The A-5 was a test-bed rocket for all principle features of the proposed A-4. Equipped with the new Siemens control equipment, it was designed to execute commanded guidance during a ballistic (curved) trajectory and have the ability to do so in stable flight. The rocket would maneuver into a ballistic attitude when the gyroscopes tilted in the desired direction of flight, which would cause the autopilot to send signals to the servos attached to the exhaust vanes. They, in turn, would deflect the blast in a manner so as to tilt the rocket slowly over. If wind gusts affected the attitude of the rocket, the autopilot would react in the same manner, always seeking to align the longitudinal axis of the rocket with the fundamental axis of the gyroscopes. Thus, the gyros were responsible for the controlled tilt during a curved flight path and primary flight course correction of the rocket. In laying out the requirements for the A-4, the scientists determined that a 50-degree tilt would be necessary to achieve the maximum range for the future weapon. The third A-5 test flight, the second flight that day, was predetermined to test this technique of controlled guidance. The engineers had often tested the procedure during static firings of the rocket at the captive test stands, but now they would be able to see if it really worked in flight. As the rocket blasted away vertically from its launching point, it was only a few seconds later when, gradually, the programmed tilt came from the control system. They watched and cheered as the A-5 canted to the east after four seconds of vertical climb. It crossed over the island gaining speed as it flew in a long arc out to sea. When the motor stopped, the missile continued and flattened out about four miles downrange. Surprisingly, the parachute deployment was again successful, and the rocket dropped slowly from the sky into the waters of the Baltic. Once more, the rocket was recovered and subjected to post flight examination. The A-5 guidance test was completely successful. Although the rocket had not achieved supersonic speeds, the calculations and devices worked as planned. In the A-5 the rocket team now had a proven tool for sustained tests with all the varied concepts that would need to be incorporated in the A-4. Later on, the A-5 would achieve a range of around 11 miles at a height of 8 miles. Dornberger was relieved. He later stated, “Now I can see our goal clearly, and the way that lead to it. Then I knew we would succeed in creating a weapon with far greater range than artillery.” The A-5 would be launched again and again to test these concepts as the team moved closer to creating the big missile. Video: A-5 prep and test launch WMV 2.7 MB The research facilities near the Baltic were not as confidential as the Army might have liked to believe at the time. The recent Peenemünde successes were, in part, the result of cooperation with civilian firms and German universities, all of which were privy to some form of confidential information about the rocket project. The first warning about Germany’s ongoing secret weapons research was delivered to the British as a gift. On the morning of November 5, 1939, a package was found resting on a window ledge outside of the British Embassy in Oslo, Norway. The package contained seven pages of German text and another small box, which contained a sealed glass tube. When the text was translated it sounded incredible. The document spoke of fantastic new weaponry being developed in Germany. Late in the evening of the same day, the so-called Oslo Report arrived on the desk of Dr. Reginald Victor Jones, the director of the Scientific Department at Air Ministry in London. Dr. Jones scrutinized the documents. No one believed the information to be genuine. It was quickly denounced as a hoax, one designed to intentionally mislead British war planners. Dr. Jones was one of the few who actually retained his copy of the Oslo Report, and its value would become apparent at a later date.

johnbr, Nov 30, 2012
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