That time London was nearly destroyed by Nazi paleo-drones

The Nazi V-1 "robot bomb" (AKA the "buzz bomb") was a kind of flying landmine that terrorized London during the Blitz, doing incredible damage to the city, sowing disarray and fear, as this Periscope newsreel makes clear.

But as Bruce Sterling points out, the Nazis lost the war.


Both these facts -- the terror of drone attacks and their historic failure -- are important to keep in mind during our present-day drone wars.


*NOT ONE WORD in this documentary about “radar.” You’d conclude from the newsreel that the British knocked down all those high-speed V-1s by staring at them with binoculars.

*Also: the guys inventing and using these unmanned weapons platforms didn’t win their war. One has to think that all this high-tech bravura was militarily counterproductive. Imagine all the manufacturing capacity thrown away on these one-shot devices. Land-mines with wings.


The lethal robot drones of the 1940s [Bruce Sterling/Beyond the Beyond]