• Operation Crossbow

  • The History of the Allied Bombing Missions Against Nazi Germany’s V-2 Rocket Program During World War II
  • By: Charles River Editors
  • Narrated by: Daniel Houle
  • Length: 2 hrs and 16 mins
  • Categories: History, Europe
  • 5.0 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

After the last shots of World War II were fired and the process of rebuilding Germany and Europe began, the Western Allies and the Soviet Union each tried to obtain the services of the Third Reich's leading scientists, especially those involved in rocketry, missile technology, and aerospace research. Naturally, this was a delicate affair due to the fact many of the German scientists were not only active Nazis, but had helped the Nazi war machine terrorize the world. 

At the same time, near the end of the war, the Anglo-American Allies formed a clear picture of the Soviet state. Though forced to ally with the USSR's dictator Joseph Stalin, the West came to understand that Communist Russia represented yet another hungry totalitarian power and, thus, a very real threat to an independent Europe. 

Of course, both the Western Allies and the Soviets knew of the Nazis’ V-2 rocket program, the forerunner of ballistic missiles and the Space Race. Indeed, the efforts to snatch up Nazi scientists reflected the fact that everyone recognized the immense strategic value of these technologies and wished to secure their benefits for themselves. As the Soviets contemplated additional expansion following the “Great Patriotic War” and the US military came to understand the putative allies of 1945 may emerge as enemies in the future, the men possessing knowledge of the V-2 rockets and other Third Reich military technology programs became seen as crucial pieces in the incipient standoff between NATO and the Warsaw Pact.

The British were only too aware of the dangers and potential of the Nazi rockets because the Nazi V-weapon bombardment of London and the south coast of England in 1944 and 1945 involved some of the most frightening attacks on civilians during the war. Not only did the V-1 missiles and V-2 rockets land unpredictably on civilian areas, causing damage and casualties, but they also represented the use of strange new technologies developed by Nazi scientists. After all, if the Nazis could design and develop rockets long before the Allied nations, perhaps they were also working on other, even more devastating new weapons.

To counter the V-weapons, the Allies implemented Operation Crossbow, which aimed to find ways to stop or at least reduce the number of V-weapons reaching their targets and to reassure the population of Allied nations that these terrifying new weapons could be understood and overcome. The importance of Operation Crossbow was high enough that, despite being involved in massive military operations in Sicily and preparing for the Normandy landings, the Allies diverted manpower and resources to counter the V-weapon threat. This decision was made at the highest level, and those in charge were determined to ensure that Operation Crossbow would not fail.

Operation Crossbow: The History of the Allied Bombing Missions Against Nazi Germany’s V-2 Rocket Program During World War II looks at one of the war’s most unique operations.

©2021 Charles River Editors (P)2021 Charles River Editors

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