JF Ptak Science Books Post 1551
One of the defensive weapons in the Allies' arsenal during WWII may have been the V-1 and V-2. This sounds horrible to say, and I don't mean this application intentionally, of course--but the production of the V-1 and V-2 was something that could have caused the Nazis the equivalent production of something like thousands (dozens of thousands?) of fighter aircraft--a part of the Luftwaffe that he Allies didn't need to shoot down because they were never built. As horrible as it sounds, the V-1 and V-2 may have been the far greater thing to choose from in the production of multiple evils.
The Vengeance Weapon was a great-ish achievement of the Nazi regime, intended to strike enough fear and destruction in London and other cities and to render them a shambles, an effort that was thought would bring the Brits to their knees. What happened, though, was this: that in all of the raids and bombings at the hands of the V-weapons, much of the attack was lost to going off-course, unable to find their gigantic target. Over time, the V-1 and V-2 terror weapons did kill 9,000 people or so in the U.K. in their raids from 1944 and 1945, wounding 25,000 and destroying 20,000+ houses. Over 11,000 of the V-weapons were fired by the Nazis: more than 9,100 V-1s were fired at Britain (with 2,500+ hitting London), while 1,115 V-2s were launched. They were terrible weapons, and they killed many people--overwhelmingly a civilian population--but they performed nowhere near their strategic intentions.
These totals for the entire campaigns of the V-1 and V-2 rockets are less than those of a single large raid by Bomber Command, sometimes less than one mission, on one night. The massive expense involved in producing the V-1 and V-2 weapons could well have been used to fabricate 5 or 10 or perhaps 25 thousand fighter planes. Fighter planes that could have been used in the war on offensive and defensive procedures. That's 25,000 fighter aircraft that never flew for the Luftwaffe, never terrorized anyone, never flew in defense of German cities, never had to be shot down. (Assuming of course that the Germans would have had the fuel to power them.)
They were terrible weapons--the V-1, in particular, made a very dirty, nasty sound, that was a terrifying experience to hear. When the sound of the engine stopped, the bomb fell. Long, throaty, deathly gurgle,then silence, then explosion. The V-2s came in mostly silently, a masked death, but in so doing also somewhat mollified a significant psychological terror weapon.
Perhaps I am way off base with this, but the V-weapons seem to me to have cost the Nazis far more than they gained. Of course if they had been able to produce an order of magnitude--or more--of the weapon and delivered it more effectively, then perhaps it becomes a different story. It would have been a different story too if the Germans had had any reliable intelligence on the effectiveness of the weapos so that they could have adjusted their flight, and if Ultra had not existed, and so on down that ridiculous rabbit hole of speculation. But my own idea remains that the V-weapons were not as horrific as other things could have been had those resources been allocated differently.