Peenemunde Housing Estate

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A new housing estate for the scientists, engineers and administrators, along with their families was built, it was called Karlshagen Siedlung (Karlshagen Housing Estate). the new compound had shops, schools, a sports field, it even had it's own social club, the Kameradschaftsheim. It had all the characteristics of a model village, and it was home to more than 3,000 people.

South of the housing estate there was a barracks square for the soldiers stationed at the research center and a camp for foreign workers and also prisoners of war (POWs). Another camp at Trassenheide also held further POW's and conscripted workers, the majority of them from Poland.
Housing Estate - 23 June 1943
Taken by 540 Sqn - 23 June 1943

Eventually, allied intelligence became aware of the importance of Peenemunde, so on the night of August 17-18, 227 bombers of Royal Air Force attacked the site. The objective of Operation “Hydra” was to kill as many German scientists as possible and also to destroy key targets such as the liquid oxygen plant, the power plant, the experimental/development works, and the test stands. The Peenemunde west area was ignored because the allies didn’t know of the v-1 flying bomb development there. The bombing left 732 people dead and much of the Peenemunde undamaged.


Estate showing bomb damage
Taken by 540 Sqn - 30 Sep 1943
Close up of bomb damage

But the vulnerability of Peenemunde was now evident and the remaining field trials of the V-2 were carried out at Bliszna in Poland. Heinrich Himmler persuaded Hitler that production and deployment of the V-2 should henceforth be handled by the SS and a suitable site for mass production was found in the complex of tunnels beneath the Kohnstein mountain near Nordhausen, in Central Germany. this subterranean V-2 factory, in which POWs were forced to work under brutal conditions, became known as the Mittelwerke.


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