Aircraft History

Designed by the Gerhard Fieseler Werke, the FZG76 pilotless cruise missile became better known as the V1. Adolf Hitler planned to use the jet-powered V1 and the V2 rocket as 'Vergeltungswaffen' or vengenance weapons against the United Kingdom. The first V1s were launched from 55 metre inclined ramps positioned near the northern French coast and aimed at London. An 850 kilogram explosive charge was carried in the nose cone and power was delivered by an Argus AS 014 impulse duct (pulse jet) engine which used shutters and a screen of fuel nozzles to ignite the fuel and close the shutters about 40-45 times per second to direct the thrust to the rear of the jet pipe which gave out a distinctive rasping noise. Top speed was around 650 kilometers per hour which made it difficult for allied fighters to intercept it in flight. An air driven gyro was used for the flying controls and a normal range of about 240 kilometres It is believed about 10,000 V1s were fired at targets in Britain and Belgium in 1944-45 causing 24,000 casualties. In Britain the V1 was widely known as the 'doodle-bug' or 'buzz-bomb'. In 1944, a concentration camp known as 'Dora' was opened at the site of a massive tunnel complex in the Hartz Mountains where V1 and V2 weapons were made. Around 20,000 slave labourers are believed to have been killed by the Nazis in the course of the program.

Many V1s were shot down by allied aircraft and anti-aircraft guns and due to the loss of launch sites to allied ground forces, an icreasing number of V1s were air-launced from Luftwaffe bombers. An experimental piloted version was also built.One V1 was brought to Australia for the Australian War Memorial where it is now displayed.

Model History

This 1:32 scale model of a V1 was donated to the Museum by the Aeronautical Research Laboratories, Port Melbourne in 1953.

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