Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Vergeltungswaffe Eins!


Most well-traveled Hoosiers know there is a WWII German V-1 “buzz bomb” on display on the Putnam County courthouse lawn in Greencastle, Ind.

It’s the real deal, the world’s first real cruise missile, captured by the U.S. Army at the end of the war in Europe and shipped back to the States for study. Frank Durham and the Greencastle Post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars acquired it and it was dedicated as a war memorial on Veterans Day, 1947 with a plaque listing Putnam County soldiers, sailors and airmen who died in WWII.

It’s the only V-1 on display that I knew of, until today.

One of the guys who posts on the World War II Buffs Facebook page pointed out that there is a U.S.-built V-1 replica on display in Milford, Ill., a short distance west of the Indiana-Illinois state line between Danville, Ill. and Watseka, Ill. It’s 105 highway miles northwest of Greencastle.

milford buzz bombThe Milford V-1 replica was created so U.S. pilots could develop a defense against V-1 as well as to be able to study it thoroughly. It’s on display in the village park, thanks to the efforts of Gene Seaman, commander of the Forrest Ballard American Legion Post No. 723.

Officials at Chanute Air Force Base in nearby Rantoul, Ill., offered the Milford Legionnaires their choice of a large bomber or the V-1 replica. The bomber was too big to haul home, so they settled for the V-1.

The GPS coordinates, in case you want to go look at it, are:

N 40° 37.653 W 087° 41.873

The name V-1 is short for Vergeltungswaffe (vengeance weapon) 1.

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