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Were the bombs actually mostly random?



No, they were aimed but it was a matter of trial and error. To get the data about where they'd landed, some had radio transmitters. They sent a message back to armourers in France (I assume some were deliberately non-explosive).

Meanwhile German agents in England were also observing the success or failure of the V2s, and in particular where they'd landed.

However, in an effort to deceive the Germans, the British started reporting the correct time of successful attacks, while mentioning an incorrect location.

Moreover, a double agent called Eddie Chapman also fed false information back to the Germans.

As a result, the aimers never really got a grip on ranging accurately. The bombs started landing to the south east of London.

There's considerably more detail about this in Most Secret War by R V Jones, who was involved in all sorts of ruses to confuse the enemy. Well worth a read.

Eddie Chapman (Agent ZigZag) was played by Christopher Plummer in the film Triple Cross. It seems to be on YouTube.


does that book discuss whether / how the misinformation was used to select the south east? i suspect that was a poorer area of london and i vaguely remember some kind of scandal about the relative suffering of various parts of london and class, etc. so i wonder to what extent the south east was chosen (by the british) as a target?


Without asking the folks aiming them we can never be sure, but the results of the survey of South London detonations mentioned in the article was shockingly close to the Poisson distribution. So it seems likely.


They were aimed, but the precision was so low that the distribution ended up being random.




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