THE WAR AGAINST VON BRAUN
DOUGLAS KENDALL NOW TELLS HOW HIS AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHIC UNIT FOUGHT HISTORY'S FIRST BATTLE AGAINST MISSILE ATTACK
A BIZARRE and incalculably important war, directly related to today's East-West race for the moon, was waged in the twilight world of war-time intelligence in 1943 and 1944 by two men who have never met — Douglas Kendall, now president of Hunting Survey Corporation of Toronto, and Wernher von Braun, now scientific head of the U. S. space program.
It was a curiously grave, silent struggle, remote from the sound of the guns and carried on relentlessly by both sides amid idyllic rural surroundings.
Von Braun, then chief engineer of German V-2 rocket development. planned to terrorize Britain with nonstop bombardment by 3.000-mph missiles against which there would be no defense; Kendall, as head of the Allied Central Photographic Interpretation Unit in England, had to uncover the nature of von Braun’s wiork in time to minimize the threat.
The prelude to their conflict took place on October 3, 1942, when von Braun stood on a concrete parapet overlooking the test pads at the Peenemünde Experimental Station on the Baltic coast of northern Germany, and watched the flight that opened up the new frontier of space.
A prototype V-2 rocket, fortysix feet tall, weighing 13.5 tons and carrying 2,000 pounds of sand in lieu of explosives, blasted up from the ground, soared to a height of sixty miles and then fell 120 miles offshore.
No one in Britain had the slightest idea that the monstrous weapon of vengeance had been born that day in what geography books call the Peenemünde bight.
Kendall's headquarters w'as a country mansion near a placid English village called Medmenham, nestling against the river Thames, some forty miles from London. It was staffed by a strangely assorted
group of archeologists, architects, engineers, university professors and actors, all intent upon extracting information from thousands of air reconnaissance photographs taken at heights ranging from 100 to 35,000 feet.
KENDALL'S FILM WARRIORS
Theirs was a new technique — that of placing the photographs under stereo microscopes and subjecting them to prolonged, intensive scrutiny. Men and women who had once traced the origins of ancient relics, who were trained to interpret blueprints, or who may have once studied the mating habits of fleas, could detect in objects smaller than a pinhead information about the enemy which might change the course of battles.
During one inspection of Kendall’s unit. Field Marshal Smuts stopped abruptly in front of an elderly wing commander peering through a magnifying glass at a
photograph. "Great heavens,” he said to Kendall. "That fellow is the world’s leading paleobotanist." Redheaded Sarah Churchill was there, one of a team responsible for beach intelligence for the North African landings and under orders not to discuss the operation with her father.
Early in January, 1943, two events took place almost simultaneously—von Braun was made chairman of the V-2 production committee and Kendall was ordered to investigate the reason for civilians being evacuated from the Peenemünde area.
When 1 spoke with Kendall at his home in Ontario's Caledon Hills recently, he said: "We were largely a trination unit of Canadians, Americans and British. Most of us were self-taught in photographic interpretation work and we had become pretty good at it.
"By 1943 we knew that whenever civilians were being evacuated
BLUEPRINT FOR OBLITERATION: A MAP THAT HELPED “PRANG" V-BOMBS
from a military area it generally meant some construction work would follow. By identifying what was being built you could usually find out what it was the enemy didn't want his own people to know about.
“We organized frequent and extensive reconnaissance flights over the area with the latest model Spitfires, unarmed and unarmored so that they could fly higher and faster than anything the enemy had.”
The first photographs were interpreted in early February; they revealed signs of ground being prepared for construction work. On the ninth, military intelligence wrote to Kendall: “There have been indications that the Germans may be developing some form of long-range projectors capable of firing on this country from the French coast . . . It may be similar in form to a section of railway track . . . We should be grateful if you would keep a close watch for any suspicious erections of rails or scaffoldings.''
By the end of the month von Braun’s team was firing more and more proving “shots” from Peenemünde, each rocket leaving a trail of white smoke in its wake which
could be seen for miles around. Nearby farmers christened these trails “frozen lightning” and rumors concerning their cause reached England via Denmark and Sweden.
Military Intelligence informed Kendall that the projectile he should look for might be a twostage rocket with a range of 130 miles. It could be ninety-five feet long, thirty inches in diameter, weigh nine and a half tons and require a projector of about 100 yards in length.
On March 27, Kendall replied that photographs revealed three large emplacements under construction at Peenemünde, each consisting of an elliptical or oval pit, rather like an empty reservoir, in the centre of which were scaffoldings astride a concrete slit in the ground.
These were, in fact, test beds for improved versions of the V-2. where the engines could be tested under simulated flight conditions. Von Braun and his military chief. Major-general Walter Dornberger, were then aiming at a production rate of 300 rockets a month—providing they could arm the program with the highest priority for both
materials and component parts.
Only Hitler could grant the priority, and he had not yet rendered a verdict on the military value of the V-2. He did so at the end of March. Von Braun and his colleagues were summoned to Berlin and told: “You cannot have the highest priority. The Führer has dreamed that the V-2 rocket will never fly over England.”
V-WEAPONS JUST WEREN’T CRICKET
Von Braun and Dornberger had geared their production target to the launching of a major rocket assault on Britain in September. Hitler’s portentous dream not only wrecked it but provided Kendall in England with the time he needed to probe the secrets of Peenemünde.
Dismayed but not discouraged, von Braun persuaded the German army to begin building an immense launching site and underground storage dump at Watten, 135 miles flying distance from London, in the Pas-de-Calais area of northwestern France.
By now intelligence reports reaching London mentioned a whole family of V-weapons being produced at Peenemünde and the thoroughly alarmed British govern-
ment instructed Kendall to undertake a vast photographic investigation into the entire enemy program. The operation was code - named “Bodyline,” particularly apt because it refers to a form of cricket that gentlemen frown upon — that of bowling at the batsman instead of the wicket. In Whitehall, V-wcapons were not considered cricket at all.
Kendall was to report directly to Duncan Sandys, then chairman of the interservice committee for defense against German V-weapons and Churchill’s son-in-law. His directive to the unit at Medmcnham said:
The following suggestions as to the nature of the major secret weapon have been made:
(1) It is a long-range gun.
(2) It is a rocket aircraft controlled on the Queen Bee principle.
(3) It is some sort of tube located in a disused mine out of which a rocket could be squirted.
The investigation of the P.l. Unit should aim at solving:
(a) Where the weapon is being constructed.
(b) Where the experiments are taking place.
THE ROCKET BASES THAT VON BRAUN BUILT AND THE ALLIES DESTROYED
From a park called Haagse Bos inside Holland's seat of government, The Hague, the Germans fired 500 V-2s on London. In the lower half of this photo by one of Kendall's men, a siring of V-2s on trailers can be seen, ready to be moved up to the launching area, the whitish patch at the right.
Peenemünde, on the Baltic — the secret experimental base where von Braun created the V-2. This was the first photo Kendall saw that showed V-2s — at B and C. At A was a gun platform. The two pointed shadows near B and C were cement slits through which V-2s were brought to the testing tower.
(e) The nature of the weapon.
(d) What constructions or emplacements within 130 miles of London are capable of being used for its launching.
The highest priority is to be allotted to this investigation.
The next day fifty-odd aircraft began a systematic daily search of Occupied Europe to a depth of 100 miles from the coastlines facing England.
Kendall told me: “The whole emphasis was really on Peenemünde but we couldn’t afford not to look elsewhere. Nor was there any real doubt that the weapon was anything but tt rocket. We studied and restudied every photograph and eventually identified certain structures on the north end of the Peenemünde bight adjacent to the beach. We discarded them as having nothing to do with secret weapons, deciding instead that they were associated w'ith reclamation of ground from the Baltic.”
That was his first mistake, but a natural one because the unit had been warnedto watch for sections of railway track or something similar.
These structures were simply flattened areas of the foreshore with what seemed to be tall cranes or buildings or excavators on them.
Kendall was summoned to London on April 29 to give Duncan Sandys a review of the information compiled from reconnaissance photographs. He told Sandys that:
(1) The three elliptical constructions there were test beds for explosives of some type.
(2) If rocket projectiles were being developed they had not yet gone beyond the experimental stage.
(3) In view of these facts, a long range rocket was not yet an immediate menace.
The air search continued throughout May and the special team of twenty interpreters assigned full time to Bodyline discovered something strange going on at Watten. Because the construction w'as incomplete they could not identify it positively, but even in its embryonic stage it bore no relation to any conventional military structure. Consequently, it w'as suspected of being connected w'ith rocket firing.
Kendall passed this conclusion to Sandys and on June 12 provided the War Cabinet with a first-hand account of what his unit believed to be happening at Peenemünde.
At this meeting his representative. Elt. Lt. J. A. Kenny, was cross-examined by Stafford C ripps, then Minister of Aircraft Production, and Lord Cherwell, the prime minister's scientific adviser.
To Kenny's amazement the cabinet split almost evenly on the seriousness of the V-weapon danger. Cripps joined Sandys in arguing forcibly for immediate countermeasures. such as a bombing raid on Peenemünde, but Cherwell led a faction which derided the weapons as a hoax, a deliberate subter-
fuge designed to create fear in Britain.
The argument was in full spate when Kenny was dismissed to wait in another room for the outcome. Apparently, the Cripps-Sandys alliance carried the day and Churchill came out to congratulate him on the unit's work.
Further reconnaissance flights went over Peenemünde during the following two days. Comparisons between these photographs and those taken earlier showed that the crane-like scaffoldings in the middle of the elliptical pits were being moved about. There were also more of them.
“I WANT ANNIHILATION"
On June 16, the construction work on the foreshore, previously identified as reclamation work, was noticed to have acquired a vertical column which, by measurement of its shadow', was estimated to be lorty feet tall. No significance was attached to it at Medmenham; Kendall’s team had made its second mistake.
Von Braun was also having trouble. The V-2 rockets were reaching greater heights than before. but more of them were exploding in mid-air. He discovered eventually that when they were descending from eighty miles or more, the heat generated by re-entry into the atmosphere detonated the warheads.
Fiberglass nose cones were designed to protect the warheads, but to the very end they were only partially successful, lt was enough, however, to warrant instant production and von Braun reported to Berlin to give Hitler a full-dress briefing on what had been achieved. When it was finished, the Führer jumped to his feet and. forgetting his earlier dream, announced that Germany would produce at least 1.000 V-2s a month initially, open the attack on Britain in December with a firing rate of four an hour, and step this up to ten an hour in January. 1944. This would have meant ten tons of TNT falling somewhere in London almost constantly night and day.
Hitler worked himself into a state of almost hysterical enthusiasm, demanding bigger rockets capable of carrying ten tons of explosives each.
“What I want is annihilation — annihilating effect.” he shouted.
Von Braun thought his colleagues had done well w ith one ton. and he certainly didn't believe that rockets of the size Hitler wanted were feasible. But he promised to produce designs and left Berlin with the precious production priority.
Then Luftwaffe scientists, also working at Peenemünde but independently of von Braun's military establishment, successfully flighttested a small, winged bomb and announced it ready for mass production. This was the V-l "flying bomb"—and now two V-weapons competed for Hitler’s favor.
Supporters of the flying bomb argued CONTINUED ON PAGE 42
CONTINUED ON PAGE 42
Continued from page 21
THE WAR AGAINST VON BRAUN
England was ignorant of the second secret weapon
that four of their weapons could be produced for the cost of one V-2 and at a quicker rate. Von Braun’s adherents replied that the V-l was slow, vulnetable to fighter interception and ground ack-ack fire, whereas there could be no adequate defense against a supersonic missile hurtling through the air at more than four times the speed of sound.
In England, the Bodyline probers were blissfully ignorant of the existence of more than one secret weapon. The frail web of rumor and conjecture, which had led to their inquiry, had caused them to associate rockets with long launchers resembling sections of railway track.
They had no way of knowing that the V-2 didn’t need a launcher, that the V-l did and that the two weapons were being developed in adjacent research stations. The V-2 investigation was, in fact, leading directly to the discovery of the V-l. against which defenses could be organized — and were, as many subsequent accounts have shown.
What later proved to be among the most important reconnaissance flights of the war was flown at Kendall's request on June 23. Peenemünde was photographed from dawn till dusk at varying heights and from different angles. The results startled the Medmenham interpreters.
In these photographs they identified torpedolike objects about thirty-eight feet long, six feet in diameter and with three fins at one end. A hurried re-examination of previous photographs showed that these objects had been present since early February but had escaped detection.
Kendall ordered more reconnaissance missions. As the photographs flowed into Medmenham. the interpreters saw that the objects were being moved about on railway flatcars and seemed to travel in most cases to and from the elliptical pits. In their excitement. the interpreters again checked back on earlier photographs and identified railway tank cars parked alongside the scaffoldings, which they now described positively as cranes.
They deduced that the torpedolike objects were rockets, the pits were test beds for their engines and the tank cars carried the fuel.
I he immense effort concentrated in Bodyline was beginning to yield its harvest. Coming from a secret agent the information would have been unreliable because it couldn't be checked. But the P.l. Unit could always support their conclusions by evidence on film.
Kendall, still worried about the elliptical pits at Peenemünde, strengthened the Bodvline team to eighty interpreters and a satisfactory answer was found to the riddle. The cranes were used to lift the rockets upright, then the engines were subjected to various tests in the concrete slits.
The team felt they had sufficient evidence tit this stage to build a scale model of the rocket. When it was finished. Kendall gave it to Sandys along with a summary of the investigation to date. It so impressed Sandys that he presented it to the cabinet with a review of his own, which said in part: "The accumulation of intelligence reports indicates the development of very long-range projectiles at Peenemünde. Frequent photographic reconnaissance of Peenemünde confirms this conclusion.
“An object having every appearance of a long-range rocket, thirty-eight feet long with three fins, has been seen in the open. Intelligence indicates range in order of 140 miles with propulsion provided by some new fuel of high calorific value.
"Having regard to the size of the projectile. it should he taken as certain that the projector sites will be rail-served. Certain unexplained installations, rail-served, have been observed in north France.”
Churchill, always liable to be swayed by the opinions of Lord Cherwell (who still argued that it was all a gigantic hoax), was bent to Sandys’ view this time by the weight of indisputable evidence supplied by Kendall. Corroborative evidence came ..om an unexpected source in June when an experimental rocket exploded in mid-air well exit over the Baltic and parts of it fell in Sweden. With the tacit consent of the Swedish authorities. Allied experts were allowed to examine and photograph the pifees before they could be claimed by the Germans.
This resulted in further information — that the rocket had four tailfins, not three: that it might be fueled by liquid oxygen or hydrogen peroxide or both; and that it might be larger than Kendall had supposed. The new estimate pictured a rocket about fifty feet long, weighing forty-five tons and carrying ten tons of explosives — the size Hitler wanted.
Now it became urgent to find out where the fuel was being manufactured. Kendall compiled a list of thirteen chemical plants in Germany known to be capable of producing liquid oxygen and hydrogen peroxide. Reconnaissance flights were flown over all of them and the interpreters walched to see if rail tanker cars similar
to those seen at Peenemünde could be identified at any of the plants. If so. it could be concluded that the plant concerned was sending fuel to the rocket station.
Simultaneously, and without warning as far as Kendall was concerned, the investigation was jolted by a fresh emergency.
British and American scientists had brought atomic-bomb experiments to the theoretically possible stage, and by AngloAmerican agreement the huge plant facilities would be built in the United States. Military intelligence then reported that the Germans were transporting heavy water
from Norway into Germany, presumably for their own atomic research. This could have been related to the Peenemünde rockets and Sandys was warned that the Germans might be planning to equip the rockets with atomic warheads.
T he danger was explained to Kendall (who incidentally became one of the first of the few. outside a political-scientific elite, to know' about the A-bomb) and he w'as given sketches of what an A-bomb factory might look like. He was also told that so much electricity would be needed that the power lines leading to the plant
would probably be larger than normal. Having imparted such slender suppositions to Kendall, the scientists then requested that he undertake a search of Occupied Europe to find out if such a plant existed.
The task was enormous, particularly as the watch on Peenemünde had to be maintained at the same time. The only logical method, it seemed to Kendall, would be to photograph the entire electrical power grid ot the Continental hinterland, map the switch and transformer stations watch for extra heavy duty cables and then follow them to their terminals.
If the terminals should resemble the rough sketches supplied by the Ministry of Supply scientists, German A-bomb production could be taken as fact.
The great air hunt began with reconnaissance aircraft setting off from Murmansk to cover Norway; from Scotland to cover Denmark and Holland; from the east coast of England for Belgium and Germany; from southern England for France; and from Malta for Central Europe. Interpreter teams worked round the clock scrutinizing the stream of photographs and by August 10 the astounding mission was complete. With the exception of areas within easy reach of Allied bombers, the power grid of Europe was mapped, the sizes of all power cables meticulously documented.
The result: no likely plants, no abnormal power consumption. Although the outcome was negative, the operation confirmed that the chief menace from Peenemünde would be rockets, probably capable of carrying ten tons of TNT.
By now. the British cabinet had been thoroughly shaken by the possibility that a real danger existed.
Even while the A-bomb search was taking place, an alarming increase in activity was noticed at Peenemünde—more rockets appearing on rail cars, some seen to be standing upright. A few were tracked in flight by their tails of “frozen lightning.”
The curious structure at Watten was seen to be nearing completion, and others of the same type had been spotted in the same area, near Wissant and Marquise. One small group of interpreters had even estimated the number of workers at Watten to be in the region of 6.000.
In fact, these photographs mirrored an accelerated effort by von Braun and his scientists to meet the target set by Hitler—
1.000 V-2s a month immediately. T he German press and radio now' launched an almost hysterical propaganda campaign, promising their audiences that secret weapons were about to be unleashed in retaliation for the RAF’s nightly raids.
Another meeting at Number 10 Down-
The orders were explicit: fly low over the secret Nazi base and bomb to kill the sleeping scientists
¡ng Street attended by Kendall proved that the gulf between those who took the threat seriously and those who didn't w'as as wide as ever. Nevertheless, Cripps and Sandys obstinately insisted that Goebbels wouldn’t scream so loudly unless he had something with which to back up his promises.
Their arguments convinced Churchill and he convinced the rest. The cabinet decided that the most concentrated and devastating air raid of the war would be made on Peenemünde. The order to Bomber Command said:
‘The attack on the experimental station at Peenemünde should take the form of the heiviest possible night attack on the first occasion when conditions are suitable. ’
It was a major victory for Kendall and his Medmenham group. They had proved that native shrewdness, a few precision instruments and airborne cameras could penetrate the thickest security blanket and extract reliable intelligence. In all Germany. only a handful of army officers, scientists. Hitler and his coterie, knew what was going on at Peenemünde. No traditional spy net could have provided the British government with such comprehensivi information.
Von Braun’s secret was out. Now Kendall was to play a key role in countering it.
The model-makers at Medmenham had been painstakingly assembling all the information collected during Bodyline and had built scale models of the Peenemünde community — workshops, living quarters, test sites, etc.
They were helped by German conservatism and thoroughness. By relating horizontal and vertical measurements the modelmakers had reached remarkably accurate estimates of the sizes of the buildings; and by comparing them with other German barracks could determine that a building at Peenemünde might be similar to another outside Berlin. Quite likely, therefore, the buildings would serve the same purpose.
A Peenemünde structure unlike anything else seen in Germany could be logically connected with rocket research and safely designated a workshop.
By this means, it was established that the living quarters at Peenemünde could accommodate at least 500 technicians in a group of four buildings.
Once the unit had constructed a master model. Bomber Command asked that additional models be made for use at briefings of the fifty-five squadrons assigned to the raid, one of them being No. 427 Bomber Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
There were two underlying motives for the raid. One was the natural wish of the British government to spare their civilian population the agony of a second blitz, more terrible than the first; the other was to avoid any disruption of the build-up of forces and materials already taking place for the invasion of Europe in 1944.
Both purposes could be served by destroying the enemy’s capability of getting the rockets into mass production, or at least delaying it until Allied armies were back on the Continent and in a position to overrun the V-weapon bases.
For these reasons. Bomber Command selected the living quarters at Peenemünde as the major target. If they could be heavily bombed, hundreds of sleeping scientists would be killed and the consequent loss of technical "know-how" would prove more damaging than the destruction of equipment.
It would require precision bombing, something that could be achieved only if the crews were thoroughly familiar with models of the target and attacked in bright moonlight from no higher than 8,000 feet.
These conditions entailed the risk of high losses because they favored the enemy defenses. Flying low in moonlight, the 571 bombers would have no cloud protection from night fighters on the way in and out
and would be nakedly revealed to ground ack-ack defenses in the target area.
But the War Cabinet had so emphasized the importance of the raid that Bomber Command accepted the risk.
The squadrons were briefed on the morning of August 17 and told that the raid that night was the most important mission yet undertaken. To explain why they were being sent out in moonlight, they were (old that the target was a radar experimental station where a new form of radar had been developed especially designed to direct flak fire at bomber formations. It was, the briefing officers said, a fantastically accurate device and if allowed to be produced would result in hundreds of Allied bombers being shot down. This was tantamount to saying that by making an all-out eflort to devastate Peenemünde the crews would be saving their own lives.
To clinch their determination, the briefings ended with a warning that if the results were not satisfactory they would go back again and again until their mission was accomplished. Bomber crews would do almost anything to avoid returning to a target, for the good reason that surprise was always possible the first time but never again.
At 9.30 that cloudless summer evening the first bombers took off from England. Others followed until all were airborne and heading across the North Sea toward Germany, led by the Master Bomber and his Pathfinder aircraft which would light up the target area.
Kendall’s work had led to this — thousands of men in the air with the task of destroying a weapon against which there was no defense, and of killing as many of its creators as possible.
"At that time I had never heard of von Braun,” said Kendall, when I asked him how he had felt on the night of the raid. "In wartime one doesn’t think about the effects of action on the people, being only interested in the need to take action to counter what the enemy is planning to hit you with. If the best way to stop it was to kill the enemy scientists then I was in favor.”
The raid, carried out as prescribed at 8.000 feet, lasted exactly an hour. In the
language of the day, Peenemünde was beautifully "pranged" — the test beds wrecked, some of the workshops gutted and the living quarters badly damaged.
Official records have never revealed the actual casualty figures, but it is now accepted in British and German accounts that 735 were killed, of whom 190 were technicians and the rest foreign "slave” workers. Major-general Dornberger, who is also living in the United States today, has since said that two of the V-2 key designers were among those killed.
Von Braun escaped injury. That night, instead of sleeping in his quarters, he worked late in one of the few buildings that remained untouched.
Forty bombers, with crews totaling 400, were shot down, the heaviest losses in a single raid ever suffered by Bomber Command. That was the cost of obliterating Peenemünde. The final blow was delivered a week later when the U. S. Air Force bombed the V-2 launching areas and storage dumps in the Pas-de-Calais.
Hitler’s vision of 1,000 rockets a month hurtling on London was shattered. The planned opening of the assault in December was to be postponed until September. 1944 — an eight-month delay that carried the danger well past D-day.
Eisenhower underlined the gravity of the threat in his memoirs. Crusade in Europe, in which he said: "If the Germans had succeeded in perfecting and using these weapons six months earlier than they did. our invasion of Europe would have proved exceedingly difficult, perhaps impossible. I feel sure that if they had succeeded in using these weapons over a six months’ period, and particularly if they had made the Portsmouth-Southampton area one of their principal targets. Overlord might have been written off.”
I he V-2 attack, when it came, proved utterly ineffectual. In the seven months it lasted, 1.359 rockets were fired of which 1.190 reached England. Only 500 fell on London, killing 2.724 people and wounding 6.467 more. When the advancing Allied armies forced the Germans to withdraw the rockets so far back they could no longer reach Britain, Kendall realized for the first time the meaning of the alleged
reclamation work on the Peenemünde foreshore.
It was simply a flattened site used for the launching of the first experimental V-2s. The tall columns his unit had seen on it were the rockets themselves, and had they been recognized as such, the nature of the threat would have been known in London during February, 1943, instead of June.
Kendall told me: “We had thought then that the secret weapons would require complicated and extensive launching equipment. Only after the attack began did we realize that they could be hydraulically elevated and fired from any reasonably flat surface -— a railway flatcar or even a ploughed field.”
With the danger minimized so drastically, no further action was taken to thwart the V-2. By cabinet decision, the British people would have to "take it” until the defeat of Germany.
"We estimated that the cost of production was so high that the crumbling German economy could hardly afford to build many more.” said Kendall. “In such circumstances, it would have been a waste of effort to divert large bomber forces to destroy the small remaining rocket capability which we knew to exist inside Germany proper.”
But neither Kendall nor his unit could relax after the Peenemünde raid. The battle with von Braun was won. but other vengeance weapons had to be defeated — the flying bomb and a curious contraption called the V-3. At the village of Mimoyecques in northern France, a rail spur entered one side of a hill and emerged from the other side to rejoin the main line. On top of the hill were four very boguslooking haystacks. The P.I. Unit watched the site for a month and eventually the pattern emerged.
Tunnels 400 feet long were dug at an angle of forty-five degrees from the top and then lined with sheet metal. They were, in fact, huge gun barrels from which London was to be shelled. This squirting process was to be a nonstop affair.
Fifty bombers dropped 12,000-pound
On von Braun’s side, Hitler’s vacillation had combined with Kendall’s quiet warfare to deny him success. But his V-2 was the overture to the ICBMs, Cape Canaveral and the Sputniks. ^
blockbusters on this wildly conceived weapon—when all it really needed was a single near miss to put the barrels out of kilter. After the war it was discovered that 10,000 Russian prisoners had been employed on the weapon’s construction.
The end of V-3 brought an end to the V-weapons and to Bodyline. On Kendall’s side, the V-weapons had entailed 4,000 reconnaissance flights for the loss of eighty aircraft. Nearly two million photographs were taken and minutely analyzed at Mcdmenham. About 2,500 signals marked “Urgent—Top Secret” had gone out from Medmenham to various high commands in Britain and the United States and 3,500 intelligence reports had been issued covering the various stages of progress in the Bodyline investigation.