Walter Dornberger

Walter Dornberger

Walter Dornberger was born in Giessen, Germany on 6th September, 1895. He joined the German Army in 1914 and during the First World War was captured by the French Army and was held as a prisoner-of-war until 1919.

Dornberger remained in the army and in 1925 was sent to the Charlottenberg Institute of Technology to study ballistics. While at Charlottenberg he met a young student, Wernher von Braun, and fellow member of the German Society for Space Travel.

In 1932 Dornberger was placed in charge of the solid-fuel rocket research and development in the Ordnance Department of the German Army. Dornberger recruited Wernher von Braun and in 1934 they successfully built two rockets that rose vertically for more the than 2.4 kilometres (1.5 miles).

In 1937 Dornberger was appointed military commander of rocket research station at Peenemunde. Braun became technical director of the establishment and he began to develop the long-range ballistic missile, the A4 (V2 Rocket) and the supersonic anti-aircraft missile Wasserfall.

During the Second World War Dornberger and Braun began working on a new secret weapon, the V2 Rocket. This 45 feet long, liquid-fuelled rocket carried a one ton warhead, and was capable of supersonic speed and could fly at an altitude of over 50 miles. As a result it could not be effectively stopped once launched. He later commented: "This is the first of a new era in transportation, that of space travel. So long as the war lasts, our most urgent task can only be the rapid perfection of the rocket as a weapon. The development of possibilities we cannot yet envisage will be a peacetime task."

Albert Speer told Adolf Hitler: "The A-4 is a measure that can decide the war. And what encouragement to the home front when we attack the English with it. This is the decisive weapon of the war, and what is more it can be produced with relatively small resources. Speer, you must push the A-4 as hard as you can! Whatever labour and materials they need must be supplied instantly. You know I was going to sign the decree for the tank program. But my conclusion now is: Change it around and phase it so that A-4 is put on a par with tank production. But in this project we can use only Germans. God help us if the enemy finds out about this business."

The V2 Rocket was first used in September, 1944. Over 5,000 V-2s were fired on Britain. However, only 1,100 reached their target. These rockets killed 2,724 people and badly injured 6,000. After the D-Day landings, Allied troops were on mainland Europe and they were able to capture the launch sites and by March, 1945, the attacks came to an end.

With the Red Army advancing on the Peenemunde Research Station, Wernher von Braun surrendered to the US Army. Braun and 40 other scientists working on rocket technology were taken to the United States where they worked on the development of nuclear missiles.

Dornberger was arrested by Allied forces and spent two years in England as a prisoner. He emigrated to the United States in 1947 where he worked as an adviser on the development of guided missiles. He later worked for the Bell Aircraft Corporation and on the Air Force-NASA Dyna-Soar project. Walter Dornberger died in Baden-Wurttemburg, West Germany, on 27th June, 1980.

This is the first of a new era in transportation, that of space travel. The development of possibilities we cannot yet envisage will be a peacetime task.

O n June 13, 1942, the armaments chiefs of the three branches of the armed forces, Field Marshal Milch, Admiral Witzell and General Fromm, flew to Peenemunde with me to witness the first firing of a remote-controlled rocket.

Wisps of vapour showed that the fuel tanks were being filled. At the predetermined second, at first with a faltering motion but then with the roar of an unleashed giant, the rocket rose slowly from its pad, seemed to stand upon its jet of flame for the fraction of a second, then vanished with a howl into the low clouds. Wernher von Braun was beaming. For my part, I was thunderstruck at this technical miracle, at its precision and at the way it seemed to abolish the laws of gravity, so that thirteen tons could be hurtled into the air without any mechanical guidance.

Approximately twenty-five feet long, the Wasserfall rocket was capable of carrying approximately six hundred and sixty pounds of explosives along a directional beam up to an altitude of fifty thousand feet.

The A-4 is a measure that can decide the war. God help us if the enemy finds out about this business.

He (Heinrich Himmler) looked to me like an intelligent elementary schoolteacher, certainly not a man of violence ... Under a brow of average height, two grey-blue eyes looked at me, behind glittering pince-nez, with an air of peaceful interrogation. The trimmed moustache below the straight, well-shaped nose traced a dark line on his unhealthy, pale features. The lips were colourless and very thin. Only the conspicuous receding chin surprised me. The skin of his neck was flaccid and wrinkled. With a broadening of his constant set smile, faintly mocking and sometimes contemptuous about the corners of the mouth, two rows of excellent white teeth appeared between the thin lips. His slender, pale, almost girlishly soft hands, covered with veins, lay motionless on the table throughout our conversation....

Himmler possessed the rare gift of attentive listening. Sitting back with legs crossed, he wore throughout the same amiable expression. His questions showed that he unerringly grasped what the technicians told him out of the wealth of their knowledge. The talk turned to war and the important questions in all our minds. He answered calmly and candidly. It was only at rare moments that, sitting with his elbows resting on the arms of the chair, he emphasised his words by tapping the tips of his fingers together. He was a man of quiet unemotional gestures. A man without words.

Walter Robert Dornberger

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Walter Robert Dornberger, (born Sept. 6, 1895, Giessen, Ger.—died June 27, 1980, Baden-Württemberg, W.Ger.), engineer who directed construction of the German V-2 rocket during World War II.

Dornberger enlisted in the German army in 1914 and was commissioned the next year. After being captured by the French, he was released in 1919 and retained in the small army permitted Germany under the terms of the Versailles treaty. He was sent by the army in 1925 to the School of Technology in Charlottenberg there Dornberger specialized in ballistics and earned an M.A. degree in 1930. He was assigned to the development of rocket weapons, a category not prohibited by the Versailles settlement, but had to struggle to obtain recognition for his efforts. In the summer of 1932, however, he was placed in charge of Research Station West at Kummersdorf, a few miles south of Berlin, where, with Wernher von Braun, he began to perfect the rocket engine. In May 1937 the staff was moved to Peenemünde, where the A series of rocket missiles was built the A-4 rocket developed there later became widely known in its military form as the V-2 and was the forerunner of all postwar space vehicles.

After World War II, Dornberger, who had attained the rank of lieutenant general, spent two years in England as a prisoner, then emigrated to the United States in 1947, where he worked as an adviser on guided missiles for the United States Air Force. In 1950 he became a consultant to the Bell Aircraft Corporation and in 1954 wrote V-2, his reminiscences. During his association with Bell, Dornberger participated in the Air Force–NASA project Dyna-Soar, which was eventually transmuted into the space shuttle program. Dornberger retired in 1965.

This article was most recently revised and updated by Amy Tikkanen, Corrections Manager.

Walter Schieber (1896 &ndash 1960) was a chemist who worked in textile manufacturing in prewar Germany. When World War II broke out, he joined the Reich Ministry of Armaments and War Production. He held a variety of official positions, including Chief of Armaments Deliveries, and Head of the Central Office for Generators. He was also a member of the SS, and rose to the rank of SS Brigadefuhrer­ &ndash equivalent to a one star brigadier general in the US Army. He rose within the hierarchy of the Ministry of Armaments to become a deputy of its Minister, Albert Speer, and head of the Armaments Supply Office. In that capacity, he impressed sufficiently to get awarded the War Merit Cross by Hitler in 1943.

As a chemist, Schieber conducted some bizarre and needlessly cruel experiments on prisoners. In one such experiment in Mauthausen concentration camp in 1943, he wanted to find out about the impact of food shortage on slave laborers. So he picked 150 slave laborers, and instead of their usual watery broth, Scheiber gave them an artificial paste which he had personally designed, made up of used clothing. Not surprisingly, the experiment reached the obvious conclusion, that people can&rsquot survive if you feed them used clothes. Of the 150 subjects, 116 died before the experiment ended.

Schieber was also the Armaments Ministry&rsquos official liaison with IG Farben &ndash the chemical conglomerate that produced the poisonous toxins used in the Holocaust. He oversaw the chemical giant&rsquos production of tabun and sarin gasses, working closely with the company&rsquos chief chemist, Otto Ambrose. While working with IG Farben, Schieber was linked to thousands of deaths from numerous chemical experiments on live subjects, upon whom the deadly chemicals were tested.

After the war, Schieber became friends with a US Army brigadier general in the Chemical Corps named Charles Loucks, who was stationed in Heidelburg, where he worked on nerve agents such as sarin gas and tabun. Because Schieber had intimate knowledge of the gasses used by the Nazis during the war, the two hit it off. Nonetheless, Loucks&rsquo friendship with Schieber and other Nazi officials was fishy. So fishy that Loucks was called back to the Pentagon, where he was reprimanded by his superiors for getting too chummy with Nazis.

It did not stop Loucks, however &ndash a repellent figure in his own right, who was drawn to Scheiber not despite his Nazi connections, but precisely because of those connections, particularly because he had been close to SS chief Heinrich Himmler. Luckily for Schieber, while the US Army might have been repelled by him, US intelligence was not. Loucks was given covert funds to hire Schieber to work for the US Army&rsquos Chemical Corps for scientific research purposes. He did that work for 10 years, during which he was instrumental in helping the US develop its own sarin gas capability.

What was fortunate for Schieber was unfortunate for justice. Because he was useful to the US, he was shielded from accountability for his wartime misdeeds, and so was never prosecuted for his war crimes. As a 1947 official memo stated: &ldquoDr. Scheiber&rsquos talents are of so important a nature to the US that they go far to override any consideration of his political background&ldquo. In addition to his work for the Army&rsquos Chemical Corps, Scheiber became a CIA asset for the remainder of his life.

Walter Robert Dornberger

•  "He was a German Army artillery officer whose career spanned World Wars I and II. He was a leader of Germany's V-2 rocket program and other projects at the Peenemünde Army Research Center." - Wikipedia

•  "Walter R. Dornberger head of Wehrmacht rocket development recruited von Braun and led development and deployment of V-2. Post-war worked in US, notably for Bell on the BOMI rocket bomber. He was Wernher von Braun's military superior during the German rocket development program of World War II. He oversaw the effort at Peenemuende to build the V-2, fostering internal communication and successfully advocating the program to officials in the German army. He also assembled the team of highly talented engineers under von Braun's direction and provided the funding and staff organization necessary to complete the technology project. After World War II Dornberger came to the United States and assisted the Department of Defense with the development of ballistic missiles. He also worked for the Bell Aircraft Co. for several years, helping to develop hardware for Project BOMI, a rocket-powered spaceplane." - Encyclopedia Astronautica

•  After World War II "In mid-August 1945, after taking part in Operation Backfire, Dornberger was escorted from Cuxhaven to London for interrogation by the British War Crimes Investigation Unit in connection with the use of slave labor in the production of V-2 rockets he was subsequently transferred and detained for two years at Bridgend in South Wales. Along with other Nazi rocket scientists, Dornberger was released and brought to the United States under the auspices of Operation Paperclip, and worked for the United States Air Force for three years developing guided missiles. From 1950 to 1965 he worked for the Bell Aircraft Corporation, and was a key consultant for the X-20 Dyna-Soar project. Dornberger also developed Bell's Rascal, a nuclear air-to-surface guided missile used by the Strategic Air Command. Following retirement, Dornberger returned to Germany, where he died in 1980 in Baden-Württemberg." - Wikipedia

•  "The German military was searching for a weapon which would not violate the Versailles Treaty of World War I, and at the same time defend Germany. Artillery captain Walter Dornberger was assigned to investigate the feasibility of using rockets. Dornberger went to see the VfR and, being impressed with their enthusiasm, gave them $400 to build a rocket. Wernher von Braun worked through the spring and summer of 1932, only to have the rocket fail when tested in front of the military. However, Dornberger was impressed with von Braun and hired him to lead the military's rocket artillery unit. By 1934 von Braun and Dornberger had a team of 80 engineers building rockets in Kummersdorf, about 60 miles south of Berlin." -

•  "The Germans had tactical nukes in 1943-44. They were working on a larger bomb. Dornberger disclosed to hidden microphones whilst interned after the war at CSDIC Camp 11 in Wales that Hitler intended more for the V-2 than just 2 tons of high explosives." - Unexplained mysteries

•  "Generalleutnant Dornberger stated as below to Generalleutnant Heim that Hitler had publicly apologized for his failure to appreciate the full worth of the 'V 2' weapon:

     Dornberger: The following incident was interesting: When I saw the Führer the last time, which was in May 1943 [sic. in fact July 9, 1944], after I'd shown him a film about us, he was quite taken aback. Formerly the Führer had always turned the V-2 business down 100%. He said: "If only I' d believed in it!" If it really comes to anything, Europe is too small for the war", and all kind of things like that. Then he said: "There are two people in my life whose pardon I must ask. One is Generalfeldmarschall v Brauchitsch, who said at the end of each report he made to me: 'My Führer, think of Peenemünde!', and the other is you, general, for not having believed in you."
     Heim: It's incredible that he admitted it.
     Dornberger: he admitted it in front of Keitel and the others.
     Heim: I believe that really is the only thing he ever admitted in his life." - Documents of Real History

•  Spangengurg says of Dornberger's book titled "V-2" (© 1954, Viking Press): "Good technical information on the V-2, but embarrassingly self-serving." - Spangengurg


In April 1930, Δ] Dornberger was appointed to the Ballistics Council of the German Army (Reichswehr) Weapons Department as Assistant Examiner to secretly develop Β] a military liquid-fuel Ε] rocket suitable for mass-production that would surpass the range of artillery. Ζ] Η] In the spring of 1932, Dornberger, his commander (Captain Ritter von Horstig), and Col. Karl Emil Becker visited the Verein für Raumschiffahrt (VfR)'s leased Raketenflugplatz (English: "Rocket Flight Field") and subsequently issued a contract for a demonstration launch. Β] Γ] On 21 December 1932, Captain Dornberger watched a rocket motor explode at Kummersdorf while Wernher von Braun tried to light it with a flaming gasoline can at the end of a four-meter-long (13 ft) pole. Α] Β] Γ]

In 1933, Waffenamt Prüfwesen (Wa Prüf, English: "Weapons Testing") 1/1, under the Heereswaffenamt (Army Weapons Department), commenced work under the direction of Colonel/Dr. Ing. h. c. Dornberger. Dornberger also took over his last military command on 1 October 1934, a powder-rocket training battery at Königsbrück. Α] In May 1937, Dornberger and his ninety-man organization were transferred from Kummersdorf to Peenemünde. ⎖] In September 1942, Dornberger was given two posts: coordinating the V-1 flying bomb and V-2 rocket development programs and directing active operations. ⎗] The first successful test launch of a V-2 was the third test launch on 3 October 1942. In the early morning of 7 July 1943, Dr. Ernst Steinhoff flew ⎘] von Braun and Major-General Dornberger in his Heinkel He 111 to Hitler's Führerhauptquartier "Wolfsschanze" headquarters and the next day Hitler viewed the film of the successful V-2 test launch (narrated by von Braun) and the scale models of the Watten bunker and launching-troop vehicles: ⎙]

In January 1944, Dornberger was named Senior Artillery Commander 191 and was headquartered at Maisons-Lafitte near Saint Germain, and in December 1944, Dornberger was given complete authority for anti-aircraft rocket development (Flak E Flugabwehrkanonenentwicklung). ⎚] On 12 January 1945 on Dornberger's proposal, Albert Speer replaced the Long-Range Weapons Commission with "Working Staff Dornberger". ⎛] In February 1945, Dornberger and staff relocated his headquarters from Schwedt-an-der-Oder to Bad Sachsa, then on 6 April 1945, from Bad Sachsa to Haus Ingeborg in Oberjoch near Hindelang in the Allgäu mountains of Bavaria. ⎜] ⎝] Before going to the Alps, General Dornberger hid comprehensive V-2 documentation in a mine near Goslar, which were recovered by the 332nd Engineer Regiment on 16 May 1945 by a secret action when Goslar was already occupied by the British Army. ⎞]

On 2 May 1945, Dornberger, von Braun, and five other men departed from Haus Ingeborg and travelled through Gaicht Pass and towards the little Austrian village of Schattwald. They met American soldiers who convoyed the group to the Tyrolean town of Reutte ⎟] for the night. ⎠] At an internment camp after the war, known as "CSDIC Camp 11", the British bugged Dornberger, who in conversation with Generalmajor Gerhard Bassenge (GOC Air Defences, Tunis & Biserta) said that he and Wernher von Braun had realized in late 1944 that things were going wrong and consequently was in touch with the General Electric Corporation through the German Embassy in Portugal, with a view to coming to some arrangement. ⎡]

World War II Database

ww2dbase Walter Dornberger was born in Gießen in central Germany in 1895. He enlisted in the Germany army in 1914 and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in the artillery before becoming captured by United States Marines. He was a prisoner of war between 1918 and 1920 because of multiple escape attempts, he spent a good deal of time in solitary confinement. He earned a master's degree in mechanical engineering in the spring of 1930 from Technische Hochschule Charlottenburg in Berlin, Germany. Shortly after, in Apr 1930, he was appointed to the Ballistics Council of the Weapons Department of the Germany Army to secretly develop a liquid fuel rocket. He was present at the Kummersdorf weapons research center near Berlin in Dec 1932 when a rocket being lit by Wernher von Braun exploded. In Oct 1934, he was given command of a powder rocket training battery at Königsbrück this would be his last military command. In 1935, he received a honorary doctorate degree from the same institution, arranged by Dean of the Faculty of Military Technology Colonel Karl Emil Becker. In May 1937, he was transferred to the Peenemünde Army Research Center on the Baltic Sea coast, where he was to focus on the development of rockets. In Sep 1942, he was given operational responsibility of the V-1 flying bomb and V-2 rocket research programs. On 3 Oct 1942, a V-2 rocket was launched successfully. On 7 Jul 1943, Major General Dornberger, along with Braun, was flown to the Wolfsschanze headquarters to meet with Adolf Hitler, where they would present the German leader a film of the successful Oct 1942 V-2 rocket launch. In Dec 1944, he was given complete control over the development of anti-aircraft rocket development. In Feb 1945, as Soviet troops advanced, he relocated his headquarters from Schwedt-an-der-Oder to Bad Sachsa near Göttingen in central Germany. Around this time, he hid his papers near Bad Sachsa these papers were later found by troops of US 332nd Engineer Regiment. Two months later, he relocated again to Haus Ingeborg in Oberjoch near Hindelang in southern Germany. On 2 May 1945, Dornberger, Braun, and five others departed Haus Ingeborg for Austria after passing through Adolf-Hitler-Pass (now Oberjoch Pass) they ran into American troops and became detained. They were officially listed as under arrest on the following day. He was transferred to London, England, United Kingdom in mid-Aug 1945 and was investigated for the use of slave labor in the production of V-2 rockets, which was against the rules of war. He was released from imprisonment in 1947 and then was brought to the United States as a part of Operation Paperclip, which recruited German talent for American scientific research. Between 1947 and 1950, he worked with the United States Air Force in the development of guided missiles. Between 1950 and 1965, he worked for the Bell Aircraft Corporation, reaching the position of a vice president by the time he departed from the company among the many projects he worked on included the revolutionary GAM-63 Rascal supersonic air-to-surface nuclear missile. After his retirement in 1965, he moved to Mexico for some time before returning to Germany. He passed away in southwestern Germany in 1980.

ww2dbase Sources:
Annie Jacobsen, Operation Paperclip

Last Major Revision: Dec 2014

Walter Dornberger Interactive Map

Walter Dornberger Timeline

6 Sep 1895 Walter Dornberger was born in Gießen, Germany.
1 Oct 1934 Walter Dornberger was given command of a powder rocket training battery at Königsbrück, Germany.
6 Apr 1945 Walter Dornberger moved his headquarters from Bad Sachsa to Haus Ingeborg in Oberjoch in the Allgäu mountains in southern Germany.
2 May 1945 Walter Dornberger departed Haus Ingeborg in Oberjoch in the Allgäu mountains in southern Germany for Austria his group ran into American troops after passing through Adolf-Hitler-Pass (now Oberjoch Pass).
3 May 1945 Walter Dornberger, having already been detained by American troops on the previous day in Austria, was officially listed as under arrest.
27 Jun 1980 Walter Dornberger passed away in Obersasbach, Germany.

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Walter Dornberger

Walter Dornberger (6. syyskuuta 1895 Gießen, Saksa – 27. kesäkuuta 1980 Baden-Württemberg, Saksa) oli Saksan toisen maailmansodan aikaisen V2-ohjuksen kehitystyötä johtanut tykistön upseeri. Vuonna 1943 hänet ylennettiin kenraalimajuriksi.

Dornberger osallistui ensimmäiseen maailmansotaan, oli muun muassa ranskalaisten sotavankina [1] ja luki sodan jälkeen konetekniikan diplomi-insinööriksi (valmistui 1930). Hänelle myönnettiin vuonna 1935 tekniikan kunniatohtorin arvo. Vuonna 1930 Dornberger määrättiin tutkimaan sotilaskäyttöön ja massatuotantoon sopivan nestekäyttöisen raketin kehittämistä tykistöön. Keväällä 1932 Dornberger vieraili Saksan avaruuslentoyhdistyksen VfR:n rakettien lennätyspaikalla Raketenflugplatzissa. Saman vuoden joulukuussa yhdistyksen Dornbergerille lupaama rakettikoe epäonnistui, mutta Dornberger uskoi rakettitutkijoiden tulevaisuudessa onnistuvan kokeissaan. Vuonna 1933 VfR:n toiminta lakkasi, ja monet sen jäsenet kuten Wernher von Braun jatkoivat toimintaansa armeijan rakettitutkimuskeskuksessa Kummersdorfissa. Vuonna 1937 tutkimuspaikka siirrettiin Itämeren rannalle Peenemündeen. Syksyllä 1942 Dornberger koordinoi lentävän pommin V1:n ja ohjusraketti V2:n tuotantoa.

Maaliskuussa 1945 Dornberger, von Braun ja viisi muuta johtavaa saksalaista rakettimiestä pyöräilivät saksalaisten puolelta amerikkalaisten luokse. Tämän jälkeen Dornberger joutui Isossa-Britanniassa pariksi vuodeksi vankilaan, koska hänen johtamansa V-aseita valmistavat tehtaat olivat käyttäneet orjatyövoimaa. Dornberger joutui Yhdysvaltain armeijan Operaatio Paperclipin mukana Yhdysvaltain ilmavoimien töihin. Vuodesta 1950 vuoteen 1965 hän työskenteli Bell Aircraft Corporationilla konsultoiden muun muassa X-20 Dyna-Soarin suunnittelua. Eläkkelle jäätyään hän muutti takaisin Saksaan.

Walter Robert Dornberger (1895 - 1980)

Dr. Walter Robert Dornberger is born September 6, 1895 in Gießen, Germany.

He is a German Army artillery officer whose career spanned World War I and World War II. He is a leader of Nazi Germany's V-2 rocket program and other projects at the Peenemünde Army Research Center.

Along with some other German rocket scientists, Dornberger was released and brought to the United States under the auspices of Operation Paperclip, and worked for the United States Air Force for three years, developing guided missiles. From 1950 to 1965 he worked for the Bell Aircraft Corporation where he worked on several projects, rising to the post of Vice-President. He played a major role in the creation of the North American X-15 aircraft and was a key consultant for the Boeing X-20 Dyna-Soar project. He also had a role on the creation of ideas and projects, which, in the end, led to the creation of the Space Shuttle.

Walter Dornberger

Walter Robert Dornberger (n. 6 septembrie 1895 - d. 27 iunie 1980) a fost un ofițer de artilerie al Armatei Germane (general maior), cariera căruia s-a întins pe durata primului și celui de-al doilea război mondial. El a fost conducătorul programului de rachete V-2 al Germaniei și a altor proiecte de la Centrul de Cercetare al Armatei din Peenemünde.

Dornberger s-a născut în Gießen și a fost înrolat în 1914. [1] În octombrie 1918, ca locotenent de artilerie Dornberger a fost capturat de Marina Statelor Unite și a petrecut doi ani într-un lagăr francez de prizonieri de război (cea mai mare parte în arest izolat, din cauza tentativelor repetate de evadare). [1] La sfârșitul anilor 1920, Dornberger a absolvit cu distincții un curs de inginerie la Institutul Tehnic din Berlin, [2] și în primăvara anului 1930, [3] după cinci ani de studii, Dornberger a absolvit cu grad de magistru în știință (en) în inginerie mecanică de la Technische Hochschule Charlottenburg din Berlin. [1] [4] În 1935, Dornberger a primit un doctorat onorific, pe care colonelul Karl Emil Becker i l-a prilejuit ca decan al noii Facultății de Tehnologie Militară a universității TH Berlin. [5]

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