On this day in 1946, the Americans performed the first successful launch of the German V-2 rockets that exceeded the height of 100,000 feet. The V-2 rockets were developed in the Third Reich as the “Weapon of Retribution 2” (German: Vergeltungswaffe 2 or V-2). The previous V-1 rockets were something akin to cruise missiles with wings and jet engines. The V-2 rockets were liquid fuel rockets and weighed more than 12 tons. They were about 14 meters long and used for strikes against British cities across the sea.
After the end of World War II, the Americans seized the German V-2 technology. 300 wagons carrying components for the V-2 rockets were brought from Europe to the United States, to the famous White Sands base in the state of New Mexico. White Sands is still the largest U.S. military installation in the world, and the first nuclear bomb in history exploded there (the Manhattan Project). The famous Roswell is located in its vicinity.
In addition to the equipment, the Americans also used the German scientists who worked on the V-2 project. The German Baron Wernher von Braun was the most famous among them. He had a major role in the development of the U.S. missile program.
Platform no. 33 served as their launch platform, and the rocket reached an altitude of 112,600 feet. Many other launches of the V-2 rockets were also performed in the same area (more than 60).