Right after Christmas of 1948, Gröttrup
and his closest associates including Umpfenbach, Albring, Blass, Wolff and Hoch returned to Podlipki for the second and last scientific review, NTS, of the G-1 rocket, which was held on December 28, 1948.
To his disappointment, Gröttrup
confirmed previous reports that Korolev's
team did receive official green light for the development of the successor to the A-4, designated the R-2.
During the NTS meeting, Gröttrup
drew the "line in the sand," saying that unless full-scale development and testing of the vehicle can be initiated, any further work on the G-1 would be pointless...
Realizing the seriousness of the visit, Gröttrup
associates rushed home to put on the official attire.
To approach the problem, the German team considered as many as 10 different configurations of single and multistage rockets; however, very early on Gröttrup
associates favored a concept of a one-stage rocket with the body in a shape of a slim cone.
diary entry dated April 18, 1949, or less then ten days after Ustinov's visit, Irmgard Gröttrup mentioned her
husband discussing "load-carrying cones."
In the following days, Helmut Gröttrup
described to his
wife the philosophy behind the new concept:
closest associates worked long hours to formulate the project, which became known as G-4
optimistically believed that he
would be soon invited back to Podlipki for further consultations.
In April 1950, there were more visitors from NII-88
with inquiries about the G-4
, however against all his
was not invited to any meetings in Podliki.
Soviet colleagues hinted that the project once again received positive reviews.
It was another deja vu for the Germans
, as they were not offered any responsible positions in the implementation of the project.
Inquires for various updates and studies of details related to the G-4
continued coming in from the "mainland" during 1950, however Germans started quickly loosing interest in the rocket they surely would not be allowed to build or see flying.
Yet, reluctantly they continued work on the project during 1950, once again submitting all the results to the officials from "mainland."
From bits and pieces of information, Gröttrup
knew that the R-14 was still generating interest at NII-88
as late as 1951, however he
was told nothing about any progress on the project.
Understanding the meaning of the trend, Gröttrup
called himself a "walking dictionary.
Pondering for ways out of their stalemate, Gröttrup and his associates discussed diplomatic means of refusing further work on missiles.
Citing health hazards associated with the test firing of engines burning toxic nitric acid, Gröttrup
refused to lead the project.
Although majority of Germans supported Gröttrup
, one of his
associates, whom Irmgard Gröttrup described as "crypto-communist," agreed to take charge of the work on island.
It is now known that Dr. Johannes Hoch was the person, who agreed to replace Gröttrup as the head of the German team.
"After that, everything went off like a well-rehearsed play," Mrs. Gröttrup
wrote, "a big conference, long speeches and finally Helmut
was asked again whether he
would be willing to solve the new problem.
position in a long speech, whereupon the Deputy Minister said: 'Since you are more interested in matters affecting the community than in large-scale problems, I shall put your services at the disposal of the Commandant for other work.
The loss of his
lifetime passion for rocketry did not come easy for Helmut Gröttrup
Sickness and drinking came as an immediate consequence.
Yet, many of his
German and Russian colleagues came to support his
"The friendliness of the Russian colleagues is amazing," Irmgard Gröttrup wrote, "it's pleasant to receive an appreciative handshake by a party member.
They still have some respect for integrity."
As no repressive actions against Gröttrup
soon resumed his
work at the ballistics department.
, Umpfenbach and Magnus were among remaining twenty.
and other families of German specialists crossed the German-Polish border on November 28, 1953. ( 64)
One word of Ustinov would be enough to subordinate Korolev to Gröttrup or to any other German, Soviet authorities deemed necessary.
were "shipped" to the Soviet-controlled East Germany, many of the repatriants, including Helmut Gröttrup
, made it to the West without much trouble.
As it often happens in history, the truth might lie in between: Germans
did not designed Sputnik or its rocket, however the ideas and concepts developed by Gröttrup’s team on Gorodomlya
did influence Soviet designers and thus accelerated their efforts.