The V-1 was part of Hitler's terror bombing of Britan during WWII. The V-1 was an autonomous flying bomb launched from the coastal territories of occupied France. It was guided by a gyroscope which was linked to the control surfaces on the wings and tail, this simple mechanism made sure the V-1 flew on a straight course. Range was determined by the amount of fuel loaded into the device. Fuel was calulated to run out just before the target (usually London) then the V-1 with its warhead of high grade explosives would simply fall out of the sky on to the civilian population. The V-1 was not a surgical weapon.

Despite the advantages of the V-1, it was an easy weapon to defeat. Because it flew in a straight line and at a fixed altitude the V-1 was easy prey for anti-aircraft gunners and fighter pilots flying the Spitfire and Hurricane. Pilots quickly learned that they did not need to fire on the V-1 to knock it out of the sky. By placing their aircraft directly ahead of the V-1 the pilots disrupted the airflow over the wings of the missile. This caused the V-1 to tumble so badly the gyroscope could not recover and the weapon fell to the ground. Unfortunately some of the V-1s made it through the defenses.

The V-1 was launched from an inclined rail with a steam generator in the launch ramp/catapult to get it up to speed (thank you for the correction The_Custodian). After that the pulse-jet took over propulsion. The V-2 followed later with disastrous results.

The_Custodian pointed out that the V-1 was also known as the "Buzz-Bomb"

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