As the world’s first operational cruise missile the Fi103 was the first of the so-called “Wonder Weapons” that German leaders felt would snatch victory from defeat. The concept of a self-guided flying bomb powered by a pulsejet engine originated in 1942 and quickly captured the attention of the German Luftwaffe, which was suffering high losses in bombers and crews. The Fi103 first flew in December 1942 but problems in both production and operation of the new weapon delayed its first operational use until June 12, 1944 when the first V-1s were fired at London. Eventually, more than 5,800 of the missiles would land in England killing over 8,000 people.
Luftwaffe Flak-Regiment 155(W), France, 1944
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