A Spitfire pilot nudging a V-1 off course. 1944-1945

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From Wikipedia: The V-1 guidance system used a simple autopilot to regulate altitude and airspeed, developed by Askania in Berlin.[8] (The RLM at first planned to use a radio-control system with the V-1 for precision attacks, but the government decided to instead use the missile against London.[12]) A weighted pendulum system provided fore-and-aft attitude measurement to control pitch (damped by a gyrocompass, which it also stabilized). Operating power for the gyroscope platform and the flight control actuators was provided by two large spherical compressed air tanks which also pressurized the fuel tank. These air tanks were charged to 150 atm (15,000 kPa) before launch. With the counter determining how far the missile would fly, it was only necessary to launch the V-1 with the ramp pointing in the approximate direction, and the autopilot controlled the flight.

I found the last bit particularly interesting.

An odometer driven by a vane anemometer on the nose determined when the target area had been reached, accurately enough for area bombing. Before launch, the counter was set to a value that would reach zero upon arrival at the target in the prevailing wind conditions. As the missile flew, the airflow turned the propeller, and every 30 rotations of the propeller counted down one number on the counter. This counter triggered the arming of the warhead after about 60 km (37 mi).[13] When the count reached zero, two detonating bolts were fired. Two spoilers on the elevator were released, the linkage between the elevator and servo was jammed and a guillotine device cut off the control hoses to the rudder servo, setting the rudder in neutral. These actions put the V-1 into a steep dive.[14][15] While this was originally intended to be a power dive, in practice the dive caused the fuel flow to cease, which stopped the engine. The sudden silence after the buzzing alerted listeners of the impending impact. The fuel problem was quickly fixed, and when the last V-1s fell, the majority hit under power.

Found this amusing as well.

In a V-1 which landed in March 1945 without detonating between Tilburg and Goirle, Netherlands, several rolled issues of the German wartime propaganda magazine Signal were found inserted into the left wing’s tubular steel spar, used for weight to preset the missile’s static equilibrium before launching.

**TLDR**: The V-1 was guided using a basic autopilot, and the target was set before launch. Once the ticker counted down on the V-1, it knew it was over the target, hoses to the rudder were cut, sending the V-1 into a steep dive. In the earlier V-1’s, this sudden dive would cut fuel to the engine, and the silence would alert people on the ground that the V-1 was about to impact, this was later fixed, and late war V-1’s hit the ground with power. Also the V-1’s would explode on impact, assuming everything went according to plan. V-1’s were not very accurate, instead used to bomb huge targets, like London.

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