12 May 2009 — WW2 in North Watford: The Sandringham Road Bomb
The V1 "flying bomb" had been developed by Germany, and successfully test-flown by 1942, but it was later in the war when it was used in conflict. These weapons, which were launched against Britain between June 1944 and March 1945, ensured terror amoung British citizens because there was initially no viable defence from them.
The V1 was the forerunner to the modern cruise missile. After the end of the war in Europe, America based its missile development on this, and other captured German technology.
The V1 was effectively an unpiloted aircraft with a self-contained guidance system. This was primed prior to launch with the bearing and range of the intended target. At the defined point, the mechanism deployed fins, slowing the missile enough for it to stall and fall from the sky.
Technologically, the V1 was quite advanced for its time, being propelled by a pulse-jet engine. It was this engine that gave the characteristic drone, which stopped as the missile fell to earth giving a few seconds warning of the impending explosion. The jet engine also enabled the V1 to fly faster than most other aircraft, making it extremely difficult to intercept.
The V1 carried a one-ton explosive payload, which detonated on impact. It was one of these bombs striking Sandringham Road on 30 July 1944 that caused devastating damage. Paul's article on The Sandringham Road Bomb describes the damage and aftermath of this attack.
[Added by Glen: 10:30pm 12 May 2009]