by SGM Herbert A. Friedman (Ret.)

Note:In 2017, images and text from this article were used as a source in the Italian philatelic monthly magazine "Il collezionista." The International Spy Museum in Washington D.C. requested the use of images of V-weapon propaganda leaflets in this article for a new exhibit at their Museum. In 2018, the Historical-Technical Museum Peenemunde [in the Power Station] requested the use of our images for a special exhibition titled: “Destructive Progress. Mass production and wartime deployment of the Peenemünde “V-weapons”, 1943–1945.” Data from this article appears in "Marketing the Third Reich – Persuasion, Packaging and Propaganda": Nicolas O’Shaughnessy, Routledge, NYC, NY, 2018. This article was featured on the British website: WORLD WAR II ENGLAND - Recollections of The Homefront in Lancashire. In 2020 the model rocket company LOC requested the use of images from this article to use as the logo on the flash card for their V2 rocket kits. In 2020, images from this article were used in the publication of a British railway "Brickie's Mate" wartime diary.

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Aerial propaganda leaflets have been disseminated by a host of weapon systems and other means. The most common is the airplane; other popular methods include balloons, artillery, mortars, grenades, and small rockets.

During WWII all the combatants fired leaflets at each other by artillery. At the height of the Cold War period the air between mainland China and the offshore island of Quemoy was filled with propaganda shells. In 1962, The London Telegraph stated that 1,700 gun positions faced Quemoy, but all they fired was the occasional leaflet shell.

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General Walter Dornberger, head of the V2 program (center)
with Dr. Todt (right), Hitler's armament minister, at Peenemünde in 1941.

In 1966 I published a letter from WWII German General Walter Dornberger that said his department of the Board of Ordinance, Rocket Development (WaPruef II) designed and developed small solid-fuel rockets that could carry propaganda leaflets about 6-7 miles. The rockets had a container tightly packed with propaganda leaflets that were fired against front-line Allied troops in Italy. Dr, Max Kronstein, writing in The Falling Leaf of June 1962, adds, "These small rockets were called Flugblattgeschoose. In the Diary of a German Soldier Wilhelm Pruller says, "We got a new gun today with a barrel made of cardboard. And it shoots too, as far as two kilometers. The bullets are propaganda bombs which comprise more than 100 leaflets."

In this article, we are going to talk about much larger and more dangerous rockets.

During World War Two, Germany distributed leaflets over the Allies in Great Britain, Belgium, and Holland using their vaunted "Vengeance weapon," the V1 rocket. These are among the most extraordinary leaflets of the war and on the rare occasion when a genuine V1 leaflet is auctioned for sale, the price can be as high as $400 dollars.

I first became interested in the field almost 40 years ago. I wrote an article entitled "WWII V-1 Bomb Leaflets--World's Rarest Missile Mail?" in the 5 July 1965 issue of Linn's Stamp News. In that article I illustrated a POW letter leaflet and a cut-away drawing of the German V-1 "Buzz bomb." I mentioned that that among the various leaflets delivered by the V1 were letters from POWs, magazines, newspapers, and stories of atrocities caused by the Allied bombing of German residential areas. The POW letters are interesting because they contained a number of letter from actual prisoners held by the Germans. The leaflets "explained that the same letters were being sent through official Red Cross channels, and there was a request that the leaflets be forwarded to the prisoner’s families to expedite delivery. British Intelligence immediately became suspicious. They did not want the Germans to know where the rocket bombs had fallen." Remember, at the very same time the British were passing fraudulent target information to the German high Command through their double agents. They believed that if the families wrote back to the prisoners, there might be some way for the Germans to determine where the bombs fell. As a result, all the leaflets were confiscated. Only a few of the leaflets were taken for souvenirs and as I said earlier, they are very rare today.

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German V1 Rocket

What was the V1? Because of the tremendous losses to the Luftwaffe during the "Battle of Britain" Germany was looking for a way to terror-bomb London without the loss of valuable pilots and aircraft. In June 1944, the German army began the use of what would called the V1. The 'V' stood for Vergeltungswaffe which meant "vengeance weapon." The V1 was designed by Argus Motorenwerke and the Fieseler Flugzeugbau companies. They developed this small, unmanned aircraft that could carry a one-ton warhead, and powered it with a new pulse-jet engine design. The pulse-jet engine had just one moving part, a shutter assembly in the front air intake. The flying bomb could reach more than 400 mph. The range of the flight was predetermined and set inside the bomb before it was launched. A tiny propeller on the nose of the bomb was attached to a counter. Every 30 rotations of the propeller would count down one number on the counter. When the pre-set counter reached zero, the air hose from the servo to the rear elevator was automatically cut, a spring mechanism would snap down the elevators, and the V1 would dive to the ground. The V-1 was manufactured at various sites in the Reich, but the main production facility was the notorious underground SS slave-labor complex known as "Mittelwerk" at Nordhausen in the Harz Mountains. An estimated total of 24,000 V-1s were built in 1944, with as many as 10,000 built in 1945, though quantities tend to vary from source to source.

The Allies were aware of the secret weapon and their agents in Germany searched for any information about the new rocket bomb. We find numerous mentions of the aerial bomb in secret classified reports from American agents to Allen Dulles of the Office of Strategic Services in Switzerland. A report dated 5 February 1943 says in part:

A new German secret weapon is being tested but the machine is not yet satisfactory. According to 490, it is perhaps kind of aerial torpedo, or some other flying contraption. Exact nature of device not disclosed, although small parts are being manufactured in factories in Germany.

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Craters surround a site at Peenemunde in Mecklenburg-Vorpommem,
Germany, where the V weapons were designed and tested,
following an Allied bombing raid on on September 2, 1944

Peenemunde was bombed four times during WWII. The first was on 17 August 1943 when an attempt was made to destroy or delay the production of the secret weapon. On 9 September 1943 another secret report says in part:

The rocket bomb should be taken seriously, according to 643. A delay of one to two months in assemblage work was caused by bombing of Peenemunde but much remains there to be destroyed. Important objectives above ground have not been damaged and there are also underground assembly plants.

By 11 December information seems to have been coming in regularly:

From contact 496: Experiments with rocket still going on at Karlshagen near Peenemunde.

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Constance Babington Smith – She and her Aircraft Section Team found the V1

On 13 December they knew what the rocket looked like:

From 803. Runway near Dutch frontier, photo of air torpedo, looks like small plane.

By 8 February the OSS seems to have identified the firing platforms.

We have turned over to 521 information on rocket emplacements.

How were the leaflets distributed? They were placed in a small canister, which ejected automatically from a hole near the wing as soon as the engine turned off. The V1 was equipped with a revolution counter, which shut down the engine after a pre-arranged number of turns. The bomb then went into a steep vertical dive and impact was almost instantaneous.

I should mention here that in three places in this story I discuss vertical dives. That is what most news stories report. Terrence Lane begs to differ. He told me:

In 1943, I moved to Purley, Surrey, not far from Croydon Airport, at that time the main London airport. The first V1s in 1944 dropped south of London including one which struck some 150 feet from the house, breaking many of our windows and damaging the roof. We saw a great number of V1s flying southeast to northwest across the blue sky and watched many come down north of where I lived, the cloud of smoke where they landed, then counted the seconds until we heard the explosion to get some idea of distance.

The flying bombs did not always fall straight to earth. When their engine stopped, some flew in a long, slow, straight shallow dive; some spiraled down to earth while the others dropped directly out of the skies, tumbling over and over like a stone. It was this unpredictability that made them frightening. When you heard the motor stop overhead you had no idea whether a V1 was going to land close to you or far away because of this varied pattern of descent.

The aftermath of a V-2 strike in London. The British government initially
attempted to conceal the cause of the explosions by blaming them on defective
gas mains. The public therefore began referring to the V-2s as “flying gas pipes”.

I also saw a number of V2 bomb explosions but not nearly as many as there was no noisy engine noise to announce their arrival, just the explosion and a pillar of smoke. We always felt the V2 was far less frightening than the V1 because you did not have this sense of anticipation of something terrible about to happen as was the case when the V1 engine suddenly stopped overhead.

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V1 flying bomb on its launch ramp in France, 1944

Greg Goebel discusses the various forms of the V1 in an article entitled "The V1 Flying Bomb." He says, "Some of the V-1s were fitted with a radio transmitter and a trailing antenna wire so that their flight could be monitored. In some cases, the bombs were "shadowed" by fast aircraft like the Messerschmitt 410 to observe their flight. A few were also fitted with a cage to accommodate 23 one-kilogram incendiary bombs, or a paper carton full of propaganda leaflets, with the contents scattered by the force of the blast."

At the height of the V1 blitz the British government printed a "restricted" document entitled Instructions to R.A.F. Bomb Disposal Units.

The document identified the inner-workings and explosive mechanisms found in the V1. In regard to the propaganda leaflet ejector, the bomb disposal personnel were told:

A. The ejector, when fitted, is housed in the extreme rear of the fuselage, with approximately one-third of its length projecting.

B. It is formed of a cardboard tube, 30 inches long, and 2.5 inches in diameter, the rear end of which is sealed by a wooden plug. To the outer face of the plug is attached a pull igniter. A 56-inch length of safety fuse, one end of which is attached to the pull igniter, passes through rolls of pamphlets contained in the tube.

C. The rear end of the tube accommodates a sheet metal cylinder. A wooden plug closes each end of the cylinder; between the plugs is a bag of gunpowder. The safety fuse passes through the inner plug to the gunpowder bag.

D. A wire lug, fitted to the outer wooden plug forms the method of attachment to the flying bomb.

If the leaflet ejector is fitted, the igniter is functioned on launching, probably be means of a static cord. The safety fuse burns during flight, eventually igniting the gunpowder charge. The gases formed blow the propaganda leaflets out through the rear end of the cardboard tube.

The British knew about the propaganda leaflets in the V1s and watched for them. The British Post Office Bulletin of 3 January 1945 said:


According to press reports letters purporting to be from British prisoners of war are being sent to this country in V bombs.

A Leaflet entitled “V POW POST” is said to have been found containing such letters, both in Photostat and printed form, with a request that the finder should cut out or copy the letters and transmit them to the addressees.

If such leaflets or letters are tendered loose at a post office by the public, not as postal packets but as something found, they should be accepted and handed to the local police authorities. Any which are posted as properly addressed and prepaid packets should, of course, be forwarded by post to destination the usual way; but information that this will be done must not be given to the public.

This is a strange document and shows once again the strength of the British source of legality and order. There was some belief that these leaflets were espionage documents meant to help the Germans discover where the V1s fell. The British properly handed most of the leaflets to the police, but cannot bring themselves to remove a properly addressed and stamped document that could be German espionage from the mail.

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Civil Defense Letter on V-1 Leaflets

A letter dated 17 December 1946 from the Civil Defense Department to an individual mentions the leaflets. It says in part:

…After 28 August 1944, a proportion of all flying bombs sent over this country were found to carry propaganda leaflets where were therefore scattered round the scene of explosion in almost every district subjected to this form of attack after that date…

On 15 August 1965, I wrote an article for the Space Craft Explorer. In that article I went into great depth. I identified each type of leaflet in more detail. For instance, The types of "atrocity" propaganda; "A Splendid Decision," "This is an Experiment, Let's Try it," and "Do You Like That, Do you?" I mentioned The Other Side, a miniature newspaper that gave Germany's view of the war. I discussed the Signal Magazine, a small propaganda publication filled with defeatist propaganda to weaken the British will to resist.

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V1 at the end of its flight, about to impact near Drury Lane, London, 1944

There are many other reference documents that discuss the V1 leaflet operations. The very first mention of the V1 leaflets was probably an article entitled "German V-1 Rocket P.O.W. Air Mail Leaflets." By David W. H. Pickard in the Airpost Journal, July 1947. Pickard illustrated a Signal magazine and a P.O.W. Post leaflet. His article was reprinted in Linns Weekly Stamp News of 10 November 1947, with the addition of a photograph of a V1 pulse-jet. The V1 leaflets are mentioned in a number of The Falling Leaf issues, the journal of the Psywar Society, an international association of psychological warfare historians. In January 1990, R. G. Auckland of the Psywar Society published a booklet entitled V1 Rocket Propaganda leaflets 1944-1945. Those readers who want to know more about these leaflets should purchase the booklet through the Psywar Society. I also want to thank a number of the members of the Psywar Society who sent leaflet images for this article. Among them are Rod Oakland, Freddy Dehon, William Robinson, Michael Rivkin and Lee Richards who allowed me to show some of the leaflets from his site.

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Frontal view of German V1 Rocket

In this article we are going to study three phases of the V-1 PSYOP campaign. The first will be a look at some of the actual leaflets carried and disseminated by the V1 flying bomb. The second will be a look at some of the German leaflets and postcards that threaten the Allies with death and destruction by the V1. The final phase will be the Allied response, the leaflets that tell the Germans that they have lost the war and their vengeance weapon is too little, too late.

The E-series

There were a several different German leaflets carried by V1s from the E-Series, thought to represent "England." Among them are:

E120 fired in June and August 1944, found in Maidstone, Ashford and Tenterden, Kent.

E121 (4a, 9a, and b12) fired in August, found in Southeast England, Dartford, and Essex.

Other E leaflets were dropped but not fired in V1s. They are:

E108 Why die for Stalin. Why die for the Jews.; E111 Bolshevism, what is it; E113 Why die for Stalin; E114 You have been trapped; E115 Stalin or your wife; E116 Smuts said….; E117 Who gains; and E118 Why die for the Jews. The E leaflets are all dated 3/44 which indicates they were printed in March 1944, but apparently then held until the invasion in June. They were then dropped by aircraft or fired by mortar shells on American and British forces in June and July 1944.

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E120 - This is an Experiment – let’s try it.

This is a very impressive visual 4-page folded leaflet by the Germans. It pictures a woman looking at a line of dead children on the sidewalk. It may be the first V1 leaflet found in Kent, England. The title is:

"This is an Experiment – let’s try it" – W. Churchill

This is another in a long list of German leaflets attacking the Allies for the bombing of Germany. The back of the leaflet shows the same woman now picking among the dead, perhaps for her child. The leaflet is coded E-120. The caption is:

An experiment? Murder victims of the RAF – women, children, and old folks! Cologne, June 28/29, 1943.

The main text below the picture is:

As early as 1933 and several times in 1935 Adolf Hitler suggested an international pact with a view to make an air war on the civilian population impossible. The British government turned down his proposals.

On May 10, 1940, the RAF began the air war against civilians with a raid on the open town of Freiburg, although the German air force had never carried out a single raid on a town in the British Isles. 57 civilians, including 29 children, died in that attack on Freiburg. After that, more and more German towns were bombed by Bomber Command.

The German air attacks on Warsaw and Rotterdam could never be recognized as a pretext for these British attacks, because both cities then lay in the front line and were defended militarily by enemy troops. Despite the foregoing facts, the Luftwaffe did not hit back at once, but instead, Adolf Hitler gave a warning as to the consequences of the British bombing. It was not until September 1940 that the Luftwaffe began to attack British towns.

When opened, the left inside page depicts dead women and children on the sidewalk and the caption:

The victims; Women, children, and old folks (Hamburg July27/28 1943)

The right inside page features two pictures with more dead women and children on the street and on the steps outside a building. The captions are:

The victims of the terror-raid on Cologne July 27/28, 1943.

The victims; Women, children, old folks – Terror-raid on Hamburg July27/28 1943

Both inside pages have long propaganda messages. There are four newspaper quotes regarding the bombing of Germany on the left page and a statement by Air Marshall Sir Arthur (Bomber) Harris on the right. Some of his comments are:

We are bombing Germany, city by city, and ever more terribly, to make it impossible for you to go on with the war. That is our object. We shall pursue it remorselessly…

The bombing of Freiburg has become a bit of a mystery. Although the Germans were quick to blame the British, Andrew E. Mathis, Ph.D. stated in an article entitled "The 1940 Bombing of Freiburg and Historical Revisionism" that it was really the Germans who were to blame. He says, "The first non-military target to be bombed during World War II was Freiburg, Germany, but the perpetrators were not the British (or in earlier versions, the French), as Nazi propagandists and their believers have maintained for the last sixty years. Freiburg was bombed by the Luftwaffe in a mistaken attack on what they believed was a French town. This conclusion is based on a series of inconsistencies in the original reports that have since been cleared up by several historians. First, Freiburg was bombed on May 10, 1940, and not May 11 (or February 10). Second, the blame was initially placed on the French for the bombing and then shifted to the British. Third, and most importantly, May 10, 1940, marked the beginning of a massive offensive on the part of Nazi Germany against the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg with simultaneous bombings of French targets. Freiburg was no surprise attack on a quite university town by British bombers looking to kill children; it was the unfortunate consequence of Nazi Germany's policy of aggressive war against anyone who stood in her way of continental domination." 

Jan de Groot, a deceased member of the Psywar Society said about this attack, "On the evening of the mistaken bombing, the German domestic radio said that the French Air Force was responsible for the air-raid. Much later, however, it appears that after France had fallen the blame for the Freiburg incident was passed on to the shoulders of the British. The allegation was further repeated in the propaganda leaflet 'This is an Experiment – let's try it - W. Churchill' dropped by V.1 'doodlebug' over southeast England in the weeks following D-Day. In it the Germans said that the RAF 'began the air war against civilians' by bombing the town and claimed that the German air attacks on Warsaw and Rotterdam (two days after the Netherlands surrendered) could never be recognized as a pretext for British attacks because both cities then lay 'in the front line and were defended by enemy troops.' 

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Leaflet E.121/4a says:

Do you like that? You do?
You may not in a few months’ time!
AIR-RAID ON COLOGNE – June 28th/29th, 1943.

"AIR-RAID ON COLOGNE" was found in Southeast England on the night of 28 August 1944. The back depicts dead German children in Cologne.

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Leaflet E.121/9a says:

Do you like that? You do?
You may not in a few months’ time!
AIR-RAID ON BERLIN – November 22nd, 1943.

"AIR-RAID ON BERLIN" was found in Stone near Dartford, Kent, England on the night of 28 August 1944. He back depicts dead German children in Berlin.

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E 121/b12

Leaflet E.121/b12 says:

Do you like that? You don’t?
THEN TELL Mr. Churchill
AIR-RAID ON HAMBURG – July 27/28th, 1943.

"AIR-RAID ON HAMBURG" was found in southeast England on the night of 28/29 August, at a launch site in Pas-de-Calais (1944), and in Watten (a northern France launching site) in early 1945. The back of the leaflet pictures a Hamburg Street with dead bodies scattered about.

The Germans produced similar leaflets that mentioned the Allied air raids on Cologne and Berlin. The photographs were different, but both showed stacks of dead bodies. The text is also slightly different from the Hamburg leaflet. The main text is identical on both leaflets, "Do you like that? You do? You may not in a month’s time!"

Another Possible E-Series Leaflet 


Leaflet E-113/3.44 

In July 2023, a dealer offered a specimen of the German leaflet E113 and said it was carried in a V1. I asked the dealer for proof since the Rod Aukland 1990 booklet V1 PROPAGANDA LEAFLETS 1944-1945 says specifically that no E-series leaflets except for E120 and E121 were carried by the V1. The dealer answered: 

They were collected from a crash site in Banbury, Oxfordshire by an ROC member and documented in his diary. He was the head of the royal observer corps for Oxfordshire. Very highly decorated for one and the crash is mentioned in the local press. The Royal Observer Corps was a civil defense organization intended for the visual detection, identification, tracking and reporting of aircraft over Great Britain.

The Auckland book does not mention a single V1 crash in Oxfordshire. Since it is possible that new information has come to light since 1990, I will depict leaflet E113 here. I cannot vouch that it was carried by a V1, but it is possible.

The Leaflet Collectors

When the V1 missiles started falling and dispensing leaflets, there were many collectors in Great Britain, France, and Belgium that wanted samples. The more dedicated collectors constantly wrote to the British government seeking leaflets for their collections. That group later formed itself into the PSYWAR Society, a group of international leaflet collectors. I was a member of that group for 30-40 years and toward the end led it for a few years. The collectors were all in their 90s and unfortunately, they gradually faded away one by one. The British government replied to every request for a leaflet. We depict one above and quote another below.

The V1 campaign against Great Britain commenced on 13 June 1944. Ten missiles were fired across the English Channel and just four reached their target. Auckland says that during the course of the war 10,000 were aimed at London and another 3000 at other parts of the UK. The rockets could be fired from both fixed ramps and from Heinkel bombers, not unlike the current Tomahawk cruise missile in the American inventory. A letter from The Home Office, Civil Defense Department, dated 17 December 1946 says:

German propaganda Leaflets Carried in Flying Bombs

Sir I am directed by the Secretary of State to inform you in reply to your further enquiry of 13 December on the above-mentioned subject that after 28 August 1944, a proportion of all flying bombs sent over this country were found to carry propaganda leaflets which were therefore scattered round the scene of explosion in almost every district subjected to this form of attack after that date. Many of the leaflets were damaged or destroyed by the bomb and as only a small number were carried in each case, few were found intact.

German V1 Leaflets

As I said earlier, many of the V1 leaflets fall into identifiable categories. The first we will discuss are the P.O.W. Post. Each of these leaflets contained a number of letters from British prisoners-of-war. There are a three general types of P.O.W. Post leaflets. We illustrate one from the major variation coded V1/4.

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V1 P.O.W. Post – V1/4 Vertical Format

The text at the top of all of the major variety is "V1 P.O.W. Post." Directly below there is a comment in red, "The finder is requested to cut out or copy the letters printed here and to transmit them to the addresses so that they receive them as early as possible. The original letters are being sent through the Red Cross in the usual mail channel."

A letter on the front of the leaflet is handwritten in black ink at the right and typed in red ink at the left. It says:

From Swift, Leslie                                                                                            No.118431

To L. W. M. Swift, 100 Upper Front Road Maidstone, Kent England

November 11, 1944

My dearest darling, Mother and Father. My thoughts are forever of you and this day of memorance I write you these cheering words, knowing you will both have the respects for me and enjoy yourselves who be level headed. I am a soldier and must expect these hardships that are bestowed upon us, but we must not be down-hearted, or it's not playing the trump card. I am making the best of a good hiding, so to speak, and am now getting along very nicely and hope to get a nice be parcel from you some time or other. On my return to England after the war we will have an excellent drink and laughter and joy. Also let me say the Germans are very much like us regards to ways, and have become friendly with quite a few, they are not what the paper reads, it's difficult to tell the difference in ways and manner. Also I say again you must not worry. I am well and have good health and warm clothing, good bed with sheets and your photographs at my side. What more can one wish for! We, work and are paid. We, my dearest ones, Happy Christmas, and Dad don't drink all that glorious beer and Mother don't forget the plum cake. So, dearest ones, cheerio for now, lots of love.

Leslie Walter

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A POW Post picked up after a V1 Attack

Nicolas Booth wrote to me in 2015 to say that a copy of the above leaflet was in his grandfather’s papers when he died in 1986. He said:

My grandfather kept this leaflet which was ejected from a German V1 bomb that landed on a small village (Grange Moor) Near Huddersfield in West Yorkshire on 24th December 1944, despite the Military Police collecting them from the residents and offering a fee of 10 shillings each! The bomb had been intended for the steelworks in Sheffield but overshot by about 30 miles.

I believe that the letters were intended to get to the families of the POW’s so that the families could write to their loved ones in the prison camps in Germany. The Germans would then intercept the letters and hopefully find where the bombs had landed so they could work out more accurately the distances of their intended targets. I understand that the British intelligence service had been feeding false information to Germany regarding distances of important areas of the country; hence the MP’s offering such a substantial amount (10 Shillings) for the letters to be destroyed.

The Huddersfield Daily Examiner said in part about the blast:

The V1 left a crater 33 feet in diameter and around 5 feet deep. About 130 houses, the village church, the school, the Methodist Chapel, the working men’s club and the only pub in the village were all damaged but no one was hurt. Had the bomb travelled another 80 yards or so half the village would have been wiped out.

Two more P.O.W. letters appear on the back of V1/4, again handwritten in black and printed in red. This leaflet was dropped near Huddersfield, England, 24 December 1944 from a V1 missile launched from a German Heinkel bomber.

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V1 P.O.W. Post – V1/5 Horizontal format

Although leaflet V1/5 was printed in a horizontal format, the intent of the leaflet is the same. The text of one of the letters on the front includes a letter from a POW to his wife, followed by a short note from the Camp doctor assuring the wife that her husband has received good medical treatment and is doing well. The text of the letter is:

From: Capt J.W. Coulthard                                                                         140265

To: Mrs. J.W. Coulthard, Lyndhurst Thorne, Dencastle, Yorkshire, England

Dec. 1, 44

Darling this is an extra letter form we are allowed for Christmas greetings, a short one. I hope this reaches you in time for Christmas. Whether it does or not, you will know I am thinking of you as I shall know you are thinking of me. And although we must be apart, we both know it is our last Christmas apart. I shall be thinking especially of you, too on our wedding anniversary knowing that we shall celebrate all and future ones together. So have a happy Christmas darling, knowing that I am still all right, completely cured and thinking of you and that we shall be together soon.   I love you. Always your own.


Dear Mrs. Coulthard

Just a line to assure you that your husbands case is progressing very satisfactorily. The fracture in his arm is well healed and he is now doing a course of exercise to strengthen the musculature. His general health is very good.

Seasons Greetings

Leonhard E. Kremer, Lt. M.O.
Senior Allied Medical Officer
Res.-Laz. Freising

The back of V1/5 depicts two letters, one from a Arthur Goodwin of Lancashire, England, and the other from a James Swanston of Peeblesshire, Scotland. The Goodwin letter to his brother William is particularly interesting because this is one of the rare cases where we know exactly how the Germans obtained it. 

William Goodwin was located after the war and sent a copy of the V1 leaflet bearing his brother's letter. In January 1959 William wrote back and said: 

Dear Sir, 

Many thanks for your kindness is sending the reproduction of my brother's letter. I received the original some months afterward which by the way, was the first communication after being taken prisoner at Arnheim. We got an official notification the day after the flying bomb dropped at Tottingham near Buny, and this was the first news we had of my brother's whereabouts after he had been posted missing. He was badly wounded but the German doctors made an excellent job of him and he is now completely fit and well. I will pass on the leaflet to him the next time we meet, so thank you once again for the trouble you have taken on our behalf.  

William also enclosed a photocopy of his brother's original letter on a Kriegsgefangenenpost folded lettersheet with the imprint of Stalag XI B. This proves that the letters were not German propaganda, but were in fact genuine letters written by prisoners of war. It is surprising that William first heard that his brother was alive because of the V1 leaflet, and received the actual letter months afterward.

There are believed to be six of the standard types such as we depict above. They are numbered V1/1 to V1/6. They come in both a horizontal and vertical format. No example of V1/1 and V1/2 exist. Numbers 3 and 4 are in the vertical format. Numbers 5 and 6 are in the horizontal format. My copy of V1/6 was dropped on Brindle, near Manchester on 24 December 1944 from a V1 missile launched from a German Heinkel bomber. There are two letters on the front. The letter at the left is dated 20 November 1944 from Sgt. J. W. Cooke in Stalag V11A, to his mother, Mrs. J. Cooke in Lancashire, England. The letter at the right is from Sgt. S. Horrohen to Mr. and Mrs. T. Cannon, in South Devon, England.

A second variety of the letter leaflet is somewhat similar but with the "P.O.W. Post" at the bottom of the page with no mention of "V1." It bears an added issue number. So far, only issue number 22 has been found. There may or may not be more editions. Both we and the Germans sometimes used random numbers on our leaflets to force the enemy to waste time searching for issues that did not exist. These were found in the Netherlands at launching sites and may have never been disseminated.

A third variety is entitled "Post for USA." These were found in Belgium and are intended for U.S. Army personnel.

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Medical Bulletin from Stalag XII A

Like the POW Post leaflets, this leaflet bears letters from prisoners-of-war and it was probably hoped by the Germans that the leaflets would be forwarded to the families so that where the V1 landed might somehow be determined. In fact, the Leaflet asks:

The finder of this leaflet is requested to cut out or copy the letters printed here and to transmit them by air-mail to the addresses, so that the patient’s relatives may get this information as early as possible…

On the back of the leaflet are eight more letters addressed to relatives of wounded Allied prisoners.

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Stalag XII A

Notice that the buildings are clearly marked “P.O.W.” However, the British RAF bombed at night so this sign would be of no use in the dark.

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PFC Joseph Demler

This American prisoner of Stalag XII A was photographed on 27 March 1945. He had lost 68 pounds after three months as a German prisoner. The POWs got one bowl of thin soup and one piece of bread daily.

Stalag XII A was formed on 29 January 1940 from Gulag G and contained 42,202 POWs, 216 of them officers. On the night of 23 December 1945 the camp was mistakenly bombed by the Royal Air Force who missed a German Luftwaffe base adjacent to the camp. 81 POWs were killed. The bodies were buried in a common grave dug by other prisoners. The Germans had the wounded survivors write letters which were later placed in V1 missiles and fired at Antwerp, Belgium. The photographs were forwarded to me in 1985 by former Stalag XII A prisoner David Schneck.

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Know Ye by These Presents

This leaflet above was in the Nagl collection with the caption:

Dropped on Allied troops in Holland, February 1945 by German V-1 Missile

Reggie Auckland also depicts it with the comments:

Found in the Netherlands; location not known; but it is confirmed by the Rijksinstitut in Amsterdam that this leaflet was carried by a V1. This uncoded leaflet is also known to have been dropped by aircraft over Allied troops in Northwest Europe – probably about the same time, March 1945. An identically worded leaflet, code SKJ 2012, but in a different format was shelled to American troops in Northwest Europe. A few days after the V1 version was dropped it was reproduced on another uncoded leaflet with additional text and a prominent “NO ANSWER” dropped by aircraft. The reverse of this last leaflet featured the famous WWI cartoon “C’est sa main.”

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What an American Citizen thinks about this War

The Germans seemed to love to use letters from Americans in their leaflets. In this leaflet they quote a letter taken from POW PFC Phillip Lombardi from his father. Naturally, the Germans selected an anti-War, anti-Soviet letter to reproduce. Curiously, the father talks about America helping Russia so that they will be able to sell cheap goods to the United States and hurt the American economy. That did happen, but it was not the USSR; it was Germany and Japan that were rebuilt by the USA and later dumped cheap products.

Joe Nagl says that this leaflet was dropped by V1 missile on Allied installations in Belgium in September, 1944 and Matsbos, Holland, early in 1945. A copy was also found by a V1 launching site Nijrees in the Netherlands on 4 April 1945. Joe told me an interesting story about this leaflet. Phillip was a member of the 103rd Infantry Division of the 7th Army in France. About 1 December 1944 his entire company was captured by the Germans at Schlettstadt. He was sent to Stalag XII where all his belongings were confiscated.

We know the British were very strict about the German leaflets, but apparently the Americans were not. A GI who found the leaflet, probably in Belgium, sent it to his parents in the USA, who promptly forwarded it to Phillip’s parents. This was the first indication to Phillip’s father that his son was still alive.

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The Other Side # 1

The Other Side is the title of a pamphlet dropped over southeast England by the V1. The pamphlet was four pages long and only six issues are known to exist. Number one depicts a V1 on the front and the heading " V1 - Those ‘last few shots’." It also depicts a British Lancaster bomber with the caption, "This is a Lancaster bomber, one of the machines used by the R.A.F. in terror raids on Germany. Thousands have been shot down." The back page bears a story about “The Tragic Fate of Warsaw.” Number two depicts Americans marching into Germany and the heading " How much longer will it last?" The main article on the back page is “Biggest-Ever allied defeats in 1944.” Number three depicts wounded troops and the title, “ROLL ON, OLD WAR!” The back page is entitled “Christmas Greetings.” Number four is entitled "All of this Got you nowhere," with cartoons of the German and American home front. On the German home front, civilians fight along with the armed forces to protect the nation. Meanwhile, British and American troops run low of ammunition in the second cartoon while an American worker reads a newspaper. Another featured article is “What is going on in the Scheldt?” That story implies that some sort of secret weapon is destroying Allied shipping in the River Scheldt. The major story on the back page is entitled “INSIDE GERMANY.” Number five depicts a German tank factory and the heading "Is there a Mystery?" News stories on the back page are “News of the Volkssturm” and “Farewell to Heavy Arms!” The final issue depicts a German mother and children and the title "Nobody tells you...but you ought to know." The text claims that indiscriminate bombing of Germany is the same as mass murder. The back page features a Soviet octopus swallowing Europe and the articles, “The Glitter of the West” and “Roosevelt’s Brain Trust.” Issue one was dropped over England. Issue two was dropped over England and the Continent. Issues three, four, and six were found in the Netherlands and Belgium. Issue number five was found only in the Netherlands. When they were dropped over both Europe and England, the Continental version is 15 x 24cm, while a larger 20 x 24cm pamphlet was used against the British.

This leaflet was found in Frant, Sussex, on 5 November, East Grinstead, Sussex, on 9 November, and Great Bentley, Essex, on 25 November 1944.

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The Other Side #2

In general, The Other Side is a clever propaganda leaflet. It is nicely illustrated with interesting stories that entice one to read on. Buried within the articles are pro-German propaganda designed to sap the will of the reader to fight on. For instance, issue two has "Some Tips for House-to-house Fighting." Not really tips, the text explains that the Germans have learned from the partisans they fought and the fighting will be horrific. There is a prophecy from a Swedish psychic, "Biggest-Ever allied defeats in 1944 – says Swedish Prophet." Curiously, because the British believed that Hitler and many top Nazi leaders believed in prophecy and astrology, they were also producing black literature where various psychics claimed that the predictions of Nostradamus foretold Nazi doom. A third article explains how the German night-fighter pilots take Noctan B, a marvelous wonder-drug that allows them to see in the dark. A final article depicts a German fighter pilot and says "He has shot down more than 300 Soviet planes." All of these subjects are interesting and difficult to ignore. This would seem to be one of the better German V1 series. The leaflet depicted above was in the collection of the late Mr. Geoff Gorrod of Lowestoft. He found it at the site where an air-launched V-1 fell on cottages at Low Farm, Carlton Colville, (Suffolk), England, on 19 November 1944. Mr. Gorrod took several pictures of the aftermath of the incident, in which two people were killed.

There are two sizes on this leaflet, a smaller version for troops on the continent, 15 x 21cm, and a larger size fired at England, 20 x 24cm.

Copies of this leaflet were found in Hertford Heath on 19 November, Hoddeson on 25 July and 24 October, and Radlett on 18 December 1944, all in Hertforshire, Britain, and in Antwerp, Belgium, and Helvoirt, and Anger lo de Pol, the Netherlands.

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The Other Side # 3

The first story, “Roll on, old war,” talks of peace and an Allied victory, then goes on to say “No, that’s where you’re wrong” and points out that the Germans are still fighting bitterly. Other stories are “Christmas greetings,” which tells of a German woman worker carrying on in the home front, and “Your bath, sir,” which talks about the Allied belief that they would be in a warm tub by Christmas, but instead are on the front taking an ice-water bath. A fourth story is entitled “Like sliding around on a sunbeam” and tells of flying the new German jet fighter which is superior to anything the Allies can put into the air.

This leaflet was found in Antwerp, Belgium, and Gorssel, Loosebroek, Arnhem, and Wageningem, in the Netherlands in 1945.

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The Other Side # 4

Issue four insults American troops in an article entitled “THE YANKS TAKE IT EASY.” General Field Marshal Model is quoted as saying that “All their attacks start with a terrific barrage. They then begin feeling their way forward very carefully, sometimes extremely timidly with tanks. Hardly ever do they come to grips in close-in infantry fighting.” Another article says that 87% of German troops in new infantry battalions want to fight in the West where “We’ve got a score to settle with the Tommies. We want to pay them back for their bombs.” The leaflet depicted above was dropped on Allied troops at Kloosterzande, Holland, near Antwerp, Belgium in early 1945.

This leaflet was found in Antwerp, Belgium, and Zeeuws—Vlaanderen, Renkum, Tholen, Helvoirt, Teteringen, Tilburg, Eefde, and Arnem, in the Netherlands.

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The Other Side # 5

The lead story “Is there a mystery,” explains that the Germans are still a major fighting force with soldiers in reserve and a civilian population dedicated to victory. Other stories include “News of the Volkssturm” which tells of how the older Germans called up to help the Wehrmacht took part in defending the Siegfried line, and “Farewell to heavy arms” about the vast number of U.S. Sherman tanks but how the German genius and inventiveness will still win the war. There is a brief mention of the V-weapons, “15,000 workmen who came to London from the Midlands to clear away debris, have not returned from their Christmas holiday. 800,000 homes have to be rebuilt.”

This leaflet was found in Almelo, Holten, and Eefde, in the Netherlands in 1945.

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The Other Side # 6

The lead story, “Nobody tells you…but you ought to know” accuses the Allies of mass murder of civilians with the bombing of German cities. . Other stories include “Roosevelt’s Brain Trust,” which points out that many of the people around the American President are Jews, and “Your airmen did this,” listing 17 special hospitals in Germany that treat children who have been disfigured and lost limbs in Allied bombings.

This leaflet was found in both Antwerp and Zeeuws—Vlaanderen, Eefde, Arnhem, and Eerbeek in the Netherlands

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Facts Figures Faces

"Facts Figures Faces" is a two-page news-sheet. Issue number 3 (29 December 1944) was found by a crashed V1 near Pfalz, Germany in January 1945 with the launching ramp aimed toward Liege, Belgium. Issue 3 obviously was timed to be used with the German Ardennes offensive called the "Battle of the Bulge." The main story claims that the First U.S. Army has been smashed. A second story states that 274,549 Allies were lost in the first three weeks of November 1944.

Two other issues are known. The first is number 2 (December 1944) and the second is number 11 (March 1945). Both are known to have been dropped by German aircraft. It is not known if they were also carried by V1.There is some confusion about this newssheet. Both Joe Nagl the Specialist-collector and Reginald Auckland of the PSYWAR Society call it a four-page newssheet, so it might have been published in two formats. We know for sure that it exists in a two-page format, so an early error might have crept into the initial reports.

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The First U.S. Army Tried to Invade Germany…

Notice that the newssheet above mentions the destruction of the First U.S. Army. This uncoded German leaflet uses the same theme. Some of the text on the back is:

Germany is making use of secret weapons! The First U.S. Army has been smashed to pieces. The majority of its soldiers have been killed.

Signal was a genuine German propaganda magazine that was produced all through the war years from April 1940 until March 1945 [some sources claim April], ending with issue 6/45. It was authorized by the German High Command and Foreign Office. The page count of single issues varied greatly. Early issues had 48 pages, the last being issue 2/44, published in January 1944. Toward the end of the war the usual number of pages was 40.

Signal was published by the Deutscher Verlag, the former Ullstein publishing house, renamed after its Jewish owners had been ousted, under the auspices of the OKW and the Auswärtiges Amt (Foreign Office). The Propaganda Ministry, though frequently said to have exerted influence on and maintained control over Signal, was driven out by the Foreign Office as early as 1940, and never succeeded in securing any significant influence -- much to the dismay of Goebbels.

Miniature copies in English were prepared to be carried by the V1. The issues numbers known are E.16, E.17, E.18, E.19, E.1/1945. Auckland states that only six copies are known to exist in Great Britain. He discusses one raid that occurred on Christmas Eve of 1944:

On Christmas Eve, 1944, a V-1 flying bomb fell on Owaldtwistle during a raid aimed at northwest England. It was reported that some of these bombs carried propaganda leaflets. One was a leaflet named 'Signal,' and the other leaflets headed "V1 P.O.W. Post.

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Signal E.16/1944

Signal E.16 has been reported but there is no published data on the cover or contents. Since the miniature magazines distributed by the V-1s were identical to the genuine Signal magazines, the cover surely depicted two German soldiers on watch in a deserted urban street. A number of people who were aware of the miniature versions have stated that they were exact shrunken copies of the regular version, with the only difference being that the inner color pages were removed. Auckland makes the same assertion in his booklet on V-1 leaflets.

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Signal E.17/1944

Signal E.17 was found in both England and the Netherlands. The front cover depicts an astrological clock with the time at 5 minutes to twelve. We should mention here that both sides constantly used this same image, the meaning being that one should not be killed in the last moments before the war ended. It was a plea for surrender that both the Allies and the Fascists used regularly. The back depicts athletic looking women rowing a boat.

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Signal E.18/1944

Signal E.18 has been found in the Netherlands and possibly Belgium. The front page depicts a scene of a German manned torpedo and the text "A German one-man torpedo setting off against the enemy." The back depicts women shopping and the caption "A new Willi Forst film…"

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Signal E.19/1944

Signal E.19 was found in the Netherlands. The front depicts a modern submarine next to an old sailing ship and the caption "War and peace meet together." The back page shows a smiling woman and the caption "After her days work…"

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The final known Signal, E.1/1945 depicts a parachutist on the front that seems to be wiring a telephone pole and the caption, "Parachute troops can do anything." The back page shows a pretty girl on a bicycle near a scenic hotel and the caption, "Rendezvous at the Belvedere."

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SK 467 - Go South to Sunny Germany

This full-color V1 leaflet in the form of a two-page travel brochure was found near a Pfalz, Germany, V1 site in December 1944. The leaflet is coded SK 467. "SK" represents "Skorpion West," the organization in charge of German propaganda for the western front. The front depicts a beautiful girl in a bathing suit and the text, "Go south to sunny Germany. A land of sun and smiles awaits you. Travel P.D.Q." The back of the leaflet depicts a happy man and woman enjoying the winter sport of skiing. When opened, The leaflet has two vertical columns. The one at the left is entitled "Germany from without," and has five paragraphs telling of the dangers to be expected by the invading Allies. It ends with "See Germany and Die." The column on the right is "Germany from within." It has seven columns telling of the good life of a prisoner-of-war and ends with "Winter in Germany is the perfection of the beautiful (according to Mark Twain).

Fake German V1 Leaflets

Over the years many wartime propaganda leaflets have been forged. In 2020 I saw a group of six V-1 leaflets for sale at auction with the description: Germany WW2; 6 rare aerial propaganda surrender leaflets - modern reprints of rare English-language leaflets - Like New condition; two have been folded. The prices was a rather reasonable GBP 4.99 (US $5.87). Buyer beware! 

We should take a moment to discuss the German propaganda organization. The German Propaganda Kompanie Einheiten (PK Units) was comprised of two light reporting teams consisting of a few writers and photographers, and one heavy team with additional movie and radio personnel. Starting about 1938 they were appointed by propaganda Minister Josef Goebbel’s Das Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda (The Reich Ministry for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda - RMVP), but when at the front they came under the command of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (Armed Forces High Command – OKW). The arrangement that was agreed upon in 1939 said:

Propaganda is recognized as an essential means of war, equal to armed struggle. The Wehrmacht is responsible for conducting the armed struggle: the propaganda war will be conducted by the RMVP. In the home district, the RMVP carries it out completely independently; in the operations area, in coordination with the OKW.

All of the film shot by the PK was for the exclusive use of the Propaganda Ministry. Adolf Hitler always worried about the loyalty of the Army and eventually moved all of the propaganda sections to the Schutzstaffeln (Protection Squads – SS).

In January of 1940 an SS-Kriegsberichter-Kompanie (Waffen-SS war Reporters Company) was established, each equipped with still and movie cameras, and its platoons were attached to the four main Waffen-SS combat formations that fought in the Western Campaign of May and June, 1940. These platoons remained with their respective divisions for the Balkans Campaign in the spring of 1941. During August 1941, the SS-Kriegsberichter-Kompanie was expanded to Abteilung (battalion) strength. Waffen-SS expansion continued to grow throughout the war and in December 1943 the reporters unit again expanded, this time to regimental size. It also received an honor title at this point, becoming known as SS-Standarte Kurt Eggers. It also received a cuff-title bearing the same name. Kurt Eggers was the former editor of the SS magazine Das Schwarz Korps (The Black Corps). He was killed in action west of Kharkov while serving as a tank commander with the 5th SS-Division on 13 August 1943

The chain of command of the Propaganda organization was on a direct line from Reichskanzler Adolf Hitler, to SS Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler, to “Kurt Eggers” Commander Standartenführer Gunterd’Alquen to units such as the German Skorpion propaganda group. The Skorpion units were supplied by regular Army commands but not supervised by them. All guidance came down through the SS.

The Skorpion units operated on all fronts; Skorpion East (East Front), Südstern (Italy), Skorpion-Adria (Balkans) and Skorpion West (Western Europe). They all produced propaganda for the enemy under the command of the SS Standarte Kurt Eggers. Skorpion West not only produced propaganda for the enemy, it was also tasked with boosting the morale of German troops. It regularly produced leaflets and newspapers for German forces, and the Allies quickly produced black editions of the leaflets with defeatist propaganda cleverly hidden among the news.

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Order of the White Feather

A good deal of the German V1 leaflets seem to have the theme of Allied bombing atrocities. Like many bullies, the Germans saw no evil in bombing civilians in the glory days when they rolled over Holland, Belgium, France and occupied most of Europe. They got very testy when the chickens came home to roost and the Allied air forces retaliated. This letter is a case in point. The text on the front is:


hereby award
The Order of the White Feather
the symbol of
Lieutenant-General SPAATZ
conspicuous cowardice and conduct thoroughly becoming a sadist.

The back of this V1-carried leaflet depicts a white feather on a field of yellow and castigates the Americans for the bombing of Berlin.

The German propaganda organization Skorpion prepared a similar leaflet coded SKJ 2014 that was fired by artillery and attacked General Doolittle for the bombing attack on Dresden.

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SKJ 2014

The concept of the "white feather" is interesting because it is not an American tradition. Readers who have seen the movie "Four Feathers" will remember that in England the white feather was given to a coward as a form of insult and humiliation. A strange way to attack an American general.

The leaflet was carried by a V1 against Allied troops in the Antwerp, Belgium area on 10 March 1945.

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A Splendid Decision

Another V1 leaflet using the atrocity-bombing theme is interesting because it claims to name and quote a book that brags about the bombing of Germany. The book that the Germans quote is Bombing Vindicated, by J. M. Spraight, London, 1944. This book is almost a song of praise for the heavy bomber. Spraight, Principal Assistant Secretary to the Air Ministry during WWII opens with:

“The bomber saves civilization”: my first chapter heading may strike some readers as a paradox, possibly as a perversion of the truth, at best as an overstatement made for the purpose of calling attention to what I have to say. It is nothing of the kind. I am not trying to shock or to bamboozle the reader. I am stating the truth as the truth appears to me. The bomber is the saver of civilization. We have not grasped that fact as yet, mainly because we are slaves to pre-conceived conceptions about air warfare. Air warfare is the dog with a bad name...It was the bomber aircraft which, more than any other instrument of war, prevented the forces of evil from prevailing. It was supposed to be the chosen instrument of aggression. Actually, it was precisely the opposite. Aggression would have had a clearer run if there had been no bombers—on either side. And the greatest contribution of the bomber both to the winning of the war and the cause of peace is still to come.

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A German Propaganda Brochure

Curiously, the Germans used this book in a propaganda operation in Sweden. They prepared what appears to be an advertising brochure for the British book Bombing Vindicated. This “black” brochure features passages from the book where Spaight claims that the British initiated the bombing of German civilian populations and defends those actions. His comments were “manna from Heaven” for the German propagandists who for 5 years had tried to disseminate the very same message throughout Europe with dubious results.

The text of the leaflet is:


started this in May 1940!
Now it is a commonplace scene in almost every German
city and town. The Churchillian Government are proud of it!
They call their official book on the bombing war –


and on pages 73/74 they proudly write –
"We offered London as a sacrifice in the cause of freedom
and civilization. Retaliation was certain if we carried the
war into Germany. There was no certainty, but there was
a reasonable probability, that out Capital and our industrial
centers would not have been attacked is we had continued

to refrain from attacking those in Germany. Yet, because we
were doubtful about the psychological effect of  propagandist
distortion of the truth that it was we who started the strategic
(bombing) offensive, we have shrunk from giving our great
decision of May,1940, the publicity it deserved.
That, surely was a mistake.


Perhaps it is wiser if you keep your personal opinions
who have always been so solicitous about your freedom and civilization
that they are continually offering you up as a sacrifice to their –



This leaflet was carried by V1 flying bomb to southeast England on 28 August 1944. The back depicts a photograph of air raid victims. Although the leaflet is numbered "4," no numbers 1, 2 or 3 exist.

German Aerial Propaganda Leaflets That Mention the V1

At the same time that Germany was firing V1 flying bombs at the allies, it was also dropping leaflets telling the troops what their home front was going through under the bombardment. There are probably between 50 and 75 such leaflets, almost all dropped on allied troops in fighting in Italy and in Western Europe. Some of these leaflets are very colorful, depicting swarms of V1s in formation over London, or diving into clustered homes. Others are all text, sometimes with a large ominous "V1" overprinted over the text. The following leaflets are just a small representation of the types and number of leaflets that rained on allied troops in the latter stages of the war.

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Caught Like Foxes in a Trap

One of the earliest German leaflets to threaten the Allies with the flying bomb is entitled "CAUGHT LIKE FOXES IN A TRAP." This leaflet bears no code but is known to have been dropped over the Allied invasion forces in Normandy in June 1944. Some of the text on the front is:

English and American soldiers!

Why has Jerry waited ten days after the landing to use his so called secret weapons behind your back? Doesn't that strike you as queer?

It looks very much as though after waiting for you to cross the Channel, he had set a trap for you.

You're fighting at present on a very narrow strip of coast, the extent of which has so far been regulated by the Germans.

You are using up an enormous amount of men and huge quantities of material.

Meanwhile the Robot-planes, flying low, scatter over London and Southern England explosives, the power and incendiary efficiency of which are without precedent. They spread death and destruction in the towns and harbors, which should be sending you much needed supplies.

The back of the leaflets is made up of quotes from different foreign newspapers. Some of the text is:

DAILY TELEGRAPH:  An incredible stream of German pilotless bombers is dropping a rain of explosives over Southern England. There is widespread destruction in many places.

EXCHANGE TELEGRAPH: Pauseless attacks with the new German weapon. The South coast has been shrouded for days in light and fire.

STOCKHOLM TIDNINGEN: The London population is living in a ghostly nightmare. The thunder of explosives has been heard without interuptions during five days. Eight story buildings are reduced to powder. No shelter affords protection against the terrific effects of the new weapon. ...We are living in the very heart of terror.

One of the codes used on these leaflets is "AW," which indicates that the leaflets were dropped on the invasion forces at Normandy. Examples are AW43 "The deadliest form of attack," and AW44 "Soldiers of the Invasion Army!" Both of these leaflets mention the pounding that London is taking under the V1.

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AW 44

German aircraft dropped AW 44 over Allied troops of the invasion force near Caen, France in July 1944. AW leaflets were printed by the Germans for use against Allied troops and French civilians around Normandy. The text of this leaflet is:

Soldiers of the Invasion Army!

Do you know

that since 16th June, the new German weapon of retaliation
which bears the name "V1" is pounding on London day and
night, and above all on the harbours of Southern England?

Do you know

that the number of victims already amounts
to hundreds of thousands?

Is it not to be wondered at that the utmost efforts
are being made in England to draw a veil of silence
over the appalling effects of the "V1."

But what is, in spite of strict censorship,
the English press compelled to admit?

In the paper "DAILY MAIL," 24th June,
the air-correspondent Collin Bednall writes;

"It is ridiculous to claim that the German attacks
on Southern England by means of flying bombs
are without military significance.

Another correspondent writes in the same issue;

"No air combat in history has ever been of so desperate
a character as that of the British fighter
planes against the new German weapon."

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AW45 & AW46

Other German leaflets in this same “AW” series were printed in the French language. For instance, all-text leaflet AW45, entitled “Frenchmen of Normandy, reprisals are also done in your name” mentions the new secret V-1 weapon. Leaflet AW46, entitled “Today London was attacked,” discusses constant V-1 attacks on England.

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Another code is "SW" which also indicates that the leaflets were dropped on the invasion forces at Normandy. These leaflets were also probably used in Italy about June 1944. Examples are SW18 which depicts death with a torch over symbols of Berlin and London and the text, "Berlin and now London." Text on the back is:

Hell Dogs over England

For two years Allied bombers tried to wipe out one German city after the other, killing or wounding millions on innocent women and children. In spite of all German warnings and the confession of responsible Anglo-American authorities, that German industries could not be stopped to increase their output steadily, the massacre continued.

Now it’s our turn!

Since midnight June 15th a new German long-range weapon of the most terrible explosive effect is continuously engaged in massive large-scale raids over London and South-East England. We hate this war against the defenseless population, but you have forced this fight upon us.

These raids will be continued until a decisive military goal is reached.

 Statement of an American radio-reporter, broadcasted on June 16th from the U.S.A.

“The new German secret weapon is, there is no doubt about it, the beginning of a new era in war-history of the world.”

The copy illustrated was dropped on Allied troops in Italy on June 1944 by German aircraft.


In 2015, reproductions of several of these V-1 leaflets were offered for sale in Germany starting at the very low price of $1.12 US. Besides SW-18, I see the following leaflets that I show below offered at the same price: AI-077-6-44, AI-078-6-44, and AI-080-7-44. Surely more such items exist, and it is possible they are being copied from this article. The dealer states in his advertisement: Falsch, Fälschung, Reproduktion, Lückenfüller. This item is a FANTASY / Reprint / Forgery / Souvenir item and has NO philatelic value.

I do not see the offered reproduced items so marked. Buyers beware!

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Text on the back of this leaflet is:


But while your divisions are fighting and dying on the coast of
northern France the Germans are striking back at England with their


Large part of London and southern England have already been devastated
or set ablaze. The conflagration can be seen for more than 150 miles. British officials
had to admit that nothing can be done about the monstrous new weapon.


You soldiers know what it means for your forces fighting in France
when behind them their supply bases in England are being systematically smashed up.

Churchill may say it makes no difference to England’s war effort. You know better.
Perhaps you now understand why the Germans are not laying so much stress on the secondary front in Italy.

But this doesn’t mean that YOU are safe.


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The text on the back of this leaflet is: 

Just prick up your ears to this and guess what?

For months politicians have been telling you that the new German secret weapon is just a bluff of propaganda, a mouthful of bombastic talk.

However, since June 16th, your so-called free press has been put under the most rigid censorship.


Because since June 16th plain facts are speaking:


V Number 1, those roaring monsters of the air, are smashing
London and the supply bases in England with dreadful precision.

Regarding V Number 1 the First Lord of the Admiralty Alexander
made it plain that England is facing hard times, that the new German
weapon is the most modern and most deadly form of attack from the air.

You fellows on the Italian front are lucky to be far away from
the hell turned loose over England.

The American Jew Baruch gave orders to "Butcher" Harris to
indiscriminately kill German women and children, our women and children.

is giving the answer

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The text on the back of this leaflet is:


What good are all your planes, warships and tanks against the new German weapon.


Are you still convinced that you are winning?

Your armchair strategists have always claimed that the new dreadful weapon is an invention of German propaganda." But out of a clear sky it struck.

Since June 16th, London and southern England are being continuously blasted day and night by those mysterious flying meteors.

The entire British press was immediately muzzled by rigid censorship. What a nice job your politicians do have now in hiding the truth about the disastrous effect of


But YOU will learn the truth just the same. you will also find out why Germany has just begun to play one of her trump cards.

How about V Number 2 to V Number X

V1Burn001F.jpg (78776 bytes) 


This colorful leaflet has a long propaganda message on the back entitled "NEWS FROM THE CENSORED BRITISH PRESS." There are news reports from three British newspapers and one politician. I will just quote the first news report from the Daily Telegraph.

Daily Telegraph reports:

...that according to the testimony of eye witnesses the effect of the new German weapon surpasses everything hitherto experienced in England. To make things worse, the air raid shelters, up to know considered as absolutely bombproof, no longer offer any protection against this new type of explosive.

...that the First Lord of the Admiralty, Alexander, made it clear that England is facing hard times and that the new German weapon is the most modern and most deadly form of attack from the air."

Most of the German leaflets dropped on Italy are from the "AI" series. This code indicates that the leaflets were used in Italy for Allied Troops during 1944-1945. The meaning of the "AI" is Propaganda Abschnitts Offizer Italian. Most of the "AI" leaflets were printed in Berlin and shipped to the front, other were printed in Verona, Italy. There are numerous examples. AI-077-6-44 shows a hand making the British "V for victory" sign while in the background a giant "V1" stands among the burning ruins of London. Dropped on Allied troops near Rome, Italy, June 1944. AI-078-6-44 is similar, but the hand has now turned "thumbs down" in the Roman death signal, and over the burning city the Germans have placed the word "London." Leaflets AI-079-6-44 and AI-080-6-44 are similar, but in the latter the giant "V1" is now in a burning depiction of the British Isles.

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This leaflet was fired against Allied troops near San Marino, Italy, as they broke through the "Gothic Line" in August 1944. It was disseminated by a small propaganda rocket.

Another series of "AI" leaflets is entitled "Shadow over England." These leaflets have perhaps the most interesting images of all. For instance, AI-090-8-44 depicts five V1s diving on British factories. In all of the leaflets of the series that we depict here the back is all text with articles about the war and the V1 from various British and foreign publications. In the above leaflet there are clippings from the New York Times, the Stockholm Veeka Journal, and the Daily Herald.

V1 Information

The New York Times:

The devastation in London and southern England surpass anything hitherto witnessed. The terrific air pressure causes whole blocks of building to collapse. The giant “Doodle Bugs” raze everything to the ground within a radius of a thousand feet.

The London Correspondent Vekka Journal, Stockholm:

There is a deep change of public sentiment in England and people are uttering their fears about the other German secret weapons that have already been announced.

Daily Herald:

Flying bombs are reported to have already come down in Scotland. This shows that no part of Britain is any longer safe.

Note: I have also seen a copy of this leaflet front with the code number AI-102-9-44 on the back and the message shown on that leaflet (102) further down in this article. Assuming that the second variety is genuine, it might indicate that the German mixed and matched several different front and backs trying to get the best mixture of image and text before actual dissemination.

V1ShadowOverEngland2Fx.jpg (105266 bytes)


AI-091-8-44 depicts four V1s flying overhead in the clouds. This leaflet was dropped on Allied troops near San Marino, Italy, as they broke through the Gothic Line in August 1944. The back is all text with clippings from Yorkshire Post and the magazine Aeroplane.

V1 Information

Yorkshire Post:

One million Londoners have left the city. The evacuation of a further two million women and children from London and southern England is being prepared by the government. Even women employed in war plants are now allowed to leave London in order to have a rest, as many of them have collapsed from fatigue and strain.

Magazine: The Aeroplane:

Even today, after more than two months of persistent bombing, the Allies still have no correct information about the new German secret weapon. The Germans are using bombs of different types filled with explosives of enormous effect, weighing at least two tons each.

V1ShadowOverEngland3Fx.jpg (143421 bytes)


Leaflet AI-092-8-44 shows a close up formation of three V1s flying side by side. This leaflet was dropped on Allied troops near San Marino, Italy, in August 1944. Text on the back of this leaflet is:

V1 Information

Daily Express:

The London telephone system has been wrecked by the bombardment. The few lines still functioning cannot cope with the rush. Telephone mechanics have been brought from Manchester for urgent repair work.

Daily Mail:

The family life of millions of Britishers has again been thoroughly upset, and danger is lurking everywhere at any moment. After 9 weeks of the "Doodle bug" offensive the average Englishman is talking about nothing but robot bombs.

This is another leaflet that suddenly appeared with a different message on the back some 70+ years after the war. It could be the German trying different messages on the V1 leaflets, or it could be modern forgeries being made very well on aged paper. This latest oddity has the text of German leaflet delta.gif (1104 bytes)126/4 44, which normally depicts an American soldier with an undressed British woman and the title: Indeed, an amusing war – for the Americans.

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AI -093-8-44

Another leaflet in the “Shadow over England” series depicts just that. A single V-1 flies over the British Isles and casts a shadow over the nation. This leaflet was dropped on Allied troops near San Marino, Italy in August 1944. The back is all text:

V1 Information

“The New York Times”

The whole of Southern England is one big storehouse. Into this vast area, crammed with troops, munitions and supplies, thousands of the super heavy flying bombs have fallen. They have caused a series of terrible explosions which have devastated the countryside and serious hampered the flow of supplies to the invasion front.

Magazine “Engineering”

The new weapon is a typical product of German inventive genius. The flying bombs are made of steel and they are as good as invulnerable. The pilot of a fighter who should dare to fly near them would take a great personal risk.

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A variation of the above leaflet with a different back?

The same leaflet on what appears to be very thin paper that allows the front to show through has also been seen with a different back. This might be another case of the Germans trying to find the best match of front and back. The Germans prepared another leaflet coded AI-167-11-44 (see below) with the text:

Death from the unknown.

Secret Explosions rocking London.

Nothing can be seen.

Nothing can be heard.

But it's there: V2

This same text appears on the back of a variation of the above leaflet. It bears no code so I suspect this was never actually printed and disseminated during the war. It comes from a collection with many legitimate leaflets so perhaps this was an early German version that they did not approve.

V1ShadowOverEnglandFx.jpg (83223 bytes)


Leaflet AI-094-8-44 depicts a single V-1 falling on two huge smokestacks, obviously a factory complex. The back is all text with clippings from News Review and News Chronicle.

V1 Information

News Review:

Don’t underrate the pilotless planes; they are far more terrible than expected in the first few days. Reliable and level-headed military experts are of the opinion that the German Supreme Command is killing 3 birds with one stone with their new weapon.

1 - A large part of the Allied Air Force must stay in England for defense purposes.

2 - A large part of Allied bombers must engage in costly but rather ineffective raids against the launching ramps.

3 - The Germans can save their bombers for the big continental battles.

News Chronicle:

Churchill’s statement that London most likely would soon become for intensified robot attacks has already resulted in mass evacuations of the battered metropolis.

AI095844F2.jpg (23545 bytes)


The text on the back of this leaflet is:

V1 Information

Magazine "Flight":

We must admire the German technical genius which has again produced an entirely new and formidable weapon.

"Daily Express":

Our fight against the P-Planes (pilotless planes) has now become a major military operation which is tying up at least one hundred thousand men of the air force and a thousand planes.

London correspondent of magazine "South Africa":

It is incomprehensible why these robot attacks continue, and even grow in intensity from week to week, although it was claimed that thousands of tons of explosives had been dropped on the launching ramps of the robot planes. The situation is now such that the people in various parts of London are arguing as to which district has suffered the most. This Poplar is fighting against Putney, Hackney against Hampstead, Camberwell against Camden Town, Wimbledon against Willesden. One thing, however, is experienced by every Londoner: He cannot move along the streets without encountering veritable mountains of broken glass and debris.

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Several of the German leaflets simply showed the phrase "V1" on the front. Apparently the Germans believed that the very sight of such a phrase was enough to terrify the Allies. One such leaflet is coded AI-081-7-44. The "V1" is in red. The title on the back of the leaflet is "FACTS CONCERNING V NUMBER 1." There is a long 5-paragraph propaganda text below the title.

1. No AA barrage and no fighter planes can prevent the gigantic "Doodle Bugs," as the Londoners call them, from coming over. The "Doodle Bugs" travel at a tremendous speed making them invulnerable to attacks.

2. "V Number 1" does not depend on weather, time season, or visibility. It is an "all weather" and "round the clock" weapon of deadly nerve-wrecking regularity. It is robbing Britishers of their sleep, keeping them down in the shelters and away from their work benches and desks.

3. No alarm system in London or elsewhere can sound a warning soon enough. Consequently, alarms exist round the clock. The mysterious dynamite meteors hit unexpectedly, anywhere, anytime. "V Number 1” is a permanent surprise weapon.

4. The starting places of "V Number 1" are safe against enemy attacks. They can be moved quickly from one place to another. Neither an army of technicians nor elaborate ground personnel is required.

5. No operators are lost. "Meteors" have no crew, no nerves are shattered by AA barrages or fighter planes. The "Doodle Bugs" follow their course stubbornly and hit with a ferocious impact grinding everything to dust.


Carl Berger mentions the German V1 PSYOP during WWII in: An Introduction to Wartime leaflets, The American University Special Operations Research Office, Washington D.C., 1959. He says:

During World War II the Germans used the straight informative leaflet with the first or their secret rocket weapon, the V-1. Many earlier German leaflets had suffered from being filled with unconvincing arguments about "capitalist" and "Jewish plots." On this occasion, however, the German leaflet writers recited the facts as they were known. Referring to the V-1 bombardment of England, the leaflets were addressed to British and American troops.

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A British Spitfire about to use the Wing Tip-Over on a V-1
(Photo - Hanger 7 Art)

Of course, the Germans were very wrong in their estimation of the V1. In fact, once Churchill moved his anti-aircraft guns to the coast, a great number were shot down. The Royal Air Force also discovered that by stripping down their Spitfire and Hawker Tempest fighters they could catch the V1. At night, British Mosquitoes joined the fight. There was no need for radar because the flames from the V1 engine could be seen from 10 miles away. The pilots would sometimes fire on the flying bombs, other times use their wing to tip it over, causing the V1 to crash into unpopulated woods and meadows. Between June and mid-August 1944, the handful of Tempests shot down 638 flying bombs. By August 1944, the threat of the V1 was mostly eliminated by the sudden arrival of two electronic aids for anti-aircraft guns, both developed in the USA. The use of radar to aim the anti-aircraft guns, and the proximity fuse. Of the 30,000 V1s manufactured, about 10,000 were fired at England. Of these, about 7000 were "hits" in that they landed somewhere in England. About half, 3876, landed in the Greater London area. An almost equal number were shot down or crashed into tethered barrage balloons. 

V1DeadlyBluffFx.jpg (778384 bytes)


The Germans seldom used humor in their leaflets, but this one is a rare exception. The front shows the phrase "V1" in a red circle, surrounded by four cartoons. One compares Winston Churchill's "V for Victory" sign with "V1," a second shows London journalists keeping mum about the death and destruction, a third depicts civilians being reminded of V weapons when they see a British corporal's V-shaped stripes, and the final one depicts a British Tommy with his hands in the air in the shape of a "V." The message on the back of the leaflet is:


Britain built up an air defense of enormous proportions, sparing neither cost nor exertion in employing the most modern technical means.

With one stroke this whole system of air defense has become worthless with the introduction of flying bomb V-1.

V1 has upset all known methods of aerial warfare. Other equally revolutionary new weapons will follow. They will prove to you that V1


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Leaflet AI-089-8-44 is all text with a bright red "V1" on both the front and back. It was prepared by the Germans to be dropped on the British troops fighting in Italy in August 1944 and hints at the V2 that is to be aimed at England next. The text is:

Do you know the answer to these questions?

1. Are the German "V1" rocket bombs just a "propaganda bluff" of Goebbels?

2. Why are London and southern England being evacuated?

3. Did you government make ample preparation for housing and feeding your families after evacuation?

4. Do you know whether the Midlands and northern England will be spared similar attacks by secret German weapons?

5. What will England look like after the war in view of the tremendous and progressive devastations inflicted by secret new weapons?

Do you know the answer to these questions?

6. Have you got any idea what "V Number 2" will be like?

7. Do you know to what extent the supply bases for the invasion and the armament plants have already been smashed?

8. Is there any official and binding assurance that you and yours are going to get an adequate compensation in case you lose your home, your furniture and your clothing?

9. Are you sure that your family and your home have not already been affected and that your loved ones are out of danger, out of distress and misery?

10. Which M.P. would have the courage to ask these questions in the House and which minister would have the courage to answer them?

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Leaflet Kr-027-7-44 also depicts the “V1” in red, but has a long propaganda message discussing a speech made by the British Prime Minister on 1 November 1943. The “Kr” code is one of the several different ones used by the SS-Standarte Kurt Eggers on their propaganda leaflets. This leaflet was aimed at British and American troops fighting in Italy. Some of the long message is:

Mr. Churchill, Originator of Indiscriminate Bombing, Speaks About V Number 1

Churchill prepared the English people for the fact that this battle might be protracted. The introduction of this weapon by Germany faced England with grave problems. Churchill admitted that there were districts where the damage through explosion was so great that it could not be dealt with by the local organizations.

A Giant Target Indeed!

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delta.gif (1104 bytes)154-/9,44

Another leaflet that uses Churchill as a main theme is coded with a tiny triangle that we usually call “Delta.” We don’t know much about the unit German involved but it is known that the leaflets were dropped on Allied troops in Italy during late 1944. The leaflet depicts Churchill pointing at a clock with the hands pointed at “V1” and “V2” and the text:

Hurry up boys – I am afraid we may be too late!

The back of the leaflet is all text and the entitled “4 Questions.” Some of the text that mentions the vengeance weapons is:

1 Answer: The answer was given by Churchill himself when replying to the question put by a labour delegate as to whether anything was known in England of new German secret weapons. He said: I have knowledge of a lot of horrible things.

A V-2 rocket is prepared for launch in Cuxhaven, Germany. 1944.
It was estimated that a sustained rate of 350 V-2s could be launched per week,
with 100 per day at maximum effort, given sufficient supply of the rockets.

The V2 mobile system proved highly successful and up to 100 missiles a day could be launched by German V-2 forces. Also, due to their ability to stay on the move, V-2 convoys were rarely caught by Allied aircraft. The first V-2 attacks were launched against Paris and London on September 8, 1944. Over the next eight months, a total of 3,172 V-2 were launched at Allied cities including London, Paris, Antwerp, Lille, Norwich, and Liege. Due to the missile’s ballistic trajectory and extreme speed which exceeded three times the speed of sound during descent, there was no existing and effective method for intercepting them. To combat the threat, several experiments were conducted involving radio jamming (the British erroneously though the rockets were radio-controlled) and massing anti-aircraft guns. These ultimately proved fruitless.

V-2 attacks against English and French targets only decreased when Allied troops were able to push back Germans forces and place these cities out of range. The last V-2-related casualties in Britain occurred on March 27, 1945. Accurately placed V-2s could cause extensive damage and over 2,500 were killed and nearly 6,000 wounded by the missile. Despite these casualties, the rocket’s lack of a proximity fuse reduced losses as it frequently buried itself in the target area before detonating which limited the effectiveness of the blast. Unrealized plans for the weapon included development of a submarine-based variant as well as construction of the rocket by the Japanese.

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Leaflet AI-167-11-44 is all text and prepared by the Germans to be dropped on the British troops fighting in Italy in November 1944. The V2 is no longer just a bluff now. This leaflet discusses the rocket weapon in much greater detail:

Death from the unknown.

Secret Explosions rocking London.

Nothing can be seen.

Nothing can be heard.

But it's there:


The back of the leaflet is all text and says:

Churchill in the House on Nov.10, 1944:

Already for weeks England has been subjected to the bombardment of German long-range rocket projectiles. They are filled with approximately the same quantity of high explosives as the flying bombs (V1); however, they have a greater striking power and cause heavier damage in the vicinity of impact.

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V1 - They Don't Lie

Another interesting German leaflet is a 1944 folded piece to the British Army in Italy with text on both the front and back.  The leaflet has no code number. 

The front is entitled "They Don't Lie!"  The leaflet depicts about a dozen stamped and addressed British airmail envelopes that allegedly were taken from captured or dead British soldiers. The back of the leaflet shows excerpts from those letters. Two such examples are: 

Tell all the boys out there to hurry up and finish off Jerry as things are bad back home. Mummy says they get no rest at all and the other night. They had bombs going off every 20 minutes. Who says the war will end soon, I can't see it.  

The only excitement we have are these ruddy flying bombs, and that is the wrong kind of excitement.With the sirens going continuously all day, one is almost afraid to go outside the door. Majority of people are sleeping downstairs, either in their Morrison or Anderson and on made up beds on the floor. Indeed, London is having a Hell of a time. We only hope Jerry hasn't anything more deadly up his sleeve for us.  

Note: The Morrison shelter was an indoor shelter, basically a metal box for people. The idea was that a family could sleep in it and would give them protection if the house collapsed around them. The Anderson shelter is a small homemade bomb shelter that people built in their back yards. The Anderson was a curved piece of corrugated sheet steel with brick ends. It offered no protection from a close bomb hit but it was safer than sleeping in your bedroom where a nearby explosion might cause your home to collapse.


When opened, the inside of the leaflet depicts a red scale with a British bomb on one side and the symbol "V1" on the other. The scale indicates that the V1 is far more dangerous than the bomb. The title of the leaflet is the Biblical, "He who soweth wind...reapeth storm." A long propaganda text with blurbs allegedly from various world newspapers follow. Two examples are: 


London has got the jitters. Day and night hundreds of thousands are rushing the barriers at Waterloo Station, Paddington, and other stations trying to escape from the Chaos. 
Nya Dagligt, Allehanda, Stockholm, 29 July 1944. 

The Germans have still further improved their method of letting off the robot bombs in groups. When such a stream comes roaring along it seems as if the end of the world has arrived. 
New York Times, 25 July 1944.

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The V3 Demon

This uncoded German leaflet attempts to terrify Allied soldiers by implying that the third generation of secret terror weapons will be able to follow an individual. The front bears no text and shows the missile chasing a soldier on a motorcycle. The back depicts four more cartoons concluding with the missile hitting the motorcycle and killing the soldier. Text at the bottom of the back is:

…and what about the next to come?

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Your Near Future? 

Another uncoded German leaflet depicts a giant fist striking an American soldier in front of a burial cross with his family at upper left, Death at upper right, and the text:

Your Near Future?

The back is all text and mentions the vengeance weapon in part:

But your government and military leaders knew better. They knew it was a race against time, Germany’s resistance would stiffen at the border. They know you are going to fight the battle of your life. They told you V1 would be eliminated, and you believed it. But London is still under the devasting fire of V1. How come? Germany has developed new means of action, quite a revolution in warfare. V1 is only the beginning of it. You will soon, too soon for you, find out.

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Lightning News – 12 November 1944

The Germans dropped a newspaper leaflet called Lightning News on Allied troops in Western Europe. It was probably best known for always having a pin-up of a naked woman somewhere on the front page. This November 12 issue has news stories on Japan, the weather, the draft, and general war subjects. The feature story is entitled “Robot planes – an unpleasant weapon,” and mentions the current use of the V1 and the future use of the V2.

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Lightning News – January 1945

This third issue of the Lightning News introduced the V2 missile to America. At the lower right is a picture of a destroyed neighborhood and the test:

The effect of the V2

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Home Telegram – January 1945

German leaflet *415-1-45 is a 4-page Sudstern Organization ("Southern Star") newspaper entitled The Home Telegram. The newspaper features a masthead that depicts the skyline of New York City and the Statue of Liberty. In an article entitled “German V-offensive against London” in issue 4 of January 1945 we see some of the following comments:

A member of the diplomatic Corps who recently arrived in Spain after a stay of many years in England stated how relieved he was not to have to return to London any more. Since the middle of June he had experienced the German V-offensive. Then there had been a short pause, which people had foolishly thought was the end of the bombing. But during the last 80 days the enormous intensification of the bombing through the addition of the terrifying "V-2s" had made life in London absolutely unbearable...

This particular newspaper leaflet is rather rare. I have seen perhaps 4 of them and we know that probably about a dozen were printed. For instance, number 11 with the code number *433-3-45 from March 1945 also comments on the rocket attacks. It says in part:

13 ton rockets pounding London? On March 17, American newspapers for the first time featured reports about the effect of the "V" bomb shelling of London. The British censors had finally passed a number of curtailed reports about the "sudden death from the sky."

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Bomb Burst

One of the strangest leaflets produced by the Germans simply depicts a bomb burst. This issue was dropped November 1944 on Allied troops in Western Europe. The text explains:


High-speed photographs record violent details of explosions. When an ordinary heavy aerial bomb explodes, any amount of damage is done…When Germany’s V1 lands, “Hell breaks loose” – And now try to imagine “V2”…

The back is all text. Some of the message is:

Have you heard the news?

The German Supreme Command announces

“On November 7th 1944 the 2nd Retaliation Weapon ‘V2’ is being directed toward England.”

OF COURSE, no one need worry about it

The Allied press has occupied itself for a long time already with this new “Buzz Bomb” (No 2) and fortunately, according to these reports, this has turned out to be just another bluff just as “Buzz Bomb No 1” was.

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A German fake Shelling Report

I love this leaflet because it close resembles an actual American shelling report. I actually depict several genuine shelling reports in my article on sex propaganda in WWII. Because it was important to report enemy shelling, sexual images and pin-up girls were often placed on the form so that the soldiers would keep them. My old 1973 FM 30-5, Combat Intelligence explains the report:

Information on enemy bombing, shelling, or mortaring activity is initially disseminated by means of a BOMBREP, SHELREP, or MORTREP, as appropriate. Submission is the responsibility of the affected unit.

The form generally required the unit to list the time and type of attack, the number of shells, the size and type of the armaments, direction, the damage, and other technical information. The information on enemy fire and its origin is useful to Intelligence and used by friendly artillery batteries for counter-fire.

In this case, the German have carefully reproduced what appears to be a genuine shelling report coded “E,” but instead of asking for information on enemy fire, it tells the reader to desert when the enemy fires and walk to the German lines where he will be safe. In addition, it mentions “Buzz Bombs” and “Doodlebugs,” so earns its place in this story.


A German Leaflet to Allied Troops

We don't know the code number of this 10-page German booklet to Allied troops so we cannot tell if it was used in Western Europe, Italy, or both. It has several interesting sections: "I want to go home" partly seen above; and about a half-dozen short poems, which the Germans say were written by Allied troops. I add this item to the story only because it does mention the V1 above.


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The Germans also dropped V1 leaflets on the neutral nation of Sweden in late 1944. Peter Bjork has found two of them. The first depicts a map of Great Britain with London struck by a large letter “V” with a “1” directly over it. The leaflet is entitled V1 fortsätter (V1 continues) and features Quotes from the International Press about all the Damage and the high number of victims in the V1-raids on Britain.

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The second Leaflet depicts six letter “Vs” with numbers from 1 to 6. This is a clear threat that more German V weapons are on the drawing boards. The leaflet is entitled V1 + den brittiska propagandan (V1 and the British Propaganda) and features alleged evidence of the British propaganda lies concerning the flying bombs. The Leaflet ends with the “fact” that V1-Rockets actually defeat the Allied “terror bombing” as a military weapon — not as a terror-weapon.

What is V1?

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Researcher Peter Olausson found a 1944 two-fold leaflet printed in Sweden entitled “What is V1?” inside a Bremen-printed Swedish-language booklet entitled ...The Day Shall Come...Europe Replies to the Anti-European Terrorists. The book Contains articles on the terror bombing of Europe, (to be more precise – Germany) and is signed by a Swedish merchant, a French architect, a Bulgarian solicitor, a professor in history in Florence, a Slovakian "higher priest", and finally a German, all anonymous.

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The Day Shall Come...

The leaflet was probably produced by German agents or Swedish pro-Nazi collaborators there. The first page depicts a V1 missile in gray scale. The text is over 1,300 words long and contains numerous grammatical errors. There are statements by various Allied leaders before and after the introduction of the V1 weapon, and then a German justification of the weapon’s use. Since there is much duplication, I will print just four comments each from part one and part two:

What is the V1? (Stockholm 1944)

British and American voices from before 15 June 1944:

Mr. Eden explained during the annual Congress of the Conservative Party in London, 20 May 1943:

“...We know what's best for Germany - not attacks during the night or in daylight, but bomb attacks both day and night, incessantly, continuously, hour after hour.”

Brendan Bracken established on 19 August 1943, in Quebec, that:

“...Our plans are to bomb and with fire and without mercy exterminate and annihilate the people who are responsible for the creation of this war.”

Vice Air Marshal Saundby gave the following statement in December 1943, published by the “Exchange:”

“In the German cities that have been attacked, nearly 25 % of the built-up areas have been laid to waste. The number of destroyed buildings amount to millions. A civilized life as we know it is no longer possible among the ruins of Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Cologne and other cities.”

On 14 March 1944, General Arnold answered the question whether they must limit the bombing to precision bombing, or if “carpet bombing” sometimes was more desirable:

“We can do carpet bombing. That is more effective for breaking down the morale of a people; it creates confusion in the society and is better for the destruction of a city than the destruction of specific targets, which we have tried so far.”

British voices after 15 June 1944:

The “Observer” writes on 18 June 1944:

“This is an utterly imprecise weapon, suitable only for random destruction. The Pope, who made such passionate protests when the historical monuments of Rome were endangered, now has another opportunity to raise his voice.”

The radio station at Daventry, said on 25 June 1944:

“What does the German do? They keep going on with their offensive on the barbaric front of horror and terror. The so called ‘flying bombs’ have no military effect, they cause limited damage only and relatively few human casualties, and thus they terrorize the English people."

English Home Secretary Herbert Morrison explained in an interview in “Neue Zürcher [sic] Zeitung” 27 June 1944:

“I would like to report details, which show how randomly the flying bombs fall - an open abandonment of the usual rules of war, which our people will not forget.”

Candidus of the “Daily Sketch” writes on 26 June 1944:

“The flying bomb is a criminal method of warfare, employed to the uttermost extreme.”

What is the V1?

The V1 is the European population’s weapon of defense against the bombing terror of the British and the Americans. It will give the people of the European states, haunted by the bombing terror, a way to forever free themselves and their descendants from the threats of bombing terror against their lives, health and property…

The V-weapon shall and will break the bombing terror. As such, it is no weapon of terror, but the opposite! RAF and the American bombing squadrons have bombed European cities without mercy, day and night, from high altitudes and with the most modern means of destruction. They have bragged about how they would completely destroy the bombed cities and towns. The V1 on the other hand, is a military weapon. It is employed against military targets, to disrupt enemy communications and destroy plants and centers of important for the war economy or the war organization. Its launching sites as well as its technical construction guarantees military measurable target fire, accurate control of the trajectory and ability to adjust the impact.

As has been witnessed, London has experienced considerable damage on war-important plants and in various neighborhoods, as well as severe disruptions on the overcrowded motorways of Southern England. The same goes for the troop camps; the armories and airbases south of the Thames and will eventually go for the military points of concentration and armories north of the Thames. The German armed forces, well aware of the military effectiveness of the V-weapons, have no interest in reciting the observed results of the V1 employments. They, as well as the entire population in the haunted European areas - thus don't worry when the British propaganda attempt to spread the tale of the impossibility to control the V 1-weapon….

[Printed by] Gernandts Boktryckeri, Stockholm 1944

For those that wonder about the German propaganda books and magazines to Sweden, Rune Carlsson says in Tredje rikets herrar (“Lords of the Third Reich”), Sohlmans, 1945:

A comment by a Nazi working in Stockholm is typical for the atmosphere among the younger Nazi elite. We spoke about the German propaganda in Sweden, and the German official, who came from the circles around Himmler and gave a very sympathetic impression, lamented the poor quality of the German pamphlets spread in Sweden. He said he completely understood that the Swedes didn't like the printed matters. “Oh, there's a few who do,” he added with an ironic smile. “Every week I get a crate or two with propaganda which I'm supposed to distribute, and thanks to that (this was during the winter, when hot water wasn't available daily in Stockholm) the house where I live get an extra day of hot water every now and then. So I'd say those tenants appreciate the German propaganda.”


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Cover and last page of brochure

We cannot be sure who produced this Spanish-language 4-page propaganda brochure. In theory, Spain was neutral, although Dictator Franco owed the Fascists for their military support during the Spanish Civil War. This brochure could have been printed by the Nazis, or Franco’s own people might have printed it. Nazi Germans in Spain could have paid and arranged the printing following instructions from the Reich’s Propaganda Ministry. The cover of the booklet depicts the letter “V” and the number “2.” Text immediately below the symbol is:


Since the 15th of June, except for brief interludes, the great city of London was under increasing fire from the “V-1.” Several weeks ago this bombing was reinforced by the employment of a more efficient explosive weapon: The “V-2.”

The rest of the brochure is devoted to quoting two British books denouncing the Allied policy of mass bombing German cities, then short press and radio quotes praising the efficiency of the new weapon and concluding that British cities deserve the bombardment and retaliation.

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Signal Extra Issue (Spanish Language edition)

Signal was a magazine published by the German Wehrmacht (Armed Forces) from 1940 through 1945. It reached a maximum circulation of 2,500,000 copies per issue and was published fortnightly in a total of 20 to 25 different languages. Based on the layout of Life, Signal utilized a blend of articles and pictures. It was lavishly illustrated, including full-page color plates. In Spain, you could buy Signal for one and a half pesetas, whereas other Spanish periodicals cost about six pesetas. The finder of this Spanish-language issue, Aitor Iriarte, said that it was crudely printed, probably by pro-Nazis after the official German source had “dried up.”

This issue of V1 Extra was thought to be distributed inside every different regular Signal issue number 13/1944. However, we don’t know if the Spanish-language issue of 13/1944 was issued in Spain. The Spanish editions of Signal were printed in France and perhaps the printing facilities fell into Allied hands, or it might have been censored due to the fact that it depicted Franco’s yearly victory parade in Madrid at a time when Franco was not interested in appearing in a German magazine. We think the V1 Extra was independently printed and distributed only in Spain. This “extra” issue is only eight pages and depicts a V1 rocket approaching the firing platform with wings folded. Perhaps because of the war situation the translation of the German front cover caption is very poor Spanish and it literally says:

V1 veers with supporting surface towards departing point.

We know what they were trying to say because on some of the Signal magazines written in other languages the caption is:

V1, with folded wings, approaches the firing platform.

Additionally perfectly written Spanish text on the cover is:

“Signal” presents: The V1 up close; special report by war correspondent Hans Hubmann.

“Signal” offers: A Special interview with the Reich’s Economy Minister Funk; the German answer to plans by others for an international monetary system.

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Photographs on the inside pages of the Spanish Language “Signal” Magazine

Some of the photographs on the inside pages are scenes that we are familiar with. For instance one of the photos depicts V1s in flight, the same vignette as on leaflet AI-092-8-44 above. A second depicts a V1 falling on what appears to be two chimneys, a vignette from leaflet AI-094-8-44 above. A third photo of a V1 in flight was the same as the vignette on leaflet AI-095-8-44 above. It is clear that the Germans got “double duty” out of all these photographs, using them both in leaflets and in the magazine. Pages 4 through 7 of the magazine mention the V1. Pages 4 and 5, “The V1…up close,” explain the process of preparing the rocket, loading in on the ramp launching and firing it. Page 6, "On their way,” explains that the automatic pilot on the V1 is so clever that Anti-aircraft fire and fighters are useless against it. Page 7, “Over their target,” depicts the enlargement of a photograph taken from an English newspaper, purportedly showing a V1 falling on a British factory.

The back cover bears a photo of Albert Speer showing the ascending curve of German weapons production on a graph.

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A German “Postcard” for Spain

This item is not really a postcard because there is no place for an address or a message, but it is on a piece of cardboard and was distributed for free in the streets of Spain in late 1944. The Spaniard that sent this to me said:

During WWII Spain in theory was neutral, but most of the people in the country and the Franco Government favored Germany. From 1941 to 1944 the Spanish Blue Division (Spanish volunteers Division) was deployed to fight on the Eastern Front against the Russians. More than 40.000 Spanish soldiers fought in Russia.

The front of the card shows the Soviet leader Josef Stalin on the phone to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The back of the card shows a V2 with arms and legs strutting down the street. The text on the front of the card is:


My friend Stalin. The V2s are coming; we don't have time. The bombs will destroy England. What we can do?


Don't worry, man. I will reconstruct England later.

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A German Handout for Spain

This propaganda leaflet was distributed on the streets of Spain in 1944 by individuals connected to the German embassy in Madrid. The two-page written message is far too long and convoluted to translate fully, but the title is WHAT WE MUST NOT FORGET. The text is a long explanation of why Germany is using the V-1 against British cities. It points out that the Allies have been heavily bombing civilians in Germany and now it is time for retaliation.


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This German leaflet for Portugal is a single sheet folded once to make four sides. The front depicts the fairly standard German image of a large symbol “V1” striking London. The two inside pages are all text with the heading “The V1 Continues to weigh on England” and comments on the German attacks by various newspapers such as “The Daily Mail” and “The Times.” The back page of the leaflet depicts three photographs of the V1 on its ramp and being fired toward England. The text quotes Winston Churchill and Tom Morrison:

The British Prime Minister and Minister of Interior say…

The leaflet ends with:

The response from Germany: the V1 Continues.

Actually, Tom Morrison was the Minister of Home Security at the time and became known for the air raid shelter named after him, the Table (Morrison) Indoor Shelter. The shelters came in assembly kits, to be bolted together inside the home. The Morrison shelter was designed to withstand the upper floor of a typical two story house undergoing a collapse. Its design enabled the family to sleep under the shelter at night or during raids, and to use it as a dining table in the daytime. 500,000 Morrison shelters had been distributed by the end of 1941. In 1943, 100,000 more were prepared for the expected German V-1 flying bomb attacks.

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This bomb weighs 2000 pounds

Like Spain, Portugal was a neutral country during WWII. However, it was a perfect place for spies to mingle with diplomats, refugees to be moved and interviewed, secret mail to be received from occupied Europe and all of the major powers to practice their propaganda. It is believed that about 100,000 refugees, many of them Jews, were rescued through entering neutral Portugal during the war. The Portuguese had very old ties of friendship with Great Britain, but also had the threat of a Nazi invasion at any time. They walked a very fine line. The British, meanwhile, produced a great number of propaganda postcards and brochures for Portugal, each showing the power and economic strength of the Allies and the impossibility of Germany winning WWII. One of the hundreds I have seen depicts a British airman standing next to a bomb. The Portuguese text says:

This bomb weighs 2000 pounds

In 25 days (June 16, 1941 to July 10, 1941) the R.A.F. dropped the equivalent of 4,000 bombs like this on attacks on military and industrial objectives in Germany.

The Americans often called Lisbon “the Capital of Espionage,” However, the Portuguese secret police maintained a neutral stance towards foreign espionage activity, as long as no one intervened in Portuguese internal policies. German spies attempted to buy information on trans-Atlantic shipping to help their submarines fight the Battle of the Atlantic. The Spanish spy Codenamed Garbo, who passed misinformation to the Germans, hoping it would hasten the end of the Franco regime was recruited by the British as a double agent while in Lisbon. William Colepaugh, an American traitor, was recruited as an agent by the Germans while his ship was in port in Lisbon. The OSS had agents in Portugal watching the movement of money and stolen treasure by the Nazi regime.


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Depuis le 15 juin…

The Germans dropped this leaflet over France in August 1944 to tell the French people of the V1 campaign against the Allies. A bright red arrow with a “1” inside representing the V1 takes its fatal dive toward the ground. This aerial leaflet is in the form of a single-fold 4-page brochure. The text is very long so I will just add that the message says that the Germans have begun to launch the V1 against the Allies in retaliation for bombing the cities of Europe and that the new weapon will give them the final victory. The title on cover is:

Since 2340 of 15 June 1944

For those that do not know military time, 2340 represents 11:40 p.m. The two center pages have fifteen comments on the V-1 from various American and British authorities and newspapers. The back page has a long statement on exactly what the new German super-weapon is and does and is entitled:

What is the V-1?

A German Leaflet to the Italians

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The Storm Nears

The Germans prepared a morale leaflet for their Italian allies using the German vengeance weapons as a theme. There are four different codes from this organization, starting with a slashed zero similar to the Scandinavian letter Ø. The “Ø/I”, “Ø/II”, “Ø/III”, and “Ø/IV” series of German leaflets were prepared by a Propaganda Staffel (Propaganda Detachment) of the Supreme Headquarters of the Sicherungsdienst (SD), the intelligence arm of the German SS. This card is coded Ø/IV 74 – 4/9.44 (Leaflet 74 disseminated on 4 September 1944)

The card is in the Italian language and depicts a fortress guarded by a wall labelled V1 through V9 and machine guns. It is being attacked by caricatures of Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin. Roosevelt wears an American Indian headdress and walks with a crutch. They try to rush forward before the Germans can unleash their secret weapons. The text on the front is:

The Storm Nears

Forward, quick, quick, - before the little doors are opened

The back says in part:

This is what the enemy sees and knows:

He knows of the arrival of our new weapons
He could not destroy their construction
He has not been able to build them before we did
He has no defense
He knows that there is a time limit, and he knows this limit

Workers! Have some patience. Your job here and the job of your brothers in Germany lead to victory. The combined victory of Germany and Italy will compensate you for your labors.

A German Leaflet to the Russians

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Courtesy of O. Vilain, Bunker museum Antwerp - IV2RG

This rare leaflet depicts the “V1” on the front on a rust-colored paper. It bears the German code “Ri51.” The back is all text:

What use is aircraft, naval vessels, tanks, artillery, etc., against the German V1 flying torpedo, flying without crew to England and accurately hitting its target. A large part of London and the south of England are almost destroyed. The glow from the fires can be seen for more than 200 kilometers.

The English newspaper “Daily Mail” reported, “...the effect of these terrifying dynamite meteors is that the most massive buildings fly like a house of cards on the breeze.” Home Secretary Morrison on 29 July 1944 stated in Parliament that the Germans have improved their all-new weapon, and can deploy even other types.

Yes, it's true! Germany is preparing to use even more powerful and terrible weapons in future battles.


This is guaranteed to you by the German front-line soldiers.

A German Leaflet to the Indians (in the British Army)

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Germany was constantly trying to weaken the control the British had over its Indian forces. In fact, they even started a military force of captured Indian troops that is was hoped would fight against the British for India’s freedom. This leaflet was dropped in August of 1944 over the British Eighth Army outside of Florence Italy. In the background London is burning, struck by the incessant V-1 flying bombs. In the foreground, a sweating Winston Churchill is escaping the bombing with a rickety wagon apparently holding India’s wealth.

The text on the back is in Hindi and Urdu. The leaflet title is from a famous anthem of the People of India written by Muhammad Iqbal. It is often rendered during patriotic occasions in India and is used as a marching song at a number of national events including the Indian Armed Forces "Beating the Retreat" ceremony. The text is:


You listen to this famous song of Dr. Iqbal on B.B.C. London Radio daily. There is no doubt that Hindustan is one the most beautiful, richest and bravest nations in the world. But all of this wealth and precious Hindustani blood is being used for the British Empire and the British Government's forceful rule in Hindustan.

Ask Londoners about the destruction caused by Germany’s V1 secret weapon. But Churchill is unfazed because he knows if he has Hindustan under British control, then he can build not one but ten such London cities after the war. That is why he refuses independence to Hindustan. And then on the other side there are patriot Hindustanis who are laying their life down for Hindustani independence. You are offering your life for petty money in other countries for the benefit of other causes. Don't you feel ashamed of this slavery? If you can't fight for Hindustani independence then at least don't fight and die for the British. Think about it, Hindustan is for the Hindustani, not for the British! They are just born to loot India.

If you are wise then think what you should do. Save your life for your country.

German Leaflets to the Netherlands

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The Germans also fired propaganda leaflets against the Netherlands as the Allied armies moved inward. This leaflet was found in early 1945 near a crashed German V1 missile. The text is:


You too were hit by fate hard and without mercy. You have to leave your house and farm due to the developments on the front. It is an urgent necessity, because firstly a civilian population does not belong into a war zone and secondly it is for your own safety. Or do you think it is better to life live in fear day and night, hoping to live to see the next day? A lot, lot worse is it for you to know that it is your fellow countrymen that point their cannons on their own villages and cities. Without mercy the hail of grenades is thrown onto the areas inhabited by the civilian population. What do they care about the lives of their own countrymen? Nothing, absolutely nothing! It was not Germany that let Holland sink so low! England alone and a small clique of paid court speculators and criminal politicians plunged Holland into this misery! These unscrupulous villains that lived off of you money as downright parasites for years, even now do not feel ashamed to lead you to your doom. Just think about the conditions that your fellow countrymen are "blessed" with in the "liberated" areas compared to the quiet time they had during their German occupation. There are only two choices here. Either a friendly Netherlands at Germany's side or the Netherlands drowns in the Bolshevik storm surge, like Italy, France, Belgium, Romania and Bulgaria. Realize the true state and also the necessity of the current situation.

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Vliegende Bommen

The Germans fired leaflets in V1s at the Netherlands in early 1945 warning that once Holland was liberated and occupied by Allied troops they would no longer be able to reach London with their rockets, and they would have to fire their V1s at the Dutch cities.

This leaflet coded SK 496 (German Skorpion West propaganda unit) appears in two versions with just a difference in the font. The text is:

Flying Bombs

The English claim, that flying bombs are still being shot at London in South England.

That is very likely, as long as the occupying forces are still in control of the northern provinces of our country.

Once they are driven from the Netherlands, London should be freed from the danger of the flying bombs.

A freed Netherlands is of utmost importance for a safe London. But...

When the flying bombs cannot be shot as easily anymore at England, where should they fly then? The Germans will certainly not stow them in the attic. They will certainly be aimed at another target! Which target? That is more than obvious!

A safe London - at the expense of a devastated Netherlands! Just think about it.

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The Nijmegen Monument

In memory of the victims of the V1 bombing of 18 February 1945
Old Monument 1945-1949.
If the lord does not build the house, the workmen work in vain.
Unveiling 18 February 2010

The Germans threatened to attack the Netherlands with V1 rockets and they did so. In 2019 I was contacted by Ronald Ruijters whose father survived a V1 attack on the town of Nijmegen on 18 February 1945. His father built a small monument to the victims of the attack and his son has continued the yearly ceremony. He asked me for information and I sent him what I had. In return he sent me a photograph of the monument.>

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Advice to the population…

On the subject of Holland, a document issued by the Kringinspecteur in the liberated areas between 28 October 1944 and 19 January 1945:

Advice to the Population Regarding the Danger of Flying Bombs

Impact of the flying bomb is mainly to be expected when the engine stops. If so, take cover as quickly as possible, preferably in a cellar or public shelter. Stay away from windows, as the immense air pressure flings glass away with force. When no shelter is available, lay down flat on the ground. If you are outside, use every pit, wall, or other opportunity for cover. If possible open windows and doors widely. Taping the windows with cloth reduces the danger of injury through glass shards. Paper has no value as such. Open your mouth, but cover your nose and ears by placing your thumbs in the ears and pushing down the nostrils with your index fingers.


K 637

The regional sector inspector for
Air protection and fire fighting in
Sector I, acting sectors II and III.

A Japanese V1 Leaflet for India

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Heavy industries in England…

This leaflet coded AB.115 was prepared to be disseminated in the Philippines, but mentioned Great Britain, India, and the V1 Rocket. It depicts Indian factories and if you were to only see one side you would think it was for India. At the top of the leaflet German V1 missiles are blasting England, while below Japanese aircraft are bombing factories in India. One Indian worker smacks Prime Minister Churchill as he quickly leaves his workplace. The text is: , which is unknown. The American Office of War Information on Saipan did some AB (Atom Bomb) leaflets for Japan but I have never seen this code on a Japanese leaflet. In addition, it may not be just for Indian troops. The other side of this leaflet seems to be for U.S. troops in the Philippines and depicts American President Roosevelt standing in formal dress and top hat, surrounded by sinking American warships with the Philippine island of Leyte in the background. The text is:


Heavy industries in England are being threatened to be smashed by German V1s

Munition factories in India will be shortly reduced to ashes by the powerful Japanese air units

Fellow countrymen! Keep away from all the military objectives!

The other side of this leaflet is for U.S. and Filipino troops in the Philippines and depicts American President Roosevelt standing in formal dress and top hat, surrounded by sinking American warships with the Philippine island of Leyte in the background. This is a late leaflet, but since it mentions a 4th term, clearly Roosevelt is still alive. The text is: 


For my reelection for the 4th term, I have no time to be thinking of tens of thousands of American youths who have been sacrificed in the battles off Formosa and off the Philippines.

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By Penalty of death…

Another interesting V1 document is a 1945 poster produced by the Germans to warn that anyone picking up any pieces of V1s in German-occupied Holland that crashed before reaching Antwerp would be shot. Apparently the Germans were afraid that the underground could ship pieces of the rocket to England for study. Of course, the British already had a complete V1 sent by the Polish underground. The poster says:


By penalty of death it is forbidden:
To enter the damaged area created by V1 weapons.

By penalty of death it is forbidden:
To appropriate any parts of the V1 found any parts found should immediately be declared to the German Army commander.

Persons acting against these regulations will be executed at once.

Almost a V-Weapon Poster, but not quite

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The Ghosts that I called…

From time to time readers send me items that appear to be V-weapon leaflets or posters. Usually they are right, sometimes not. The above poster shows a Giant “V” so we might think that is for vengeance weapon, but the Germans thoroughly disliked the British “V for Victory” campaign and often used that letter “V” on their own propaganda. They even prepared a propaganda stamp with Viktoria to be used in the occupied nation of Norway. The next clue is the “dumb” iron bomb shown in the images, nothing fancy or high tech. The text is in German and Czechoslovakian which indicates this is an early poster from about the time of Germany´s takeover of Czechoslovakia. At left, Winston Churchill (“WC”) is being bombed by German aircraft. The little man with his stick is probably Emil Hacha (the Czech president), and the three caricatures at the right clearly are meant to be Jews. The text is a quotation of a poem from German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe´s ballad Der Zauberlehrling (“The Wizard´s Apprentice”):

The ghosts that I called, I cannot get rid of them now...

The poster is a lovely historical piece but would seem to have nothing to do with the V1 or V2. The poster apparently was prepared for the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, the majority ethnic-Czech protectorate which Nazi Germany established in the central parts of Bohemia, Moravia and Czech Silesia in what is today the Czech Republic. Czechoslovakia at the time under President Emil Hacha had pursued a pro-German foreign policy. Hacha submitted to Germany's demands and issued a declaration stating that in light of the events he accepted that the fate Czech people would be decided by Germany. Bohemia and Moravia were autonomous Nazi-administered territories which the German government considered part of the Greater German Reich.

The German Scientists

We have mentioned General Dornberger and the V2 rocket briefly in this article. We should take a moment to mention the principal players in the German rocket program in more depth.

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A commemorative postcard autographed by General Walter Dornberger (author's collection)

Walter R. Dornberger was born 6 September 1895 in Giessen Germany. In 1914 he enlisted in the German Army. After the war he returned to the University of Berlin where he received his Masters in Mechanical Engineering. He was then assigned to the German Army Rocket Development program. In 1932 he witnessed the first unsuccessful attempt by Werner von Braun to launch a liquid fuelled rocket from Experimental Station West, 17 miles south of Berlin. In 1934 two A-2 rockets were successfully flown. In 1937 Dornberger and his crew moved to the Peenemunde Test Site on the Baltic Sea. The A-4 rocket was successfully fired there and renamed the V-2. This new terror weapon was a 13 1/2 ton monster with 50,000 pounds of thrust. Dornberger was now a Major General and director of the test site. On 3 May 1945 he was captured by troops of the 44th Infantry Division. A race started to retrieve as many V-2 rockets and staff as possible. Under Operation Paperclip three hundred train loads of V-2s and parts were captured and shipped to the United States as well as 126 of the principal designers. Dornberger was first evacuated with Werner Von Braun and other rocket scientists to Oberjoch. The British held him for two years afterwards. In 1947 Dornberger accepted an invitation to work for the Americans at the Air Development center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Among his many wartime decorations are the Knight’s Cross of the War Merit Cross with Swords.

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A commemorative postcard autographed by Werner von Braun (author's collection)

Werner von Braun was born in the East Prussian town of Wirsitz on 23 March 1912. As a child he was interested in rocketry and built numerous liquid-fuelled rockets with other German scientists and hobbyists. He received his PhD from the University of Berlin in 1934 while an employee of the German Army. In 1934 he fired two A-2 rockets 1 1/2 miles into the air. In 1942 he successfully launched the first V2 rocket. In late 1944 he fired the first operational V2 against England from the outskirts of The Hague, Netherlands. At the end of the World War II he came to the United States to work on the American space effort. Dr. von Braun first directed the technical development of the U.S. Army's ballistic missile program at Redstone Arsenal, and later served as Director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. He became an American citizen on 15 April 1955, "One of the proudest and most significant days of my life," according to von Braun. He went on to be a major designer in the launching on Explorer One, the Mercury program and the Saturn program.

News in Brief

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News In Brief

The Germans produced a propaganda newspaper called News in Brief for the Allied troops fighting in Italy. These newspapers greatly exaggerated the power and effect of the V1. The issue of September 1944 coded AI-104-9-44 was airdropped on the British Eighth Army near Marino and states that:


Lord Halifax, the British Ambassador in Washington, on his return from London stated on 13 August at a press conference that the “Flying Bombs” damage on an average 700 houses an hour in southern England.

The copy of News in Brief coded AI-115-10-44 was dropped over Cesena in October 1944. The front of the newspaper has ten brief articles with the headline:


The back of the leaflet mentions the V1. The 8-paragraph news article says in part:


The "United Press" communicates from Folkestone that more than 50 flying bombs so far have destroyed 5,173 houses in that town.

According to a BBC report, in the town of Hastings alone 6,000 houses have been destroyed by "V1" bombardments.

The "Daily Herald" reports that about 60,000 men are working from 12 to 14 hours a day to clear the debris caused by the flying bombs in London. All branches of the armed forces take part in this work. The newspaper also states that a railway bridge on the south side of the city has been completely wrecked by a flying bomb, and a suburban station has also been literally razed to the ground.

German V1 Postcards

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Damn it! Just in the most sensitive parts!

Notice that this card also depicts the term “V2” as well as “V1.” The card is signed “Hette 44.” The Englishman says:>

Damn it! Just in the most sensitive parts!

The address side reveals that the card was meant to represent a field post card of the fascist armed forces of the North-Italian Repubblicane Sociale Italiana. Its oath is printed in Italian. It says:

I swear to serve and defend the Italian Social Republic, its institutions and laws, its honor and territory, in peace and in war, to the supreme sacrifice. I swear before God and before those who have fallen for the unity, independence, and the country’s future.”

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Hour by hour…

Another postcard shows a shower of letter “Vs” falling on a burning London. The dial of a clock showing five minutes to twelve is printed at left predicting the near end of England. The code number “M/0993” is printed below right on the address side. It is believed that the German Air Force and/or German agents or sympathizers distributed the postcards in Italy in 1944. The Germans used this image in different designs and on perforated stickers. The text is:

Hour by hour
Day by day
Week by week
Bombs on England.
Retaliation for the air terror unleashed against Europe.

Unknown Anti-Fascist Postcard

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This postcard is from a set of 10 Postcards with text in Italian, French and English, all of which bear very strong pornographic attacks on Hitler and Mussolini. The OSS in Rome prepared a set of six similar pornographic leaflets in the German language for Wehrmacht members, but we do not know if this set was produced by the OSS or some civilian agency or group. We do know that it was found in the Vatican City Refugee Center near the end of WWII. The card ridicules Hitler’s claim that the “V” or “Vengeance” weapons will win the war for Germany. The Fuehrer is depicted with his pants down and a winged penis (which we have blurred) is heading for his butt. The text is:

The last secret weapon has changed direction

German V1 posters

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The exact same image as seen on the postcard to Italy appears on this German poster for its own citizens. This would seem to be a morale poster for the Germans to assure them of the coming victory and the retaliatory destruction unleashed on London. There is a code at the bottom left of the poster that would seem to indicate that it was produced by the German propaganda department WPr (Wehrmacht-Propaganda) operating in Northern Italy. The sub-department IV of the WPr was responsible for enemy propaganda. The code number probably means WPr (=Wehrmacht-Propaganda) IV (=sub-department IV) – D (The “D” might represent a sub-section of IV) Nr. 1020 (= No. 1020 = production number) VIII 1944 (= August 1944) – N (the “N” might represent “Nord/North” indicating the area of distribution in Italy).

Hour by hour
Day by day
Week by week
Bombs on England. Retaliation for the bombing murder on Europe.

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Yes, Johnny

This interesting German V1 poster in the Dutch language was sent to me in early 2015. It depicts British Prime Minister Churchill held in a set of clamps that look like a “V.” There is a tag attached to the clamps that say “1,” thus making the pictorial message V1. There is a brief text below the message:

V 1...

Yes, Johnny - and that's just the beginning

German V1 Gummed Labels for Italy

The Germans also prepared small gummed propaganda labels for the Italians that were meant to be stuck on walls and mirrors where the local citizens gathered. They were used to raise the morale of the people and motivate the Italians to remain loyal to their alliance with Germany. At the time of their production, Mussolini had fallen from power, been arrested, then rescued by Adolf Hitler's commando leader Otto Skorzeny. The Germans placed Mussolini in power in a fascist Social Republic of Italy in the German-occupied North. Their propaganda machine now had to convince the Italian people not to sympathize with the Allied "murderers," but instead to trust Mussolini and Germany to lead them to eventual victory.

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Label O II/60

Label O II/60 is bright red and depicts the London Bridge in the burning city. A German soldier is pictured in the foreground pointing at a target. The Italian-language text on the label is, "The new German weapons will hit England with clockwork precision and will cause her breakdown." This label also exists on a mailed envelope.

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Label coded O II/65

The label coded O II/65 is bright red and depicts three V1 flying bombs falling on the London Bridge with the city burning in the background. A German soldier and a question mark are in the foreground. The Italian-language text on the leaflet is, "The "V.1" is repaying the English for their terrorist air attacks. New weapons stand ready to be used.

German Radio Propaganda

William Joyce, the notorious British pro-Nazi collaborator called "Lord Haw-Haw" stated in his 24 June 1944 radio program Germany Calling:

London and southern England have now been under bombardment for more than a week. For nine days, with very little interruption, the V-1 projectiles have been descending on the British capital. May I remind you, the name V-1 has been given to them officially. ‘V’ is the capital letter of the German word ‘Vergeltung,’ which means ‘retaliation,’ and its use to denote the concept of victory must be familiar to nearly all of my listeners. The very term V-1 implies, of course, that Germany has other new weapons which have not as yet been employed against the enemy. That is a fact, and is a fact which even the British Government is beginning to realize.

The emergence of V-1 has provided a surprise for Germany's enemies and I believe they will have several other surprises ‘before the autumn leaves fall,’ if I may borrow a phrase which Mr. Churchill used on a certain occasion. Germany's military policy in this war is based not on slogging and on squandering but upon a scientific economy and application of energy, but this is the kind of policy the details of which must never be disclosed before the right time. It can reasonably be assumed that the battle in the East against the Bolshevik foes of civilization will be hard and fierce and there is every reason to believe that the battle in the West against the capitalist agents of Jewish international finance will attain a climax of violence possibly without precedence. But in the closing rounds of this war it will be seen that Germany has conserved her strength to a degree that will confound her enemies.

Joyce and his family had originally fled to Berlin from Great Britain on 26 August 1939. Two weeks after the outbreak of war he was appointed Editor and speaker for the German transmitters for Europe at Berlin's Charlottenburg. During his heyday Joyce had almost as many listeners as the BBC. Although Joyce was born in the USA, brought up in Ireland and took German nationality, he was charged with treason at the end of the war and sentenced to death. Joyce was executed on 3 January 1946. He was an unrepentant Nazi to the very end. His last public message reported by the BBC was "In death as in life, I defy the Jews who caused this last war, and I defy the powers of darkness they represent."


The Americans and British knew that the German people were banking final victory on their super V-weapons. They therefore attacked them in their leaflets. For the most part they didn’t make a big thing of them; they just casually pointed out how little damage the flying bombs were doing and how the people of the Allied nations were carrying on the fight even with the inconvenience of the occasional falling bomb.

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The Allies retaliated with several leaflets attacking the V-weapon propaganda and telling the German people and military that the V1 was far too little and far too late. For instance, American First Army tactical leaflets CT-8 and CT-12 depict a German loudspeaker saying "V1! V2! V3! V4!" The leaflets are similar except that CT-8 has four illustrations accompanied by four paragraphs of text on the front and CT-12 has just three. Some of the text of CT-8 is:  

To do the impossible is impossible!

To continue a war which is already lost with miracle weapons which do not exist and which will never exist – that is impossible.

The back of leaflet CT-8 is entitled “Instruction – How to save your life,” with instructions on surrender and a notice to Allied soldiers. There are seven paragraphs, ending with the text, "The only safe way home leads through honorable war-captivity." The leaflet ends with the English-language message:

Notice to Allied Soldiers. This soldier surrenders of his own free will. He is to be treated well, according to the provision of the Geneva Convention, and removed to the rear as soon as possible. If wounded, he should be given immediate medical care.

As stated above, the front of leaflet CT-12 has the same text about the vengeance weapons:

To do the impossible is impossible!

To continue a war which is already lost with miracle weapons which do not exist and which will never exist – that is impossible.

The back of the leaflet has a text entitled “Information – Please!” with a message about the insufficient training of the German recruits and their being thrown into the war as “cannon fodder.” Some of the text is:

Is it true that invalids, overage men, men suffering from stomach and eye diseases, and medically unfit men are now being thrown into the front lines to stem – with a carbine or a machinegun – the onslaught of tanks and heavy artillery?

The U.S. First Army produced approximately 63 different “CT” tactical combat team leaflets. CT-8 and CT-12 were ready for disseminated by artillery fire against German troops in October 1944.

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The PWB leaflets were printed by the American Third Army for German soldiers in Western Europe. PWB-8 was printed in October 1944. The front of this American leaflet depicts Germany being attacked from all sides with the text in part:


The Allied armies stand on Germany’s borders, ready for the final assault. Their air fleets and navies stand ready to give the necessary pressure to this assault. Germany confronts her choice: annihilation or surrender…

The back is all text and mentions the V-weapons:


NOT IN ANY SECRET WEAPON – The emplacements of the V-1 are in our hands. Where is the V-2? Evidently only in the imagination of an unscrupulous clique which aims to cheat you into fighting a little longer, so that they may live while you die…

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Another American leaflet, ZG72K, says in part:

Save yourselves and you save Germany!

The collapse in the West. The elimination of Finland and the Balkans with their oil fields, the loss of all Western Europe with its V-weapons sites and the destruction in the East and West of six German armies in the summer of 1944: That means the war has been decided.

Whoever doesn’t believe this need not read further…But he who thinks clearly and is capable of facing facts, must now proceed to draw the consequences.

The invasion of Germany and the wanton sacrifice of entire cities and thousands of soldiers and civilians are altogether indefensible on the part of the German leadership. World History will show that the misery of the last months of the war could have in any event have been avoided.

The back of the leaflet is entitled:


It has two long paragraphs telling of the various disasters that befell Germany in August and September 1944. For instance, under September 1944 it says in part:

Allied armies cross the Belgian border and conquer the V1 and V2 bases.

It then depicts regular calendars for October and November and lets the German reader imagine what disaster will occur next.

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Leaflet Z.G. 98

Leaflet Z.G. 98 mentions the V1 and V2 weapons just briefly. The leaflet is a bright red to catch the eye of the German target soldier. It depicts a map that alleges to be the German plan of attack for Operation “Watch on the Rhine,” the Ardennes Forest attack known to Americans as the “Battle of the Bulge.” The United States first used such maps against the Germans in WWI when it was discovered that the common soldier had no idea of where he was or how the war was going. 23,800,000 of these leaflets were printed and 16,668,032 were dropped over German forces from 4 January to 21 February 1945. The text on the front depicts the plan of the High Command in the West and clearly shows that it was a failure due to the miscalculation of the Allied strength. The same image was used on Z.G. 95 but with a slightly different text on the back. The title of the leaflet is:

This was the Plan

Some of the all-text message on the back that mentions the V-weapons is:

The Last Attempt

Why did the counteroffensive fail?

1. Because [General Field Marshall Karl Rudolf Gert von] Rundstedt did not have enough tanks, not enough airplanes, and not enough artillery to achieve victory.

2. Because he sent his best units into battle alongside poorly trained units.

3. Because the special SS troops failed [German Fifth Tank Army Commander Hasso von] Manteufel. His trusted SS tank commander [Waffen-SS General Joseph] Sepp Dietrich failed.

4. Because the V1 and the V2 weapons missed their targets.

5. Because the Allies were able to put 6,000 aircraft into the skies.

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Leaflet GTC-1 is a two-page Allied folded document entitled "Facts about the ‘V1’ – The new German weapon against England." The message hopes to demoralize the German troops who believed that the V-weapons could still turn the tide of victory in their favor. The front and back pages state the Allies are familiar with the new weapon, and the inside pages open to show a schematic of the V1 along with facts about the speed, weight, and other technical data. Two columns entitled "Details" and "Explanations" give all the facts as known by Allied intelligence. This leaflet was dropped on German troops fighting in Italy in August 1944.

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Leaflet ZG71

American leaflet ZG71 is entitled "The last secret weapon." Part of the on the back text attacks the concept of the secret weapon:

Only a radical means can help you now. Only a revolutionary means or a completely new secret weapon…The answer is clear: make an end to the war!

The front of the leaflet depicts a destroyed blockhouse at the top with the caption:

V2 launching site near Watten in Northern France which was captured by the Allies. V-weapons were no bluff, but they were a miscalculation.

A photo of a battered V1 is at the bottom of the leaflet with the caption:

A V-1 that failed in the take-off. About 25% of the projectiles either deviated from their trail or crashed near the launching point. Altogether 46% were shot down by fighters and anti-aircraft batteries.

The main text in the center of the leaflet is:


More than 340 V-1 launching sites have been captured by the Allied Armies in Northern France, on the Belgian channel coast and in Holland, also numerous rocket launching sites and long-range weapon experimental sites. Careful examination of the captured V-weapons (including new types which had not been used yet) showed a clear picture of their potentialities. A Canadian engineer officer said:

"The V-weapons play the same role in this war as the tank did in the last. They come too late for this war and need development over a period of many years in order to change from a psychological weapon to a real combat instrument. If 25 years from now we should have another war, and if it were possible to make without interference, the preparations which the German leadership had originally intended, then those weapons may well play an important role in the next war."

ZG71 was dropped from 10 October to 9 November 1944. 14,000,000 leaflets were printed and 12,800,000 leaflets were actually dropped.

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Our Very Last Secret Weapon

The concept of the German secret weapon was not only attacked through the normal military organizations, but also through the secret civilian organizations. In WWII the American Office of Strategic Services in Berne, Switzerland, produced clandestine “black” leaflets to be sent into Germany to sap their morale. Here they make fun of the German secret weapon and show a young German boy of about 7 years fully dressed in a NAZI SA uniform in front of a beaming Hitler. The implication is that the V1 is about as dangerous as this young lad. The OSS gave this leaflet the number 104 and it was stamped with that number and filed. The text is:

Our very last secret weapon: born in 1937

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The OKW no Longer Responds

The OSS leaflet coded 170 depicts Goering and Hitler in a shelter as bombs fall overhead. Goering is trying to reach the OberKommando der Wehrmacht (Military Headquarters) but apparently nobody is answering. The text mentions the V1 weapons already made and those on the planning boards, and implies that they will be far too late to change the direction of the war.


The OKW no longer responds. I hear shooting and screaming. Like: Hail Freedom…


V1, V2, V3...V18. The pigs bomb us instead of London

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Empty promises!

Another OSS Berne leaflet numbered 216 depicts a compressor blowing up a balloon. The title is “Empty promises!” The machine is leaking oil and perhaps ready to explode. In the large black balloon is printed “V2,” the German missile super weapon. There is also a smaller sign that says “V3 – in progress.” The machine is labelled, “Propaganda compressor plant patent Goebbels,” and at the bottom “The V1 is already burst.” The message is simple. The V1 was a failure, the V2 will be one, and no matter what Goebbels says in his propaganda broadcasts, the V3 will never be finished.

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Tactical leaflet CPH2 produced by the United States Ninth Army for German soldiers in Northwest Europe in October 1944. The leaflet depicts a tank plough on the front. Some of the text is:

Our tank-plough is no secret weapon. We Americans freely show you our weapons. Our strongly armored tank-ploughs bury many of you alive in your fox holes. Lieutenant Schneps ordered the men of the First and Third detachments (6/343 Infantry Regiment) to let the ploughs pass and then attack the following American infantry. Thus, about 60 defenseless men were covered over while standing in their fox holes.

Your best defense against tank-ploughs:

Apply V-2*

* V-2 means raise both arms to surrender.

Notice that the American leaflet ridicules the whole V program and indicates that its only value is to raise the arms in a “V” to surrender.

American 9th Army tactical leaflet CPH 20 told the Germans that their Ardennes offensive was finished and that the V1s and V2 were no substitute for the air power the Allied used to disrupt the German supply lines. The Allies dropped a pictorial booklet over Norway, Det Frie Norge (Free Norway) in August 1945 that depicted a cutaway drawing of a V1 to show the Norwegians that the Allies knew all about the secret weapon and had ways to counter it.

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American propaganda newspapers Frontpost and  Sternenbanner

The Allies regularly dropped newspapers on German troops. The Frontpost of 8 September 1944 has an article entitled "The Failure of the V1." It explains once again that the secret weapons are too little and too late. By 10 October 1944 the Frontpost was reporting that all the V1 launching sites in France had been destroyed. The American 4-page airdropped propaganda newspaper Sternenbanner (The Star & Stripes) ridiculed the German secret weapon in the issue of 29 June 1994. In an article entitled “The first blows of the new eastern offensive” a small photograph of the V1 in flight was depicted. An American B-29 Super Fortress heavy bomber was depicted next to the tiny V1. The comparison was clear. It was airpower and massive bombing that would win the war, not little gadgets.

The British Evening Standard of 5 April 1944 says about the Sternenbanner:

A newspaper published in London is regularly delivered to Berlin and all the other bombed cities throughout Germany and occupied Europe by British and United States bombers. It is the 4-page Sternenbanner (Stars and Stripes). The bombers drop it on Germany after they have deposited their bombs.

The paper is published in German, Dutch, French and Flemish, and is prepared by a team of experienced journalists and printed on a special lightweight paper.

Britain foots the bill for producing the paper, but it is produced under the auspices of the United States Office of War Information.

The British regularly airdropped the  propaganda newspaper Luftpost on the Germans. Issue number 45 dated 11 September 1944 has an article entitled “The illusion of the miracle weapon destroyed: the end of the V. 1.” The article tells the Germans that the bombing of London has been a failure and surrender is the only option.

The British Rumor Campaign

All during the war the British conducted a rumor campaign against the V-1. Their term for these rumors was “sibs.” The sibs were passed behind the lines in an attempt to demoralize German soldiers and civilians by convincing them that the V1 weapon was a failure and would not bring Great Britain to its knees. Charles Cruickshank mentions one such sib in: The Fourth Arm: Psychological Warfare 1938 – 1945, Davis-Poynter, London, 1977:

Now that the V1 cannot be fired anymore it is being converted as quickly as possible into a one-man fighter plane.

Other such rumors passed by the British included:

40 percent of the V1s blow up on the launching sites, killing the operating crews.

The flying bombs consume as much petrol a day as 100 tanks. 

German prisoners captured in Normandy are bitter about the V1. They say the soldiers need help at the front, not random explosions in Britain.>

15,000 flying bombs were captured intact on the Cherbourg Peninsula. They are being shipped to Italy in order to bomb Munich over the Brenner Pass.

The British know all about the V1 aircraft. They already have a radio curtain around London – the counterpart of the barrage balloon.

Goering promised Hitler that within a week the V1 bombs would have laid London to waste and put the BBC off the air.

These rumors were all either complete fabrications or in some cases may have had a grain of truth. They all point out that the new wonder weapon is not working as promised.

British Information Pamphlets and Brochures

Because of the danger to British lives and property and the possibility of panic among the population, the British government printed a number of pamphlets and brochures on the subject of the V-1. Each one told the people exactly how the flying bomb worked and what its capabilities were. This was done with the idea that the more knowledge the people had about the V-1, the less likely they were to panic and the easier it would be to keep their morale high.

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Report on the Flying Bomb

The brochure Report on the Flying Bomb was printed by the British Information Services in September of 1944. It is a verbatim report of a press conference held 7 September 1944 by Member of Parliament Duncan Sandys. It reviews the V-1 from the first reports reaching London in April 1943 of the German’s new weapon and tells of the counter measures taken by the British government.

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Secrets of the Flying Bomb

A second brochure is entitled Secrets of the Flying Bomb. It was printed by the National Fire Service Benevolent Fund and sold for six pence to raise money for the London V-1 victims.

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German Flying Bombs

A third publication entitled German Flying Bombs was published by the National Association of Spotter’s Clubs to help in the identification of the missiles. There are various silhouettes of flying bombs and other aircraft inside. For instance, one page has four diagrams depicting the Class A flying bomb (early type), Class A flying bomb (later type), Class B flying bomb attached to a Henschel Hs. 293, and the Class B flying bomb carried atop a Junkers Ju. 88.

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Your Air Raid Precautions

Of course, the British prepared many leaflets and hand-outs to tell people what to do in case of a German V1 or bombing raid. This leaflet contains information on what situations people may experience during the Blitz and helpful advice on how they can react.

British Propaganda Radio

Sefton Delmer, Director of Britain's "black" radio operation during WWII broadcast several stories about the inability of the new German wonder-weapon to win the war. Some of this story is told in Black Boomerang, The Viking Press, NY, 1962:

We had discovered from prisoners that the German Army nickname for the V-1 was strangely similar to the name the Londoners had given it. London called it the "Doodle-bug"; the German soldiers called it "Der Dödel."  We therefore also called it Der Dödel [italics] when the Corporal (code-name for the broadcaster) launched into our first attack on the new morale-booster.

His attack took the form of three questions: What has the weapon achieved in its first attack?" What can one realistically expect of it? Does the new weapon provide a solution for our most urgent military problems?

To the first he answered: "We don't know, and we cannot know because our reconnaissance aircraft are unable to reach England. Or if they do reach England they cannot get back." On the second, his comment was that whether the Dodel hit an object that was militarily worthwhile was purely a matter of luck, because owing to the lack of any observation it was impossible to correct the range and direction of this missile, which in any case had a high factor of deviation. And then he got to his third point. "Can the Dödel solve out most urgent military problem? Can it stop the Anglo-American supplies from being delivered across the Channel? The Navy and the Luftwaffe have been unable to do so. Can the Dödel do it?" And again his answer, delivered in the style of a staff officer frankly assessing the military situation was, "No. it cannot."

Later Delmer mentions that he went even further and attacked the V1 as a waste of manpower and fuel. He reminded the Germans that precious fuel was needed by the Luftwaffe and the German armored divisions to drive the invaders into the sea and to protect the homeland. He invented a phrase and recommended that every time a German saw a V1 overhead he should think Da fliegt det Sprit! ("There goes our fuel!"). Delmer invented a story that Albert Speer, the armaments chief had complained that the men and material used on the V1 project were urgently needed to produce fighters and tanks. He was amazed to find out after the war that Speer claimed to have had the very same thoughts.

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Valor - January 1969

The author of this article has been fascinated with the V1 rocket for many years. In January 1969 he wrote an article for Valor Magazine on the subject of a group of young Germans who volunteered to fly the bombs into the Allied ships on D-Day. The article was taken directly from a study of the post-war interrogation of Hanna Reitsch, the German female test pilot who actually flew a manned version of the V-1.

There were many more V1 leaflets, used during the war. This article is intended only to introduce the subject. Germany produced and used the V-weapons as a way to win a war that she was clearly losing. She placed leaflets in some of the flying bombs, and then authorized an entire psychological warfare propaganda leaflet campaign around the threat of the V-weapons in hope that the enemy would be terrorized and demoralized. The Allies retaliated by pointing out that the V-weapons were small, inaccurate, too little, too late, and no match for Allied airpower. History has proved that the Allies were correct in their estimation.

We should also mention that the British “Double-Cross” Committee worked tirelessly using “turned” German double agents to convince the enemy that their V1 flying bombs were falling to the north and west of central London, eventually causing the Germans to change the settings on the missiles so that they fell in farmland instead of the city. Nicolas Booth mentions some of this story in ZigZag, Arcade Publishing, N.Y., 2007:

And so a plan was evolved. The double agents were to be asked to report the dates, times and places were the buzz bombs were supposedly falling…On 19 June, The Double Cross Committee agreed to begin feeding doctored information to the Germans…As a result of the information they received, the Germans had been successfully deceived into thinking the range of their V1 was far greater than it actually was…Greater numbers started falling in the southern suburbs and the hop fields of Kent.

Scot MacDonald mentions this further in Propaganda and Information Warfare in the 21st Century, Contemporary Security Studies, 2007:

During the V1 “Buzz bomb” attacks on London in late June 1944, more than 2,000 anti-aircraft guns were moved to the south coast and one-fifth of the Allies’ air power was diverted to hunt V1s. Disinformation, however, was also used at the suggestion of one of Britain’s top scientists, Dr. R.V. Jones. The Germans were asking agents in England, controlled by the British XX Committee, to report the fall of V1s. If the agents told the truth, it would help the Germans, who were using Tower Bridge as an aiming point. If the agents lied, however, aerial reconnaissance would reveal that they were lying and, therefore, that the British controlled the agents. Furthermore, since the Germans kept track of when they fired each missile, they knew when each impact should be, although they did not know where the missiles impacted. Jones solution was brilliant, if simple. He proposed that the agents report on the missiles that had fallen north of London using the impact times of missiles that had actually fallen south of the capital. Therefore, the Germans would conclude that the flying bombs were falling long and shorten the range by decreasing their flight times. The missiles would then fall in open country south and east of London. The disinformation was sent via the double agents and the V1s started to fall shorter, saving the crucial docks along the Thames and government offices in Westminster. The poorer areas of East London, however, paid a price for the disinformation campaign.

Results of the V-1 Attacks

Over the years I have seen a lot of different statistics for the losses caused by the German V-1 attacks. I am not sure that anyone actually knows the number of lives taken and buildings destroyed. However, George Duncan’s “Lesser Known Facts of WWII” appears to be well researched and states:

The V-1 rocket attack on Britain started on the night of 13 June, 1944 and ended on 29 March 1945. A total of 10,500 missiles were launched and 3,957 were destroyed by Allied anti-aircraft and fighters. 3,531 of the rockets reached England and 2,353 fell on London. The death toll from these missiles was 6,184 killed and another 17,981 were seriously injured.

These statistics only cover the V-1s fired at Britain. There was a second campaign where the more deadly V-2 rockets were fired at London. The reader should also know that there was a whole other campaign where the Germans bombarded Antwerp by V-1. Duncan continues:

The city to suffer most from Hitler's vengeance weapons (the V-1s and V-2s) was the Belgian port of Antwerp. After four years of German occupation the city was now to suffer the agonies that London had endured, only this time much worse. The first V2 rocket struck the city at 9.45am on Friday, 13 October 1944, killing 32 people. On 28 October, a V1 killed 71 persons and destroyed forty homes. On 27 November, a V2 impacted on Teniers Square as an Allied military convoy was passing through. The explosion killed 157 persons including 29 Allied soldiers. The worst disaster of all was on 12 December 1944, when a V2 rocket hit the REX CINEMA in Antwerp killing 492 people, mostly British troops. Another 500 were injured. Over a period of 175 days and nights a total of 106 V1s and 107 V2s hit the city killing 3,752 civilians and 731 Allied soldiers. Some 3,613 properties were destroyed.

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V1 souvenir models

During WWII the Germans fired their V1 rockets at British and American soldiers in Belgium, as well as the citizens of Antwerp, Liege and St. Vith. Wartime records indicate that 12,000 V-1s were launched at Antwerp in hopes of interrupting the flow of Allied supplies to their advancing armies, but only 2,448 got through, with 211 striking military targets. The docks that supplied 80% of the Allies' supplies were never shut down by the Nazi blitz. At the end of the war the Belgian people were searching for means of making a living and feeding their families. They began creating souvenir and commemorative items to sell to Allied soldiers as souvenirs. The model V-1 flying bomb shown above is one of those items. They were allegedly sold in Antwerp starting in the summer of 1945. The models are known with and without markings. Some have 13-10-44 on the left wing and 28-3-45 on the right wing. In some cases the letters “CSB” are on the base and the words “Belgium” and “Antwerp” on the vertical sides of the letter “V,” which could stand for "Victory" or "Vengeance weapon."

More Souvenir Models

In 2021, I received an email from an expert British artist named James Moore. He found a brass model of the V1 in Germany in the collection of a WWII collector, but with no engine or stand. It had turned pink with age as the zinc leeched from the brass. He designed and produced an aluminum stand, and then being so expert with metal, decided he would make another identical V1 in aluminum, but with a brass stand. His health is poor, and the delicate metal work helps him to concentrate and keep his mind off his constant pain. He makes his models using all hand tools except an old hobby bench drill for drilling holes in 6.4 mm metal.

"Battle of the Bulge" Models

In the Movie Battle of the Bulge, the German Panzer leader played by Robert Shaw is shown the German super weapons as he ponders leading the tank attack through the Ardennes Forest.

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The Story of Antwerp X

The defense of the Port of Antwerp against the V-1 was headed by U.S. Army Brigadier General Clare Armstrong. The mission was code-named “Antwerp X.” He led a joint British and American force of 22,000 antiaircraft gunners. His assignment was to defend Antwerp and its docks and to ensure that food, fuel, medicine, and munitions continued to flow to the armies poised to cross the Rhine and invade Germany. By spring 1945 his gunners were destroying 98 of every 100 V-1s fired at Antwerp. This was a major victory for antiaircraft artillery, perhaps their greatest of the war. For those that want to read more about the defense of Antwerp we recommend the Story of Antwerp X.

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V1 on display in Antwerp

Let’s end this article with an interesting anecdote told by Pat Carty in Secret Squadrons of the Eighth, Ian Allen Ltd., London, 1990. He tells of American Technical Sergeant Nick Senter who was on Control Tower duty at Cheddington, one of the British airfields used for bombing missions against Germany. There was nothing in the air at the moment and Senter gradually nodded off, only to be suddenly awakened by the sound of an aircraft approaching. He immediately ran to the outside deck and fired a green flare to give the aircraft clearance to land. He is credited as the first American to give a German V1 Flying Bomb permission to land, which it quickly did near the village of Tring.

Lest we Forget

The reader should have noticed how many of these rockets were fired against Belgium. As a result, the Belgians seem to have great interest in the rockets and leaflets that fell on them during WWII from October 1944 to April 1945. Here is a booklet that lists all the places that were hit by the rockets in WWII. It includes a large fold-out map. The cover depicts a V2 rocket coming down and the text:

Balance Sheet V1 - V2
Because you wouldn't forget.
Price 20 francs

A United Nations Booklet Features the V1

At the end of World War II, a 12-page booklet on the theme of the United Nations San Francisco Conference was created by the American Association for the United Nations that depicted burial crosses on the front with the text, “The dead must not have died in vain,” and on the back a photo of dead soldiers and the text, "That these dead soldiers not have died in Vain." Some of the text in the book is:

There are no longer any hiding places in the world. There are no cities safe from the searching fingers of war. If there are wars in the future, they will he total wars, and death and destruction will rain from the skies on all of us. What then must we do? There is no easy road. The road to peace is a long hard road. America is willing. America, which twice in a quarter century has seen hundreds of thousands of her sons and fathers and brothers killed and maimed, has made up her mind. America is ready to go to work and organize, all the polls show it. 7 out of 10 Americans say they are ready to join an international organization to maintain world peace.

A beginning has been made At Dumbarton Oaks. The United States, Great Britain, Russia, and China agreed on proposals for a world organization. They agreed that an international organization should be formed. They suggested that it be called The United Nations…

Why do we mention this booklet? Because on the inside of the cover the printers used a V1 to show the dangers that threaten all the cities of the world.

In an article titled "In these six days Germany lost the war," in the U.S. Army "restricted" publication, Army Talks of 5 June 1945, two German Generals, Lieutenant General Fritz Bayerlein and General Baron Heinrich von Luttwitz discussed how Germany lost the war. The V weapons were mentioned:

Bayerlein: The V-weapons were technically unsound, strategically a failure, and morally a challenge. They served no military purpose whatever, merely revenge. I never believed in their use.

Luttwitz: The V weapons could have never won the war, even if they had appeared on schedule well before the invasion began. Yes, they are terroristic, but no more than your own indiscriminate bombing of civilians and cities. For example, Allied bombers recently killed 70,000 people in Dresden in half an hour.

A Personal Anecdote

V1USAAlamagordo.jpg (237611 bytes)

A V1 put out for the Garbage Men

It is 1990, and Iraq is kicking up its heels in Kuwait and I am a Master Sergeant temporarily stationed in Texas. I decide to take a Sunday ride over by Alamogordo and as I drive down the highway I see an amazing sight. There is what appears to be a German V1 missile sitting in the desert next to the highway like garbage put out to be picked up by sanitation. I almost drove off the road. I see a building on the top of the hill so I stop by to talk and am told that it is a museum and they are painting the displays and have put the exhibits out in the desert to make room for the painters. Being a practical joker I had a lot of fun with this. I wrote to a number of my European friends that studied and wrote about the V1 flying bomb and told them I found one in the garbage. The phone lines lit up, everyone wanting to know how much it would cost to ship it to England or Belgium. I really got those guys good. So, here is a nice mint V1 just sitting forlornly by the side of the road.

In Memorial

Many of the images in this article are from the collection of my good friend Joseph Nagl. We met for many years at his annual picnic in Purchase, New York, and showed each other what propaganda items we had discovered that year. Joe was a very soft spoken gentleman and in 40 years I never heard him raise his voice. Joe talked me into writing a regular article called “The Aerial Leaflet” for his Jack Knight Collector’s Club Federation back in the 1960s, and later gave me a photocopy binder of his entire collection. He liked to write about his V1 leaflets and wanted me to edit his work and thought if I could see each leaflet he wrote about I could better critique his writing. He won a host of medals at philatelic exhibitions and I recall in 1996 he was awarded a silver medal when he showed 176 pages of V1 material at the American Stamp Dealers show.   Joe passed away on 26 May 2011 and I want to dedicate this article in his memory. He had the finest V1 collection ever assembled. He literally had every leaflet that mentioned the V1 from both sides of WWII, every leaflet that had been carried by the missile (some just one of a kind) and even letters from troops and scientists that worked on the rocket. It was a collection that could never be put together today. The collection was sold by Phila-Live auctions of Germany in February 2012.

The author is always interested in hearing about others. Interested readers are encouraged to write to him at

© Copyright, all rights reserved - 12/19/03