ROYAL Navy bomb disposal experts from Portsmouth have been called out to deal with an unexploded German V-2 rocket found in Suffolk.
The rocket, fired by the Germans towards the end of the Second World War, is submerged nose down 600ft off shore in coastal mud flats between Felixstowe and Harwich.
Locals are understood to have known about the missile for decades and even used to moor their boats to it.
A six-man team from the navy’s Horsea Island-based bomb disposal unit were called to the scene yesterday afternoon and a 120ft exclusion zone has been set up.
It’s thought to be the only time a V-2 rocket has been discovered intact.
A navy spokesman said: ‘The locals have known about it for some time and say it’s been used for mooring boats. Somebody who lives there can remember it coming down and said it was a V2. At first we were sceptical because these missiles came down at Mach-3 (three times the speed of sound) and normally there’s nothing left of them.
‘But on closer inspection it has been identified as a V-2. It is submerged nose down and is projecting about 2ft out of the ground. We don’t know yet whether the explosive is still present at this time.’
The bomb team led by Lieutenant Dan Herridge is expected to remain at the scene for some time and may need to bring in a barge and dredging gear to get the missile out of the mud, the spokesman said.
He added: ‘This is not going to be a job that’s done overnight. People don’t think they’ve ever found a V-2 intact before but due to the nature of the beast we don’t know yet whether this one is definitely intact.
‘Our guys have never seen anything like this before and probably never will again. It’s a very unusual beast indeed.’
The V-2 rocket was developed at the beginning of the Second World War in Germany, specifically targeted at London and Antwerp from 1944 onwards. The liquid-propellant rocket was the world’s first long-range combat-ballistic missile and the first known human artefact to enter outer space.
The missile carried 2,000 lbs of explosive, and took only four seconds to reach a top speed of 3,500mph.
More than 3,000 V-2s were launched as military rockets by the German Wehrmacht against Allied targets during the war. The attacks resulted in the death of an estimated 7,250 military personnel and civilians. Of these, an estimated 2,754 civilians were killed in London by V-2 attacks, with another 6,523 injured.
A scientific reconstruction carried out in 2010 demonstrated that the V-2 creates a crater 60-ft wide and 16-ft deep, throwing up around 3,000 tonnes of material into the air.