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Wasserfall
Wasserfall
Wasserfall
Credit: © Mark Wade
Seminal German storable propellant surface-to-air missile, tested during World War II, but never operational. The rocket was copied in the USA as the Hermes surface-to-surface missile, in the USSR as the R-101, and in France as the R.04. In Russia it also became the starting point for the R-11/R-17 Scud surface-to-surface missile.

Status: Retired 1944. First Launch: 1944-02-29. Last Launch: 1944-10-30. Number: 3 . Payload: 300 kg (660 lb). Thrust: 78.00 kN (17,535 lbf). Gross mass: 3,500 kg (7,700 lb). Unfuelled mass: 1,700 kg (3,700 lb). Burn time: 40 s. Height: 7.70 m (25.20 ft). Diameter: 0.89 m (2.90 ft). Span: 2.34 m (7.67 ft). Apogee: 18 km (11 mi).

Work began on the Wasserfall missile in 1941, originally as an anti-aircraft version of the A4 surface-to-surface missile. On 25 September 1942 Goering authorized development of four types of surface to air missiles: unguided rockets (Taifun), target-seeking guided rockets (Enzian); operator optically-guided rockets (Rheintochter and Schmetterling); and radar-guided rockets (Wasserfall).

The final specifications of 2 November 1942 called for an interceptor missile with a top speed of Mach 2, able to hit airborne targets flying at up to 900 kph at 5 to 20 km altitude within a radius of 50 km. First versions were to use radio command guidance, to be followed by a self-guiding radar system in later models. The pressure-fed engines used Nitric acid/Tonka propellants. Orders were placed for 5,000 rockets, but production was never even begun due to protracted development. The name translates as 'Waterfall'.

Maximum range: 26 km (16 mi). Boost Propulsion: Storable liquid rocket, 1850 kg propellant. Maximum speed: 760 kph (470 mph).



Subtopics

Hermes A-3 American tactical ballistic missile. Prototype of a single-stage liquid propellant tactical Army missile. Two versions test flown but abandoned in favor of the Redstone in-house design.

Hermes A-3A American tactical ballistic missile.

Hermes A-3B American tactical ballistic missile.

Hermes A-1 The Army Hermes A-1 single stage test rocket was an American version of the German Wasserfall anti-aircraft rocket.

R.04 French post-war surface-to-air missile based on the German Wasserfall.

R-101 Post-war Russian version of German Wasserfall surface-to-air missile. Never put into production, but technology used for further surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missile developments in Russia.

R-108 All-Russian second generation version of the R-101, itself a derivative of the German Wasserfall. Development began in May 1949 but the missile did not reach flight test stage before its cancellation in 1951.

R-109 Russian derivative of the German Wasserfall, an interim design between the R-101 and R-108. The missile did not reach flight test stage before it was cancellation in 1951.

Hermes A-2 American tactical ballistic missile. The Army Hermes A-2 single stage test rocket proved the technology of large solid rocket motors as developed by H L Thackwell at Thiokol. But the Army preferred to have further development done in-house and JPL was selected to develop the Sergeant rocket. In addition to the flight tests, a total of 22 motors were static fired, including one after seven years of storage.

Family: Storable liquid, surface-to-air. Country: Germany. Propellants: Nitric acid/Amine. Launch Sites: Peenemuende, Peenemuende GWO. Agency: Wehrmacht. Bibliography: 2, 571, 8765.

1944 February 29 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende GWO. Launch Pad: GWO?. Launch Vehicle: Wasserfall. FAILURE: Failure.
1944 March 8 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende GWO. Launch Pad: GWO?. Launch Vehicle: Wasserfall.
  • Test mission - . Nation: Germany. Agency: Wehrmacht. Apogee: 1.00 km (0.60 mi).

1944 October 30 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende. Launch Vehicle: Wasserfall.
  • Wasserfall test - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Dornberger, Goering. Apogee: 18 km (11 mi). Range: 26 km (16 mi).

    The Wasserfall surface to air missile was launched from a table, as was the V-2. The missile was optically steered to its target, and had a potential range of 26 km and ceiling of 18 km, with a flight speed of 600 m/s. Goering observed the first launch from Test Stand IX. He was immensely fat, wearing a fantastical outfit, downing pills every five minutes, and uninterested in the proceedings. Dornberger ruefully noted that the Reich is losing the war due to the leadership's shortsightedness. They had not accepted Von Braun's rocket plans in 1939 or the Panzerfaust in 1942. They only became interested in the latter when the first American bazooka fell into German hands in Tunisia.


1944 October 30 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Vehicle: Wasserfall.
  • Nation: Germany. Apogee: 17 km (10 mi).

1944 December 31 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: A-4b, Taifun, Wasserfall.
  • Peenemuende rocket team faces the New Year - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Hitler.

    It was for them a depressing time. The V-2 came too late to affect the outcome of the war. The years 1939-1942, when Hitler had blocked development and production of the V-2, were lost years. By this time, the Peenemuende staff was allocated as follows: 135 were working on Taifun anti-aircraft barrage rocket; 1940 were working on the V-2; 1220 were working on the Wasserfall surface-to-air missile; 270 were working on the A4b winged V-2; and 660 were in administrative positions. Meanwhile Kammler was constantly underway, trying to deploy the wonder weapons he believed would save the Reich. He could only be met at one-hour meetings at autobahn intersections, on his way from one place to another.


1945 January 27 - . Launch Vehicle: Wasserfall.
  • First meeting of Arbeitstab Dornberger in Berlin - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Dornberger.

    The group's first priority was to evalute the prospects for rapid development of an effective surface-to-air missile to combat the incessant Allied bombing raids. It had to be beam-riding instead of optically guided, in order to be effective at night and in bad weather. The group found there was no single 'wonder weapon' that would end the war in a few months. But Kammler still believed the Reich still could hold out for six months, enough time to develop and deploy a new weapon. Dornberger's team disagreed, but they had to try nevertheless. Therefore the Schmetterling, Wasserfall, and X4 missiles went into simultaneous final development and production. But realistically none of them could be mature enough to be sent to the front until early 1946. If the Reich could hold out that long, then it was possible it could slowly win back territory.


1947 May 30 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wasserfall. Launch Vehicle: Hermes A-2. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Hermes II test - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 50 km (31 mi).

    Hermes B-1 impacts a graveyard 18.5 km south of Juarez, Mexico on its first test flight. This and the out-of-range V-2 impact on 15 May resulted in new safety measures at WSPG. 'We were the first German unit to not only infiltrate the United States, but to attack Mexico from US soil'. This vehicle was deeply classified at the time. Hermes experiments were conducted with modified V-2 rockets to test the configuration of a ramjet propulsion system. Four Hermes B-1 rockets were flown from Complex 33, none of which were noted in the contemporary records.


1949 January 13 - . 20:26 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wasserfall. Launch Vehicle: Hermes A-2. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Hermes II test - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 1.00 km (0.60 mi).

1949 October 6 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wasserfall. Launch Vehicle: Hermes A-2. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Hermes II test - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 4.00 km (2.40 mi).

1950 May 19 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wasserfall. Launch Vehicle: Hermes A-1. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 0 km (0 mi). First Army Hermes A-1 test rocket fired at WSPG..

1950 September 14 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wasserfall. Launch Vehicle: Hermes A-1. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 0 km (0 mi).

1950 November 9 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wasserfall. Launch Vehicle: Hermes A-2.
  • Hermes II test - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi).

1951 February 8 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wasserfall. Launch Vehicle: Hermes A-1.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 24 km (14 mi).

1951 March 15 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wasserfall. Launch Vehicle: Hermes A-1.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 24 km (14 mi).

1951 April 26 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wasserfall. Launch Vehicle: Hermes A-1.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 24 km (14 mi).

1953 February 11 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. LV Family: Wasserfall. Launch Vehicle: Hermes A-2.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 50 km (31 mi).

1953 March 4 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. LV Family: Wasserfall. Launch Vehicle: Hermes A-2.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 50 km (31 mi).

1953 March 13 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wasserfall. Launch Vehicle: Hermes A-3A.
  • RV-A-8 test - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 30 km (18 mi).

1953 March 25 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. LV Family: Wasserfall. Launch Vehicle: Hermes A-2.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 50 km (31 mi).

1953 March 25 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. LV Family: Wasserfall. Launch Vehicle: Hermes A-2.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 50 km (31 mi).

1953 June 18 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wasserfall. Launch Vehicle: Hermes A-3A.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 30 km (18 mi).

1953 August 13 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wasserfall. Launch Vehicle: Hermes A-3A.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 30 km (18 mi).

1953 October 5 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wasserfall. Launch Vehicle: Hermes A-3A.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 30 km (18 mi).

1953 October 21 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wasserfall. Launch Vehicle: Hermes A-3A.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 30 km (18 mi).

1953 November 20 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wasserfall. Launch Vehicle: Hermes A-3A.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 30 km (18 mi).

1954 January 15 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wasserfall. Launch Vehicle: Hermes A-3A.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 30 km (18 mi).

1954 May 11 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wasserfall. Launch Vehicle: Hermes A-3B.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: GE. Apogee: 32 km (19 mi).

1954 July 20 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wasserfall. Launch Vehicle: Hermes A-3B.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: GE. Apogee: 35 km (21 mi).

1954 August 26 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wasserfall. Launch Vehicle: Hermes A-3B. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: GE. Apogee: 3.00 km (1.80 mi).

1954 September 21 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wasserfall. Launch Vehicle: Hermes A-3B.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: GE. Apogee: 36 km (22 mi).

1954 October 19 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wasserfall. Launch Vehicle: Hermes A-3B.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: GE. Apogee: 36 km (22 mi).

1954 November 16 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wasserfall. Launch Vehicle: Hermes A-3B.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: GE. Apogee: 34 km (21 mi).


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