13. The V-2 Terror Campaign
V-2 rockets went operational on September 7th, 1944, when two were launched against Paris, recently liberated from Nazi occupation by Allied armies. Both failed to reach their targets, and crashed soon after launch. The following day, another V-2 was launched at Paris, which caused modest damage. Two were also launched later that day at London, where they killed three people, including a three-year-old child. The frequency of launches intensified from then on, and by the time Germany surrendered, nine months later, about 3000 V-2s had been fired. Many failed to reach their targets. Even if all had, at one ton of explosives per V-2 warhead, that would have been a total of 3000 tons of explosives dropped on enemy cities, spread out over a nine month period.
By contrast, in that same nine month period, the Royal Air Force’s Bomber Command often dropped over 3000 tons of explosives on a single German city in a single nighttime raid. US Army Air Forces bombers also frequently exceeded that 3000 ton total in single raids during the daytime. Unlike the German V-2s, the Allied explosive delivery tools were reusable and thus more economical. Most Allied bombers returned to base, reloaded, returned to again drop more than 3000 tons of explosives on German cities, and repeated the process dozens of times.