Great story in this obituary about a Foreign Material Acquisition Operation in the summer of 1944, when a V2 rocket was recovered from Poland. Unarmed DC-3 Dakota from Brindisi, Italy, fitted with extra fuel tanks and flew to a remote clearing in southern Poland. After some adventures on the ground, the rocket was recovered.
No guesses please for working out what available fluids were used to fill the hydraulic reservoirs on the plane’s undercarriage retraction system.
More details of the operation can be found here. I’m fascinated by the chain of Polish resistance cells set up to recover the test V2s from the Polish countryside before the Germans got there. Note that in this case they simply pushed the rocket under the bog in which it had landed to hide it before retuning later to dismantle it. No mean feat.
The dismantled rocket had 25,000 parts and included a very new guidance system. There is some suggestion that a spoof radio guidance station, set up in Poland caused the rocket to land away from its intended test target, permitting the resistance to recover the rocket. The rocket landed about 200 miles from where it was picked up and all the pieces were smuggled by the resistance, including photographs of the dismantling process to the pick up point, very often in sacks on bicycles. The Poles had already conducted significant analysis on the control system and fuel system.
Remember, this rocket was recovered in July 1944, two months before the first V2 was targeted on England