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Lance Emblem

The origins of the Lance missile began when the first V-2 rocket struck London on September 8, 1944.  Germany had created the world's first ballistic missile. "During and after the war, the Allies scrambled to build missiles of their own -- often by scavenging parts from recovered V-2 rockets."  After 1945, the U.S. received immeasurable help when Von Braun, V-2 rocket creator, moved to the U.S.


Work on a U.S ballistic missile began in 1944.  With the assistance of V-2 technology, the Corporal would become the United States first ballistic missile capable of delivering Oppenheimer's nuclear bomb.  The Corporal served the U.S. Army from March of 1952 when the first batteries were activated to June 25, 1964 when the last unit was deactivated.

Honest John

In 1954 the Honest John was deployed as the first U.S. tactical nuclear missile.  This missile served until July of 1982 when it was declared obsolete.


On June 30, 1962 the first two Sergeant battalions were activated. Finally, in May of 1977 the last Sergeant battalion was deactivated leaving the Lance as the only short-range tactical nuclear missile.

Time Line

V-2 (1944-1945)
CORPORAL  (1952-1964)
HONEST JOHN (1954-1982)
SERGEANT  (1962-1977)
LANCE  (1973-1992)

On June 30, 1992, the last Lance Battalion stood down after both Presidents Bush and Gorbachev agreed to nuclear arms reductions.  At present, no U.S. short-range nuclear missiles are in operation.


The Redstone Arsenal is an excellent source of information on U.S. tactical missiles.

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