National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
V-2 & Meillerwagen Trailer, Dayton, Ohio
(Photos by Phil Broad, Rod Givens, John Kiever & Tracy Dungan)
The NMUSAF (formerly USAFM) acquired (at no cost) the V-2 rocket and Meillerwagen that had been on display at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland for many years. The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center completed the rocket restoration portion ($95,000.00) at their restoration facility in Hutchinson, KS. The Cosmosphere's restoration staff carefully resurrected this piece of history to represent, as accurately as possible, a wartime A-4/V-2 from the 1944-45 period. With the work completed, the rocket was flown in a giant C5A back to the NMUSAF in mid 2002.
The museum restoration
staff tackled the restoration of the
Meiller-trailer, fabricating many missing parts to
match the German field operational version. The
Meillerwagen's tires, and VW Motor for the erector
hydraulics, were obtained from private sources in
the Czech Republic for aproximately $2,000.00. A
private contractor sand blasted it for $3,500.00.
Aproximately $4,000.00 was spent on special steel
that was need for replica parts. The machining of
replica parts, and painting, were done by museum
staff employees. For some reason they chose to
paint the Meillerwagen an incorrect shade of
pea-green, instead of the original color of German
During WWII, the USAF, along with the RAF, were responsible for hunting down the shipments of V-2s heading to the western front. Allied aircraft attacked V-Weapon rail shipments and occasionally V-2 launching sites. Many high-flying USAF bomber crews were witness to the soaring rockets in flight heading towards London and Antwerp. So it is fitting to see this historic piece of equipment on display at the USAFM.
There is some indication
that this rocket was possibly caught in the open
and attacked by Allied tanks while sitting on a
railcar near Bromskirchen, Germany. There were
50-caliber bullet holes and damage to almost every
portion of the rocket. The Cosmosphere restoration
workers found a 50-cal bullet still remaining
inside one of the fuel tanks! While it is true
that this could have been done at anytime
immediately after the war - the fact that all
intact rockets were being rounded up to be sent to
the U.S. for research, tends to point to the story
at Bromskirchen as the likely source of the bullet
holes. The truth may never really be known about
how the rocket was damaged, but it is interesting
to think about.
Another curious detail to consider is the apparent writing by Mittelbau prisoners on the top of the alcohol tank during the rockets construction (see below).
Below are photos of 2001-2002 restoration in Kansas and arrival in Dayton.
(CLICK ON THUMBNAIL TO ENLARGE)