Hitler secret weapons, Horten Ho 229 bomber, Germany beginning in 1933.

1942, Peenemünde. Nazi Germany. The first-ever operational rocket has just taken off. It’s the V2 rocket and it’s about to change the outcome of the war. On the ground, the Nazi leaders are enthusiastic. For nearly 6 years, 2000 Nazi scientists have been working on a revolutionary weapon. Fast, autonomous, unstoppable, the rocket should be able to destroy Europe. One year later, the Allies discover the scope of the project. They bomb Peenemünde. 

The base is wiped off the map. The production resumes in a safe place out of reach for Allied bombers. In the Dora concentration camp, deportees are building a huge underground factory to build Hitler’s secret weapons. Polish, Russian, French… thousand of them are working, in the dark, under inhuman conditions. One of them recalls: “Some small light bulbs illuminated a nightmare. In the tunnel, the cold and humidity were intense. Some prisoners became crazy. The SS prison guards beat and tortured the deportees. We had to sacrifice everything to produce more and more. 

The fate of III Reich depended on it.” Eperlecques,  northern France under nazi occupation. a huge bunker is being built. Their v2 rockets will be launched. According to the plan, the Nazis imagined the Eperlecques bunker to be 216 meters long, 102 meters wide, and 28 meters high with more than 5 meters thick walls. It would become a true monster. The V2 rockets arrive by train. They follow a pathway inside the bunker. They are filled with ethanol and liquid oxygen and finally, they come out of the bunker. Then, they are launched on their targets. 

The Eperlecques Bunker has a specific aim: to bomb London. At the end of 1942, the British hear more and more rumors regarding a top-secret Nazi rocket and they decide to bomb Eperlecques. The Eperlecques bunker was never completed. The Germans lost their main launch base. From there, they must rebuild everything. One week after the destruction of Eperlecques, the Nazis decide to build a huge concrete dome. 

It is bigger and stronger than the previous bunker and it aims to protect the rockets. This dome measures 70 meters in diameter, it weighs 55 000 tons and the roof exceeds 5 meters in thickness. We are in Belfast, less than 300 km from London. From 1944, 2500 deportees from the Buchenwald Concentration camp are recruited to work in the construction of Belfast. Foreign labor namely from Russians, Ukrainians, Serbians are exclusively used. The rockets are imported from Germany through a railway along with the bunker. At the end of the main block us gallery, rain unloading dock was set. The rockets are transported to the preparation room by a crane and a small railway system. We are in the center of the bunker. This is the preparation room. 

The rockets were assembled here. In 1944, the German army could prepare a rocket in less than an hour. The goal is to launch 50 V2s per day. July 1944. The Allies invade Normandy. Tons of bombs fall on the Helfaut bunker forcing the Nazis to desert the site. Not a single V2 rocket has ever been launched from Belfast. Hitler’s miracle weapon is a failure. Only 3000 V2 rockets were launched from simple mobile launch pads. 

The third Reich fell but the V2 history does not end there. In 1945, the Americans liberate the Dora concentration camp and they discover hundreds of untouched V2 rockets. The Nazi scientists give away their research to the Americans in exchange for immunity. Under everyone’s noses, they are exfiltrated to the USA. A prominent nazi engineer, Wernher Von Braun, becomes an American citizen in 1955 and finds his way to an influential spot at the top of NASA. The USA leads the space race thanks to the former Nazi scientists. The V2 becomes Saturn 5. 

The very same rocket that sends the first man to the moon.

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