Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Postage stamp helped stop V2 bombing. Huh?

Sounds like a bit of an urban legend to me but World War II veteran Raymond Smith says a postage stamp was what helped the Allies stop the bombing of Great Britain with V2 rockets. He was speaking at a Memorial Day observance in Parkersburg, West Virginia.

Smith is quoted in an on-line article that appeared on the West Virginia News and Sentinal Web site that, "The Germans did like we did and showed their weaponry on postage stamps."

He went on to say, "Before they had a stamp with the V2 on it the Allies could not tell where they were based. That stamp came out and the image was blown up and they were able to identify the mountains in the pictures and they were able to find the base."

No specific German stamp was mentioned. The best I could come up with was B218-229. Issued in 1943, they show dive bombers and tanks but no V2 rockets. Another set (B257-269) issued in 1944 may have been what Smith was thinking of. The high value shows rockets but I don't think they are V2

The United States did issue a stamp in 1948 honoring the Ft. Bliss Centennial that featured a rocket that looked a lot like a V2 .

For the full text (and to the reporter if he checked his facts), click here.

PS - An interesting sidenote...the San Francisco Chronicle ran a story in 1941 that talks about how California collectors were beginning to boycott stamps issued by Nazi Germany.
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posted by Don Schilling at 7:09 PM