Joint Forces

In 1936, the German army and the Luftwaffe teamed together to form a new military rocket base near the village of Peenemünde, on the northwestern shores of the Baltic Sea 150 miles (241 km) north of Berlin. In 1937, von Braun moved most of his team to the partially completed facility and became the technical director for the army's rocket testing program. He and his team began design on what would become the world's first long-range ballistic missile. The base was completed in 1939.

Von Braun's team conducted many tests on improving rocket guidance systems, which included dropping test vehicles from bombers at 20,000 feet and filming their behavior as they plummeted to the Earth while reaching supersonic speeds.

On October 3, 1942, the Peenemünde team launched the highly anticipated A-4. The 12-ton (11,000 kg) rocket flew 60 miles (96 km) high and 120 miles (192 km) downrange, landing 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from its intended target. The flight was a complete success, and the A-4 became the world's first guided ballistic missile, breaking the world altitude record of 24 miles (40 km) formerly held by the Paris Gun, a ballistic shell designed by the German navy and first used to shell Paris in 1918.

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