SOME OF THE PRISONERS HELD AT
Dr. Walter Robert Dornberger
RANK: Major General
CAPTURED: Reutte, Germany
DATE: 2nd May 1945
DATE OF BIRTH
6th September 1895
PLACE OF BIRTH: Giessen / Hessen
26th June 1980
PLACE OF DEATH: Obersasbach
OCCUPATION: Regular Soldier
HAIR COLOUR: Grey
EYE COLOUR: Blue Grey
NEXT OF KIN: Alice
Dornberger, Grosskoenigsdorf Bez, Koeln, Marienhoferweg (British Zone)
Offiziers-Stellvertreter: 30 June 1915
Leutnant: 3 July 1915 (without Patent)
Leutnant: 19 December 1915 (Patent 19 December 1915, RDA
later 1 September 1915)
Oberleutnant: 3 July 1925 (RDA 1 April 1925)
Hauptmann: 1 March 1930
Major: 1 November 1935 (RDA 1 October 1935)
Oberstleutnant: 1 June 1938 (RDA 1 October 1938)
Oberst: 1 August 1940
Generalmajor: 1 June 1943
7 August 1914: Entered service as a War Volunteer and later
Fahnenjunker in Fußartillerie-Regiment General-Feldzeugmeister (Brandenburgisches)
3 July 1915: Platoon Leader and Battery Leader in Foot Artillery
24 August 1915-20 September 1915: Detached to the Artillery
27 July 1918: Adjutant of Foot Artillery Battalion 26.
3 October 1918-20 March 1920: French prisoner of war.
26 March 1920: Transferred to Reichswehr Artillery Regiment
4 October 1920-22 December 1920: Detached to the Firing
Course in Jüterborg.
4 December 1920: Transferred to the Observation Battery
of Artillery Regiment 6.
17 January 1922-13 February 1922: Detached to sports courses.
29 September 1924-8 November 1924: Detached the Firing Instruction
Course with the Army Measurement Service.
1 April 1926: Detached to the Technische Hochschule in Charlottenburg
where he studied mechanical engineering.
30 December 1930: Certified as an academically qualified
- During the 1930's he worked with Warner
Von Braun and others developing rockets and guided missiles.
1 April 1931: Appointed to the Ballistics and Munitions
Branch (WaRw 1) of the Army Weapons Department as assistant to Hauptmann
Ritter von Horstig. This branch oversaw the development of liquid-fuel rockets
for military use.
11 August 1934: Squadron Chief in Transport Battalion 4.
1 October 1934: Battery Chief in Artillery Battalion Königsbürck.
5 March 1935: Honorary Doctorate in Engineering (Dr. Ing.
15 October 1935: Battery Chief in Nebel [Smoke] Battalion
1 February 1936: Transferred to the Army Weapons Department/WaPrw1.
24 July 1936: Department Chief in the Army Weapons Department
(WaPrüf 11) and representative for special experiments at the Army Experimental
Station Peenemünde (rocket development).
- In May 1937 he was moved to Peenemunde
on the Baltic Coast, where the A series of rocket missiles was built.
His pioneering work resulted in the devlopment of the powerful V-2 rocket
which was used against Britain during WWII.
- 1st September 1939, entered WW2 as
Oberstleutnant and Abteilungschef im Heereswaffenamt (responsible for the
development of rocket weapons)
11 May 1943: While continuing to serve as Chief of WaPrüf
11, Dornberger also appointed to head Home Artillery Park 11.
1 September 1943: Artillery Commander 191 (motorized), a
unit responsible for further development of the A 4 (V-2) rocket and the
preparation and direction of future deployment of long-range rocket batteries.
rocket being prepared for launch from its mobile transporter/launcher
alternate black / white markings allowed engineers to know whether the
rocket was rotating in flight
1 January 1944: Higher Artillery Commander 191 and Commissioner
for Special Duties in the Army. In this capacity, Dornberger was directly
responsible to Generaloberst Friedrich Fromm, Director of Armaments and
Commander-in-Chief of the Replacement Army.
6 August 1944: Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler appointed
SS-Gruppenführer Dr.-Ing. Hans Kammler plenipotentiary of all A 4 rocket
matters. As a result of the 20 July 1944 assassination attempt on Hitler's
life, Himmler succeeded Fromm (who was implicated in the plot) as Director
of Armaments and Commander-in-Chief of the Replacement Army thus gaining
SS control over Germany's rocket program. Dornberger, who would have been
far more suited to the job than Kammler, lamented the new arrangement:
The first two months after Kammler's appointment were hard and bitter ones.
I had to endure a whole series of humiliations. I had to submit to a chaotic
flood of ignorant, contradictory, irreconcilable orders from this man who
was neither soldier nor technician. They took the form of as many as a hundred
teletypes a day.
1 October 1944 Inspekteur
der Raketentruppen. SS-Obergruppenführer Hans Jüttner, Himmler's
Replacement Army deputy, redefined responsibilities of the A 4 program:
Kammler took over field operations and had power of decision over all fundamental
matters while Dornberger, as Commissioner for Special Duties in the Army,
served as Kammler's deputy and Inspector of Long-Range Rocket Troops. As
such, Dornberger, had control of their formation and training while continuing
to oversee A 4 development and supply in coordination with the Army Weapons
12 January 1945: In an effort to remove Dornberger from
SS influence, Albert Speer appointed him chairman of "Arbeitstab" [Working
Staff] Dornberger"as part of the Ministry of Munitions. This staff was charged
with breaking Allied air superiority by developing different types of guided
rockets for antiaircraft use.
6 February 1945: Kammler, supported by Reichsmarschall Hermann
Göring, further consolidated his power by assuming responsibility for the
development and production of all long-range antiaircraft rockets and wireless
guided projectiles for use against surface targets. In one fell swoop, "Working
Staff Dornberger" was transferred as Kammler's own personal technical staff!
Thus, the SS ultimately won the battle for control over every aspect of
Germany's rocket program.
3 April 1945: Kammler ordered Dornberger to evacuate his
staff of about 450 Peenemünde men to the Lower Alps near Oberammergau under
SD escort. Dornberger, his staff and Wernher von Braun, spent the last month
of the war at Oberjoch near Hindelang.
? April 1945: Although details are scanty, Kammler was probably
shot and killed by his adjutant in keeping with his own orders to prevent
persons related to Germany's rocket program from falling into enemy hands.
2nd May 1945: Dornberger surrendered to troops of the U.S.
44th Infantry Division. Evacuated with
Werner Von Braun and other rocket scientists to Oberjoch near Hinderlang
for 1 month after the war.
depicts Dornberger (raincoat, hat, holding cigarette), Wernher von Braun
(arm in cast) and other German rocket scientists shortly after they surrendered
to U.S. troops in May 1945. Von Braun broke his arm a few weeks earlier
in an automobile accident.
1950: Consultant for the Bell Aircraft Company; participated
in the Air Force-National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) project
Dyna-Soar. His rocket, which reached
speeds of 3,500 miles per hour, was the basis of the American space
1954: Published V-2, his wartime memoirs.
Awards & Decorations
Cross of the War Merit Cross with Swords: 29 October 1944.
- Prussian Iron Cross, 1st Class (1914)
- Prussian Iron Cross, 2nd Class (1914)
- War Merit Cross, 1st Class with Swords
- War Merit Cross, 2nd Class with Swords
- Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach House Order of Vigilance or the White Falcon, Knight
2nd Class with Swords
- Hesse General Honor Decoration, "for Bravery"
- Cross of Honor for Combatants 1914-1918
- Armed Forces Long Service Award, 1st Class (25-year Service Cross)
- Armed Forces Long Service Award, 3rd Class (12-year Service Medal)
- Wound Badge in Black-World War I award
photo depicts Dornberger and Wernher von Braun at a 1944 Christmas
banquet reading a telegram congratulating them both on their recent
award of the Knight's Cross of the War Merit Cross with Swords (note
both are wearing it about their necks).
to View a 2 minute BBC News Article (7th September 2004) About a V2 Rocket