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V-2, or Vengeance Weapon 2 (Vergeltungswaffe zwei), was the name Nazi propagandists gave to the first ballistic missile used to strike distant targets. German Army Ordnance had been developing rocketry since the 1930s, aiming to create a long-range missile and exploring the use of rocket-powered aircraft. The liquid-propellant V-2 missile was first flown successfully from Peenemünde, Germany, on the Baltic Sea in October 1942.

Late in World War II, Germany launched almost 3,000 V-2s against England, France, and Belgium. After the war, the United States and the Soviet Union used captured V-2s as a basis for developing their own large rockets.

Line art
Wernher von Braun, shown here briefing officers in 1943 at Peenemünde
27 k jpeg
SI#: 78-5955
The German army recruited a young engineer, Wernher von Braun, shown here briefing officers in 1943 at Peenemünde, where the V-2 was developed. Von Braun quickly became the technical director of Germany's long-range missile program.

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Space Race > Military Origins > The V-2 Missile > 1-2-3 >> The Corporal Missile

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