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Transcription: [00:06:35]
{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
My thesis, or my work, I wrote up a little delayed and so I got my degree in March '38.

[00:06:43]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
So, you were already an 'Assistent'—

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
—Yes.

{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
—before that time, which is of course a good position.

[00:06:50]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
What was your field then? And who was your advisors, or — advisor?

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
—At that time I was at the Lehrstuhl für Elektromaschinenbau — that means electrical machinery. And my professor was Professor Franklin Punga.

[00:07:06]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
What was, how is the last name spelled?

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
P-U-N-G-A. He was very famous in his field.

[00:07:16]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
You considered Darmstadt a superior institution — to Stuttgart?

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
—At that time, yes.

[00:07:23]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
Where would it rank in among all the Technische Hochschulen, or is such a ranking possible?

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
At that time, I considered Darmstadt and Berlin equivalent, as the very best.

[00:07:38]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
And you were working in heavy current electrical generation and that kind of thing, or what were you working — what was your area?

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
Yes. This is correct.

[00:07:51]
But, as a hobby, I had taken on also 'control' of electrical machinery, like, voltage control, frequency control, and so on. This was the only way to go into the field of control. So, at that time I had, as much as it was possible, already specified to go into this area.

[00:08:13]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
Which would have brought you then into contact with the electronics — basically, vacuum tube electronics—

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
Right. Exactly. Right. Yes.

{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
—to some extent.

[00:08:23]
Was that, that was unusual for someone involved on the heavy current side — power generation side?

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
—Not necessarily, because there was obvious, that there is a need for precision control in the future. And a specific problem was the synchronization of large networks.

[00:08:48]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
OK. So, you started as an 'Assistent' in '37 or so—

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
Right.

{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
When you're finishing.

[00:08:57]
In the same field, with the same person? Or did you move?

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
I could not finish in that field because, when, in '39 the war broke out. I was drafted into the army.

[00:09:11]
And by that time my professor learned that there is a demand for engineers, and he recommended, or he gave my name, to the people in Peenemünde. Thus, I was pulled out of the army even before I left Germany for any war activities. I was pulled out and started with my work as a civilian in '39, actually 1st of December '39, in Peenemünde.

[00:09:45]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
So, was that person, was that Punga again?

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
Uh, Punga had recommended me for this. But then I, in Peenemünde, I worked under Dr. Steinhoff.

[00:10:01]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
That's 'cause I'm interested in -- I know that, of all the Technische Hochschulen, Darmstadt has the largest role in Peenemünde's research.

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
Yes, because the explanation for this -- you might have heard this before -- is because Dr. Steinhoff and others in Peenemünde had excellent relations to the Technische Hochschule in Darmstadt, and Dr. Steinhoff

[00:10:23]
requested, therefore, if there are people who can be recommended for working in Peenemünde, he wanted to have the names from the professors in Darmstadt.

[00:10:37]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
So, I talked to-- who else, from Darmstadt? I'm trying to remember now.

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
Dr. Hölzer?

{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
Hoelzer, yes. I talked to him. I talked to him, how he came into the business.

[00:10:50]
Unfortunately, as I said, I haven't got his transcript from — the interview yet.

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
—There are many. Did you talk to Mr. Hoberg?

{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
No, not yet.

[00:10:57]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
But I certainly saw from what they were describing that it had developed, not so much because, it doesn't seem anyway that Darmstadt was -- or Dresden, which probably had the second largest role -- was picked out for a particular reason, so much as it was a kind of network. That is, people went back to their original Doktorvaters or supervisors, and so forth, and said, "Who have you got?" or "Can you help me?"

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
Yes, that's right.

[00:11:28]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
So, you think then, obviously, of course, Darmstadt if it is one of the best, that might also be a factor. But it was largely a sort of network started because Steinhoff went to-- at least in the electronics and guidance and control.

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
Right.

[00:11:49]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
This didn't come about because of the assignment of particular research projects to Darmstadt after — September, '39?

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
—No, this happened later. This happened afterwards, after so many people from Darmstadt started to work in Peenemünde, when they knew, again, who is the best place to do research work. And that's why contracts were given then, to Darmstadt.

[00:12:14]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
Yeah, because, I know there's that so-called "Tag der Weisheit" in September '39. This is where they first started bringing people in large numbers into Peenemünde — from the universities.

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
—Right.

[00:12:31]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
See, I guess I was under the false impression that you had been involved in, that you had come from that side, that you had been at the university and been brought in; but actually you were assigned to Peenemünde itself and were an employee of Peenemünde.

[00:12:46]
{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
Well, to use -- I don't know the perfect English translation for this, I was "Dienstverpflichtet". You know this term? And, as such, I was paid by Peenemünde, but had immediately the right at the end of the war to return to Darmstadt into my former position.

[00:13:08]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
So, technically, you were kind of on loan—

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
—Yes.

{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
—from the university, and on loan from the army also.

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
Correct. Correct.

[00:13:19]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
So you never, you were just in basic training or something and then almost immediately assigned into what was called "BSM", right—?

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
Correct.

{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
—into the electronics and guidance laboratory.

[00:13:35]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
When you went, you had no previous knowledge of Peenemünde's existence, or ?

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
No. Nothing. It was a completely new situation for me.

[00:13:48]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
Did you have any knowledge of, or had paid any attention to the rocket?

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
From a hobby viewpoint, yes, very much so. But I had no idea about the progress that had been made in the meantime and I was astonished about what I saw then in Peenemünde.

[00:14:06]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
From the hobby standpoint, would you say; What do you mean? What did you observe in the late '20s? I'm sorry to—

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
—Well, I read, of course, whatever was available in this field, like, the work of Valier and others.

[00:14:20]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
Yeah, because I've written an article about that period in the late '20s, where I tried to look at how it fit into Weimar, into the Weimar Republic, but—

[00:14:29]
And, well, you just would say that it was a fascination as a teenage boy with—

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
Yes.

{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
—with Val, with Oberth, and with the -- Did you see "Frau im Mond" at that time?

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
No, no I didn't.

{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
You didn't see the movie.

[00:14:44]
But, in effect, it was accidental then — that you were assigned to Peenemünde?

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
—That's right, yes. —Right.

{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
I suppose—

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
—Just on recommendation of my professor.

[00:14:56]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
There would have been a considerable gap probably, because, in the space flight, in the rocket thing, because you wouldn't have heard much about it, right, during the Third Reich there wasn't much said—

[00:15:10]
{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
On the other side, don't forget, our education was very broad. I had excellent lectures, received in the field of gyro-dynamics, as far as that time you could get. And so, whatever was available at that time was not basically new to me. On the other side, there wasn't much known, and we had to start from scratch in many areas.

[00:15:37]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
What I'm actually asking you here is not the technical side, which I want to get to, but, you probably hadn't thought much about space flight or rocketry since — the late '20s, right?

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
—Not at all, no. —I didn't think that it was so close at that time.

[00:15:53]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
It had disappeared as an issue in many ways; under the Third Reich, had sort of gone down and disappeared out of the media.

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
Right - Yes - Yeah - Correct.

[00:16:01]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
OK. So, you came in 1939 and you had not known Steinhoff beforehand?

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
No.

[00:16:09]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
He had been in another institute or something — I assume.

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
—That's right, yeah.

{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
At Darmstadt.

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
Yeah, correct.

[00:16:18]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
And, you arrived in, I'm trying to remember, did you say — December the 1st?

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
—1st of December.

{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
1st of December, 1939.

[00:16:26]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
What was your first impression of the place, of the organization of Steinhoff, and so forth?

[00:16:33]
{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
Well, I was at the beginning told: we don't even have yet a laboratory where you can experiment, make experiments, where you should get familiar with
the control components. So, I was told, the best is you get an assignment from us, to go to one of our companies-- and this was the Kreiselgeräte in Berlin-Zehlendorf. And I was assigned Berlin-Zehlendorf for three months, till Easter 1940, just to get familiar what Kreiselgeräte had been doing at that time.

[00:17:11]
The intent was that afterwards I go in the same way to Siemens-Halske. However, since there was some pressure to continue with the building up of the laboratory in Peenemünde, I had been only for about a little over a week when afterwards, in Siemens-Halske, and then I had to start building up the laboratory in Peenemünde, what later became then, the control laboratory.

[00:17:44]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
Of course I had interviewed Dr. Fritz Mueller for a long period, time in November. So you were assigned then in the same unit that he was working in, I assume.

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
Yes.

[00:18:02]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
And working on the, looking at how the platforms that were built for A-5, I assume, right?

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
—Right. Yeah.

{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
—at that, the state of, SG-52 and—

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
—Yes, and at that time, there was already some idea about SG-66. —It was later then, the secondary platform for the only real stabilized platform for the V-2.

[00:18:29]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
So, this would be sort of December '39 through to March '40 - You had some kind of definition of what SG-66 would look like—

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
—Yes.

{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
—on paper only.

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
Not only this, but also how to test the dynamics of the missile.

[00:18:50]
See, at that time we had no idea yet how to control, in a stable form, one axis of a rocket. And so we had to develop analogue computers and Kreiselgeräte had the first analogue kind of simulation of one axis of the V-2 or, at that time, the A-4. And this method of simulation was then used first also in Peenemünde.

[00:19:25]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
And this you experienced at Berlin-Zehlendorf factory?

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
Right. Correct.

[00:19:32]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
And that was, the simulation was a gyro being put on some kind of table — tilt table? — Something like that?

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
—Yes, right. —And the rate gyro. For precision, you needed a positioning gyro, and for the angular rate, to damp or to have stable behavior, you had to have a rate gyro.

[00:19:58]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
So you would have the position gyro and the rate gyro on a table that was, a tilt table that was being moved—

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
—Upon one axis—

{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
—and the control signals being sent to produce by those gyros being sent to equipment which you could—

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
—to, let's say, electronic amplifiers, and from there to the servomotor, that showed then the reaction on the simulator, and caused a damping of the motions if you had given a disturbance.

[00:20:30]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
Was the damping pretty successful at that point?

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
Oh yes. —The only thing was, it was not very accurate, and this required large tolerances, therefore, in stability, because we could not have yet at that time high performance of the simulation. And this was a first step to go in Peenemünde, to improve the analogue simulation reducing friction in the device and so on.

[00:21:07]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
And improving, I suppose, a servomotor response which was slow.

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
—Same way. —We had a lot of problems with the time constants of the servomotors, and even the servomotor controller.

[00:21:19]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
So although you would damp the motion, successfully damp the motion of the table, I assume that you had a number of oscillations until you received that damping — so that the reaction time was slow and there were errors that had to be eliminated.

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
—Correct. Correct. Yeah. Right.

[00:21:41]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
So you went back to -- Let me first ask you a question about the Siemens-Halske system. At that point, I'm not entirely clear on just when they came into, came into consideration. I guess it's some time in '38, but that would be too far before your time to have known.

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
I could not try to give you any elaborate information on that.

[00:22:09]
I only know that they were involved. But at that time I did not see, for instance, any simulation equipment, to test the equipment of Siemens-Halske, and that's where we started, you knew that, we tested their equipment in Peenemünde.

[00:22:27]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
So you felt that they didn't have the capability to test their own simulation, even one axis?

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
No. Well, there was [[mic noise]] group simulation [[?]] we had the whole rocket suspended on one axis [[mic noise]].

[00:22:55]
One method to test before the laboratory was established was to suspend the rocket in about the center of gravity and have it moveable about one axis, the axis to be controlled. And then we had springs attached to simulate the aerodynamic forces, the restoring forces, and to give the system its own frequency, natural frequency. And then the control was exercised through the jet vanes on the [[moving?]] rocket. A deflection, an initial deflection of the vanes caused a disturbance to our signal, and then the system had to move back into its desired, or [[?]], position, in a dynamically stable way. And this was the only method, when I came to Peenemünde which was used to test the dynamic behavior of the control system. —This was very expensive of course and cumbersome, because each time you had to have the engine operating.

[00:24:15]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
And that would have been done with an A-5, right? Because the A-4 wouldn't have existed even—

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
—Yes. That's right.

{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
—until 1941.

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
It was all done on the A-5.

[00:24:24]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
So you would have these simulations, and you did not at that time have in the laboratory, at least because you were building the laboratory, had not had even what Kreiselgeräte had, in terms of a tilt table.

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
Correct.

[00:24:38]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
So you were then brought back to build up that portion of the guidance and control laboratory?

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
Yes.

[00:24:47]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
So, your first task then in early '40 at BSM under Steinhoff was building up this capability of simulation—

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
Correct.

{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
—in one axis.

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
Correct.

[00:25:03]
{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
And so, did you have to hire new people to do that — or did you organize resources?

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
—Actually several people worked on this.

[00:25:12]
I reported to a Mr. Scher, who—

{SPEAKER name="MICHAEL NEUFELD"}
How is the name spelled, for the transcript?

{SPEAKER name="WALTER HAEUSSERMANN"}
S-C-H-E-R, or E-E-R, I'm not too sure. I think it was S-C-H-E-R. And he did not come to the States after the war. And he went to one of the museums in Darmstadt afterwards. And he reported actually to Dr. Steinhoff.

[00:25:44]
Now, working in this group were several people. Helmut Hoelzer, as you probably know already, had, always had the idea it was easier to get the angular rate from the attitude information by differentiating this, and so he had been working on this. And this was one of the schemes we tested out on the analogue simulation equipment, in the laboratory. —We thought we had to have several engineers. For instance, we had mechanical engineers and designers who worked on the equipment itself. Mr. Josef Boehm was quite involved in this.

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