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New Vanguard 106: V-1 Flying Bomb 1942–52, Hitler’s Infamous “Doodlebug”

by Steven J. Zaloga, illustrated by Jim Laurier

Published by Osprey Publishing Ltd, ISBN 1-84176-791-3, 96 pages.

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Although it is certainly not an AFV, it can be argued that the V-1 Flying Bomb in its ground-launched version is a piece of ordnance, thus this review on the ML site. Furthermore, Steve Zaloga is no stranger to this site’s visitors, but relatively few know that in his professional career, he is a consultant specializing in the world’s guided missile systems, both contemporary and historic. Therefore he is the ideal person to write a book on what was in essence, the world’s first operational cruise missile.

His text is as always, concise, informative and aimed squarely at both modelers and students of history. This should cover nearly every one who visits the ML site. He begins with a preamble that discusses very early attempts at airborne, pilot-less ordnance. Then follows a description of the “Kirschkern” (Cherry Stone) program, where he takes the reader from concept, through development, and finally, to operational employment of the FZG-76, more commonly known as the V-1. A technical description of the V-1, as well as the piloted FI-103Re.4 “Reichenberg” suicide missile, is also included. There is a detailed discussion of the means and methods that the Germans employed in order to use the V-1 in operations against British and Continental European targets, as well as allied countermeasures. The final segment of the book deals with foreign use of the V-1, the production of copies by the US (the Army’s JB-2 “Thunderbug” and the Navy’s LVT-N-2 “Loon”) and the Soviet Union, and the variations that these programs produced.

The text is complimented by 36 B&W photos, 12 B&W drawings, five tables, eight pages of color art, a bibliography, and an index. The photos are all well-reproduced and many provide details that will be of use to modelers, especially if one wishes to construct a launch ramp diorama, using for instance, the Accurate Armour kits. Furthermore, many of the line drawings contain excellent information on the details of the different warhead configurations, the various transport trolleys, and perhaps most useful of all, detailed information on the content and placement of the various servicing stencils seen on the missile. The very fine color art features two combat scenarios (an airborne intercept of a V-1 by an RAF Tempest, and an airborne launch of a V-1 by a German He-111 bomber) and profiles of prototype and operational V-1s as well as two versions of the Reichenberg and the Soviet 16Kh “Priboy” (Surf) variant. The cutaway art details an operational FI-103A-1 of Flak-Regiment 155 (W) as it would appear in the latter part of 1944.

Highly recommended.

Frank V. De Sisto

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