Hitler's Revenge Weapons...

 

...The Final Blitz of London, from Pen and Sword

 

Title: Hitler's Revenge Weapons

Author: Nigel Walpole

Publisher: Pen and Sword

ISBN: 978-1-52672-288-1

The V-weapons have long been a fascination of mine, so I enjoyed reading this new book on the subject from Nigel Walpole and Pen & Sword Books.  The author lived through the events at the time, when he was a youngster living in London.

The book tells the story of the V-weapons very well I thought, from the early days of rocket research in Germany in particular with an eye to getting them into space.  With the rise of the Nazi party in Germany so the military interests in the potential for rockets as a weapon took over.  As well as the research itself, to make the new weapons work, there were also rivalries for funding between the teams, and for the controlling influence over the projects as a whole.  Later changes were also made over how/where the new weapons would be launched.  Whether they would be the huge, fixed sites such as Siracourt (V1), La Coupole and Eperleques (V2) and Mimoyeques (V3).  Even the camouflaged 'ski' sites were abandoned after all proved popular targets to the RAF and USAF, so more mobile launch arrangements for both the V1 and V2 became the norm.

From the Allied side it tells the story of how intelligence services tracked down the details of these new weapons, including the help of the codebreakers at Bletchley Park.  There are the changes made to the home defence arrangement and the move of anti-aircraft guns and balloons to give room for the fighters to attack the V1s, as there was little defence against a V2 once it had successfully launched.  The book also looks at a number of events in London where the weapons landed and the damage and casualties they caused.  Then as the war came to a close, so the allies rushed to capture the technology for themselves, and the rivalries that exposed in itself.  It is quite a complex story and the book does a very good job of telling it, with the added element of being told by an author who experienced being on the receiving end of the assault on London.

Thanks to Pen and Sword for this review copy.

Robin