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HE Services helps archaeologists uncover German rocket

Digger Blogger | 11:00, Thu November 16 2023

A Komatsu PC138 tracked excavator from HE Services has helped archaeologists uncover the remains of a German V2 rocket launched in 1945.

At 2pm on 17th February 1945 a German rocket launched from the Hague in the Netherlands land short of its intended target, London and hit the Hoo Peninsula, where it has lain ever since.

Until now.

A team of archaeologists and historians spent the last week of September on Halstow Marshes with a Komatsu PC138 to bring remnants of the missile out of the ground.

The V2 rocket weighed in at 12.5 tonnes, with 8.5 tonnes dedicated to fuel, one tonne for the warhead, and three tonnes comprising the rocket's body.

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Colin Welch, one of the team leaders spearheading the excavation, emphasised the historical significance of their mission. “This archaeological dig is of paramount importance,” he said. “We are continually expanding our understanding of the V2 rocket attacks of 1944 and 1945, and the more evidence we uncover, the more comprehensive our understanding of these events becomes.”

Mr Welch also highlighted the excavation's challenges, primarily due to the marshy terrain with soft clay. “The ground in these marshes contains a lot of very soft clay. Although this aids in the preservation of artefacts, it presents numerous challenges during excavation. Fortunately, we were able to secure a Komatsu PC138 tracked excavator from HE Services (Plant Hire) Ltd, which made the excavation both safe and feasible. We would not have achieved this without their invaluable support.”

This particular V2 rocket excavation is just the beginning, as experts estimate that around 100 V2 rockets were launched at Britain each week during the later stages of the war. The team is optimistic about unearthing more excavation sites.


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