Published: 12:02, 12 October 2018
| Updated: 18:03, 12 October 2018
Excavations are underway on a German cruise missile from the Second World War which was shot down by a pilot in mid-air and fell into a Kentish wood.
Some 74 years after it was hit on August 6, 1944, the largely-intact wreckage found in Packing Wood, near Hamstreet outside Ashford, is being surveyed to reveal the aim of the V-1 rocket's mission.
Archaeologists are digging out the crater and metallic remains of the missile, which was hit from the sky by a Polish allied fighter.
VIDEO: WW2 Doodlebug excavated
The world's first cruise missile, V-1 rockets were mostly launched from ramps in German-occupied territory and are remembered for the loud buzzing sound they made as they flew towards key targets in South East Britain - earning them the nicknames 'doodlebug' and 'buzz-bomb'.
The terror of those on the ground ramped up once the noise stopped abruptly, as this signified that the flying bomb would soon hit its intended target.
Over the nine months that V-1s, or Vergeltungswaffe 1 in German, were fired at England, 9,521 rockets were employed with more than a hundred hitting the country each day at the peak of their operation.
Reaching a maximum speed of 400mph and with a range of 160 miles, the so-called 'Vengeance weapons' killed 6,184 in total and caused nearly three times as many injuries.
The model being uncovered today was felled by a Polish pilot named F/Sgt. Donocik, and may shed more light on the eight-metre-long machines.
Award-winning archaeologist Colin Welch and his brother Sean are co-ordinating today's dig. Colin said: "The major target for these missiles most probably was London.
"Kent was never a target and the V-1s that fell were either brought down by fighter aircraft, anti-aircraft gun-fire, the balloon barrage or malfunction of the device.
"This site at Packing Wood is remarkable as it appears that the missile crashed pretty cleanly in that its remains are within the centre of the crater.
"It is very exciting to be conducting this dig which will allow us identify in what direction the impact occurred.
"It will also help us to fully record the investigation and ensure that the documentation is available for future researchers.
"Any remains uncovered will be used in future displays and exhibits will be used within our much larger project of the V weapon campaign against the UK.
"It may also help us to work out how these materials have survived after over 70 years - and after the detonation of a ton of high explosives."
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