Cutaway view of the V-1 'Flying Bomb', 1944-1945.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Drawing by the Science Museum Design Studio. The V-1 was a form of unguided missile developed by the Germans in World War II. The bomb, christened the 'buzz bomb or 'doodlebug' by the British, was powered by an air-breathing ramjet and carried about 900 kg of high explosive. Some 8000 of the bombs were fired across the Channel at southern England from launch sites in northern France and the Netherlands between June 1944 and March 1945, killing over 5500 civilians. The effectiveness of the weapons declined as the RAF became proficient at shooting them down, and as Allied forces advanced into Europe after D-Day, targets in England became out of range. The 'V' stands for Vergeltungswaffe (retaliation weapon), the German name for the missile.