We need an occasional reminder that the history of rocket development and manufacturing in the United States did not begin with Wernher von Braun and his associates from Peenemunde
, most of whom came to America under Operation Paperclip in late 1945.
De Clarens stole one of the vital secrets of the war -- Germany's plans to build and test the V-1 and V-2 rocket bombs at Peenemunde
Schifter culled some key information when he interviewed a middle-aged engineer who happened to mention that he had recently worked in Peenemunde
, a northeastern German municipality involved in the development and production of the V-2 rockets, and a key target for U.
The overall project consists of the sub-project Ring dike Peenemunde
and bolt dike Karlshagen.
The detection of the testing site of V-1 and V-2 rockets at Peenemunde
, on the Baltic Coast, led to another of the most successful precision bombing attacks of the war, just three months after the Dam Busters raid.
A large number of rockets were fired from the Peenemunde
region, where experimental devices were tested, and most landed in Pomerania.
That was to be the A-9, under development in Peenemunde
for attacking New York.
The tragedy happened less than two weeks before officer Fitzgerald had taken part in a RAF bombing raid that destroyed a secret research facility in Peenemunde
in northern Germany on August 17.
Likewise, they were vital to our breaking the Nazis' Enigma code, and to destroying the rockets in Peenemunde
Though of necessity his detailed history is concerned with the horrors of war, the horrible working lives of German slaves, the doings of scientists, and statistics (some 6,000 A-4 rockets were fired of which 1,402 reached the UK while 1,760 hit European targets and about 32,000 flying bombs were made of which 2,419 reached London) he also has time for individual stories whether in Peenemunde
, Bletchley Park or Whitehall--which lighten the text and remind readers that war is ultimately about people.
More than fifty years later, her “Journey of Remembrance” to research, record, and relive the experiences of her family during the tumultuous years of World War II included unearthing facts about her grandfather's role as chief inspector of V-2 rockets at the top secret installations of Peenemunde
and Mittelwerk and completing a “Pilgrimage of Remembrance” to the Mittelbau-Dora Concentration Camp Memorial in Nordhausen, Germany to donate family documents and pay respect to the inmates who died there.
He also gave all the information to destroy Peenemunde