of Amatol, more powerful than TNT. It used
1,333 pounds of "B-Stoff" fuel located in a tank just behind the
Askania guidance system used two spheres of 900 psi air to generate pneumatic
signals to operate the V-1's control surfaces to keep the V-1 on a straight and
level course. Direction was maintained by a gyroscope that compared the
current flight path to the alignment set in the magnetic compass of the FI-103.
a preset point (generated by an odometer-like device driven by a small wind
driven propeller in the nose), controls were severed, locking the missile on
course and two small explosive charges activated a pair of spoilers under the
tail plane. These dropped the nose by four or five degrees, causing the V-1 to
enter a shallow dive towards the target.
V-1 was at best an area weapon, inaccurate except for large, fixed targets. This
limited military value, but maximized the terror aspects of its operations.
the fastest fighters could catch it at low level; Tempests, Griffon Spitfires,
Meteors, Typhoons, Mustangs; antiaircraft fire proved effective due to its
straight and level course, especially the new radar-directed guns. Another
technique for Allied fighters was to come up alongside and use the aerodynamic
lift provided by their wing tips to lift the V-1's wing past the point where the
V-1's gyros could compensate, causing it to crash.
the Allies progress into Europe brought the distance to England beyond the V-1's
range, although there were still some air-launched by Heinkel 111's, 177's. and
some specially modified Dornier bombers; and the V-1's successor, the V-2 was on
images below to see larger images
has released the V-1 in 1/35th scale, as kit CB-35058. They are also releasing
the manned, training version of the V-1 that was to be used to train potential
German "Kamikazes" if the war had continued.
kit is simple, only some thirty-six parts and a decal sheet of stencils. It's
contents include the missile itself, as well as a ground transportation cart.
Two color schemes are provided, mostly limited to a choice of two different
missiles. Colors are not spelled out, but with other references I used Dark
Green 82 and light blue 76. The fit was decent throughout the kit and a
quick build, pretty enjoyable over a long weekend.
I have a 1/35th scale V-2 from Dragon on its way, I can see a small display
coming in the near future!!!!
excellent reference book for those interested is IMPACT
- The History of Germany's V-Weapons in World War Two, by Benjamin King &
Timothy Kutta, Sarpedon ,1998