What would you do ? (12) The Solution

“What would you do ?” used to figure on the cover of a boys’ comic called “Boys’ World”. This was a publication, obviously, aimed at boys, and first appeared on January 26th 1963. There were 89 issues before the comic was merged with Eagle in 1964. The last issue of “Boys’ World” came out on October 3rd 1964.

I used to buy “Boys’ World”, and this was mainly for the front cover which always featured a kind of puzzle. It was called “What would you do ?” and was based on somebody being in what Ned Flanders would call “A dilly of a pickle”. Here’s the situation:

And here is the puzzle:

And as we turn quickly to page two, we find out that:

“There is only one thing the fighter pilot can do. Sweeping down out of his dive he flies alongside the V.I., maintaining the same speed. Then, he gently manoeuvres his wing-tip under the wingtip of the deadly bomb. With a gentle pull on his stick, he turns his plane away, his wing whipping the V.1. over. Its delicate gyro-compass thrown off-course, the bomb hurtles earthward, to explode harmlessly in open countryside.”

So now you know!!

The people who throw around their accusations  about Bomber Command, aiming them chiefly at Bomber Harris, as if he was the Number One in the RAF rather than someone subject to a whole chain of superior officers and politicians, they forget both the V-1 and the V-2, which were pilotless and aimed only in the most general of terms. The V-1s were all aimed at Target 42, London, and more precisely, Tower Bridge. They never hit Tower Bridge or even got particularly close. V-2s were even more random and indiscriminate. In efforts ordered personally by Hitler to blow up the bridge over the Rhine at Remagen, no V-2 got within 900 yards but they did hit Cologne (still German at the time).

The statistics are not very precise but 22,880 V-1s were fired at targets in England (8,892) and Belgium (11,988). Around 4,000 V-2s were launched at targets in England (c 1,400) and Belgium (2,342). The main target in Belgium was the port of Antwerp. Hitler was determined to deny its use to the Allies. Overall,  V-weapons killed approximately 18,000 people in England and Belgium. Nearly all of them were  civilians.

Here’s a V-1 and a Spitfire playing nicely:

And here’s a V2 setting off to annihilate as many civilians as possible in London. It was designed by SS Sturmbannführer Werner von Braun, soon to be an American citizen and certainly not a war criminal responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of slave workers, most of them Russian or East European, particularly Poles. Hopefully though, like the Führer, he loved his dog:


Filed under Aviation, Criminology, History, Humour, military, Science, war crimes

18 responses to “What would you do ? (12) The Solution

  1. The use of the V1 and V2 really was an advancement in technology. Braun as you no doubt know, going on the work in the US space administration programme. The ‘capture’ of many German scientists responsible for the development of weapons being their ‘get out of jail’ ticket.

    • Well, we may have to agree to differ here. For me the V1 and the V2 were just advancements in killing. Hitler would have used them to devastate English cities and then, hopefully, to force the English into signing a peace treaty and then perhaps even fighting on his side against the Russians.
      For me, the scientists were war criminals responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths among the men who built the buildings on Peenemünde and elsewhere across Europe. As for von Braun, we have the pictures of him dressed as an SS Sturmbannführer in the group eagerly surrounding the Führer.
      Overall, space travel was very much an afterthought, a nice hobby after constructing V2s to carry warheads….for both the Germans and the Americans.

  2. These comments of yours give a useful perspective

  3. Pierre Lagacé

    My friend Clarence SImonsen did his homework with this research on the V2…

    Preserving the Past – Table of Contents

    • Thanks for the link, Pierre. I do think that, though, that it’s a bit much to blame the RAF for killing 555 slave workers when pathfinder aircraft marked the wrong building. The people in the dock are the ones who organised and used slave labourers.

    • Thank you very much, indeed. I do value your opinion. With Werner von Braun, Operation Paperclip and so many Luftwaffe aircraft and personnel being kidnapped to the Soviet Union, it has always seemed to me an absolute tragedy that at the end of WW2, the greatest war in history, the combatants were already preparing themselves for WW3. And I include the British in this, as they took a huge number of planes back across the Channel.

      • GP

        They certainly had us believing during the Cold War that Russia would attack. My father didn’t seem to mind. He told me not to worry – to always keep a watchful eye on China. That Russia was smarter than to start WW3.

      • Well done, Dad. Good advice. Russia is a vintage pantomime villain, but China is just a villain. I still think that something will emerge about this Covid germ. People in France had it in the November of 2019 before it theoretically began in February 2020. And the French evidence is apparently scientifically watertight.

      • GP

        I don’t think anyone could convince me that it did NOT come from China.

  4. Chris Waller

    I am absolutely staggered by the numbers of V-weapons that you quote. I had never given any real thought to the matter but had assumed that the numbers of V1s launched against Britain was in the hundreds. The number of V2s is almost beyond belief, yet in all accounts of the Second Word War that I have read the impact of the V2 on Britain seems to warrant relatively little comment. I am assuming that most of the V2s were directed at London.

    • I wish I could remember exactly what Hitler’s plans for V1 and V2 use were. It was something like 10,000 or even 20,000 to be fired weekly at London, but I can’t be more precise than that. He would never have managed to manufacture as many as that but nevertheless, at least we know what his intentions were.
      The V1 was aimed at London, but a huge number missed because German agents were all told that the V1s were falling short into Kent farmland. The people who launched the V1s then added more fuel which guaranteed that what had been accurate missiles then began to sail over the capital into East Anglia.
      With the V2 nobody knew what they were to begin with. Eventually, British scientists worked it all out, but Churchill insisted that Londoners be told that they were gas explosions.

  5. Thank you, Lakshmi, I’m glad you enjoyed it. Hopefully, you are keeping well and away from the pandemic,if such a thing is possible.

  6. Jan

    Churchill’s chief scientific advisor, the vegetarian, tee-total, non-smoking, eugenicist Sir Frederick Lindemann, was adamant that the A2 Rocket was technically impossible and that, after the war, it would be shown to be a “mare’s nest”.

    If you want a more literary take on the V2/A2 weapon’s programme may I recommend Thomas Pynchon’s “Gravity’s Rainbow.”

  7. Eventually, at least one pilot was to see a V2 being launched from the Netherlands, although Wikipedia does make the point that :
    “Cherwell [Lindemann] had strong scientific grounds for doubting the forecasts that were being made of a 70–80 ton rocket with a 10 ton warhead”.[
    I enjoyed most the fact that Churchill decided to pass off the explosions as being problems with the gas supply. It took the people of London a few weeks to realise that that was not the case, although I have never come across any witnesses on the ground who ever saw a V2 coming down.

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