Disarming Hitler's V Weapons
...Bomb Disposal, from Pen & Sword
Title: Disarming Hitler's V Weapons
Author: Chris Ransted
Publisher: Pen & Sword
There have been a good few books on the subject of Bomb Disposal in WW2 but this new one from author Chris Ransted and Pen & Sword looks especially at the V-weapons used operationally in 1944-45.
A considerable effort was made into gathering intelligence about the V-weapon programme and there was the famous raid on Peenemunde but eventually, and only a few days after D-Day, the first operational V-1s were being launched against the UK. While the RAF, balloons and AA guns were all used against them, not only did some get through but among them were a number of failures, where the V-1 came down but didn't explode. The bomb disposal officers and men had to learn how to deal with them, a learning process that took the life of some. As for the V-2, there were only a small number which came down without detonating. The book is split into 7 chapters, starting with the First V-1s in June 1944 and then More V-1 Duds and Unexploded V-2s in England. That wasn't the end of the challenge however, as the advance of the Allies across NW Europe led to additional call for V-weapon disposal. Europe is followed by more details on the specialist tools developed for dealing with these weapons, both failed launches and in weapons dumps. That in turn went on to Post-War discoveries which have had to be dealt with right up to the present day. The last chapter considers a number of stories/reports of unexploded V-weapons that have been difficult to verify and some which have most likely come down in water and possibly remain there now. At the end of the book, a couple of Appendices includes the text and diagrams of the Disposal Instructions for V-weapons.
Even once removed, the fuses could still prove fatal without the main explosive charge being detonated. Though not reported publicly during the war for obvious reasons, here we learn of some of the locations where V-weapons came down without exploding, one of which I discovered was very near to where I went to school in the 1960s. Well illustrated throughout with archive images, diagrams and maps, I found this fascinating reading. Definitely recommended for anyone with an interest in the history of the V-weapons of WW2.
Thanks to Pen & Sword for our review copy.