Courtesy Reuters

Flying Bombs and Rockets

This Time and Next

THIRTY-FIVE years ago the English Channel had not yet been crossed by air. Now the crossing of the Atlantic by airplanes is a commonplace. One of this war's sensations was the cross-Channel bombardment of England by flying bombs and rockets. If there is another world war, will the transatlantic flight of bomb and rockets become a commonplace also? There is every reason to believe so. The technical problems involved are not so great as those which had to be overcome by the men who invented and perfected the airplane. A few years from now it probably will have become technically possible to bombard the United States from European bases, and vice versa. And the nature of the bombs so carried may be, as we now have had confirmed to us, terrible beyond any previous imagining.

Both British and Americans have a tendency to hide their concern over some unexpected move on the part of an enemy by scoffing at it. The flying bomb, or VI, was at first greeted in Britain as a great joke. Flight, one of the leading British aeronautical journals, commented on June 29, 1944, 16 days after the attack had begun: "One would have to search diligently through the records of warfare to find a more telling case of substituting futility and propaganda for true military measures than the recent employment of the air torpedo." That scoffing attitude was dangerous then. We should be putting ourselves in extreme peril if we persisted in taking the same sort of attitude toward the future development of these and other new weapons.

The fact is that V1 gave the Nazis real and substantial military gains. At a time when the Allies were engaged in the mightiest military undertaking the world had ever known -- the invasion of the Continent -- the British, aided generously and indispensably by the Americans, had to deploy large forces for the direct and indirect protection of London. Several squadrons of fighters had to be drawn away from the

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