During World War II German V1-flying bombs and V2-rockets were launched on cities in England and Belgium. In his book Elke dag angst (Every day fear) historian Pieter Serrien gives a voice to the witnesses of the V-terror.
History of the V-terror in Belgium
The first V1’s fell on Belgian territory during the German occupation in the summer of 1944. It were strayed off V1’s, launched in Northern France against London. Shortly after the beginning of the V2-offensive and the liberation of Belgium in September 1944, the first V1’s and V2’s fell on Belgian territory. The real start of the V-terror in Belgium was the first V2 that fell on Antwerp on October 13 1944. From October 21 also V1’s were launched on the city. In November a new offensive began on Liège and Antwerp. The most deadly V-bombing in the first period happened on November 27, when a V2 hit the busy Teniersplaats in Antwerp. 159 people died, of which 29 allied soldiers.
The most deadly day in the V-history was December 16 1944. On that day the Germans relaunched the V-offensive on Antwerp and Liège. One of the V2’s fell on the Antwerp Cinema Rex, where almost 1000 people were watching a western movie. 567 people died in the most deadly bomb impact in Second World War.
The V-terror on Belgium continued till the end of March 1945. More than 8000 people died in almost 9000 V-impacts.
Since the bombing of Peenemünde in the night of August 17-18 1943 the Germans decided to take the V-weaponproduction underground. In less than a week the tunnel network in the Harz, north of Nordhausen, were selected and transformed into an underground concentration camp. During the rest of the war approximately 64.000 inmates were put to work, of which 26.500 died. Among them were more than 2600 Belgians, of which between 1200 and 1400 died.
- An overview of the impacts of V1 and V2 in Belgium
- The story of the Rex bombing and the list of casualties (dutch)
- Link to Amazon