“Ontake-off saw Diver (V1) crossing over Dungeness, speed 360 mph at 1,500 feet, but ack-ack (anti-aircraft fire) from Newchurch caused us to break off.Returned to Dungeness and saw another Diver coming in four miles east of Dungeness, same speed and height. Closed to 500 yards and gave one-second burst, but while no strikes were seen the Diver turned to port. No.2 (his wingman) fired two bursts, again seeing no strikes in glow of jet. Flak (anti-aircraft fire) again caused us to break, and as Iwas completing my turn Isaw Diver hit the ground and explode.”1

Beside the risk of being shot down by friendly fire, shooting at alive bomb from close distance could result in the bomb setting off and blasting the fighter aircraft out of the sky.Young mother Gwen Chadwick and her friend were taking awalk when…

“… we heard aDoodlebug flying over Mount Pleasant. Having

nowhere to shelter we crouched down over the pram and just hoped for the best. At this point a fighter aircraft suddenly appeared out of the blue and fired at the Doodlebug, which exploded in mid-air.The plane then turned in asemi-circle, dipped its wings and appeared to do avictory roll. We could see the pilot waving to us and we were so excited we cheered and waved madly.Then, to our horror,the plane passed over our heads and came down like astone in the adjoining field and burst into flames, less than 100 yards away.The pilot had not been waving to us. He was trying to warn us to get out of the way. His crash, as we later learned, had been caused by the impact of the Doodlebug exploding. He was a Polish airman and his remains were buried in the local cemetery.”2

Beside the V1 there was also a V2. This was the very first ballistic

1 Brian Cull. Diver! Diver! Diver! (2008) London: 51 2 Norman Franks. Number One in Peace and War(2000) London: 127

missile, reaching aspeed of 3,580 mph. Unlike the former,the V2 was excessively complex and expensive with its mass production draining the German war economy. The paradox of the V2 is that the impossibility of its interception or shooting down meant that it did not tie up British air defences as the V1 did, thereby making it the lesser strategic weapon. In any case, none of them could have saved Nazi Germany.Their low reliability,negligible accuracy and the efficient British air defence reduced it to nothing more than aterror weapon, something the British people would never bow down to. 

Visiting an RAF Museum

Twoworld class locations for the RAF Museum in London and Cosford:

Twitter @RAFmuseum or read reviews on

Deadly Chase.

Summer 2017

Envoy 13

©RAF Museum.

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