The 2,60 meters length V3 for a gauge of 152mm, had a range of 130 kilometers
and could reach the incredible speed of 1.500 m/s. It was propelled
by a gun with high pressure makes of forty sections (127 meters length)
and of twenty-eight rooms with powder distributed along the tube. The
tests were estimated as a success though the tube of the gun burst once
all the three blows.
At at the beginning of 1943, the "gun of London", that Hitler
called the "pump high-pressure" (or HDP is Hochdruckpumpe),
was strongly supported by the German Minister for industry and the armament,
Albert Speer. It is besides him which conceived the idea of an underground
bunker to shelter up to 50 of these guns on the French coast of Pas-de-Calais.
Even the rate of shooting was envisaged: each gun was to draw every
five minutes, that is to say meadows of 600 projectiles per hour as
of the middle of 1944.
The weapon could be installed only on the part of the coast which advanced
more in direction of England. The selected site was to be a round hill
of more than 100 meters above the sea level.The ground was to be consisted
a resistant rock. Moreover, its situation was to be favourable as regards
Two sites were put in building site but that of Moyecques, more in the
west, less buried, was destroyed dice the first bombardments and was
The construction of the base of Mimoyecques required considerable work
and the use of a significant labour recruited by the Nazis with the
title of obligatory work. Several thousands of deportees of 17 different
nations (Jews, Germans common law criminal or right military, Polish,
Spanish, Italian, Belgian, Dutch, French, etc…) were enrôlés
of force in the boring of a tunnel of more than 600 meters and five
side galleries, under the direction of 450 minors of Rhur who directed
the control of the building site to more than 100 meters under ground.
The essential part of the installation was consisted the tilted galleries.
Four galleries were built in a first stage. It is probable that a fifth
gallery was envisaged in reserve. These galleries were tilted according
to an angle of 51 degrees and measured 150 meters length. They were
dug in direction of the objective. In fact the direction of each gallery
was slightly different, in order to reach a widened face. The very significant
dispersion of the not stabilized projectiles was largely enough to ensure
the in-depth required effect and in width.
The tilted galleries were approximately 2,50 meters wide and 3 meters
in height, arches included/understood, with a ground laid out in staircase.
It is in the medium of the gallery that the slope of shooting was to
be assembled. Each gallery sheltered six guns; the fire power assigned
with the installation was thus, in a first stage, of 24 pieces of ordnance,
which represented a considerable power.
For the power supply of the guns, a loading platform was planned all
the three or five meters. It is there that were to be held the teams
of being useful. Their task was going to consist in permanently loading
the cartridges in a given order. A cable car fixed at the vault of each
gallery was planned for the transport of the loads.
Taking into account the length of the tubes, there was to be in each
tilted gallery 30 or 50 loading platform. With four galleries, that
thus accounted for 120 or 200 platforms which would have been served
day and night. With the changing that represented at least 500 being
useful. Came to be added to it the teams of transport, the direction
of the shooting and the auxiliary personnel, which would have carried
the total staff complement to a minimum of 1200 men.
For the personnel, vast buildings were envisaged with the stage with
30 meters of depth. The ventilation of such a system of galleries raised
great difficulties, in particular the elimination of gases of explosion.
It was necessary moreover, to envisage vast rooms of storage of the
ammunition. They were built with mitigating 60 meters of depth. The
residences of the personnel and the rooms of storage were connected
by galleries; vertical circulation was ensured by elevators, spared
inside the hill.
Meadows of 6000 blows per day, with projectiles of a weight of approximately
140 kilogrammes, cartridges included/understood, that represented a
daily consumption of approximately 800 tons. One thought of making come
this enormous provisioning by railway. It was necessary for that to
establish a special connection with the Calais-Caffiers line. This strap
started from Caffiers, passed to the south of Landrethun-the-North,
crossed by a tunnel the hill of Mimoyecques, skirted the wood of the
Abbey and joined the principal line with Pihen-les-Guines. The tunnel
was with the stage with 30 meters of depth. Its entry was protected
by a door from steel against the glares from bombs. Only during July
1944, the station of Caffiers accepted 5.000 coaches, for the site of
Mimoyecques. For the case where the provisioning by rail would have
been stopped, the ammunition were to arrive by trucks. Those would have
returned in the railway tunnel for unloading and would have left by
the southern door. This exit was also to be protected by a door from
steel. One had envisaged deposits of truck with Desvres, St Omer, Boulogne
On the top of the hill, a rectangular loophole, formed of a gigantic
concrete flagstone five meters thickness whose mouth was to be closed
automatically by steel doors processed in the Krupp factories, of two
meters quarante-cinq thickness.
The installation was to be done in the greatest secrecy and had received
the code name "the Wiese" (meadow). Thus, the rock, at the
exit with the free air, was sprinkled with a product of green camouflage.
The men who worked on the surface had clothing of color dark green.
And the minors arrived the morning, before the paddle, in trucks and
did not set out again about it, the evening, that after laying down
But such an animation on the plate of Mimoyecques could not pass unperceived…
in particular from the French Resistance which warned the Staff Combined
in London of it. With the autumn 1943, a line of haystacks, hiding the
flues ventilating, whereas everywhere else the hay had returned, confirmed
the received information.
Dice November 1943, the first bombs fell, alas unnecessarily, transforming
the sector of Mimoyecques into lunar landscape. The following raids
made work difficult: power failures, disturbed routing of materials…
but without preventing the Germans with 150 meters under ground, to
continue the installation of the installations.
6 July 1944, preceded since the morning by a preparation by bombardments
which destroyed all the ANTI-AIRCRAFT DEFENCE, the 19 bombers of the
squadron Léonard Cheschire, the R.A.F, ravelled the ones after
the others, by a sunny time. 16 bombs "earthquake", of 5,4
tons each one, were released on the site, of which 7 touched the work.
One of these bombs penetrated in a 28 meters depth, found the tube tilted
of the gun, descended it and exploded in the second gallery where several
hundreds of people (at least six or seven hundreds) were, who perished.
Gases went up to the first gallery and were so powerful that the Germans
believed in the first attack by gas of the war. Those which escaped
from it, could testify after the war and provided the same indications:
the gases, the breath which tore off their clothing to them and flooding,
(all pockets of water of the hill being burst and communicating the
ones with the others).
The Germans tried to give the work in state but they gave up it.
All the bombs having made significant damage but having exploded under
ground, the observer of the bombardment indicated in his report/ratio
"null effect" ". Also the Allies continued to bombard
In August 1944, a sailplane, stuffed of explosive, tackled the work.
The sailplane was hung above a bomber but this one was obstructed by
the D.C.A. of Saint-Inglevert and Marchioness, and the sailplane missed
its goal of several hundred meters; the explosion was so strong that
it caused the escape of all those which worked in the fields with several
kilometers with the round.
August 12, 1944 at 17. 52, a plane Libérator PBLY took off of
Becles, to a good hundred kilometers in the north of London, with twelve
tons of explosives Torpex, much more powerful than the TNT. The flight
plan envisaged the passage above Clacton-one-Sea and Wissant. The pilot
and the navigator of edge were to jump in parachute little before Wissant,
to be recovered by the patrol craft of Navy. Two Venturas planes were
radio to then guide the plane-projectile on its target of Mimoyecques.
For an unexplained reason, Libérator exploded at 18. 20 above
the hamlet of Blythburg, with a hundred and sixty kilometers in the
North-East of London. On its board, Joé Kennedy, elder brother
of President Kennedy.
The work was on bombarded last once August 27, 1944, date on which it
was finally given up by the Germans. The site had then received 11 000
bombs of a total weight of 14 500 tons, distributed on 28 bombardments.
The Canadians seized on next 5 September it, without knowing its nature
exactly. In February 1945, an English report/ratio of the Sanders mission
charged to examine the sites of the weapons V in Pas-de-Calais, concluded
that it was necessary to destroy the installation completely in order
to prevent that it serf again against England. At the time of 2 attempts,
May 9 and on May 14, 1945, the British Genius made jump the gun platform
partly and blocked the entry and the exit of the principal gallery.
It will remain about it there, considering that the work would be as
expensive to give in state as to build.
Opened with the public, this fortress constitutes a remarkable course
of history;it also became an international place of meeting to honour
the victims still buried in the lower stages.