Monthly Archives: August 2016

Chapter Two – German Rocket Nudity

Research and story by Clarence Simonsen

All rights reserved

During my 53 years of research, I have studied all of the public A/4 rocket launch film recorded at Peenemunde, Germany, in the period of 13 June 1942 to 17 August of 1943. I have located from private collections and museums, 38 black and white photos of the first 34 rocket launches at Peenemunde, which all contained German tail art. Eight of these tail art images are recorded close-up on film and ten feature German women, [V2, V3, V4, V6, V12, V16, V18, V20, V25 and V36], two show a full front female face, [V2 and V25], one is a witch riding a rocket, [see Chapter Four] and three are full nudes, the most famous V4 on a quarter moon, “Frau Im Mond.” Two A/4 rockets received two painted images, V4 and V12, which still remains a mystery. It is believed only one A/4 rocket tail art was painted at Peenemunde in 1944, and this was for the 100th launch.

In October 1945, these same German scientists [under British control] test fired four A/4 rockets from Cuxhaven, in northern Germany. Each rocket contained German tail art and three were females, one German women fully clothed, one topless, and one fully nude.

The U. S. Army Corp of Engineers initiated construction of the new German V-2 [A/4] testing area at White Sands, New Mexico, in June 1945. This site was chosen as a missile research area next door to the Los Alamos Laboratory [200 miles to the north] and the Trinity Test Site where the world’s first atomic bomb was detonated on 16 July 1945.

An Army blockhouse was first constructed at what became Launch Complex 33 [LC-33] and this was followed by a large Quonset hut where the new German rockets would be assembled, rebuilt, and finally tested. Many other buildings were constructed for the testing of liquid-filled captured German A/4 rockets and thus launched the American rocket program for reaching into outer space.

The first and most important Operation Paperclip scientists arrived at Fort Strong, New York, on 20 September 1945, and they were moved to the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland. The Americans and Germans went over thousands of documents, putting them in order and creating accurate translations from German to English. It is very possible Gerd de Beek was involved in this process; however his family have no information as they were still in Germany.  It is important to remember the fourteen tons of Peenemunde documents also contained the HAP-11 BILD archive photos albums with 1,458 album pages and 5,178 photos, including the de Beek A/4 tail art images.

The main group of 127 captured German scientists and missile experts arrived in the United States on 16 November 1945, and initial preparations began just before Christmas 1945. On 23 February 1946, 104 German scientists arrive at El Paso, Texas, and almost all of von Braun’s old Peenemunde team had been reunited at White Sands and the building of the A/4 rockets could begin. The first A/4 [V-2] static testing took place on 15 March 1946, and a peak number of 39 Germans are working on site at the White Sands Proving Grounds. Recorded by the Americans as V-2, #1, the test is 57 seconds long.

American test A/4 rocket was painted in special yellow and black paint patterns, [seen above] much the same as the black and white patterns used in Peenemunde. The Americans number this first launch as V-2, #2, while the German scientists secretly call this V1. The Americans use the Hitler term of V-2 and number the static test and launch in order, the Germans do not include the static test and title this as Versuchsmuster [test model] number V1. I can find no evidence this rocket contained any tail art image. The launch takes place on 16 April 1946, and reaches 18,000 feet, then at 6 seconds a steering vane broke off, followed at 11 seconds by a tail fin break.  At 19 seconds, the engine cuts out and the rocket falls to earth and explodes.

This free domain image shows the new tower and V-2, #28, which was launched on 8 December 1947.


Source Internet [free domain]

On 10 May 1946, a second launch is fired and this becomes the first successful flight from White Sands Proving Grounds.  This rocket is the second and last to be painted in yellow and black paint pattern and completely different from the first rocket. This also carried a little nude lady painted by Gerd de Beek and the red letter “2” as the Germans title this V2. I believe the little nude lady on the yellow and black rocket formed a secret “V” followed by the number 2.

The first two captured A/4 rockets were launched the same as they were in Peenemunde, Germany. The U. S. Army Corp of Engineers has now completed a new 75 foot tall gantry tower for the future testing of A/4 rockets.

V2 second attempt

Source unknown

On 27 January 1954, Gerd de Beek painted one last full nude “Frau Luna” on a Redstone RS-2 test rocket.

In the total of 44 known images of German A/4 rocket tail art, fifteen feature German females and five are nude, one is topless. I believe this reflects on the early birth of space travel interest in Germany during the early 1920s, combined with the open display of nudity in the German Kabaretts during the Weimar Republic.

The “Weimar Republic” was the historical name given to the new semi-presidential democracy formed in 1919 to replace the old German imperial form of governing. In its fourteen years the Weimar Republic faced the most serious economic problems ever experienced by any Western culture. Germans had lived under an authoritarian government, where all social activities and entertainment were tightly regulated. The cabaret was a French invention dating back to the 1880s, which was notorious for prostitutes and allowing lewd nude dancing. Berlin’s first cabaret [Kabarett] opened in 1901, though under the Kaiser’s reign was not permitted to allow humour, nude or provocative dancing, or any political satire. Under the new Weimar Republic, censorship was lifted and this soon gave way to the rebirth of open displays of nudity, where the gay men, lesbians, and transvestites, soon seized upon the liberality to openly display and discuss sexuality in the cabaret scene. While most Germans scrambled to just stay alive amid street fighting and daily food shortages, other rich Germans spent big and partied hard. These Germans joined the influx of American money and adventurous American tourists which turned Berlin into the hottest pleasure town in Europe. The American visitors from Prohibition-bound U.S. were amazed at how the Berliners experimented with all fashionable drugs. Thousands of young Berlin girls, [many were pre-teens age 15-17] worshipped a cabaret dancer who performed at the White Mouse. Anita Berber began her career at age 16, and performed in the nude, indulged in cocaine, morphine, and engaged in sex acts with both sexes.

Chapter 2 8 Anita Berber

Source Internet

She became the most provocative singer and fashion dancer, a German icon who died penniless in 1929, from self-abuse. Nudity flourished in most of the nightclubs, and all had some form of topless dancers, as well as the stage and screen, Berlin was the experimental sex and drug pleasure city of all Europe. Prostitutes roomed the streets in the thousands, wearing boots and whips, many were still schoolgirls wearing pigtails and carrying school books. All the girls registered with police and if a customer caught a disease they could even sue the girl.

The music and nightlife of Berliners strongly admired all things American and soon dance lessons were offered for the Charleston, Berlin flapper girls appeared, and American combo bands were copied such as Max de Groof’s which featured a banjo and girl singer. The Haller Revue at the Scala Theatre in Berlin, formed an all-blonde chorus line named the “Tiller Girls”, copied from the Ziegfeld girls in America.

Chapter 2 Tiller Girls

Source Internet

Famous German composer Paul Lincke wrote his original score for the Operetta titled “Frau Luna” in 1899.

Chapter 2 Apollo

Source Internet

Part of the original score included a march “Berliner Luft” which became the unofficial anthem of the capital of Germany. The piece immediately became very popular all over Germany and Lincke used it again in a 1906 musical, itself name “Berliner Luft”. The Operetta was revised by Lincke in 1922 and while it did not contain any nudity, the girls appeared in a sexy Ziegfeld style chorus line. After an Operetta performance many of the Berliners continued to drink and dance in the over 400 Berlin cabarets.

The historical breakthrough of the 1929 film “Women in the Moon”, allowed Hermann Oberth to ask Fritz Lange to assist him in raising funds for research into a real rocket.

Oberth and von Braun

von Braun

Source Internet

This by product of Frau Im Mond movie produced the first construction of a German gasoline, liquid oxygen rocket, which was launched 23 July 1930.

In 1930, President Hindenburg assumed dictatorial powers over Germany and the Great Depression worsened, causing huge unemployment and deflation of the German mark, which became worthless. In 1919 ten marks were worth one U.S. dollar. In 1930 it took four trillion marks to equal one dollar, and sex could be purchased for 30 cents American. This Great Depression combined with Weimar Berlin’s carefree open morally lifestyle became partly responsible for the rise of Nazism and Adolf Hitler. The legal powers taken by the Nazi party in February and March 1933, [seizure of power] allowed the new government to legislate contrary to the constitution.

Wernher von Braun has just graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, and with the help of Capt. Walter Dornberger, enrolled at the Friedrich-Wilhelm University of Berlin, to study physics. His doctorial studies are now funded by the Ordnance Department of the German Army. The future new German rocket research has become part of the new Nazi Totalitarian Society, over which the scientists and engineers will have little control.

Hitler quickly closed down the sexually operated night clubs, and outlandish cabarets, banned jazz, arrested gays, homosexuals and transvestites, sending all to concentration camps where they were worked to death or just shot. It is estimated 15,000 gays died in concentration camps. Many of the German cabarets were operated by creative directors who were Jewish; some would escape to Hollywood, U.S.A. but many others ended their lives in concentration camps. Another first step of the new regime was to eliminate German street prostitution; to control brothels and charge prostitutes if they offered their services in the public. The forming of the League of Girls and SS “Aryan” super race provided a double solution to the prostitution problem. In 1930, the Nazi Party formed a female branch of the Hitler Youth movement. The title was Bund Deutscher Madel in der Hitler-Jugend, [League of German girls]. The league did not attract a mass following until Hitler came to power in 1933.

Chapter 2 postersSource Internet

On 1 December 1936, a new law concerning the Hitler Youth forced all eligible female juveniles to become a member of the League of German Girls. The girls were divided into two groups, ages 10 to 14 and ages 14 to 18 years. These girls would be thoroughly indoctrinated in their duty to bear children for the Reich, in or out of marriage. Just one year earlier, 12 December 1935, under orders of Reichsfuhrer SS Heinrich Himmler, the SS Race program began, known as Lebensborn or Fountain of Life. The SS authorities built a chain of maternity homes across the German Reich and encouraged all women [married or single] to produce children for the Fuhrer. German women, who conceived a child from an SS officer or any male with the “Aryan” or “Nordic” features, were entitled to give birth at any of the luxurious Lebensborn centers.

Chapter 2 1

German Federal Archives free domain image of a 1944 Lebensborn
[Fountain of Youth] maternity ward.

The German SS men were instructed to maintain stable relations with more than one women, and they did not have to get married. The children of such unions were considered legitimate, and the baby was placed with a suitable family. The Nazi party arranged special meetings between the SS men and the League of German Girls, which took place at sports camps, social centers, and large scale annual rallies. The 1936 Reichsparteitag rally in Nurnberg produced over 900 pregnancies with some girls as young as 14 years of age.

Chapter 2 2

German Federal Archives image
female members Nazi Party march, Worms, Germany, 1933-39.

By 1934, the Nazi party began to shower its eight million members with an assortment of medals and insignia, all to enhance their sense of authority. Like the medals given in the 1936 Olympics, Hitler created a bronze, silver, and gold [Mutterkreuz] Mother’s Cross. This was introduced by decree of Hitler on 16 December 1938, awarded annually on the second Sunday in May, Mothering Sunday. The gold Mother’s Cross was presented to all German women [married or not] who produced eight or more children for the new master “Aryan” race.

Chapter 2 3

Taken from German Federal Archives image, this is a portrait of a family from Saxony, Germany, August 1943. The mother has received the highest award of the “Gold” Mutterkreuz Mother’s Cross. Six of her sons are serving in the German military, two of her youngest girls are in the BDM age 10-14 years [Jungmadelbund] the other is in the Bund Deutscher Madel [BDM] age 14 – 18 years League of Girls. The three boys are in the Hitler Youth. This was not volunteer, but in fact law which Hitler created in 1933, only three months after taking power. This powerful portrait shows that in only ten years Hitler has created a fountainhead for the future German racial elite military force. The German mother is the only one not in uniform and her function is to produce children for the “Fuhrer” as a sacred duty. The three young daughters are also being indoctrinated in their duty to bear children for the super race and the Reich.

Chapter 2 4

German Federal Archives free domain

This proud looking mother has received her Cross of Honor on 17 May 1943. The League of Girls [age 14-18 years] are part of the ceremony which again indoctrinates them to produce children for the Fuhrer and Reich.

This Cross of Honour for the German Mother gave recognition to the importance of women’s role and motherhood in support of the strong German Reich nation. This powerful influence of the Nazi ideology on wives and mothers clearly shows up in the non-appearance of women, nude, or otherwise in all German military units.

Chapter 2 5

free domain from the Internet

This special stamp was issued in 1943 on the tenth anniversary of the Deutsches Reich.

Until now, aircraft nose art and squadron insignia have conventionally always been undervalued in serious military research.
In my adult life-time of research on this subject, I have viewed tens of thousands of Allied aircraft nose art images, and the pin-up girl, topless or nude, is always the main source of inspiration.

Chapter 2 pin-up

Source Internet

In viewing over 920 images used by the German Luftwaffe in WWII, not one single woman appears in their aircraft or squadron art design. These images contain only two female witches, both fully clothed, showing garter belt and stockings.

The Luftwaffe had one other uncommon practice, painting and sharing coat of arms with units of the Wehrmacht, [Armed Forces of Germany] mostly the Navy U-Boats. In viewing over 430 [Kriegsmarine] U-Boat insignia and emblems painted on the conning towers, only two female images are used. One is a full face of a German women and the second is a fully nude witch riding her broom.

The correct term for the German Army of the Nazi era 1935-45 was Heer. They inherited their uniforms and insignia from the Weimar Republic and were called Reichsheer until May 1935, when they became the land force of “Wehrmacht” [Armed Forces of Germany]. English historians tend to confuse when they commonly refer to the land forces Army of Germany as Wehrmacht. The Heer wore insignia with some traditions that went back to the Imperial Army of the German Empire or earlier. Not one women or nude image can be found in hundreds of insignia the Heer used during WW II.

Chapter 2 6

Rare Army [Heer] beer hall wall art of German hostess.
[author collection]

During the period May 1935 to May 1945 a total of 18.2 million people served in the German Wehrmacht [German Armed Forces]. Hundreds of unit artists served with these forces and almost anything served as their source of inspiration for painting unit insignia.

This resulted in styles from classic German heraldry, political art directed at England, animals, humourous cartoons to some downright bizarre images. The non-appearance of any nude German women is due to the influence imposed by the Nazi ideology of the new role of the women as wife and mother in the new Nazi super race.

Why did the tail art on the German A/4 rockets launched at Peenemunde not follow this strict Nazi ideology that frowned on any nudity in Wehrmacht insignia, badge, logo, or any military form?

I believe that answer was part of the life of Wernher von Braun, the man in charge and the one who approved the use of this short lived secret meaning rocket tail art.

The German A/4 rocket tail art with nude ladies will carry on to Cuxhaven, Germany, and then to the United States of America, and finally the moon.

Fast forward

The first postwar launch of a captured A/4 rocket under the British “Operation Backfire” testing will be scheduled for 1 October 1945. The British are in charge, or at least they think they are, but in fact they are just learning from the scientific Germans who possess all the power to arrange the date for this special first rocket launch. Preparations for launch began at 09:30 hrs and continue until all clear is given at 15:27 hrs. Two German technicians then glue a tail art painting by artist Gerd de Beek to the rocket skin, the same routine they had conducted at Peenemunde at least 33 times. The British record this event on film [Backfire negative #76-9074] and think nothing of it; secretly this new painting was most important to these scientific prisoners of war and the tail art is reborn.

Chapter 2 V2rocket

Photo used with permission of website

On 27 May 1945, an American Army [German speaking] officer had tricked a top von Braun scientist into revealing the location of the 14 tons of Peenemunde rocket research material hidden in an abandoned iron mine. The American government ordered it removed from the soon to be British sector under the very eyes of the British Army and this caused a major Allied conflict. To avoid further conflict the American government ordered General Eisenhower to sanction the firing of captured A/4 rockets by the British Army at Cuxhaven, a Northern port in Germany. The American Army then loaned 591 German [P.O.W.] technicians to the British for the test firing, 367 technicians with a labour force of 224. This total also included 127 top German technicians who had been selected by von Braun to go to the United States and create the new American White Sands Proving Grounds.

The de Beek tail art is reborn and his paintings feature three females, one topless, one fully clothed, and one fully nude. [Full details and color art in Chapter Eight]

The first British A/4 launches are attempted at 15:54 hrs, but not successful, and repairs are conducted on the A/4 rocket. At 18:15 hrs a second launch is attempted, and again failure. A further attempt to fire was not attempted due to the lateness of the hour, and the rocket was returned to the Vertical Testing Chamber at 22:00 hrs. The date is forgotten by historians; however it was very important to the captured German A/4 team and their old boss.

On 1 October 1932, Wernher von Braun joined the German Army Ordnance Office Rocket Program and this marked his 13th anniversary. The meaning of the little German girl is unknown, but I’m sure it was connected with the date and Frau Luna going to the Moon.

If you fast forward thirteen more years, another very important space event takes place when the National Aeronautics and Space Act was signed into law by now President Eisenhower, on 29 July 1958. On 1 October 1958, the first administrator of NASA [Keith Glennan] was sworn in at the White House, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration are officially born.

I’m positive Wernher von Braun was pleased with the date selection and possibly had some connections with the chosen day and month which was only special to him and his Paperclip scientists.

Chapter 2 group picture

Source Internet [Free domain]

Chapter One – Aggregat V-Missiles

Research and story by Clarence Simonsen

All rights reserved

Chapter One – Aggregat V-Missiles

The German name “Aggregat” means a group of machines operating together and was possibly used as early as 1930, by members of the [Raketenflugplatz] Rocket Flight Berlin. Eighteen year old von Braun joined this group of 50 members who conducted in-depth research on rocketry.

In May 1931 the group successfully launch the first Aggregat/1 which is named – “Repulsor.”

Aggregate_(3D-comparison) A1

Source Wikipedia

This is the first naming of a German rocket and it is possible von Braun was involved in the name selection.

On 1 October 1932, twenty-one year old Wernher von Braun became a civilian employee of the Reichswehr, [German Army Ordnance Rocket Department] conducting testing at the German artillery range at Kummersdorf, Luckenwalde, 25 miles south of Berlin. The A/1 rocket was used only for static testing and by 17 December 1934 the group had constructed a test flight model called Aggregat-2 [A/2].



Aggregate_(3D-comparison) A2

Two A/2 rockets were successfully launched from the Island of Borkum in the North Sea, and they are given the names “Max and Moritz”, after the famous Wilhelm Busch mischievous German comic strip characters. I cannot find any evidence von Braun named the two rockets, however I’m positive he was included and observed the power of naming the first new missiles.

In 1897, German immigrant Rudolph Dirks created an American comic strip based on the adventures of Max and Mortiz, naming it the “Katzenjammer Kids.” The twin sons of Mamma Katzenjammer were named Hans and Fritz and this strip still survives in newspapers and comics today. They became a large part of American and Canadian aircraft nose art during WWII.

By the end of 1935, the rocket group had run out of money and rocket testing was halted. The man in charge of the German Army rocket testing was Hauptmann Walter Dornberger, and to obtain more funds he had to prove the military value of the rocket testing. Wernher von Braun now began designing a new and larger Aggregat-3 [A/3].

Aggregate_(3D-comparison) A3

In March 1936, the Commander-in-Chief of the German Army, Generalobest Werner von Fritsch, was so impressed with new rocket demonstrations; he approved the request for funding to continue the program. Plans were now made to construct a new Aggregat-4 [A/4].

Aggregate_(3D-comparison) A4

The testing for the new A/4 rocket design was first conducted using the A/3 rockets and a new German letter and number was introduced for each test firing flight. V for Versuchsmuster [test model] was give to each flight with a number beginning with #1. The first test flight of an A/3 rocket was V1 on 4 December 1937, which was patriotically named “Deutschland” by Wernher von Braun. Three tests follow V2 on 6 December, V3 on 8 December and V4 on 11 December 1937. All of the four test rockets crashed and it is soon realized a new designed model rocket would have to be constructed for future A/4 testing. Due to the fact the designation A/4 had been reserved for the future Army military rocket, the next designation Aggregat-5 [A/5] was given to the new test rocket. No evidence can be found that any of these test rockets were given a name or art work.

In the next two years 29 of the A/5 test rockets were fired from the small Island of Greifswalder Oie, in the Baltic Sea. Many of these rockets were recovered and used again and again in the test flights. The A/5 became the workhorse of the German research and development program which led to the new A/4 rocket design.

Aggregate_(3D-comparison) A5

During this A/5 testing it was realized the new A/4 rocket required a secret testing site with large assembly buildings and proving ground, which was located in March 1936. The German Army Experimental Station at Peenemunde received twenty million Reich marks and by April 1937 the rocket scientists began moving from Kummersdorf to Peenemunde. After seven years of basic rocket testing the German scientists were prepared for development, assemble, and test firing of the new Aggregat-4 rocket at Peenemunde. In following the earlier naming of each of the first launches of missiles A/1, A/2, and A/3 rockets, I’m positive the first launch of A/4 on 23 March 1943, contained a name or first use of a tail art painting?

Gerd de Beek was involved in the early technical design [beginning in 1937] which produced the new A/4 on blueprint paper which was classified top secret. Little is known about the early history of this artist, who was a draftsman, technical illustrator, combined with an oil paint mural artist, who was also believed to have decorated the building walls at Peenemunde. [NASA Historian Mike Wright recorded in his booklet on the von Braun celebration of the Arts and Science – “de Beek was among those who moved to Fort Bliss 1946, and decorated a portion of the military post set aside for the Germans with his own paintings.” His main function at Peenemunde was producing the rocket cutaway drawings, for his friend and boss von Braun and his talent somehow evolved into sketching and painting a rare German pre-launch A/4 rocket tail art. I believe he painted at least 40 art images but only 38 can be confirmed from photos.

The first A/4 rocket was handmade and taken to Prufstand VII, [test stand VII] at Peenemunde on 18 March 1942. No launch was planned and no launch number was assigned. This was the very early trial and error period for the new rocket scientists and hundreds of black and white photos are taken of each procedure and test. The first production A/4 is taken to the test stand tower on 23 March 1942 for full scale static testing. This test is given the V for Versuchsmuster [test model] and the number V1. On 13 June, this same rocket is taken to Peenemunde P7 for the very first test launch and this is given the number V2. This is the first confirmed use of a tail art image painted by Gerd de Beek, featuring the full front face of a German female. The launch is a failure with explosion 36 seconds and 1.3 km down range.

The German scientists in Peenemunde create a series of photo albums which record all the technical rocket information plus the tail art image of each launch. These albums will be officially name “HAP-11 BILD archive albums on 1 June 1943 and grow to over 1,400 pages with over 5,000 black and white photo images. [This will be covered in more detail later]

Peenemunde 1938

This is a public domain photo released by the German Federal archives showing the view at Peenemunde in possibly 1938 and Test Stand #1, used for A/4 rocket testing before launch. This original photo appeared in the HAP-11 photo albums, came to American with von Braun and his scientists in 1945. Copied on microfilm at Fort Eustis in 1946, it was part of the NASA Historic Building Survey archives and is now released in America as public domain.

This is the 1946 Fort Eustis microfilm copy from the original Peenemunde HAP-11 photo album showing the Gerd de Beek tail art on V-3, photo is German number Bild-NrB476/42BSM, from U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, University of Maryland.

1946 Fort Eustis

This third A/4 launch attempt takes place on 16 August 1942, and the Gerd de Beek tail art included the “V-3”, for Versuchsmuster. This test fight is a failure when the nose section broke off and rocket was destroyed, range 8 km. The witch tail art painted by Gerd de Beek survived for only 45 seconds, but this WWII photo record still survives in Munich, Germany, today. After 194 seconds of flight, the rocket broke apart in midair, however it was the first German space vehicle to break the sound barrier. This rocket art was painted in oil based paint on the rocket skin which was also oil based paint. The rocket sections fell into the Baltic after covering 0.81 miles, and today this original art could still remain on the seabed of the Baltic.

Chapter 1 1

These test firings continue in order of V launch number from V4 on 3 October 1942 to V13 launched on 19 February 1943. From this date on the test A/4 rockets are not fired in any order and many are missing and never fired. V18 is launched on 18 March 1943, V17 is fired on 3 April 1943, and V20 is fired on 14 April 1943.
Until the 17 August 1943, raid by the RAF, forty-one A/4 rockets have been manufactured at Peenemunde and 33 have been test fired. Photos record 32 of these test rockets received German tail art painted by Gerd de Beek, and it is all recorded on 35 mm black and white film and placed in the archive research photo albums. In fact de Beek completed a total of 38 [photo image recorded] rocket tail art images at Peenemunde and this is the history of his lost art. It is unknown if V24 contained tail art, but I’m sure it did, and I believe one other rocket was painted by de Beek, which would bring his total to 40 rocket tail art images.
V32 was painted in early June 1943, however possibly due to mechanical problems it was not launched until 7 January 1944.

V 32

V-32 copyright

copyright Clarence Simonsen

Artwork was completed for V39, V47, and V50 but no launch took place as it is believed they were lost in the RAF attack on 17/18 August 1943. Rocket V54 was launched without tail art due to the fact no art had been completed by de Beek. [This will be covered in full detail in Chapter Eight]

All of de Beek’s original oil colour painted A/4 rocket tail art was destroyed seconds after launch and no color images are known to exist. The flight duration for a good test averaged around 300 seconds, the longest being [V30] 318 seconds, range 287 k/m, 24 June 1943.


Original Gerd de Beek painting of V30
from National Archives and Records Administration

Black and White 35 mm German Peenemunde photo images are contained in the original HAP-11 photo albums in Munich, Germany, however they are impossible to obtain and some Peenemunde images are in fact missing. Microfilm American duplicate images can be found in NASA free domain images, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, and the U.S. Space and Rocket Center at Huntsville, Alabama. It soon becomes clear the Peenemunde 35 mm images have been broken up, and widely scattered from one institution to another. Other rare images are still hidden in the New Mexico Museum of Space History, and requests to the Deputy Director, Mr. Kent Allen, received no reply. One person assisted me to obtain all these lost images and wishes to remain nameless.

These powerful American institutions have known about the WWII Peenemunde tail art since 1946, and even today the Smithsonian fails to properly educate its visitors and patrons to the historical place this Peenemunde art played in American Space history. It is all about the question – Was this German Peenemunde Space Art of Nazi Missile Art? This American created debate on what to display in a museum setting and what to tell American main-stream society has totally destroyed the history and art created by the world’s first rocket space artist, Gerd de Beek.


copyright Clarence Simonsen

Artwork was completed for V39, V47, and V50 but no launch took place as it is believed they were lost in the RAF attack on 17/18 August 1943. Rocket V54 was launched without tail art due to the fact no art had been completed by de Beek. 

The last tail art completed in full color by Gerd de Beek was V47, but it was never launched. This rocket clearly shows the rise in power of the Peenemunde team in mid-July 1943. It also shows the power of the Third Reich Eagle who prepares to fly off into space.

I believe Gerd de Beek completed this art just days before the RAF bombing on 17/18 August 1943 of the Peenemunde assembly buildings.


During the RAF attack the rocket is either destroyed or damaged beyond repair. This is another image the American Government did not want released in the post-war Soviet Space race era.

[This will be covered in full detail in Chapter Eight]

Maya Goddess of the Moon – Ixchel

Updated 29 June 2021

Research and story by Clarence Simonsen

All rights reserved

The original Maya, or Mayance, are mainly distinguished by their languages, some 28 in total which are not dialects, but each with a structured grammar of their own. They all originated from a single spoken tongue in Western Guatemala in the third millennium B.C. This collection of groups with a different language, custom, and historical background still shared many traits that allowed them to be classified as a single Maya cultural family. During the pre-Hispanic period, the Maya inhabited a vast area which covered Central and Southern Mexico and Central America, which was known as a larger group called Mesoamerica. They built one of the most original and grand civilizations ever known until the arrival of the Spanish who destroyed the Mesoamerican culture, murdered and raped the Maya, then imprisoned them in their own territory. Try as they did, the invading Spanish could never destroy the Maya culture. They took away their freedom, imposed a Roman Catholic god and religion, but somehow the original religious beliefs still remain intact. So, the Maya continue to speak their own language, worship their own gods, live on their own land, and in their own special way, have preserved their ancient ancestral heritage. This includes the Moon Goddess, ‘Ixchel’, who is still powerful, believed, and worshiped today in rural parts of Mexico.

The Maya system of writing numbers was the most sophisticated in all the Western World, and originated around 300 B.C. This mathematical system allowed the Maya to very accurately record the cycles of the heavenly bodies, most importantly the Sun and the Moon. Apart from their advanced numbers system they created a writing system, or stylized form of signs which together formed a sentence and then more sentences formed a text. The text was painted on log strips of beaten tree bark covered with a thin layer of stucco, then folded like a large book. These texts were called Codices, and they recorded all the scientific knowledge, myths, history, military and police action, plus the special rites conducted by their leaders. Today only three original Codices survived the destruction and burning by the invading Spanish.

Today the Maya uses of stone, stucco, and clay sculptures have survived, replacing some of the lost history in the destroyed Codices. The same cannot be said for the Maya pictorial mural art, which covered both the inside and outside of the buildings, most of this bright colored art has been lost.

All Maya cultural creations were based on their religious concept of the world, and the sacred forces or gods that brought rain, wind, disease and even death. These gods were portrayed in animal form, fantastic beings, and a mixture of animal, human shapes, which had talons, fangs and leaves sprouting from their forehead. The Maya believed they must worship and provide food for the gods to continue to keep the universe alive. Their religious beliefs and complex set of rites became the Maya way of life which revolved around everything in their life. The central aspect of this ritual world was the offering of one’s own blood.

The Maya ball game was also played as a rite, imitating the struggle between the opposing gods and movement of the stars. Many times the game symbolized the Sun’s fight against the Moon, or the underworld “Death, Darkness and Evil” against the gods of the heaven “Sun and Moon.” The Moon also had a special meaning connected with the image of the Rabbit seen in the full Moon phases. The rabbit was born by the human image “Goddess of the Moon” Ixchel, also still connected today with Maya childbirth and medicine.


Clarence Simonsen’s replica of Maya art mural painting of human form Maya Goddess of Moon “Ixchel” giving birth to rabbit [image seen in the Moon], on right is Maya stone carving of Moon – rabbit, used in Maya rituals. Above are the correct face markings of Ixchel, possibly painted in ritual blood. Today we can stand on Earth and gaze up at the same dark image of the rabbit in the Moon, just like the ancient Maya and Aztec did.

As worldwide mankind developed, more and more cultures became obsessed with the Moon, and the markings that appear to show the outline of a large rabbit. Today this story exists in many cultures, East Asian, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean folklore. The Chinese ancient legend also introduced a beautiful Chinese girl named Chang-O who was banished to live on the Moon over 4,000 years ago. Her companion is a large Chinese rabbit which is always seen standing on his hind feet in the shade of a cinnamon tree. The German culture joined this folklore legend in 1899 with the operetta “Frau Luna” which told of a trip to the Moon by a group of Berliners traveling in a hot air balloon, where they meet “Frau Luna”, the Lady in the Moon. This was followed in 1929 with the historical space movie “Women in the Moon.” The German arts, music and film, would capture the imagination of all Germans, provided money to build the first German operational space rocket, and have a major impact on one young Wernher von Braun.

During the early construction and testing of the German A/4, rockets at Peenemunde, Germany, 13 June 1942 to 17 August 1943, 38 rocket tail art images were painted, and six contained images of Frau Luna and the Moon. Rocket V21 was launched on 22 June 1943 and this tail art carried an image of a rabbit, possibly connected to the Chinese or Maya folklore.


National Archives and Records Administration – public domain.

Like the destroyed Maya art of their past civilization, the WWII German rocket art has been lost and misplaced over the past 73 years. This is my attempt to tell the history of the first space age tail art using the 42 known images that survive today on WWII photo images or black and white German launch film.

Just before the first landing of the American Apollo 11 crew on the moon, Houston sent a message to instruct them to keep a watch for a beautiful Chinese girl and her companion a large Chinese rabbit. Astronaut Michael Collins replied – “We’ll keep a close eye for the bunny girl.” Unknown to the Apollo 11 crew, it is possible they also carried the image of German “Frau im Mond” with them to the lunar surface.

Apollo 16 would in fact carry the image of one American astronaut meeting a nude and very sexy Frau Luna on the Moon.


Updated 29 June 2021

Research and story by Clarence Simonsen

All rights reserved

At Peenemünde, Germany, Wernher von Braun assembled a group of 2,000 German rocket-scientists, and 6,000 production workers, including, 1,300 forced slave labors, taken from selected concentration camps in Germany.

In April 1943, Arthur Rudolph endorsed the use of S.S. forced labor in the production of the A4 [V2] rockets at Peenemunde.

In June 1943, the first prisoners began to arrive and four weeks later, 600 mostly French and Russians were hard at work assembling V2 production machinery [image below]. A few selected Soviet artists also worked in the rocket drafting room. These prisoners of war were house in an area called, [Trassenheide] which was located 2 miles south of the German residential housing estate [Karl–Hagen Siedlung] where 500 of the most brilliant German scientists and families lived. The Karl-Hagen Housing Estate was a model village completed October 1937.

The RAF raid on 17/18 August 1943, consisted of three waves of 596 bombers, the first was the most important, to catch the Germans asleep in the Karl-Hagen Estate and kill as many expert technical and scientific people as possible, including women and children. The Pathfinder aircraft missed their main target and marked the labor camp at Trassenheide, killing 555 of the 600 Polish and French prisoners of war. This mistaken target hit changed the course of the war and made possible the future of man in space and landing on the moon.

This research history is dedicated to the unknown names and forgotten foreign prisoners of war who died that night – 18 August 1943. Their unknown sacrifice changed the world we live in and formed the future of humans in space.

Dedication 1

 Soviet Prisoners of War, working in the production of A/4 rocket parts at Peenemunde.
German Federal Archives free domain

The date of this  picture  is unknown.

However the prisoners arrived at Peenemünde in June 1943 and the RAF attacked on 17 August 43. This was probably taken in that period of time and these three young Russian POWs would be killed in the bombing attack early 18 August 1943.

Copyright  Clarence  Simonsen

All  rights  reserved  

Preserving the Past – Table of Contents

Research and story by Clarence Simonsen

All rights reserved

Table of Contents

The Title (Published 22 July 2016 – click on the link.)

Cover page copyright

The Preface (Published 1 August 2016 – click on the link.)

Preface 3

Dedication – The 555 Russian and Polish POWs killed 18 August 1943 (Published 8 August 2016 – Click on the link.)

Dedication 1

History introduction – Maya Goddess of the Moon, [IXCHEL] , and other folklore (Published on 15 August 2016 –  Click on the  link)

Chapter One – Aggregat V-Missile (Published on 22 August 2016 – Click on the link)

Chapter Two – German Rocket Nudity (Published on 26 August 2016)

Chapter Three – WWII German Luftwaffe Aircraft Insignia (Published on 5 September 2016)

Chapter Four – WWII German U-Boat Insignia (Published on 12 September 2016)

Chapter Five – The Hitler Youth Organization (Published on 19 September 2016)

Chapter Six – Wernher von Braun [The early life, music, and romantic life in Berlin] (Published on 26 September 2016)

Chapter Seven – Gerd Wilhelm de Beek, [History from 83 year old daughter and grandson, the rocket artist who painted under three flags] (Published on 3 October 2016)

Chapter Eight – Full main Story – Cucumber Art Under Three Flags – the trip of Frau im Mond [Lady in the Moon] (Published on 10 October 2016)

Chapter Nine – Death Comes At Night [Original story by Lloyd Christmas mid-upper gunner RCAF – shot down over Peenemunde Aug. 43] (Published 17 October 2016)

Chapter Ten – Cuxhaven October 45 – Reborn German A/4 tail art paintings (Published 24 October 2016)

Chapter Eleven The Canadian Army engineers at Cuxhaven, August-October 1945 (Published 31 October 2016)

Epilogue- To expose the still hidden history of rocket tail art (Published 7 November 2016)


Greek Mythology “Icarus” and Third Reich Insignia

Copyright  Clarence  Simonsen  2016

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Research and story by Clarence Simonsen

All rights reserved

I became interested in WW II aviation before I can recall, possibly in the first few years of my life. I entered this world at 3:15 am on a very cold [-20 C] Alberta spring morning 24 March 1944, which must have been a shock. Spring mornings in Alberta are still a shock. My new world was involved in a total war, which captured the headlines every single day. My birth place and upbringing became a small farm house located six miles east of the village of Acme, or 50 miles N.E. of the city of Calgary, Alberta. The house had no electricity, no in-door plumbing and my only entertainment was a large radio which was operated by a car battery. The evening began with the 6 pm news, followed by programs – Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, plus adventures of – Hopalong Cassidy and Rin Tin Tin.

Saturday became a special day as we were off to Acme, my father drink beer with farmer friends, and mom and I shopped, which included a small treat of candy. My father always purchased the Saturday edition of the “Toronto Star” newspaper, which included a center section with color comics and photo illustrated stories on Canadian and world events. These two forms of entertainment played a major role in my future life and introduced me to the world of WW II aviation and art.

In 1947, in a newspaper, I saw a pattern for making a child’s uniform based on the airmen of the WW II RCAF, and I wanted it. In those days my mother made most of our clothing on the Singer sewing machine, and my request was soon fulfilled. On a train trip to Vancouver, B.C., I proudly wore my new RCAF uniform. On the return trip to Calgary I met a new friend by the name of Patsy Gibson.

Preface 1

I had no idea pretty girls, aviation, and the Royal Canadian Air Force would soon become part of my future adult life.

As soon as I learned to read, American aviation comic books became my obsession, and from these I was first introduced to a nude lady painted on the side of a B-17 Flying Fortress. Born with a self-talent for drawing, I was soon doing sketches of aircraft with ladies on the nose, which presented me with many unanswered questions. This sparked the very beginning of my fifty years of research and painting of aviation nose art. In 1952, at age eight, I purchased a comic book titled “The American Air Forces” and this introduced me to the world of the German V-2 rocket and American space era.

Preface 2

It is amazing how true this 1952 comic drawing became the present day era. As a pre-teen in late-1956, I was drawn into the American-Russian Cold War and fight for the conquest of space. I began to purchase book material and learn as much as I could about rockets and who was who in the back and forth space wars. I began to slowly understand that WW II Peenemunde German rocket technology was at work against each other.

This marked my first introduction to the history of the German Army Rocket program, Wernher von Braun, Peenemunde, and the A4 [V-2] rocket. I can recall my early mixed feelings of excitement and shock to learn that the technical achievements in rocketry at Fort Bliss, Texas, was not American but in fact that of the German rocket scientists who surrendered to the American Army in 1945. Having grown up reading American comic books, this young Canadian believed the United States had won WW II and were also the rocket experts in the world. Boy was I wrong, on both accounts. This proved to be a very important learning curve for my upcoming research into aviation WW II nose art. One of the space publications I purchased featured a photo of a captured V-2 rocket at White Sands, New Mexico, launched on 10 May 1946. The rocket tail contained art of a fully nude lady astride a V-2 rocket.

Preface 3

The questions surrounding this A/4 [V-2] tail art would not become clear until 2010, when I learned it was painted by a German/American named Gerd de Beek.

In 1957, we received electric power on the farm, and our first 10 inch black and white television set. From this date on my life changed, and I would live and breathe the American Space program. I was thrilled to watch a televised space rocket launch, and believe the first I witnessed came on 31 January 1958, America’s first orbiting satellite. On 29 June 1962, I joined the Canadian Army [Canadian Provost Corps] Military Police, and recruit training began at Camp Borden, Ontario, 7 July. By the middle of October we were reaching the end of our five month basic army training, when the “Missile Crisis in Cuba” began. Suddenly, we were all confined to quarters and told World War Three was about to begin. On 22 October we gathered in a Mess hall to watch President John F. Kennedy address the American public. Five days later a Russian surface-to-air missile shot down a U.S. [U-2] spy plane, over the eastern part of Cuba. I remember explaining to our platoon members how the Americans received the best of the German V-2 rocket scientists, but it seemed the Russian Germans were not only leading in the space race, they seemed to also have the edge in surface-to-air missiles. Tensions cooled on 28 October and I began my new military career in December 1963.

On 21 December 1963, serious violence [with death] erupted on the island of Cyprus, between the Turkish and Greek Cypriots. In early 1964, the United Nations was asked to intervene and prevent total civil war. The first U.N. troops arrived in March 1964, with a rotation period of three months, which was later expanded to six months in 1965. In late October 1965, I arrived on the island of Cyprus as a corporal in the U.N. Military Police, stationed at Nicosia. The Military Police section came under control of the British Contingent, with headquarters and living quarters situated at UNFICYP – sector 2 at Wolseley Barracks. The camp had been in the Turkish sector of Nicosia and had been abandoned for at least a year. After a huge cleanup, which including painting all the walls, I began to decorate our living quarters with my very first large wall art. The art included the Canadian flag, Calgary Stampede, NHL hockey, CFL football, and pin-up girls. My art produced a surprising response from all ranks in our unit and for our 1965 Christmas the C.O. requested I do a head table mural style painting. I painted a Santa Claus wearing a Military Police helmet, surrounded by the country emblems of the six contingents, and a Merry Christmas 1965.

Preface 4

This simple painting spurred the beginnings of my research into WW II aviation ‘nose art’, which would last for the next 45 years. This also included WWII German Nazi era Peenemunde tail rocket art research and the history of the forgotten artist Gerd de Beek.

Copyright  Clarence  Simonsen  2016