Test Stand VII (German: Prüfstand VII, P-7) was the principal V-2 rocket testing facility at Peenemünde and was capable of static firing of rocket motors up to 200 tons thrust. Notable events at the site include the first successful V-2 launch on October 3, 1942, visits by German military leaders, and Allied reconnaissance overflights and bombing.
While the elliptical sand wall was for blocking high sea winds and blown sand, concrete structures were integrated into the wall and under the ground to protect equipment and personnel from rocket explosions and enemy bombing (a sand-filled dummy warhead, called "the elephant", was normally used). A large gap in the wall allowed easy entry by vehicles (particularly railcars with propellants), and an open tunnel through the ellipse wall at the narrower southern end also allowed entry. Integrated into the ellipse wall next to the tunnel was a massive observation and measuring blockhouse containing the control center. The control center had a double door with a bulletproof glass window from which an observer maintained telephone communication with the Telemetering Building at a remote location from P-7. A receiver in a lighthouse near Koserow provided telemetry from rockets with the Wolman System for Doppler tracking. For rockets that used radio control for V-2 engine cutoff, the Brennschluss equipment included a transmitter on the bank of the Peene about from P-7 and the Doppler radar at Lubmin (a motorized Würzburg radar, the "rhinoceros").
The control room also had switchboards, a row of four periscopes, manometers, frequency gauges, voltmeters and ampmeters, green/red/white signal lamps, and switches at the propulsion console and guidance panel to dynamically display approximately 15 measurement points within the rocket. Additionally, the control room had a big "X-time" countdown clock that display the time until launch, which was announced via loudspeakers as "X minus four minutes", etc. In addition to the control room, the blockhouse also contained offices, a conference room, a small dormitory with double bunks and an adjoining shower, a wash room, and a workshop. A long underground corridor led from the measurement blockhouse to a room in the concrete foundation by the flame pit, and multiple rows of measurement cables covered the walls of the tunnel. A different gradually rising tunnel led from the long flame pit room to the exterior of the arena near the pumphouse (Pumpenhaus) . Near the pumphouse were high wooden towers to cool the water, and high tanks for the recooling water were integrated into the ellipse wall.
Duncan Sandys' first photographic reconnaissance report on Peenemünde was circulated on April 29, 1943, which identifies that the lack of power-station activity (Germany had installed electrostatic dust and smoke removers on the power station near Kölpin) indicates that "The circular and elliptical constructions are probably for the testing of explosives and projectiles. … In view of the above, it is clear that a heavy long-range rocket is not an immediate threat." Then on May 14, an "unusually high level of activity" was visible at "the Ellipse" on photos from two sorties on May 14, which was the date the Reich Director of Manpower (Gauleiter Fritz Sauckel) was a distinguished visitor at a launch.
In addition to not identifying the horizontal flames in the P-7 trenches during the April 22 test firing, British intelligence failed to identify objects on subsequent photographs of June 12 & June 23, 1943 as rockets until 1944. Nevertheless, British suspicions that Peenemünde was involved with secret weapons prompted RAF Operation Hydra bombing in August 1943. The P-7 blockhouse roof was reinforced afterward, and in a 1944 US 8th Air Force raid, the blockhouse occupants suffered one injury when a periscope fell.
The last V-2 launch at Peenemünde was in February 1945, and on May 5, 1945, the 2nd Belorussian Front under General Konstantin Rokossovsky captured the port of Swinemünde and the Usedom island. Russian infantry under Major Anatole Vavilov stormed Peenemünde and found it "75 per cent wreckage" (the research buildings and test stands had been demolished.) A former adjutant at Peenemünde, Oberstleutnant Richar Rumschöttel, and his wife were killed during the attack, and Vavilov had orders to destroy the facility.
Patent Application Titled "Test Stand for the Dynamic Testing of an Individual Running Gear Component or of a Complete Axle System of a Motor Vehicle, and Also a Method for Testing upon Said Test Stan
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Development of a Modular Test Stand for the Measuring of Dynamic Muscular Strain of Test Persons for the Simulation in Digital Human Models
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