Walter Dornberger
Overview
 
Major-General Dr Walter Robert Dornberger (6 September 1895 - 27 June 1980) was a German Army
German Army
The German Army is the land component of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Germany. Following the disbanding of the Wehrmacht after World War II, it was re-established in 1955 as the Bundesheer, part of the newly formed West German Bundeswehr along with the Navy and the Air Force...

 artillery
Artillery
Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

 officer
Officer (armed forces)
An officer is a member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority. Commissioned officers derive authority directly from a sovereign power and, as such, hold a commission charging them with the duties and responsibilities of a specific office or position...

 whose career spanned World War
World war
A world war is a war affecting the majority of the world's most powerful and populous nations. World wars span multiple countries on multiple continents, with battles fought in multiple theaters....

s I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. He was a leader of Germany's V-2 rocket program and other projects at the Peenemünde
Peenemünde
The Peenemünde Army Research Center was founded in 1937 as one of five military proving grounds under the Army Weapons Office ....

 Army Research Center.

Dornberger was born in Gießen
Gießen
Gießen, also spelt Giessen is a town in the German federal state of Hesse, capital of both the district of Gießen and the administrative region of Gießen...

 and enlisted in 1914. In October 1918, as an artillery lieutenant Dornberger was captured by US Marines and spent two years in a French prisoner-of-war camp (mostly in solitary confinement because of repeated escape attempts).
Quotations

On August 8, 1944, when Himmler appointed SS General Kammler Commissioner General for the A-4 program, it looked as though the struggle for control had come to an end. I felt like a man who has devoted years of toil and affection to making a superb violin, a masterpiece which needs only tuning, and who then has to look on helplessly while the instrument is grabbed by a tough, unmusical woodman and scraped with a jagged lump of wood.

Encyclopedia
Major-General Dr Walter Robert Dornberger (6 September 1895 - 27 June 1980) was a German Army
German Army
The German Army is the land component of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Germany. Following the disbanding of the Wehrmacht after World War II, it was re-established in 1955 as the Bundesheer, part of the newly formed West German Bundeswehr along with the Navy and the Air Force...

 artillery
Artillery
Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

 officer
Officer (armed forces)
An officer is a member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority. Commissioned officers derive authority directly from a sovereign power and, as such, hold a commission charging them with the duties and responsibilities of a specific office or position...

 whose career spanned World War
World war
A world war is a war affecting the majority of the world's most powerful and populous nations. World wars span multiple countries on multiple continents, with battles fought in multiple theaters....

s I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. He was a leader of Germany's V-2 rocket program and other projects at the Peenemünde
Peenemünde
The Peenemünde Army Research Center was founded in 1937 as one of five military proving grounds under the Army Weapons Office ....

 Army Research Center.

Dornberger was born in Gießen
Gießen
Gießen, also spelt Giessen is a town in the German federal state of Hesse, capital of both the district of Gießen and the administrative region of Gießen...

 and enlisted in 1914. In October 1918, as an artillery lieutenant Dornberger was captured by US Marines and spent two years in a French prisoner-of-war camp (mostly in solitary confinement because of repeated escape attempts). In the late 1920s, Dornberger completed an engineering
Engineering
Engineering is the discipline, art, skill and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize improvements to the lives of...

 course with distinction at the Berlin Technical Institute, and in the Spring of 1930, Dornberger graduated after five years with an MS degree in mechanical engineering
Mechanical engineering
Mechanical engineering is a discipline of engineering that applies the principles of physics and materials science for analysis, design, manufacturing, and maintenance of mechanical systems. It is the branch of engineering that involves the production and usage of heat and mechanical power for the...

 from the Technische Hochschule Charlottenburg
Technical University of Berlin
The Technische Universität Berlin is a research university located in Berlin, Germany. Translating the name into English is discouraged by the university, however paraphrasing as Berlin Institute of Technology is recommended by the university if necessary .The TU Berlin was founded...

in Berlin. In 1935 Dornberger received an honorary doctorate, which Col Karl Emil Becker arranged as Dean of the new Faculty of Military Technology at the TH Berlin.

Rocket Development

In April 1930, Dornberger was appointed to the Ballistics Council of the German Army
Reichswehr
The Reichswehr formed the military organisation of Germany from 1919 until 1935, when it was renamed the Wehrmacht ....

 (Reichswehr
Reichswehr
The Reichswehr formed the military organisation of Germany from 1919 until 1935, when it was renamed the Wehrmacht ....

) Weapons Department as Assistant Examiner to secretly develop a military liquid-fuel rocket suitable for mass-production that would surpass the range of artillery. In the Spring of 1932, Dornberger, his commander (Captain Ritter von Horstig), and Col Karl Emil Becker visited the Verein für Raumschiffahrt
Verein für Raumschiffahrt
The Verein für Raumschiffahrt was a German amateur rocket association prior to World War II that included members outside of Germany...

(VfR)'s leased Raketenflugplatz (English: "Rocket Flight Field") and subsequently issued a contract for a demonstration launch. On 21 December 1932, Captain Dornberger watched a rocket motor explode at Kummersdorf while Wernher von Braun
Wernher von Braun
Wernher Magnus Maximilian, Freiherr von Braun was a German rocket scientist, aerospace engineer, space architect, and one of the leading figures in the development of rocket technology in Nazi Germany during World War II and in the United States after that.A former member of the Nazi party,...

 tried to light it with a flaming gasoline
Gasoline
Gasoline , or petrol , is a toxic, translucent, petroleum-derived liquid that is primarily used as a fuel in internal combustion engines. It consists mostly of organic compounds obtained by the fractional distillation of petroleum, enhanced with a variety of additives. Some gasolines also contain...

 can at the end of a four meter long pole.

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
Königsbrück
Königsbrück is a town in the Bautzen district, in the Free State of Saxony, Germany. It is situated west of Kamenz, and northeast of the Saxon capital Dresden...

. In May 1937, Dornberger and his ninety-man organization were transferred from Kummersdorf
Kummersdorf
Kummersdorf is the name of an estate near Luckenwalde at , around 25km south of Berlin, in the Brandenburg region of Germany. Until 1945 Kummersdorf hosted the weapon office of the German Army which ran a development centre for future weapons as well as an artillery range.In 1929 the Army Weapons...

 to Peenemünde
Peenemünde
The Peenemünde Army Research Center was founded in 1937 as one of five military proving grounds under the Army Weapons Office ....

. In September 1942, Dornberger was given two posts: coordinating the V-1 flying bomb
V-1 flying bomb
The V-1 flying bomb, also known as the Buzz Bomb or Doodlebug, was an early pulse-jet-powered predecessor of the cruise missile....

 and V-2 rocket
V-2 rocket
The V-2 rocket , technical name Aggregat-4 , was a ballistic missile that was developed at the beginning of the Second World War in Germany, specifically targeted at London and later Antwerp. The liquid-propellant rocket was the world's first long-range combat-ballistic missile and first known...

 development programmes 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
Ernst Steinhoff
Ernst August Wilhelm Steinhoff was a rocket scientist and member of the "von Braun rocket group", at Peenemünde . He was among the scientists to surrender and travel to the United States to provide rocketry expertise via Operation Paperclip. He came to the United States on the first boat,...

 flew von Braun and Major-General Dornberger in his Heinkel He-111 to Hitler's Führerhauptquartier "Wolfsschanze
Wolfsschanze
Wolf's Lair is the standard English name for Wolfsschanze, Adolf Hitler's first World War II Eastern Front military headquarters, one of several Führerhauptquartier or FHQs located in various parts of Europe...

" 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
Albert Speer
Albert Speer, born Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer, was a German architect who was, for a part of World War II, Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich. Speer was Adolf Hitler's chief architect before assuming ministerial office...

 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
Bad Sachsa
Bad Sachsa is a town in the district of Osterode, in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is situated in the southern Harz, approx. 15 km south of Braunlage, and 25 km southeast of Osterode am Harz. It is well known for being the town where Berthold Maria Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg and his four...

, then on 6 April 1945, from Bad Sachsa
Bad Sachsa
Bad Sachsa is a town in the district of Osterode, in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is situated in the southern Harz, approx. 15 km south of Braunlage, and 25 km southeast of Osterode am Harz. It is well known for being the town where Berthold Maria Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg and his four...

 to Haus Ingeborg in Oberjoch near Hindelang in the Allgäu mountains of Bavaria.
Before going to the Alps, General Dornberger had hidden his own papers near Bad Sachsa, which were recovered by the 332nd Engineer Regiment.

At an internment
Internment
Internment is the imprisonment or confinement of people, commonly in large groups, without trial. The Oxford English Dictionary gives the meaning as: "The action of 'interning'; confinement within the limits of a country or place." Most modern usage is about individuals, and there is a distinction...

 camp after the war known as "CSDIC Camp 11" the British bugged Dornberger, who in conversation with Generalmajor Bassenge
Bassenge
Bassenge is a Belgian municipality located in the Walloon province of Liège. On January 1, 2006 Bassenge had a total population of 8,335. The total area is 38.17 km² which gives a population density of 218 inhabitants per km²....

 (GOC Air Defences, Tunis & Biserta) said that he and Wernher von Braun
Wernher von Braun
Wernher Magnus Maximilian, Freiherr von Braun was a German rocket scientist, aerospace engineer, space architect, and one of the leading figures in the development of rocket technology in Nazi Germany during World War II and in the United States after that.A former member of the Nazi party,...

 had realised in late 1944 that things were going wrong and consequently was in touch with the General Electric
General Electric
General Electric Company , or GE, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation incorporated in Schenectady, New York and headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut, United States...

 Corporation through the German Embassy in Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

, with a view to coming to some arrangement.

On 2 May 1945, Dornberger, von Braun, and five other men departed from Haus Ingeborg and travelled through Adolf Hitler Pass and towards the little Austrian village of Schattwald. They met American soldiers who convoyed the group to the Tyrolean town of Reutte
Reutte
Reutte is a market town in Tyrol, Austria. It is the administrative center of the Reutte district . Reutte is located on the Lech river, and has a population of 5,738 .- Neighbouring municipalities :...

 for the night.
Other sources place them being arrested by Patton's Third Army on May 3, 1945 near Prague, Czechoslovakia.

Post World War II

In mid-August 1945, after taking part in Operation Backfire
Operation Backfire (WWII)
Operation Backfire was a military scientific operation during and after World War II, which was performed mainly by British staff. It was part of the Allies' scramble to loot as much German technology as they could....

, 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 rocket
V-2 rocket
The V-2 rocket , technical name Aggregat-4 , was a ballistic missile that was developed at the beginning of the Second World War in Germany, specifically targeted at London and later Antwerp. The liquid-propellant rocket was the world's first long-range combat-ballistic missile and first known...

s; 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
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 under the auspices of Operation Paperclip
Operation Paperclip
Operation Paperclip was the Office of Strategic Services program used to recruit the scientists of Nazi Germany for employment by the United States in the aftermath of World War II...

, and worked for the United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 for three years developing guided missile
Guided Missile
Guided Missile is a London based independent record label set up by Paul Kearney in 1994.Guided Missile has always focused on 'the underground', preferring to put out a steady flow of releases and developing the numerous GM events around London and beyond....

s. From 1950 to 1965 he worked for the Bell Aircraft Corporation, and was a key consultant for the X-20 Dyna-Soar
X-20 Dyna-Soar
The X-20 Dyna-Soar was a United States Air Force program to develop a spaceplane that could be used for a variety of military missions, including reconnaissance, bombing, space rescue, satellite maintenance, and sabotage of enemy satellites...

 project. Dornberger also developed Bell's Rascal
GAM-63 RASCAL
The GAM-63 RASCAL is a supersonic Air-to-surface missile that was developed by the Bell Aircraft Company. The RASCAL was the United States Air Force's first nuclear armed standoff missile. The RASCAL was initially designated the ASM-A-2, then re-designated the B-63 in 1951 and finally re-designated...

, a nuclear air-to-surface guided missile used by the Strategic Air Command
Strategic Air Command
The Strategic Air Command was both a Major Command of the United States Air Force and a "specified command" of the United States Department of Defense. SAC was the operational establishment in charge of America's land-based strategic bomber aircraft and land-based intercontinental ballistic...

. Following retirement, Dornberger returned to Germany, where he died in 1980 in Baden-Württemberg
Baden-Württemberg
Baden-Württemberg is one of the 16 states of Germany. Baden-Württemberg is in the southwestern part of the country to the east of the Upper Rhine, and is the third largest in both area and population of Germany's sixteen states, with an area of and 10.7 million inhabitants...

.

See also

  • Arthur Rudolph
    Arthur Rudolph
    Arthur Louis Hugo Rudolph was a German rocket engineer and member of the Nazi party who played a key role in the development of the V-2 rocket. After World War II he was brought to the United States, subsequently becoming a pioneer of the United States space program. He worked for the U.S...

  • German inventors and discoverers
    German inventors and discoverers
    This is a list of German inventors and discoverers. The following list comprises people from Germany or German-speaking Europe, also of people of predominantly German heritage, in alphabetical order of the surname. The main section includes existing articles, indicated by blue links, and possibly...

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK