New Vanguard 82: V-2 Ballistic
by Steven J Zaloga, illustrated
by Robert Calow
Osprey Publishing Ltd: ISBN 1-84176-541-4
Steve Zaloga is well known as a writer, as well as a frequent
visitor to Missing-Lynx.com, with particualr regard to tank modelling
and tank history. What is not so well know is that he’s also an
expert on missiles, and in fact edits a magazine about them. Here he turns
to the first and most famous 20th-century rocket weapon, the V2.
This, actually designated A-4 originally, was intended to
reach London. It stemmed from the1930s' German interest in rocketry which
had led to thoughts of military use. Steve Zaloga gives us the story of
the early experiments that led to the A-4 as well as that of the A-4 itself,
from the first failed launches to full production. He also describes the
missile itself and its production facilities, some even underground in
tunnels dug by slave labour, and the launching arrangements. Finally,
he gives us a look at post-war V-2 use by the US and the USSR, and how
this fed into modern missile designs.
The A-4 was hardly a precision weapon – in fact its accuracy was
abominable. But it arrived undetectably at supersonic speed, on a ballistic
trajectory through the stratosphere after engine burnout, so there was
no way to defend against it other than air or ground attack on the launcher
sites. These attacks are described too and, as students of the fighting
in Europe in 1944-45 know, all the launchers not knocked out from the
air were overrun on the ground.
The photographs here are a great selection, including some
very rare shots of A-4s being prepared for combat firing. The ground support
vehicles including the notorious armoured feuerleitpanzer fire control
halftrack are shown as well, and so is the firing platform. There’s
a description of the camouflage schemes used for the missiles, with photographs
of each, and all are shown in the colour plates too.
Resin kits are available of the feuerleitpanzer and the
meillerwagen transporter/erector trailer, and of course there’s
the DML/Revell kit of the V-2 itself. This book is just what anyone building
them needs, and in any case belongs on your bookshelf if you have any
interest in missiles.
Publishing website, New Vanguard 82 page