Auction Date: 2/09/2014 at 01pm
WWII – V2 Rockets a remarkable archive of typed test reports written during the development phase of the V2 Rockets – the Nazi developed weapons which were the first ballistic missiles and which eventually led to modern space exploration. The archive is typed on approx 39 sheets of A4 paper – some leaves showing evidence of having been rescued from destruction by fire. The typescripts – some of which are signed off by officials on the development project – are annotated in pencil in various places (some pages extensively).Some sheets bear red rubber stamps indicating that they are ‘Geheime Kommandosache’ [Top Secret]. A note which comes with the archive from a researcher indicates that these were final test firing reports for the rockets containing the date of firing , the type of missile, describing where it was built, including the underground production site near Nordhousen, Harz, indication of any special devices, the purpose of the test firing the weather conditions, preparations before reaching the launching platform, preparing of the launching platform, last preparations, the launching, the end of the flight, test results, summary of the test, conclusions and the security regulations. The note indicates that these reports were issued in very limited numbers of no more than 10-12 copies. The present archive comprises reports which were issued to ‘Kommandostelle S’ a unit of which details are hard to ascertain as it was such a secret organisation. The present archive could prove to be a highly important new source of information on what was by far the most important technological and scientific development to have come from WWII. The V2was the first real ballistic missile. Its effects were devastating, and had Hitler been successful in developing the technology of the atomic bomb then he would have had the capability of firing it long distances with the use of this rocket – unquestionably this would have led to the Nazis winning the war. A large number of V2 rockets were fired from Peenemunde where all kinds of modifications and experimental devices were tested. Although the first V2 firing units were operational by September 1944 test firings were continued until February 1945. What is remarkable is that many of these test firings were fired at German targets – evidence enough of how desperate the Nazis were becoming after D-Day and the relentless advances of Allied forces across Europe. Many of these test firings at German towns and cities resulted in considerable casualties and substantial damages to houses and other properties – this was particularly in Pomerania. Special Units were then sent to evaluate the extent of the damage caused. The main problem was the guidance of the missile – and also many firings were sabotaged by the slave workers who were used at the production plant. However, V2s were fired against the Allies with missiles targeted at London, Antwerp and Liege. It is now a matter of record that technical and scientific teams who were involved in the development of the V2 were spared retribution after the war, and many of them shipped to America were they were employed on missile development after the war – leading eventually to their development of the very rockets which took man to the Moon in 1969. The vast majority of the V2 related documents were either destroyed by the Germans before the Allies moved in – there was an SS order to do this. The fact that several of the sheets in the present archive have clearly been in a fire suggests that these very papers were rescued from such destruction. Those papers which were not destroyed by the Germans were impounded by the Allies, and it is therefore likely that the present archive is one of the only times when such information has been offered for sale.