Encyclopedia Astronautica
Home - Search - Browse - Alphabetic Index: 0- 1- 2- 3- 4- 5- 6- 7- 8- 9
A- B- C- D- E- F- G- H- I- J- K- L- M- N- O- P- Q- R- S- T- U- V- W- X- Y- Z

1943 Chronology

1943 During the Year - .
  • Malyutka rocket point interceptor design begins. - . Nation: Russia. Spacecraft Bus: Russian Rocket Fighters. Spacecraft: Malyutka. The Malyutka rocket point interceptor was designed by Polikarpov beginning in 1943. Prototype construction was underway when Polikarpov died on 30 July 1944. His projects were immediately cancelled after his death..

1943 - . LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: A9/A10.
  • Further work on the A9/A10 ICBM was prohibited - . Nation: Germany.

    All efforts were to be spent on perfection and production of the A4 (V-2) as a weapon-in-being. Von Braun managed to continue some development and flight tests of the A9 under the cover name of A4b (i.e. a modification of the A4, and therefore a production-related project).


1943-1944 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
  • A4 guidance development - . Nation: Germany.

    Using its original gyroscopic guidance package, the A4 demonstrated a 4.5 km CEP up to 1943, with 100% of the shots falling within 18 km of the target. Many factors contributed to this inaccuracy - out of tolerance guidance system components, and poor alignment of the gyro platform prior to firing. One solution developed was a radio correction system similar to that used by aircraft for landings in poor visibility. A moving radio beam would follow the correct course, and the rocket would manoeuvre to stay within the beam. But there was no support within the Army for full development of such a system - their priority was in developing and deploying distance-measuring radio navigation systems for the aviation forces. A radio guidance unit was not used aboard an A4 until near the war's end, and that used an adaptation of a system designed for a beam-riding air-launched missile. But even using the radio correction technique, the engineers were unable to get the rocket's CEP under 2 km.


During 1943 - .
  • German nuclear-powered rocket development deferred. - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Dornberger. Dornberger contacts Heisenberg on the potential of using nuclear power for rocket propulsion. Heisenberg was able to make no firm commitment as to when such a system would be available..

1943 January 7 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende P7. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: A-4. FAILURE: Exploded at ignition.
1943 January 8 - . LV Family: JATO. Launch Vehicle: JATO.
  • First JATO takeoff. - . Nation: USA. First aircraft takeoff in United States with permanently installed JATO rocket powerplant, an A-20A at Muroc Army Air Base, Calif..

1943 January 8 - . LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
  • Showdown meeting on A4 - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Degenkolb, Dornberger, Hitler, Speer, Todt.

    Speer meets with Von Braun and Dornberger. A 1:100 model of the planned bunker construction-launch facility for the rocket to be built by Organisation Todt on the British channel was exhibited. Speer reveals that Hitler could not decide about the rocket as a weapon. He did not believe the rocket team's plans could be made to work. But Speer did authorise them to proceed with construction on his own authority - he hoped Hitler could be brought around eventually. But he emphasised that Dornberger would have to use his personal connections to get industry moving on the project. But Dornberger was thwarted when the Army put Degenkolb in charge of organising production of the missile. Degenkolb was a sworn enemy of Dornberger's, and had been implicated in the 'suicide' of General Becker in early 1940. Degenkolb set up a Nazi-supported bureaucracy in parallel to that of Dornberger's, requiring the approval of the Army weapons bureau on any decisions. Degenkolb had the sponsorship of Todt and Saur, who in turn followed the party line - 'like the Fuehrer, we are not yet won over to the concept of a long range missile'.

    In order to productionise the A4 design, Degenkolb began authorising many detailed changes. He didn't understand that every change had to be proven in test first, and only incremental steps could be taken. Stahlknecht had planned to produce 300 A4 missiles per month by January 1944, and 600 per month by July 1944. Degenkolb unrealistically decreed that 300 per month be achieved by October 1943, and 900 per month by December 1943.


1943 January 10 - .
1943 January 14 - .
  • Birth of Dr Shannon Matilda Wells Lucid - . Nation: China, USA. Related Persons: Lucid. American biochemist mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-51-G, STS-34, STS-43, STS-58, Mir NASA-1. Biochemist, first American woman to make a long-duration space station mission..

1943 January 17 - .
  • Birth of Daniel Charles 'Dan' Brandenstein - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Brandenstein. American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-8, STS-51-G, STS-32, STS-49..

1943 January 25 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende P7. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: A-4.
  • V-2 4011 - . Nation: Germany. Agency: Wehrmacht. Steep roll; Burnout at T+64.5 seconds. Range 105 km.

1943 February 1 - .
  • First US rocket-powered guided missile. - . Nation: USA. Navy Engineering Experiment Station Annapolis completed development of rocket engine for Pelican radio-controlled pilotless aircraft (never used operationally)..

1943 February 3 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
  • Peenemuende privatisation - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Degenkolb, Dornberger, Siemens.

    In a meeting with Professor Hettlage, of the Financial and Organisational Ministry of the German Defence Industry, it was proposed that Peenemuende be made a private country, with the Nazi Party and selected corporations (AEG, Siemens, Lorenz, Rheinmetall) being its shareholders. Dornberger saw Degenkolb behind this plan, and was determined to keep Peenemuende an Army proving ground. He felt that an asset, on which several hundred million Marks had been invested by the government, was being handed over to private hands for 1 to 2 million Marks. The investors intended to recover their entire investment back on a fee paid for each missile built. In the end Dornberger managed to keep Peenemuende an Army proving ground, but then he had to fight off an attempt by AEG to take over the electronics side of the development team. The rocket team's electronic engineers were years ahead of the rest of the industry, and a tempting target.


1943 February 10 - .
  • BI-1 Flight 3 - . Crew: Gruzdev. Payload: BI-1 # 2 flight 2. Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Gruzdev. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft Bus: Russian Rocket Fighters. Spacecraft: BI-1. Maximum Speed - 675 kph. Maximum Altitude - 2190 m. Date estimated..

1943 February 17 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende P7. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: A-4.
  • V-2 4012 - . Nation: Germany. Agency: Wehrmacht. Flat trajectory; Burnout at T+61 seconds. Range 196 km.

1943 February 19 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende P7. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: A-4. FAILURE: Tail fire. Explosion at T+18 seconds. Range 4.8 km.
1943 February 20 - .
  • Birth of Aleksandr Pavlovich Aleksandrov - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Aleksandrov. Russian engineer cosmonaut. Flew on Salyut 7 EO-2, Soyuz TM-3..

March 1943 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
  • A4 production plans - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Degenkolb.

    A4 missiles were to be produced at Peenemuende, Friedrichshafen, and the Raxwerken at Wiener Neustadt. But problems began immediately - the Army expected the rockets to be as easy to build as locomotives; there was no engineering staff or time available to productionise the prototype design; there were no staff available to properly train production engineers and technicians. Degenkolb threatened to imprison the rocket team's engineers if they didn't get the missile into production on schedule. He was oblivious to the difficulties of achieving this.


1943 March 3 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende P7. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: A-4. FAILURE: Explosion at T+33 seconds. Range 1 km.
1943 March 8 - .
  • Birth of Peter Hervey Longhurst - . Nation: UK. Related Persons: Longhurst. British engineer payload specialist astronaut, 1984-1986. Bachelor of science in electrical engineering from the Royal Navy Engineering College, Plymouth, 1966. Commander, Royal Navy. Later became a farmer in Somerset, England..

1943 March 11 - .
1943 March 14 - .
March 1943 - .
  • Hitler's dream - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Hitler.

    Hitler dreamed that no A4 missile could ever reach England. The result was that the program lost its priority amidst other pressing armaments programs, and the necessary engineers and production rocket engines could not be obtained. While losing priority, the high security classification remained, so it was not possible to recruit non-German engineers and technicians for the work. The production schedule inevitably slid. Finally the government decided to competitively evaluate the Fi-103 cruise missile (V-1) against the A4 ballistic missile (V-2) leading to the selection of a single weapon for mass production by July of 1943.


1943 March 18 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende P7. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: A-4.
  • V-2 4018 - . Nation: Germany. Agency: Wehrmacht. Vertical; Burnout at T+60 seconds. Range 133 km.

1943 March 21 - .
1943 March 25 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende P7. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: A-4. FAILURE: Burnout at T+60.5s Flight duration 268 seconds. .
1943 March 27 - .
  • BI-1 Flight 7 - . Crew: Bakhchivangi. Payload: BI-1 # 3 flight 2. Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Bakhchivangi. Class: Manned. Type: Manned rocketplane. Spacecraft Bus: Russian Rocket Fighters. Spacecraft: BI-1. Maximum Speed - 800 kph. Unofficial world speed record.The aircraft crashed into the ground, killing the pilot. Plans for production were abandoned. Rocketplane testing in the USSR only resumed with the testing of German designs after the war..

1943 March 27 - .
  • Death of Grigori Yakovlevich Bakhchivangi. Crash of BI-1 # 3. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Bakhchivangi. Russian test pilot, 1935-1943. Set 1943 world speed record in BI-1 rocketplane, but killed when it crashed..

1943 March 30 - .
  • Birth of Dr Joseph Markel Prahl - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Prahl. American engineer payload specialist astronaut, 1990-1992. Assigned as backup for STS-50. Professor of Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio..

April 1943 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
  • Himmler visits Peenemuende - . Nation: Germany.

    This was the first review of the facilities by the SS commander. He pledged support, but instead the SS set up its own rocket research centre at Grossendorf, near Danzig. This marked yet another struggle for control of the programme. Himmler was defeated in this effort, but he would take his revenge later.


April-May 1943 - . LV Family: V-3. Launch Vehicle: V-3.
  • V-3 tests. - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Dornberger, Hitler.

    The V-3 cannon was tested at Misdroy on Wollin Island (now Miedzyzdroje, Poland). The gun was a 60 m long constant-pressure cannon developed by Coenders of the Roechling firm in Saarbrucken. The gun was laid at a 45 degree angle in the dunes. Aiming was accomplished by arranging wood blocks under the concrete sections. The gun demonstrated a 15 km range with a sabot-launched, arrow-shaped warhead. The tests were conducted under Kammler, who was responsible for all V-weapons. Dornberger had been opposed to the concept, but everyone else was enthusiastic, due to Hitler's support and unending fascination with artillery.


1943 April 3 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende P7. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
  • V-2 4017 - . Nation: Germany. Burnout at T+64.5s Flight duration 310 seconds..

1943 April 11 - .
  • First hybrid rocket tested. - . Nation: USA. California Rocket Society tested first hybrid rocket design in United States, using oxygen and carbon..

1943 April 14 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende P7. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: A-4.
  • V-2 4020 - . Nation: Germany. Agency: Wehrmacht. Burnout at T+64s; 287 km; nav err. Range 287 km.

1943 April 15 - . LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
  • V-2 development detected by British Intelligence. - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: von Braun. Prime Minister Winston Churchill of England was informed of reports on German experiments with long-range rockets..

1943 April 22 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende P7. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: A-4.
  • V-2 4021 - . Nation: Germany. Agency: Wehrmacht. Burnout at T+60s; 252 km; nav err. Range 252 km.

1943 April 28 - .
  • Birth of John Oliver Creighton - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Creighton. American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-51-G, STS-36, STS-48. Bachelor navy fighter pilot with a midnight blue corvette and a ski boat dubbed Sin Ship..

1943 May 1 - . LV Family: JATO. Launch Vehicle: JATO.
  • JATO tests. - . Nation: USA. A PBY Catalina, fitted with two liquid-propellant JATO rockets developed at Annapolis, took off with 20 percent reduction in run. Liquid-propellant JATO was abandoned by Navy in 1944..

1943 May 14 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende P7. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: A-4.
  • V-2 4022 - . Nation: Germany. Agency: Wehrmacht. Switch failure. Burnout at T+62 seconds. Range 250 km..

1943 May 26 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende.
  • V-1/V-2 fly-off - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Degenkolb, Dornberger, Speer.

    A government commission, consisting of Speer, Milch, Doenitz, and Fromm viewed launches of the competing missiles at Peenemuende. The V-1/Fi-103 was much cheaper than the V-2/A4, but it was slow and low - it operated at 160 m/s at an altitude of between 200 and 2000 m - and vulnerable to enemy flak batteries and interceptors. It provided the enemy with a forewarning of attack by its characteristic engine noise and the cut-off of that noise when it went into its terminal dive. It could only be launched from fixed concrete launch ramps, making the launchers vulnerable to enemy air attack. The V-2 was mobile, more accurate, could not be intercepted, and gave the enemy no warning of attack in its supersonic ballistic course to the target. In the end, the commission could find no overwhelming advantage to either of the very different weapons, and both were ordered into production. The positive advantages of each weapon outweighed the negatives. In the tests before the commission, the Fi-103 had bad luck, and achieved no successful shots for two of the A4. '2:0 for your team', Milch told Dornberger. Speer claimed he 'always supported' the A4 but Dornberger ruefully noted they had lost 18 months in delays, primarily due to Degenkolb's incompetence. Speer pressed Dornberger - if Degenkolb really can't make it happen, then just give me the word. He'll be dismissed. But Degenkolb was not dismissed - he had Saur's complete backing.


1943 May 27 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende P7. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: A-4.
  • V-2 4024 - . Nation: Germany. Agency: Wehrmacht. Burnout at T+56s; Flight duration 248 seconds. Range 138 km.

1943 May 28 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
  • Dornberger promoted - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Degenkolb, Dornberger.

    Dornberger was promoted to Major General. But Degenkolb was still in charge of A4 production, and had sent four engineers to spy at Peenemuende, asking them to provide recommendations on reorganisation of the place, promising the four that they would be made directors of the new enterprise.


1943 May 30 - . Launch Site: Heidelager. Launch Complex: Heidelager. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
  • V-2 firing range to be established in Poland. - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: von Braun.

    It is decided to move testing of production V-2s and training of combat launch crews from the Baltic Sea to the middle of Poland, at Heidelager, near Blizna. German units here operationally test fired over 100 V-2's, launching 10 on one day, only a small number of which were fully successful.


1943 June 1 - . LV Family: German Rocketplanes. Launch Vehicle: Me-163.
  • First Me-163B flight. - . Nation: Germany. Messerschmitt Me-163B rocket interceptor powered by Walther "hot" engine successfully flown at Bremen, Augsburg, and near Leipzig, Germany. Over 300 Me-163B's were produced by Junkers by the end of 1944..

June 1943 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
  • A4 development - . Nation: Germany.

    Area 7 was used for tests of the A4's pyrotechnic igniters. The missile could be ordered to cut off its engine by radio if it veered inland. Delays in development were inevitable - a 'Peenemuende Minute' corresponded to 11 minutes or more on the watch. On one memorable occasion, the missile ignited, but its fuel pump did not reach full speed. The rocket reached only 4.5 m altitude before hovering, its abnormally low thrust exactly counterbalancing the mass of the missile. The film operator kept his post, only 100 m from the fantastic sight. As the rocket consumed propellant, its weight was reduced, and it slowly moved skyward, reaching 10 m, then 22 m, and slowly drifting out of the launch pad area. It finally crashed only 40 m beyond the blast wall. The cameraman stayed at his post through all of this.


1943 June 2 - .
  • Birth of Cristiano Batalli Cosmovici - . Nation: Italy, Romania. Related Persons: Batalli-Cosmovici. Italian physicist payload specialist astronaut, 1989-1992..

1943 June 2 - .
  • Birth of Charles Richard Chappell - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Chappell. American physicist payload specialist astronaut, 1985-1992..

1943 June 11 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende P7. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: A-4.
  • V-2 4029 - . Nation: Germany. Agency: Wehrmacht. Burnout at T+63s; Flight duration 291 seconds. Range 238 km.

1943 June 16 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende P7. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: A-4.
  • V-2 4031 - . Nation: Germany. Agency: Wehrmacht. Burnout at T+61 seconds. Range 238 km.

1943 June 22 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende P7. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: A-4.
  • V-2 4028 - . Nation: Germany. Agency: Wehrmacht. Burnout at T+63s; Exploded at 70 seconds. Range 75 km.

1943 June 24 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende P7. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: A-4.
  • V-2 4030 - . Nation: Germany. Agency: Wehrmacht. Burnout at T+65s; Flight duration 318 seconds. Range 287 km .

1943 June 25 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende P7. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: A-4.
  • V-2 4036 - . Nation: Germany. Agency: Wehrmacht. Burnout at T+65 seconds. Range 235 km.

1943 June 28 - .
  • Von Braun promoted to SS Sturmbannfuehrer. - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: von Braun. He was assigned to the Staff of the Oberabschnitt Ostsee..

1943 June 29 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
  • Himmler's second visit to Peenemuende - . Nation: Germany.

    The rocket team and SS entourage discussed politics until 4 am. The next morning, the first demonstration launch of a V-2 failed - the missile turned west at an altitude of 200 m, and crashed in the woods outside of Peenmuende-West, destroying three aircraft on the nearby runway. Fortunately no one was killed. The second launch in the afternoon was successful. But the bureaucratic efforts by the SS and other organisations to take over the rocket program from the Army continued.


1943 July 1 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende P7. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: A-4. FAILURE: Exploded at T+2 seconds..
1943 July 3 - .
  • Birth of Dr Norman Earl 'Norm' Thagard - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Thagard. American physician mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-7, STS-51-B, STS-30, STS-42, Mir EO-18. First American to fly aboard a Russian spacecraft..

1943 July 7 - . LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
  • V-2 given top priority. - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Hitler, von Braun. Adolf Hitler gave the German V-2 program highest military priority..

1943 July 7 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
  • Peenemuende given highest priority - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Dornberger, Hitler, Speer, Steinhoff, Ernst.

    Dornberger, Von Braun, and Steinhoff (at the controls) fly aboard a He-111 to the Fuehrer bunker in East Prussia. There they give Hitler a review of the V-2 program, the first since his visit to Kummersdorf in March 1939. The appointment was for 11:30, but then delayed to 17:00.

    When they were finally ushered into his presence, Dornberger was shocked at the terrible and changed appearance of the Fuehrer. The team begins their briefing, in the presence of Hitler, Keitel, Jodl, Butale, and Speer. The presentation began with a film of preparations and launch of an A4 on the 3 October 1942. Von Braun narrated the film, which had proven a real crowd-pleaser in the past. It showed the A4 in production at the vast assembly hall at Peenemuende, the vertical roll-out, the huge launch complex, and finally launch. Von Braun then presented a model and plans for the hardened production/launch bunker that was being built on the English Channel.

    Hitler loved the bunker model, and declared he wanted to build not one, but three such facilities. Dornberger argued that mobile launchers would be militarily less vulnerable and less costly, but Hitler was unconvinced. The 7 m thick bunker walls, he declared, would 'draw every allied bomber like flies to honey. Every bomb they drop there will be one that does not fall on Germany'. Hitler asks if the payload can be increased to 10 tonnes (in order to accommodate a nuclear warhead) or if a 2,000 per month production rate was possible (in order to make mass attacks on Britain with conventional explosive or chemical payloads). Dornberger replies that it would take four to five years to develop a missile with greater payload, and that production was limited by the German industrial capacity for alcohol (used as fuel in the missile).

    Dornberger noted that they did not dream of the possibility of short-term availability of nuclear energy in 1936, when the specifications for the missile were set. In any case, after the loss of the heavy water plant in Norway, it would take years to develop nuclear weapons. Hitler was visibly upset that the V-2 would not turn out to be a war-deciding weapon. But Dornberger pointed out it was a great psychological weapon - unstoppable, something against their which there was no defence.

    Hitler stated that 'I have only had to excuse myself to two men in my life - and one of them was von Brauchtisch, who always championed the importance of your work, and the other is you. If we had this weapon in 1939, Britain would have conceded, and there would have been no war.

    Hitler finally ordered that the V-1 and V-2 missile programs be given the highest priority in the defence ministry. Immediately needed staff and material began flowing into the program. Saur immediately ordered a production goal of 2,000 missiles per month, despite the fact that there was no prospect of producing enough alcohol fuel or training enough launch crews to actual fire the missiles at such a rate. However, there was no disagreement, since any industry leader who did not commit to meeting this production goal was threatened with immediate replacement. German alcohol production would mean the maximum number that could ever be fired was 900 per month.


1943 July 9 - .
  • Birth of John Howard Casper - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Casper. American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-36, STS-54, STS-62, STS-77..

1943 July 9 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende P7. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: A-4. FAILURE: Exploded and fell on pump building..
1943 July 19 - .
  • Birth of Roy Dunbard Jr Bridges - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Bridges. American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-51-F..

August 1943 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
  • V-2 program in crisis - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Degenkolb, Dornberger, Thiel, Walter.

    With only four months to go before Degenkolb's mandated production of 900 missiles per month, the engineers declare the missile is not ready for production. A workable engine has been developed, but it is complex, suitable for prototypes only, and the engineers involved do not have the experience to turn it into something designed for mass production. Continuous changes on the engine also affect other parts of the rocket, resulting in drawing changes simultaneous with the effort to mass-produce detailed parts. Thiel and his team declare that in fact development of the A4 can never be finished before the war's end. They recommend that plans to put it into production should be stopped. Thiel, at the verge of a nervous breakdown, led this engineering 'revolt', although Rees was the spokesman. They declare they would stop work at Peenemuende and retire to the university. Von Braun argued against this position, demanding that production continue. Dornberger suffered a crisis of confidence in the rocket team as a result of this fight, but decided to continue trying to get the missile in production and fielded with the Germany Army.


1943 August 4 - .
  • Birth of Michael James McCulley - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: McCulley. American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-34..

1943 August 13 - .
  • Birth of Yuri Fedorovich Isaulov - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Isaulov. Russian pilot cosmonaut, 1970-1982..

1943 August 13 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende P7. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
  • V-2 4054 - . Nation: Germany. Burnout at T+68 seconds. Flight duration 270 seconds..

1943 August 14 - .
  • Birth of Jon Andrew McBride - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: McBride. American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-41-G. Heavyset Navy pilot with a talent for playing to a crowd. Later ran in, but lost, the Republican primary for governor of West Virginia..

1943 August 17 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
  • Peenemünde attacked by RAF. - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Reitsch, Thiel, Walter, von Braun.

    The Royal Air Force attacked Germany's Peenemünde Rocket Research Center, causing heavy damage and delaying V-weapon program by months.

    With the V-2 development program already in crisis, the Allies launch a massive bombing raid against Peenemuende. On that evening test pilot Hanna Reitsch was visiting the launch site. At 23:30 the air raid siren sounded. 600 British bombers drop 1500 tonnes of ordnance on the launch centre. However many bombs fell in the ocean around the peninsula, or buried themselves harmlessly in sand dunes. The resident area was hardest hit, while the Luftwaffe station at Peenemuende West was not touched. 47 British bombers were shot down - they were told before the raid that this was the most important mission of the war, and that their commanders would accept a 50% loss rate. 735 people were killed in the raid on the ground, including 178 of the 4000 inhabitants of the residential area. A large number of the foreign slave workers in the Trassenheide concentration camp barracks were also killed.

    After the tremendous raid the rocket team wander around the devastated facility, half-clothed, the buildings bathed in a weird light and everything covered in fine sand, as if flour was dropped over everything. Thiel and Walther - the two leading rocket engineers in Germany - were killed in the raid, and virtually all major facilities were damaged. The saving grace was that the soft sand of Peenemuende attenuated the blast of many bombs. Nine bombs hit the main assembly hall, but while there was splinter damage to some of the machine tools, there was no decisive hit that would prevent production from continuing. It was estimated that operations could resume in 4 to 6 weeks.

    The raid was not unexpected. The high altitude contrails of the V-2 test launches were called 'frozen lightning' and could be seen from Sweden on clear days. The location and purpose of Peenemuende appeared in a crossword puzzle in a illustrated magazine published in central Germany in early 1943. British reconnaissance flights to locate the launch facilities had been recognised for what they were.

    This raid, together with the bombing of V-2 production lines at the Zeppelinwerke in Friedrichshafen and the Raxwerke in Wiener Neustadt convinced Saur to reduce the V-2 production rate goal to 900 per month.


1943 August 17 - .
  • Death of Walter Thiel - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Thiel, Walter. German engineer, talented designer at Peenemuende, in charge of development of the engine for the V-2. Killed in the air raid in August 1943, a setback to the project..

1943 August 27 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
  • V-2 production facilities bombed - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Hitler, Todt.

    Ten days after the raid on Peenemuende, the British bomb the V-2 production/launch bunker under construction at Watten. Seven further bunkers (four in Pas-de-Calais, three at Cherbourg) continued to be built. Soon thereafter, V-2 production plants at Wiener Neustadt and Friedrichshafen are also bombed. Clearly the Allies had detected and targeted the infrastructure of the V-2 production program. In response to the raids, the decision was made that Organisation Todt would build an underground V-2 factory at a chalk mine in Witzen. The bunker at Watten would be used only as a liquid oxygen production plant. Hitler had mandated a 7 m thick protective roof there, which cannot be penetrated by Allied bombs. It was decided that the roof would be jacked up, the sides filled with concrete, and construction work would continue underground despite the perpetual bombing.


September 1943 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
  • Dornberger meets with Hitler - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Dornberger, Hitler. Hitler decides to continue work on the bunkers. In Dornberger's opinion, this wastes resources that could have resulted in an earlier, full deployment of the V-2 using motorised, mobile batteries..

September 1943 - . LV Family: V-3. Launch Vehicle: V-3.
  • V-3 in launch bunkers under construction at Mimoyecques, France. - . Nation: Germany.

    The operational version being built in the chalk cliffs of France used 4 to 5 m long T-shaped sections, assembled to a total length of 150 m, and capable of shooting shells over a 170 km range. However it took a large number of reloaders to put powder in each T-arm after a shot - the planned weapon could only be fired once every five minutes. Furthermore every third shot caused the barrel in one of the T-sections to crack, meaning it had to be removed and replaced. Bunkers in the Pas de Calais were being built for the weapon, but they were subject to incessant bombing and finally overrun by Allied troops before they could be completed.


Fall 1943 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
  • Submarine-launched V-2 - . Nation: Germany.

    Director Lafferenz of the German Worker's Front proposed towing of a 3 m diameter x 30 m long capsule containing a single V-2 by submarine. This was later refined to a single submarine towing three 500 tonne capsules, each with a V-2, its propellants, and launch equipment. At the launch point water tanks would be flooded in the capsule to bring it upright, with the top above the surface. The top would be opened, then launch troops would enter to prepare and fuel the rocket, followed by launch. But the pressing problem of solving the A4's reliability problems and getting it into production delayed any further work on the concept until the end of 1944.


1943 September 17 - .
  • Birth of Dr Samuel Thornton 'Sam' Durrance - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Durrance. American geophysicist payload specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-35, STS-67..

1943 September 30 - .
  • Aberdeen proposes rocket development. - . Nation: USA. Aberdeen Ballistic Research Laboratories' Study entitled "Development of Long-Range Rocket Projectile" was submitted by the Army to the National Defense Research Committee. The project was accepted by NDRC..

October 1943 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende. LV Family: V-1. Launch Vehicle: V-1.
  • German 'ski ramps' - . Nation: Germany.

    British photo-intelligence interpreters discover what they call 'ski ramps' along the Atlantic coast of occupied Europe. These are 100 m long, and a total of 21 are discovered by mid-November. It is soon noted that whatever their location, all of the ramps point toward London. Fantastic theories are proposed - they are iceberg or poison gas launchers.


1943 October 1 - . LV Family: EA 1941. Launch Vehicle: EA 1941.
  • EA 1941 design smuggled to London - . Nation: France. Related Persons: Barre. Barre microfilmed the drawings of the rocket and they are smuggled to Britain. Members of Barre's team are detained by the Gestapo. One of them ironically dies in a concentration camp where the inmates are assigned to V-2 rocket production..

1943 October 2 - .
  • First U.S. military rocket-powered airplane. - . Crew: Myers. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Myers. First U.S. military rocket-powered airplane, the Rocket Ram, was tested as a glider by John Myers. It was equipped with an Aerojet XCAL-200 engine, using monoethylanline as fuel..

1943 October 6 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende P7. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
  • V-2 4049 - . Nation: Germany. First Field Battery launch. Burnout at T+64 seconds. Flight duration 272 seconds..

1943 October 10 - .
  • Birth of Paramaswaren Radhakrishnan Nair - . Nation: India. Related Persons: Nair. Indian physicist payload specialist astronaut, 1985-1986..

1943 October 15 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
1943 October 21 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
1943 October 25 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende P7. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
  • V-2 4069 - . Nation: Germany. Burnout at T+63 seconds. Flight duration 286 seconds..

November 1943 - . LV Family: Redstone. Launch Vehicle: Redstone.
  • Development of ballistic missiles authorized. - . Nation: Germany. Gen. H. H. Arnold, Chief of Air Staff, directed and authorized emphasis on research, development, and procurement of guided missiles, as indicated by known German advances..

1943 November 2 - .
  • Birth of Oldrich 'Olda' Pelczak - . Nation: Czech Republic. Related Persons: Pelczak. Czech pilot cosmonaut, 1976-1978. Graduated from Air Force Academy of the Soviet Union Engineer, Czechoslovak Air Force..

1943 November 5 - . Launch Site: Heidelager. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: A-4.
1943 November 9 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende P7. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: A-4.
1943 November 15 - . Launch Site: Heidelager. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
1943 November 21 - .
  • Birth of David Matthew Vidrine - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Vidrine. American engineer military spaceflight engineer astronaut, 1979-1985..

1943 November 25 - . Launch Site: Heidelager. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: A-4.
1943 December 1 - .
  • NACA rocket program. - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft Bus: XS-1. Spacecraft: XS-1. The rocket aircraft research program conceived by NACA's John Stack, to investigage the flight characteristics of an airplane flying beyond the speed of sound or Mach 1..

December 1943 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: A9/A10.
  • Mach 10 wind tunnel construction begins. - . Nation: Germany. A4 development is completed, so Peenemuende engineers can turn to full-scale development of the A9/A10. Construction of a Mach 10 wind tunnel to test hypersonic aerodynamic configurations for the missile begins..

1943 December 3 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende. LV Family: V-1. Launch Vehicle: V-1.
  • Decision to destroy the ski ramps - . Nation: Germany. Although their purpose is not understood, it is decided to start a bombing campaign to destroy the German 'ski ramps'. By December 1, 64 had been found, and 75 by 21 December..

1943 December 4 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende P7. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: A-4.
  • V-2 4073 - . Nation: Germany. Agency: Wehrmacht. Burnout at T+63 seconds. Flight duration 286 seconds..

1943 December 5 - . Launch Site: Heidelager. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: A-4.
1943 December 10 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende P7. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
  • V-2 4060 - . Nation: Germany. Burnout at T+69 seconds. Flight duration 247 seconds..

1943 December 21 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende P7. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
  • V-2 4059 - . Nation: Germany. Burnout at T+33 seconds. Flight duration 104 seconds..

1943 December 22 - . Launch Site: Heidelager. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
1943 December 25 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende. LV Family: V-1. Launch Vehicle: V-1.
  • Raid against V-1 launchers - . Nation: Germany. A raid is launched by Allied 1300 aircraft. The tactics have been developed at Eglin AFB, Florida, where a replica 'ski ramp' was built in an effort to understand its purpose and how best to bomb it..

1943 December 25 - .
  • Birth of Ravish Malhotra - . Nation: India. Related Persons: Malhotra. Indian pilot cosmonaut, 1982-1984. Indian Air Force test pilot, stationed at the Bangalore space test center. Later worked for Dynamatic Technologies. Brigadier General (Air Commodore), Retired..

1943 December 30 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
1943 December 31 - . LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
  • First V-2 deliveries from Mittelwerk - . Nation: Germany. 4 or 5 missiles are 'delivered' in order to meet the end-of-the-year date set by the German leadership. They are immediately returned to the tunnel for rework..

1943 December 31 - .
  • Birth of John Denver - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Denver. American pop singer who sought to fly into space before his death in an air crash..


Home - Search - Browse - Alphabetic Index: 0- 1- 2- 3- 4- 5- 6- 7- 8- 9
A- B- C- D- E- F- G- H- I- J- K- L- M- N- O- P- Q- R- S- T- U- V- W- X- Y- Z
© 1997-2016 Mark Wade - Contact
© / Conditions for Use