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Hitler's Rocket Soldiers: Firing the V-2s Against England (Anglais) Relié – 15 mars 2011
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Description du produit
Revue de presse
There has always been a degree of ambivalence surrounding the German rocket programme. Was it an exciting technological development, the legacy of which has benefited mankind, or was it a last ditch effort to save a desperate regime whose scarce resources would have been better employed producing more conventional weapons? --Britian at War Magazine, December 2011
Présentation de l'éditeur
The V2 - 'Vergeltungswaffen Zwei' (Vengeance Weapon 2), designed by the rocket scientist and engineer, Wernher von Braun, and his colleagues at the secret Nazi research center at Peenemunde, was the most sophisticated weapon developed in Europe during the war. Following the end of hostilities, von Braun and many in his team transferred their allegiance to the United States and subsequently went on to design the mighty Saturn V that took the Americans to the moon. The experiences of von Braun's rocket team are well documented, but somewhat surprisingly, some aspects of the V2 story remain largely uncovered. This is especially true from the German perspective and more specifically, the view of the men who formed the firing teams for this formidable weapon that embraced supersonic technology. From September 1944 to early 1945, V2 launch teams fired more than 3,000 rockets, each with a high-explosive one-ton warhead, at targets in England, France, Belgium, Holland and even within Germany itself. Many rockets were fired from mobile launch sites in The Hague and from concealed wooded areas hidden from Allied aircraft, using fleets of modern, purpose-built transporters and trailers with sophisticated ancillary and support vehicles.
For the first time, this book tells the story of the V2 through the eyes and experiences of the men who not only fired the missiles at targets such as London, Norwich, Antwerp and Paris, but also of some of the military scientists and technicians involved in its development. The authors have spent many years tracking down and interviewing the few surviving veterans of these little-known and secretive units and have unearthed new and rare information from firsthand accounts. These are the unique recollections of the 'Rocket Soldiers' who have spoken candidly to the authors about their wartime duties.
The accounts show that, mostly, they were not stereotypical and idealogically indoctrinated 'Aryan warriors', but very ordinary soldiers and technicians living through extraordinary times, handling the most sophisticated weapon ever developed in pre-nuclear Europe. The book also describes the development of German rocketry following the end of the First World War and the technology embodied within the V2. The veterans tell of their first encounters with the awesome new rocket and how, having survived the devastating RAF raid on Peenemunde, training was dispersed to test sites in Poland. They recall the move to forward firing positions, gun battles with the Resistance and the start of the rocket offensive. In truth, the more battle-experienced veterans knew that the V2 was a waste of valuable human and mate'riel resources - a last-ditch hope to save a desperated regime. Conversely, the book illustrates how inexperienced troops drafted directly to the V2 units from basic training, vainly hoped and believed that the fortunes of war would turn in Germany's favor. The veterans tell of their desperate experiences when the inevitable defeat came, as they were rushed to the east to defend Berlin where so many Rocket Soldiers lost their lives. Yet while some V2 troops ended the war with tears of regret for a robbed youth, others shed tears of frustration, knowing that they would never live through such extraordinary ti
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com
Through advertisements that Mssrs. Barber and Keuer placed in German newspapers, 11 former Wehrmacht rocket troops eventually contacted the authors and agreed to be interviewed--a process that took place over a period of seven years. These veterans' stories make up the bulk of "Hitler's Rocket Soldiers," 206 pages out of a total of 284. These are far more than traditional "oral histories," though. Each chapter features the story of one of the 11 soldiers, but goes far beyond simply relating their personal reminiscences by presenting their experiences in broader historical and technical contexts. These tales of life "in the trenches" are fascinating indeed.
But there's much more to "Hitler's Rocket Soldiers" than a bunch of bierstube banter. The first section of about 40 pages covers the V-2's genesis, development and testing at Peenemunde, a detailed description of the rocket, and the formation of the organizational infrastructure put into place to deploy the weapon. The "end matter" includes 11 appendices containing such things as V-2 technical specifications, a map of the August 1943 Allied bomber attack on Peenemünde, drawings of V-2 storage and firing positions, and much more. Plus there are several maps of V-2 operations in Europe and 97 black-and-white photos, many of which I've never before seen in print, in two inserts totaling 32 pages. The amount and quality of information in "Hitler's Rocket Soldiers" is remarkable. To my knowledge, this story has never before been told, and certainly not to the depth and breadth that authors Barber and Keuer do in this volume.
I offer only one caveat. The print in "Hitler's Rocket Soldiers" is small--very small. It looks to me like about a six-point font. I've posted a few photos to show this. The small text in no way detracts from the importance, value and appeal of the book, and you can fix the "problem" by positioning a strong light source over your shoulder. That minor nit aside, "Hitler's Rocket Soldiers" is one of the most fascinating, best-produced and interesting books I've read in many years. I enthusiastically give it my highest recommendation.
A better book on the history and development of the V-1 and V-2 is Dieter Holsken's "V-Missiles of the Third Reich."