The Loss of Lancaster JA691

About Peenemünde

Early 1935
In 1935 Werner von Braun and Walter Dornberger visit a small Baltic coast island called Usedom. They both agree that this isolated and densely wooded location is ideal for their rocket research centre.


During 1936, under the greatest secrecy, the centre takes shape. Wind tunnels, test stands, power stations and accommodation are all built near the former fishing village of Peenemünde.

June 12th 1943
A photo reconnaissance Mosquito flown by Flt Lt R A Lenton brings back a picture of a V2 rocket lying horizontally on a trailer at Test Stand VII. Unfortunately, the interpretation officer fails to recognise the object for what it is. However, when Dr R V Jones examines the photographs a few days later he correctly identifies the rocket.

Following a Cabinet Defence Committee meeting on the 29th June 1943, Churchill orders, “we must attack it on the heaviest possible scale.”