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A friend sent me a photo of the V-1 flying bomb on display at the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo. What's the black painted rectangle on the side of the fuselage?

fuselage of V-1 flying bomb

The writing isn't much help... Nicht auftreten is the German equivalent of "No step," but I don't know what Abstellpallung means, except that abstellen is "to cut off / shut down." I can't find Pallung in any German dictionary. The label appears to be pointing to the black rectangle, which appears to just be painted on.

I also can't find this rectangle in online V-1 photos.

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  • $\begingroup$ Pallung: de.academic.ru/dic.nsf/dewiki/1072361 $\endgroup$ – Spehro Pefhany Aug 12 at 3:32
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    $\begingroup$ "abstellen" also means to put down something. $\endgroup$ – Polygnome Aug 12 at 6:19
  • $\begingroup$ "Doppelpallung" appears in the print further back and translates as "double layering", which may refer to the outer shell of the vehicle. The location of "abstellpallung N Herkules" could refer to the warhead? $\endgroup$ – Robert DiGiovanni Aug 12 at 12:01
  • $\begingroup$ it's just a "hard point" - exactly like the jack point on a car. $\endgroup$ – Fattie Aug 13 at 10:55
  • $\begingroup$ Any possibility the word is "Abstellpassung", using old german ortography rules that differentiate two types of "s", with the "other s" looking very much like "f" and by extension "l" in some fonts? $\endgroup$ – rackandboneman Aug 14 at 8:49
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A "Pallung" is a piece of wood (or something similar) that prevents ships (or something similar) from falling over when they are on land. "abstellen" means to put something down (such as luggage) or into storage. There are some recent articles that contain the word "Pallung" on google news, such as this one.

Assuming that the book depicted in this pdf is authentic, you can see what an Abstellpallung for a V1 looks like on page 29, indicated by the letters b and c:

Excerpt from V1 manual with about putting the V1 onto a storage "Pallung"

Note that the text twice says "Markierung am Rumpf beachten!" (mind the markings on the fuselage), which probably corresponds to the black rectangles mentioned by the OP.


(Some native German users have indicated that they have never heard the word. Neither have I, until today. I am not sure about other languages, but in German, some domains have very specific vocabulary that a layman will almost never get in contact with. One example of this is anything connected with ships, another one is hunting, and there are probably some more. The manual contains another example just in the preceding sections (what does "heißen" mean here?). So "I have never heard the word" may just mean that someone is not familiar with some particular domain.)

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    $\begingroup$ Nice find! Please do add the image, as it seems to provide exactly the answer to the question. And, welcome to av.se! $\endgroup$ – Ralph J Aug 12 at 13:54
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    $\begingroup$ @Jan German "heißen" also can means to hoist, used for handling heavy objects. For hoisting a flag or sail, the german word is "hissen" - looks like a common root. $\endgroup$ – Bobby J Aug 12 at 21:36
  • $\begingroup$ Oh wow. I looked at the media in that category on Commons, I did not notice the PDFs with multiple pages. $\endgroup$ – Bergi Aug 12 at 21:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Bobby: I was able to figure out the meaning on my own (because of the pictures), but not the possible common root. Thanks $\endgroup$ – Jan Aug 12 at 22:56
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    $\begingroup$ @jcollum Correct. $\endgroup$ – Tonny Aug 14 at 12:58
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abstellen is "to cut off / shut down."

That's one meaning of the word, what we need here is "putting down", "parking" or "putting in storage".

I don't know what Abstellpallung means. I can't find Pallung in any German dictionary.

Me neither. It seems to be a quite rare nautical term, meaning "strutting", "bracing" or "propping"1. A "Palle" is a (wooden) support block on which ships would rest in a dry dock.

The closest match I found in an actual dictionary is the adjective "pall" from the Low German language [1] [2] which means "steif" or "fest" (stiff/firm) in German, and certainly could also be used as a verb ("make firm", to strut). Even the Duden knows the noun "Pall" from the same word origin, as nautical term for a pawl (ratchet) that fastens a capstan.

What's the black painted rectangle on the side of the fuselage?

It appears to be the point where the fuselage is meant to rest on a support frame for storage. I would guess that location is reinforced by the internal structure2, like @PeterKämpf said, for jacking it up.

1: Not sure what the subtle differences between these terms are, I'm not a native English speaker.
2: Or not.

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  • $\begingroup$ Strutting: is to brace something (so equivalent to “bracing”) (but rarely used). Bracing: making a structure firmer with additional forms of support. Generally considered to be extra support in addition to some existing structure. Propping: the most accurate word here I think, meaning using an object to keep something in position. Said object is considered a “prop”; for example, in construction one would use an “Acrow prop” to temporarily hold a wall, perhaps. $\endgroup$ – Tim Aug 12 at 7:00
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    $\begingroup$ @Tim Thanks! Another term I found is shoring. I think in this case it is indeed additional support that's only used when in storage. We can also find on some images "Rollpallung" and "Doppelpallung", the points where it is cradled on a roll cart for moving (Wikimedia Commons has some original pictures of that). $\endgroup$ – Bergi Aug 12 at 9:13
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    $\begingroup$ By the way, German nautical terms being of Low German origin is neither rare nor coincidental. It also explains why they seem strange to many Germans. $\endgroup$ – Carsten S Aug 12 at 15:53
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Contrary to some other answers Palle is actually a real German word, though it is used mostly in context of shipyards. A Palle is a wooden or concrete block on which ships are resting in drydock.

See also this German Wikipedia entry: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palle

A 'Abstellpallung' thus means a location one the V-1 where one can safely support it on a Palle for storage or maintenance. The black rectangle marks that location.

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  • $\begingroup$ Sounds like English "pallet" which many people will think means an artists pallet (for paint) but more broadly is a (usually wooden) structure for carrying something else. Pallets are very commonly used for all kinds of shipping of goods. $\endgroup$ – UuDdLrLrSs Aug 12 at 19:27
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    $\begingroup$ @UuDdLrLrSs The last thing I would think of when hearing pallet is the board an artist uses to hold their paint. $\endgroup$ – DKNguyen Aug 12 at 23:08
  • $\begingroup$ @DKNguyen maybe I watched too much Bob Ross when I was a kid :) $\endgroup$ – UuDdLrLrSs Aug 12 at 23:15
  • $\begingroup$ @UuDdLrLrSs Less Bob Ross, more part time jobs as kid. $\endgroup$ – DKNguyen Aug 12 at 23:15
  • $\begingroup$ @DKNguyen ironically I have loads of pallets now, for stacking firewood and stuff. But I do very little painting! $\endgroup$ – UuDdLrLrSs Aug 12 at 23:16
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"Abstellpallung" isn't a word in German.

If you search the web for this word, you will find lots of links to the V-1, and it seems this word has been exclusively used on restored V-1 in several museums. But nowhere else.

The conclusion is clear: This is the result of a poor restoration and everyone seems to have copied this from its original source. Which was not a V-1, but some ignorant restorer.

Edit: I stand corrected. While extremely unusual, Palle or Pallung seems to be used for wooden blocks on which a ship rests. But outside of restored V-1s in museums it is not used in the context of German WW II aircraft, as fas as I know. I'd be interested to see evidence to the contrary, though.

You will also see that the original word at this location is "Hier aufbocken Auf Abstellbock" which is proper German (except for the capital A in Auf) and means "Jack up here on parking trestle". But even the vey unusual "Abstellpallung" will be found, but at a much more forward location.

V-1 in the Imperial War Museum, Duxford

V-1 in the Imperial War Museum, Duxford (picture source)

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    $\begingroup$ I have to disagree. While "Pallung" is not a common word, it still seems to be a valid German nautical word. A definition I found at tis-gdv.de/tis/taz/p/pallung-htm: "Pallung ist aber auch die Bezeichnung für Stapelhölzer, auf denen ein Schiff im Dock oder auf der Helling liegt." Wikipedia does know a "Palle", and the -ung form for the usage of said pieces is not really far fetched. $\endgroup$ – Bergi Aug 12 at 0:39
  • $\begingroup$ If you search for "Pallung" on google news, you can find some German newspaper articles (and a few indonesian ones) that contain the word. Incidentically, most of these articles seem to be from areas that are not that far from Peenemünde (Wolgast and Rostock) $\endgroup$ – Jan Aug 12 at 6:59
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    $\begingroup$ @Jan, yes it is. A very common sign in Germany is "Rasen nicht betreten!" → "do not step onto the lawn" (better: keep off the grass). No matter how careful you are. ;-) $\endgroup$ – PerlDuck Aug 12 at 7:27
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    $\begingroup$ @Taschi, "auftreten" is fine here I'd say. Feels a bit archaic to me but is even nowadays used in that sense, eg. in gelenk-klinik.de/fuss/fussschmerzen-fersenschmerzen.html or sportega.de/s/laufschuhe-drop-auftreten-2365 $\endgroup$ – WolfgangGroiss Aug 12 at 9:12
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    $\begingroup$ Jan posted the correct answer - although it needs some rework when he is back on desktop. In that document the word is mentioned quite often and it seems pretty authentic. $\endgroup$ – Arsenal Aug 12 at 14:15
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Abstellpallung means storage pallet in English, there is a similar marking on the right side opposite that one in the picture as well as left and right rear. These are likely the places where the storage/transport pallet was supposed to contact the weapon structure.

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    $\begingroup$ This is wrong. While "Abstell-" means "storage" in German (e. g. "Abstellkammer", literally "storage chamber"), the word "Pallung" does not exist in German. I have not heard it in three decades of my life, and the Duden does not know of it either. Incidentally, pallets are called "Paletten" (singular "Palette") in German. $\endgroup$ – user50571 Aug 11 at 21:52
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    $\begingroup$ @Taschi The Duden does know "Pall", with origin "niederdeutsch, zu: pal(l) = steif, fest", so a meaning of "Versteifung"/"Aussteifung" doesn't seem wrong. $\endgroup$ – Bergi Aug 12 at 0:45
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    $\begingroup$ @Taschi But yeah, it doesn't mean "pallet" for sure. I'd probably translate it as strutting or bracing. $\endgroup$ – Bergi Aug 12 at 0:50
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    $\begingroup$ Amazing how these translations are not exact because the English word is different. A pallet is obviously a "storage support": Abstellpallung. Pallets are made to keep product from being in contact with the ground, and for ease of movement (with fork lifts). $\endgroup$ – Robert DiGiovanni Aug 12 at 13:16
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You can just make out the writing (unreadable) and downward pointing arrow on this photograph.

Source https://www.historyanswers.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Credi-Bundesarchiv-Bild-146-1973-029A-24A-Lysiak-CC-BY-SA.jpg

enter image description here

This second photo shows the other side (different personnel so not a mirror image). This supports the idea of it indicating a a pair of strong points for storage.

enter image description here

In the second photo, you can see what appears to be pale-coloured writing on the section just after the nose cone. Maybe an image processing expert could help.

I'll try asking on a suitable stack exchange!


Finally - this photo shows what is claimed to be a 1944 photo of a much cruder-looking missile. If there is any writing in that area, it appears to be hand-painted.

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  • $\begingroup$ Otherwise, great info! +1 $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Aug 12 at 16:10
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    $\begingroup$ @FreeMan - Have I done it right? Or should there be more description? $\endgroup$ – chasly - reinstate Monica Aug 12 at 16:22
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    $\begingroup$ Excellent. By hovering, I can see that it's a gettyimmages.com link. $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Aug 12 at 16:24
  • $\begingroup$ Amazing info here ! $\endgroup$ – Fattie Aug 13 at 11:02

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