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The Origins of Surface-to-Air Guided Missile Technology (Hardback)

German flak rockets and the onset of the Cold War

By Dr James Mills
Imprint: Casemate Publishers
Pages: 240
ISBN: 9781636242774
Published: 15th September 2022



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World War II saw the appearance of numerous revolutionary armaments on both sides of the conflict that would radically change the nature of warfare, from jet aircraft to the ballistic missile and the atomic bomb. The greatest conflagration in history also saw the conception of the first surface-to-air guided missile systems: technology pioneered by German scientists and engineers through an extensive development programme which ran from 1942 to 1945. Although the programme did not achieve its main objective – to introduce a functional weapon system into the Luftwaffe air defence network – German research and development in most aspects of the technology was ahead of comparable research in the United Kingdom and the United States.


The history of the transfer of German SAM technology to the Allies after 1945 has previously been overshadowed by the well-published transfers of the V-1 and V-2 guided missiles. This book presents the first complete history of Germany’s wartime development of surface-to-air missile (SAM) technology, how the Allies acquired this secret research towards the end of World War II in Europe and in the early postwar period, and how they then exploited this knowledge.

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About Dr James Mills

Dr James Mills is a historian who specialises in 20th–century history. He has published a number of articles on the transfer of scientific and technical knowledge from Germany to the Allies after World War II.

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