A Potent Joy

E.S. Turner

  • Hitler’s Rockets: The Story of the V-2s by Norman Longmate
    Hutchinson, 423 pp, £13.95, May 1985, ISBN 0 09 158820 0

In World War Two the science of antiaircraft gunnery rested on a single, shaky postulate, known as ‘the ack-ack assumption’: namely, that a raider would fly at constant speed, constant height and on a constant course. Only if this rule was obeyed could the gunners arrange for their salvos to rendezvous with the target, which would travel three or four miles during the half-minute or so it took the rounds to reach the required height. A lone raider could ‘jink’ to baffle the predictors, though a massed formation of bombers was most unlikely to do so.

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