Missile, Surface-to-Surface, V-2 (A-4)

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    V-2 Missile

    Ballistic missile with cylindrical center section tapering through ogival sections to a warhead fuse and rocket engine exhaust in tail; four swept fins with air vanes on the outer tip; jet vanes in rocket exhaust; tanks and guidance equipment missing. The paint scheme of the missile is a large checkered black and white pattern.

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    V-2 Missile

    A V-2 missile on display in the Space Race gallery at the National Mall building.

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    The Rise and Fall of Vengeance Weapon 2

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This object is on display in the Space Race exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

The German V-2 rocket was the world's first large-scale liquid-propellant rocket vehicle, the first long-range ballistic missile, and the ancestor of today's large rockets and launch vehicles. Called the A-4 (Aggregat 4) by German Army Ordnance, the rocket was dubbed V-2, or Vergeltungswaffe Zwei ("Vengeance Weapon Two"), by the Nazi Propaganda Ministry when its existence was publicly announced in November 1944, two months after first deployment as a weapon. Launched from mobile platforms, the missile had a maximum range of about 320 km (200 miles) and a one-ton warhead. At least 10,000 concentration camp workers died in the process of manufacturing it.

The U.S. Air Force officially transferred this V-2 to the Smithsonian on May 1, 1949. The National Air Museum moved it to its storage facility in Maryland in 1954 and, as the National Air and Space Museum, restored it in 1975-1976 for exhibition in its new Mall building.