Peenemünde is a peninsula in northern Germany on the Baltic coast. It was here from 1936 that the Nazi regime opened the Peenemünde Army Research Centre and under Wernher von Braun it was where the development of the first rockets took place: the V1 ‘Doodlebug’ and latterly the V2 rocket.
The site was heavily bombed once the Allies realised the importance of the site and the RAF launched several raids using Lancster bombers: the remains of one of them can be seen in a lake at Peenemünde. In the post-war period it was in East Germany and used by the Russians; there is a Cold War period airbase here too with a MIG fighter out front.
Today little of the rocket test sites are easily accessible but the Peenemünde area is a fascinating place to visit. As you come into the area you encounter a war cemetery where those who died in the bombing are buried, and it includes a Cold War period memorial (above).
The main focus for any visit is the superb Peenemünde Historical Technical Museum which is located in some of the original factory buildings that formed part of the test and research site. Here you can see a V1 and V2, along with many other exhibits but the whole site is one vast WW2 time machine and great to visit. The place is steeped in history and it is worth travelling to the area with the After The Battle magazine for Peenemünde.
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Martin Middlebrook’s book “The Pennemunde Raid” dscribes the high priority given to the boming of the peenemunde establishment based on intelligence gathered about the work being done there.
Sadly it was a high cost raid, carried out in Moonlight, at rather low level and at quite a range from home bases.
The German nightfighter force gathered around Berlin but no bombers appears save the mosquito force which distracted them , they could see the main raid far ro the North and wasted no time in heading there , falling upon the last waves of bombers and inflicting high losses.
The raid was aimed not only at destroying the research centre but in killing the research teams themselves and delyaing further research and production , sadly the forced labour camp which was the source of much smuggled information was also hard hit and many of the unfortunate souls there were killed, RV Jones stated that after the raid all news from that source ceased and it was concluded that the brave men or women who had risked their lives to get information out to the Allies were killed under our bombs.
As a result the V-1 / V-2 project was delayed and reseach was moved east towards and Poland . V-2 parts would eventually be stolen by resistance workers who took from test fire crashes and flown back to GB.
Thanks for that additional information James, much appreciated.