After the Storm: Iraqi Wrecks and Fortifications by Eric Micheletti

By Eric Micheletti

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All was now set for the battle that was about to occur. In a secret defence instruction issued at the time, a general classification was given to the V-I missiles. They were to be known as 'Diver aircraft or pilotless planes' . It was at this time that Flying Officer Barckley became the first pilot in the Royal Air Force to shoot down a V-I. It happened at night off the coast of France when a Tempest V of 3 Squadron came across a V-lover the English Channel. Barckley recalled spotting a 'bright light' in the sky off Le Havre.

The idea was to move a vessel carrying the unmanned aircraft close to the German coastline before launching the flying torpedoes. Despite the suggestion, the Chief of Naval Operations was not impressed. He had concerns over the range and accuracy of the weapon. A demonstration was, however, organized for the Chief Signal Officer of the United States army, Major General George O. Squier. He did see some 16 EARLY DAYS potential applications in the land environment and initiated a separate project that established a base at McCook Field in Dayton, Ohio.

This was the vital piece of the puzzle. Over the coming days other detailed analysis of imagery collected from Peenemiinde finally revealed a small object sitting on a ski ramp. After all the heated debates over the differing interpretations of the incomplete intelligence picture, finally it was clear that the Nazis had developed a flying bomb. However, the intelligence picture that was emerging remained incomplete. What was also becoming clear from ULTRA intercepts read at Bletchley Park was that the aiming accuracy of the V-I was improving.

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