La Coupole

La Coupole (English: The Dome), also known as the Coupole d'Helfaut-Wizernes and originally codenamed Bauvorhaben 21 (Building Project 21) or Schotterwerk Nordwest (Northwest Gravel Works),[3] is a Second World War bunker complex in the Pas-de-Calais department of northern France, about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) from Saint-Omer, and some 14.4 kilometers (8.9 miles) south-southeast from the less developed Blockhaus d'Eperlecques V-2 launch installation in the same area. It was built by the forces of Nazi Germany between 1943 and 1944 to serve as a launch base for V-2 rockets directed against London and southern England, and is the earliest known precursor to modern underground missile silos still in existence.

Constructed in the side of a disused chalk quarry, the most prominent feature of the complex is an immense concrete dome, to which its modern name refers. It was built above a network of tunnels housing storage areas, launch facilities and crew quarters. The facility was designed to store a large stockpile of V-2s, warheads and fuel and was intended to launch V-2s on an industrial scale. Dozens of missiles a day were to be fuelled, prepared and launched in rapid sequence against London and southern England.[4]

Following repeated heavy bombing by Allied forces during Operation Crossbow, the Germans were unable to complete the construction works and the complex never entered service. It was captured by the Allies in September 1944, partially demolished on the orders of Winston Churchill to prevent its reuse as a military base, and then abandoned. It remained derelict until the mid-1990s. In 1997 it opened to the public for the first time, as a museum. Exhibits in the tunnels and under the dome tell the story of the German occupation of France during World War II, the V-weapons and the history of space exploration.

La Coupole
Bauvorhaben 21
Schotterwerk Nordwest
Coupole d'Helfaut
close to Wizernes & Helfaut, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France
La Coupole, Helfaut-Wizernes
View of the dome of La Coupole
La Coupole is located in France
La Coupole
La Coupole
Coordinates50°42′21″N 2°14′38″E / 50.70583°N 2.243889°E
Site information
OwnerConseil Général du Pas-de-Calais[1]
Controlled byFrance
Open to
the public
History and Remembrance Centre[2]
Site history
BuiltOctober 1943 – July 1944
Built byOrganisation Todt
In useNever completed
Battles/wars1944: Operation Crossbow campaign
EventsSeptember 1944: Captured by Allies
May 1997: Reopened as a museum
Garrison information
GarrisonAbteilungen (English: firing detachment) comprising one technical and two operational batteries


The V-2 rocket was one of several innovative long-range weapons developed by the Germans after the failure of the Luftwaffe to strike a decisive blow against Britain. It was a revolutionary weapon – the world's first operational SRBM – that had been developed in a secret programme begun in 1936. The German leadership hoped that a barrage of rockets unleashed against London would force Britain out of the war.[5] Although Adolf Hitler was at first ambivalent, he eventually became an enthusiastic supporter of the V-2 programme as Allied air forces carried out increasingly devastating attacks on German cities.[6]

The 12.5-ton missile, standing 14 metres (46 ft) high on its launch pad, was fuelled primarily by liquid oxygen (LOX) and methyl alcohol.[7] Deploying the V-2 on a large scale required far more LOX than was available from existing production sites in Germany and the occupied countries. New sources of LOX were required, situated close to the missile launching sites to reduce as far as possible the loss of propellant through evaporation. The missile's operational range of 320 kilometres (200 mi) meant that the launch sites had to be fairly close to the English Channel or southern North Sea coasts, in northern France, Belgium or the western Netherlands.[8]

Because of the complexity of the missile and the need for extensive testing prior to launch, the V-2's designers at the Peenemünde Army Research Center favoured using heavily defended fixed sites where the missiles could be stored, armed, and fuelled from an on-site LOX production plant before launching. But the German Army and the V-2 project's head, Major-General Walter Dornberger, were concerned that the sites would be vulnerable to aerial attack by the Allies. The Army's preferred option was to use Meillerwagens, mobile firing batteries, which presented a much smaller target for the Allied air forces.[8]

The Army was nonetheless overruled by Hitler, who had a long-standing preference for huge, grandiose constructions. He preferred fixed installations along the lines of the virtually impregnable U-boat pens that had been built to protect Germany's U-boat fleet. In March 1943,[9] he ordered the construction of a massive bunker (now known as the Blockhaus d'Éperlecques) in the Forest of Éperlecques near Watten, north of Saint-Omer. The bunker was soon spotted by Allied reconnaissance, and on 27 August 1943, a raid by 187 Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bombers wrecked the construction site before it could be completed. A surviving portion was reused by the Germans as a LOX production facility.[8]

Design and location

Mimoyecques-Eperlecques-Wizernes map
Map of the Pas-de-Calais and south-eastern England showing the location of Wizernes and other major V-weapons sites

The successful attack against the Watten bunker forced the German Army to find an alternative location for a launch site nearby. They had already taken possession of an old quarry between the villages of Helfaut and Wizernes, south-west of Saint-Omer and some 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) south of the Watten bunker, near the Aa river alongside the Boulogne–Saint-Omer railway line, about 1 km (0.62 mi) from Wizernes station. The quarry had been designated for use as a missile storage depot where V-2s would be housed in tunnels bored into the chalk hillside before being transported for launching.[10] The Germans undertook major work in August 1943 to lay extensive railway sidings to connect the quarry to the main line.[11]

On 30 September 1943, Hitler met with Albert Speer, the Minister of Armaments and War Production, and Franz Xaver Dorsch, the chief engineer of the Todt Organisation, to discuss plans for a replacement for the out-of-commission Watten facility. Dorsch proposed to transform the Wizernes depot into a vast bomb-proof underground complex that would require a million tons of concrete to build. It would be constructed within a network of tunnels to be dug inside the hillside at the edge of the quarry. A concrete dome, 5 m (16 ft) thick, 71 metres (233 ft) in diameter and weighing 55,000 tons, would be built over the top of the central part of the facility to protect it from Allied bombing. Beneath it, about 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) of tunnels were to be dug into the chalk hillside to accommodate workshops, storerooms, fuel supplies, a LOX manufacturing plant, generators, barracks and a hospital.[10]

Wizernes site local map

Photo map of the area around the site before the bombing campaign

Wizernes site diagram

Plan of the Wizernes complex as built by September 1944[12]

Wizernes site octagon

1944 conjectural reconstruction of the rocket preparation chamber and tunnels (on the assumption that A4 rockets were to be handled)[12]

Ida railway tunnel La Coupole Flickr 1392294854 e3001919ce o
The Ida railway tunnel, where V-2s and supplies would be brought in by train and unloaded

A standard gauge railway tunnel, codenamed Ida, was to be built on a curving path that would connect it with both the east- and west-bound main line railway, allowing trains to run straight through the complex without needing to reverse or be turned around. This would serve as the main unloading station, where missiles and supplies would be offloaded onto trolleys that would transport them into the connecting galleries Mathilde and Hugo. Hugo connected in turn with Sophie, a dead-end railway tunnel branching from the main line into Ida. Each of the main tunnels had a number of unnamed side tunnels of the same dimensions as the main tunnels and up to 90 metres (300 ft) long. The central feature of the complex was a huge octagonal rocket-preparation chamber directly under the dome. It was never completed but would have been 41 metres (135 ft) in diameter and up to 33 metres (108 ft) high. A number of intermediate floors, possibly as many as ten, would have been built up the sides of the chamber.[13]

The western side of the chamber opened onto two tall passageways, opening onto two tracks to the outdoor launchpads, with the tracked passages and launchpads named Gustav (the southerly-located pad) and Gretchen (the northerly-located pad), both on the western side of the domed complex. Each was to have been protected by bomb-proof doors made of steel and concrete. The passageways were to be 4 metres (13 ft) wide and at least 17 metres (56 ft) high and were angled in a Y-shape, both exiting westwards into the quarry. The outdoor launchpads for the V-2 rockets would have been at the end of each passageway. The two passageways were angled at 64° 50' and 99° 50' west of north respectively – not aligned with any probable target but merely permitting the rockets to be transported to either one or the other, of their pair of sufficiently-separated launch pads.[14]

The facility was designed, as was its predecessor at Watten, to receive, process and launch V-2 rockets at a high rate. Trains carrying V-2s would enter the heart of the complex through the Ida rail tunnel, where they would be unloaded. A large number of V-2s could be stored in the side tunnels; LOX would also be produced on-site ready for use. When the time came, the rockets would be moved into the octagonal preparation chamber where they would be lifted to a vertical position for fuelling and arming. From there they would be transported on motorised launch carriages, still in a vertical position, through the Gustav and Gretchen passageways. The launch pads were located at the end of the track on the floor of the quarry, from where the missiles would be fired.[15]

The priority target for the V-2s was 188 kilometres (117 mi) away: London, which Hitler wanted to see pulverised by the end of 1943.[4] The Allies were alarmed when an analyst found that part of the complex was aligned within half a degree of the Great Circle bearing on New York, and its equipment was large enough to accommodate a rocket twice the size of the V-2: the "America Rocket", the proposed A10 intercontinental ballistic missile.[16]

Although physically separate, another facility built in nearby Roquetoire was an integral part of the Wizernes complex. Umspannwerk C was built to house a Leitstrahl radio command guidance system which could be used to send course corrections to missiles launched from Wizernes to fine-tune their trajectory during the launch phase.[17]


Wizernes site dome cross-section
Cross-section of the dome
Wizernes tunnel door
Section of one of the bomb-proof doors for either Gustav or Gretchen tunnels. Segments of the doors were found by Allied troops at a storage dump near the Watten railway station.

The Allies first noticed construction activity at Wizernes in mid-August 1943 when the Germans began building railway track and the offloading stores into the old quarry.[18] After Hitler authorised the decision to turn the depot into a missile launch site, construction was stepped up. Work on the dome began in November 1943[19] and tunnelling in the cliff face below began in December. At the start of January, Allied reconnaissance aircraft observed an elaborate system of camouflage on the hill top, installed to conceal the dome.[18] The building works were greatly hindered by the constant air-raid warnings, which stopped work 229 times in May 1944 alone. In response to Hitler's desire to see the site completed the workforce was expanded substantially from 1,100 in April 1944 to nearly 1,400 by June.[20] About 60% of the workers were Germans; skilled workers, such as miners from Westphalia, were recruited to excavate the tunnels and build the dome.[21] The remainder were principally Frenchmen conscripted by the Service du travail obligatoire (STO), plus Soviet prisoners of war.[10] The project was overseen by several large German construction companies, with Philipp Holzman A.G. of Frankfurt am Main and the Grossdeutsche Schachtbau and Tiefbohr GmbH serving as the chief contractors.[22]

One of the most difficult challenges faced by the Germans was constructing the great dome while under regular air attack. The dome's designer, Todt Organisation engineer Werner Flos, devised a plan under which the dome would be built first, flat upon the ground, and the soil underneath it would be excavated so that the construction works below would be protected against aerial attacks. A circular trench was excavated on the top of the hill above the quarry to an outside diameter of 84 metres (276 ft). The dome was built within this trench and the galleries and octagonal preparation chamber were excavated below.[11][23]

As an additional bomb-proofing method, the dome was surrounded by a bomb-proof "skirt" or Zerschellerplatte of steel-reinforced concrete, 14 metres (46 ft) wide and 2 metres (6.6 ft) thick. This was supported by a series of buttresses, which were not tied into the dome itself, above the entrances to the Gustav and Gretchen tunnels. Another concrete structure was tied into the skirt to the north-west of the dome, which was perhaps intended for use as an observation and control tower. A separate underground building was constructed on the western side of the quarry to serve as a hospital and as offices for the engineers.[24] A Decauville narrow-gauge railway was installed on the quarry floor to transport supplies from the main line to the construction site.[25]

A cube-shaped concrete building was constructed on the top of the hill, next to the dome. This was intended to be used as the bomb-proof outlet for a ventilation and air conditioning shaft. It was an essential component of a facility where dangerous and explosive gases were expected to be used in large quantities on a daily basis. It was never finished, and the Allies found when they captured the site that the ventilation shaft had not been fully excavated. The building survived the bombing intact and is still prominently visible today.[24]

Unlike its sister site at Watten, there was no on-site power plant. Electricity at Wizernes was provided by a connection to the main electric grid, with power consumption estimated at between 5,000 and 6,000 kVA.[22]

Discovery and Allied attacks

Royal Air Force Bomber Command, 1942-1945. CH15363
RAF ground crew handling one of the Tallboy bombs that was dropped on Wizernes during an attack by 617 Squadron (1944)
Wizernes low level 6 July 1944
A photograph taken by a British Mosquito aircraft flying only 20 metres (66 ft) above the ground shows the dome, still intact, sitting at the centre of the wrecked construction site on 6 July 1944, shortly before its abandonment

The Allies became aware of the Wizernes site in August 1943 when the Germans began laying extensive new rail sidings which were spotted by RAF reconnaissance flights.[11] Late 1943, a Belgian, Jacques de Duve, supported by German opponents, informed MI5 about the existence of a rocket production site in Saint-Omer. MI5 did not believe Jacques de Duve, who was interned for the rest of the war in Latchmere House.[26] In November 1943, the Allied Central Interpretation Unit reported that the Germans had begun constructing the concrete dome and were undertaking tunnelling works in the east face of the quarry. However, it was not until the following March that the Allies added the site to the list of targets for Operation Crossbow, the ongoing bombing campaign against V-weapon sites that had already wrecked the Watten bunker and numerous V-1 launching sites. Over the next few months, the USAAF and RAF carried out 16 air raids involving 811 bombers that dropped some 4,260 tons of bombs.[17] The bombing caused destruction across a wide area, killing 55 residents of the nearby village of Helfault.[27]

Conventional bombing raids only achieved a single bomb hit on the dome itself, causing negligible damage. However, in June and July 1944 the RAF began attacking the site with 12,000 pounds (5,400 kg), ground-penetrating Tallboy bombs.[17] The external construction works were completely wrecked by the bombing and one Tallboy landed just beside the dome, blowing out the entire quarry cliff face and burying the entrances to the Gustav and Gretchen tunnels. The entrance to Sophie was also buried, leaving Ida as the only entrance to the facility. The dome was unscathed but the buttresses supporting the protective Zerschellerplatte were dislodged and slid partway down into the quarry. Serious damage was also caused to the tunnels beneath the dome. The damage made it impossible to continue work on the site. Dornberger complained: "Persistent air attack with heavy and super-heavy bombs so battered the rock all around that in the spring of 1944 landslides made further work impossible."[28] His staff reported on 28 July 1944 that, although the dome had not been hit by the Tallboys, "the whole area around has been so churned up that it is unapproachable, and the bunker is jeopardised from underneath."[28]

Although three launch battalions were formed by the Germans in late 1943,[29] they never got the chance to deploy to the V-weapons launch sites at Watten and Wizernes. On 3 July 1944, the Oberkommando West authorised the cessation of construction at the heavily damaged sites. On 18 July 1944, Hitler abandoned plans for launching V-2s from bunkers[30] and authorized the downgrading of the Wizernes bunker to make it a LOX production facility.[31] However, these plans were overtaken by the Allied liberation of Northern France following the Normandy landings. The site was finally abandoned a few days before the Allies reached it at the start of September during the rapid liberation of the area by British, American, Canadian and Polish troops.[32] British engineers inspected it on 5 September.[33]

Post war investigations

La Coupole exhibition V-2 rocket
Original V-2 rocket and engine on display under the dome of La Coupole

Shortly after the Wizernes site had been captured in September 1944, Duncan Sandys, the head of the British "Crossbow Committee" investigating the V-weapons programme, ordered the constitution of a Technical Inter-Services Mission under Colonel T.R.B. Sanders. It was given the task of investigating the sites at Mimoyecques, Siracourt, Watten, and Wizernes, collectively known to the Allies as the "Heavy Crossbow" sites. Sanders' report was submitted to the War Cabinet on 19 March 1945.[34]

The purpose of the Wizernes site had been unclear prior to its capture but Sanders was able to deduce its connection with the V-2 from the dimensions of the complex and some intelligence information that his team had been able to retrieve. Sanders' report concluded that it was "an assembly site for long projectiles most conveniently handled and prepared in a vertical position". He conjectured the approximate length of the projectiles from the height of the Gustav and Gretchen tunnels, though he noted that there was some doubt about the height of the doors at the tunnel entrances. Segments of the doors had been recovered from a storage dump near Watten railway station, but were incomplete. Judging from the size of the tunnel entrance, the maximum size of the projectile could have been between 17 metres (56 ft) and 24 metres (79 ft) in length and 4 metres (13 ft) in breadth.[35] (This was substantially larger than the V-2, which measured 14 metres (46 ft) long and 3.55 metres (11.6 ft) wide.) Two witnesses interviewed by the Sanders team reported "an intention of firing a projectile 18 metres long".[22] Sanders noted that "the dimensions of the site make it suitable for the A.4 (V-2) rocket, but the possibility of a new rocket up to half as long again as the A.4 and twice the weight cannot be ruled out."[22][Notes 1] He concluded that much of the site was becoming unsafe due to the progressive collapse of timbering and recommended that the tunnels and workings under the dome should be destroyed to prevent subsequent accidents or misuse.[25]

The site reverted to private ownership after the war. As the quarry had long since been worked out, it was abandoned.[23] The tunnels were not destroyed but were sealed off, though at some point they were reopened by local people and could be entered; the octagon remained sealed off with a ceiling-to-floor barricade. The quarry itself remained in almost the same condition as it had been in 1944, with sections of railway track still in place on the quarry floor. The hospital section remained relatively intact and was used by the local gendarmes as a shooting range.[25]

Museum of La Coupole

La Coupole museum
Entrance to the museum of La Coupole

In 1986, the Espace Naturel Régional in Lille earmarked 10 million francs to develop the site as a tourist attraction for the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region with the intention of establishing a World War II museum there. The plan was publicised in a special open weekend on 20–21 June 1987, attended by over 20,000 people, in which the dome's designer Werner Flos met Professor Reginald Victor Jones, a surviving member of the "Crossbow Committee", at Wizernes. The Ida tunnel and side chambers were opened to the public and used for an audio-visual exhibition of the site's history.[23]

Local historian Yves le Maner was charged with the task of developing the project while a feasibility study was conducted into the possibility of completing some of the original excavation work to make the site safe for public access. The plans were approved in 1993 and the site was purchased by the Commune de Helfaut. The following year, the Conseil Général du Pas-de-Calais acquired the site. The 69-million-franc project (£7.5 million at 1997 prices) was largely underwritten by the Conseil Général, which provided 35 million francs, with another 17 million coming from the regional council. The European Union provided a further 12 million, the French State provided 3 million and the Saint-Omer municipal administration funded the remaining 1 million francs; a number of private shareholders were also involved. The Societé d'Equipement du Pas-de-Calais was contracted to carry out the development work, which involved excavating a further two metres (six feet) beneath the dome, clearing out and completing the unfinished concreting of some of the tunnels, building an exhibition centre and car park in the quarry floor and installing a lift to carry visitors up from the octagon to the dome.[1]

The museum opened in May 1997. Visitors enter and leave through the Ida railway tunnel, though the rails have been removed and the floor levelled. Short branch tunnels lead off on either side; originally used for storage, they now display wartime objects. Headphone stands along the way present multi-lingual accounts of the construction and purpose of the facility. The tour continues along the Mathilde tunnel to reach a lift that has been installed to bring visitors up to the space beneath the dome, where the main exhibition area is located.[36] Focusing on the story of the V-weapons, life in occupied France, and the conquest of space after the war, the tour presents audio-visual displays in English, French, Dutch and German. The museum houses a large number of original artifacts including a V-1 provided by London's Science Museum and a V-2 provided by the Smithsonian Institution,[1] and incorporates a memorial to the 8,000 people who were shot in or deported from the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region during the war; computer terminals track the paths of several hundred of the deportees.[37] In 2011, the museum welcomed 120,000 visitors.[38] In July 2012, the museum opened a planetarium as part of Cerendac, a newly established Centre de ressources numériques pour le développement de l'accès à la connaissance (Resource Centre for the development of digital access to knowledge). The €6 million centre is funded by the Pas-de-Calais department, the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, the French state, the European Union and the intercommunality of Saint-Omer.[39] Since 2010, the museum has also managed the V-3 site of the Fortress of Mimoyecques.[40]

Air raids on the Wizernes site

Wizernes World War II bombings
11 March 1944 Eighth Air Force - Emblem (World War II).png 34 of 51 Consolidated B-24 Liberators of the 2d Bombardment Division's 44th and 93d Heavy Bombardment groups attacked Wizernes using blind-bombing techniques due to thick overcast, dropping 127 tons of bombs.[41]
19 March 1944 Eighth Air Force - Emblem (World War II).png 152 Martin B-26 Marauders of IX Bomber Command attacked V-weapon sites around Saint-Omer.[41]
26 March 1944 Eighth Air Force - Emblem (World War II).png 500 heavy bombers of the 8th Air Force attacked a total of 16 V-weapon sites in northern France, including Wizernes, dropping 1,271 tons of bombs. Allied losses were four Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses and one B-24; a further 236 bombers were damaged by enemy fire.[41]
17 April 1944 Eighth Air Force - Emblem (World War II).png 14 B-24 Liberators and five pathfinder aircraft used an experimental bombing technique to attack Wizernes.[41]
25 April 1944 Eighth Air Force - Emblem (World War II).png 27 B-24 Liberators from 2d Bombardment Division bombed Wizernes in a special test of new pathfinding equipment.[41]
3 May 1944 Eighth Air Force - Emblem (World War II).png 47 B-24 Liberators escorted by 101 fighters from VIII Fighter Command attacked Wizernes using blind-bombing techniques.[41]
20 June 1944 RAF roundel.svg 17 Avro Lancasters and 3 De Havilland Mosquito of No 617 Squadron attempted to attack Wizernes but were forced to abort by cloud cover over the target.[42]
22 June 1944 RAF roundel.svg A second 617 Squadron attack on Wizernes was again thwarted by cloud cover.[42]
24 June 1944 RAF roundel.svg 617 Squadron returned to Wizernes with 16 Lancasters and 2 Mosquitos, losing one Lancaster to anti-aircraft fire.[42] Several Tallboy bombs were dropped but failed to cause much damage.[43]
28 June 1944 RAF roundel.svg 103 Handley Page Halifaxes and 5 Mosquitos from No. 4 Group and 2 Lancasters of the Pathfinder Force attacked Wizernes without loss.[42]
17 July 1944 RAF roundel.svg 72 Halifaxes, 28 Stirlings, 20 Lancasters, 11 Mosquitos and 1 North American Mustang attacked three V-weapons sites including Wizernes, which was attacked with a dozen Tallboys.[44] The attack caused severe damage to the site and buried the entrances to the launch tunnels Gustav and Gretchen. The site was abandoned a few weeks later.[45]
20 July 1944 RAF roundel.svg 174 Lancasters, 165 Halifaxes and 30 Mosquitos attacked V-1 launching sites and the Wizernes site.[44]
20/21 July 1944 RAF roundel.svg 54 Halifaxes, 23 Lancasters and 10 Mosquitos attacked V-weapon sites at Ardouval and Wizernes, but no bombs were dropped at Wizernes due to bad weather.[44]
4 August 1944 Eighth Air Force - Emblem (World War II).png An experimental Operation Aphrodite attack using remotely controlled B-17 Flying Fortress drones packed with explosives failed when they overshot Wizernes by 2,000 feet.[46]

See also


  1. ^ Although the V-2 rocket at 14 metres (46 ft) long could have been carried by a car through the Sanders-identified height, the A10 New York rocket design was too tall—even without a rail carrier—at 26 m (85 ft).


  1. ^ a b c "Wizernes opens to the public". After the Battle, 97:34–37. London: After the Battle Magazine.
  2. ^ "History and Remembrance Centre, La Coupole". Retrieved 24 May 2007.
  3. ^ Zaloga 2008, pp. 13, 41
  4. ^ a b Zaloga 2008, p. 18
  5. ^ Zaloga 2008, p. 5
  6. ^ Zaloga 2008, p. 6
  7. ^ Zaloga & Calow 2003, p. 28
  8. ^ a b c Zaloga & Calow 2003, p. 10
  9. ^ Longmate 2009, p. 105
  10. ^ a b c Dungan 2005, p. 75
  11. ^ a b c Sanders 1945, p. 3
  12. ^ a b Sanders 1945
  13. ^ Sanders 1945, pp. 4–7
  14. ^ Sanders 1945, p. 8
  15. ^ Longmate 2009, p. 106
  16. ^ Piszkiewicz 2007, p. 176
  17. ^ a b c Zaloga 2008, p. 41
  18. ^ a b Hinsley & Thomas 1990, p. 593
  19. ^ Zaloga 2008, p. 40
  20. ^ Longmate 2009, p. 107
  21. ^ Seller & Neufeld 2003, p. 52
  22. ^ a b c d Sanders 1945, p. 12
  23. ^ a b c "An Engineer Returns ... And A Museum Is Born", After the Battle 57:49–53.
  24. ^ a b Sanders 1945, p. 9
  25. ^ a b c "The V-Weapons". After the Battle, 6:23–24
  26. ^ De Duve Jacques, file KV2/1314 (PF 66116/V1), National Archives (UK). Interim Report, February 1944, p. 23 : « A secret factory somewhere in St. Omer, engaged on the production of rocket guns. These were apparently capable of firing shells 16 tons in weight, and could reach London. This factory was supposed to be so secret that its employees were never allowed to leave it. » Sent back in Belgium by MI5, beginning 1945, the patriotic intentions of Jacques de Duve have been confirmed by several concordant witnesses (Dossier répressif 45/5487 de l’Auditorat militaire, en cause de Duve, Jacques). He quickly benefited from a dismissal of the prosecution and has been awarded the Escapees’ Cross 1940 -1945 (Arr. du Régent May 10, 1947, Moniteur Belge May 17, 1947).
  27. ^ Traa, Mark (3 December 1997). "Onderdak voor een Wonderwapen". Trouw (in Dutch).
  28. ^ a b Longmate 2009, p. 147
  29. ^ Zaloga & Calow 2003, p. 14
  30. ^ Ordway & Sharpe 1979, p. 193
  31. ^ Zaloga & Calow 2003, p. 16
  32. ^ Le Maner 1997, p. 28
  33. ^ "Reference points". Museum La Coupole. Archived from the original on 6 October 2011. Retrieved 23 August 2011.
  34. ^ Sandys 1945
  35. ^ Sanders 1945, p. 11
  36. ^ Henshall 2002, pp. 135–6
  37. ^ "Le mémorial des déportés" (in French). La Coupole. Archived from the original on 10 September 2012. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
  38. ^ Vaughan, Hervé (17 February 2011). "Yves Le Maner s'apprête à refermer la porte de son histoire avec la Coupole". La Voix du Nord (in French). Archived from the original on 20 February 2011. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
  39. ^ "Planétarium de la Coupole : "On n'y regarde pas les étoiles, on les touche !"" (in French). Conseil Général du Pas-de-Calais. Archived from the original on 2012-11-12. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
  40. ^ Official website of the fortress of Mimoyecques
  41. ^ a b c d e f Hammel 2009, pp. 261, 265, 268, 281, 286, 291
  42. ^ a b c d "Royal Air Force Campaign Diary – June 1944". UK Crown. Archived from the original on 11 June 2007. Retrieved 19 June 2011.
  43. ^ Zaloga 2008, p. 43
  44. ^ a b c "Royal Air Force Campaign Diary – July 1944". UK Crown. Archived from the original on 6 July 2007. Retrieved 19 June 2011.
  45. ^ Zaloga 2008, p. 44
  46. ^ Dwiggins 1965, p. 112
  • Dungan, Tracy (2005). V-2. Yardley, PA: Westholme Publishing. ISBN 1-59416-012-0.
  • Dwiggins, Don (1965). Hirsch, Phil; Hymoff, Edward (eds.). The Kennedy Courage. New York: Pyramid Publications, Inc. OCLC 2800703.
  • Hammel, Eric (2009). Air War Europa: Chronology. Pacifica, CA: Pacifica Military History. ISBN 978-0-935553-07-9.
  • Henshall, Philip (2002). Hitler's V-Weapon Sites. Stroud, Glos: Sutton Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0-7509-2607-4.
  • Hinsley, Francis Harry; Thomas, Edward Eastaway (1990). British intelligence in the Second World War: its influence on strategy and operations, Volume 3, Part 1. London: H.M. Stationery Office.
  • Le Maner, Yves (1997). War, Rockets, Memory: La Coupole. Helfaut-Wizernes: La Coupole Editions. ISBN 2-9514152-2-2.
  • Longmate, Norman (2009). Hitler's Rockets. Barnsley, South Yorkshire: Frontline Books. ISBN 978-1-84832-546-3.
  • Ordway, Frederick I. III; Sharpe, Mitchell R. (1979). The Rocket Team. Apogee Books Space Series 36. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell. ISBN 1-894959-00-0.
  • Piszkiewicz, Dennis (2007). The Nazi Rocketeers: Dreams of Space and Crimes of War. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-3387-8.
  • Sanders, Terence R. B. (1945). "Wizernes". Investigation of the "Heavy" Crossbow Installations in Northern France. Report by the Sanders Mission to the Chairman of the Crossbow Committee. III. Technical details.
  • Sandys, Duncan (19 March 1945). "Report on 'Large' Crossbow Sites in Northern France". Memorandum. Memo C.O.S. (45) 177 (O).
  • Seller, Andre; Neufeld, Michael (2003). A History of the Dora Camp. Chicago: I.R. Dee. p. 52. ISBN 978-1-56663-511-0.
  • Zaloga, Steven J. (2008). German V-Weapon Sites 1943–45. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84603-247-9.
  • Zaloga, Steven J.; Calow, Robert (2003). V-2 Ballistic Missile 1942–52. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84176-541-9.

Further reading

  • Hautefeuille, Roland (1995). Constructions spéciales : histoire de la construction par l'"Organisation Todt", dans le Pas-de-Calais et la Cotentin, des neufs grands sites protégés pour le tir des V1, V2, V3, et la production d'oxygène liquide, (1943–1944) (in French) (2 ed.). Paris. ISBN 2-9500899-0-9.

External links

2005 FIBA Africa Championship

The 2005 FIBA Africa Championship was the 23rd FIBA Africa Championship, played under the rules of FIBA, the world governing body for basketball, and the FIBA Africa thereof. The tournament was hosted by Algeria from August 15 to 24 2005 and took place at the Salle Omnisports La Coupole.

Angola defeated Senegal 70–61 in the final to win their eighth title. and securing a spot at the 2008 Summer Olympics.

2014 African Men's Handball Championship

The 2014 African Men's Handball Championship was held in Algiers and Chéraga, Algeria, from 16 to 25 January 2014. It acted as the African qualifying tournament for the 2015 World Men's Handball Championship in Qatar.

In the final, hosts Algeria beat Tunisia 25–21 to win their seventh title after beating

2017 Men's Junior World Handball Championship

The 2017 IHF Men's Junior World Championship was the 21st edition of the tournament, held in Algiers, Algeria from 18 to 30 July 2017. It was the first time that Algeria staged the competition, and the third time that it was held in Africa.

Spain won their first title by defeating Denmark 39–38 in the final. France captured the bronze medal after they beat Germany 23–22.

Anne Desjardins

Anne Desjardins (born 1951) is a Canadian chef and Knight of the National Order of Quebec. She is known for her use of and promotion of local ingredients and produce in her cooking.She was born in Montreal, Quebec in 1951. She studied geography at the University of Quebec at Montreal before becoming a self-taught chef when she moved to Quebec City.Desjardins was head chef at restaurant L’eau à la bouche in Sainte-Adèle in Quebec, for 35 years, which she opened with her husband Pierre Audette in 1979 and where her eldest son, Emmanuel, was sous-chef. It was named the best restaurant in the Montreal area by Gourmet Magazine three times. After the closure of the restaurant in April 2013, she joined the restaurant La Coupole in Hôtel Le Crystal in Montreal as a consultant.She was awarded the Roger-Champoux prize, and in 2002 she was made Knight of the National Order of Quebec. In 2002, she was also awarded the Renaud-Cyr prize by the Quebec Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.She is the author of several cookbooks, including L’Eau à la bouche: les quatre saisons selon, and makes regular appearances on television. She also gives cooking classes at L’Académie Culinaire in Montreal.

Arnaud Brihay

Arnaud Brihay is a Belgian artist, born in Marche-en-Famenne in 1972. He lives and works in Lyon, France.

Badrutt's Palace Hotel

The Badrutt's Palace Hotel is a historic luxury hotel in St. Moritz, Switzerland. The hotel opened in 1896 and has 157 rooms, of which 37 are suites. The majority shareholders are Hansjürg and Anikó Badrutt.

The hotel has seven different restaurants: Le Restaurant, which serves French cuisine and international cuisine; the Renaissance Bar; La Diala, which offers a light Mediterranean cuisine; La Coupole/Matsuhisa@Badrutt's Palace, an exclusive venue in belle époque style; and the Chesa Veglia, the oldest farmhouse in St. Moritz, built in 1658, with three additional restaurants and two bars.

Blockhaus d'Éperlecques

The Blockhaus d'Éperlecques (English: Bunker of Éperlecques, also referred to as "the Watten bunker" or simply "Watten") is a Second World War bunker, now part of a museum, near Saint-Omer in the northern Pas-de-Calais département of France, and only some 14.4 kilometers (8.9 miles) north-northwest from the more developed La Coupole V-2 launch facility, in the same general area. The bunker, built by Nazi Germany under the codename Kraftwerk Nord West (Powerplant Northwest) between March 1943 and July 1944, was originally intended to be a launching facility for the V-2 (A-4) ballistic missile. It was designed to accommodate over 100 missiles at a time and to launch up to 36 daily.

The facility would have incorporated a liquid oxygen factory and a bomb-proof train station to allow missiles and supplies to be delivered from production facilities in Germany. It was constructed using the labour of thousands of prisoners of war and forcibly conscripted workers used as slave labourers.

The bunker was never completed as a result of the repeated bombing by the British and United States air forces as part of Operation Crossbow against the German V-weapons programme. The attacks caused substantial damage and rendered the bunker unusable for its original purpose. Part of the bunker was subsequently completed for use as a liquid oxygen factory. It was captured by Allied forces at the start of September 1944, though its true purpose was not discovered by the Allies until after the war. V-2s were instead launched from Meillerwagen-based mobile batteries which were far less vulnerable to aerial attacks.

Today, the bunker is preserved as part of a privately owned museum that presents the history of the site and the German V-weapons programme. It has been protected by the French state as a monument historique since 1986.

Café de la Rotonde

Not to be confused with a previous café (1805–1884) at Palais-Royal, or another at the corner of Boulevard Haussmann and Rue Lafayette (fl. c. 1900).The Café de la Rotonde (French pronunciation: ​[kafe də la ʁɔtɔ̃d]) is a famous café in the Montparnasse Quarter of Paris, France. In its official website, La Rotonde defines itself as a "brasserie" and a restaurant. Located on the Carrefour Vavin, at the corner of Boulevard du Montparnasse and Boulevard Raspail, it was founded by Victor Libion in 1911. Along with Le Dome and La Coupole it was renowned as an intellectual gathering place for notable artists and writers during the interwar period.

Fieseler Fi 103R Reichenberg

The Fieseler Fi 103R, code-named Reichenberg, was a late-World War II German crewed version of the V-1 flying bomb (more correctly known as the Fieseler Fi 103) produced for attacks in which the pilot was likely to be killed (as actually intended, for use of the Imperial Japanese Naval Air Service's Ohka rocket-powered kamikaze suicide anti-ship missile) or at best to parachute down at the attack site, which were to be carried out by the "Leonidas Squadron", V. Gruppe of the Luftwaffe's Kampfgeschwader 200.


Helfaut is a commune in the Pas-de-Calais department in the Hauts-de-France region of France.

Jean Clair

Jean Clair (French: [klɛʁ]) is the nom de plume (pen name) of Gérard Régnier (born 20 October 1940 in Paris, France). Clair is an essayist, a polemicist, an art historian, an art conservator, and a member of the Académie française since May, 2008. He was, for many years, the director of the Picasso Museum in Paris. Among the milestones of his long and productive career is a comprehensive catalog of the works of Balthus. He was also the director of the Venice Biennale in 1995.

La Coupole (Paris)

La Coupole is a famous brasserie in Montparnasse in Paris. It was founded in 1927 during the Roaring Twenties when Montparnasse housed a large artistic and literary community - expatriates and members of the Lost Generation. They decorated the place in the contemporary art deco style and were regular patrons.

La Coupole d’Alger Arena

La Coupole d’Alger Arena is an indoor sporting arena located in Chéraga, Algeria. The capacity of the arena is 5,500 spectators. It hosts indoor sporting events such as Handball, Basketball, Volleyball. It also hosted many international competitions and many political gatherings and concerts. The Arena was inaugurated on the occasion of the hosting of the 1975 Mediterranean Games. there are six entrances in the Arena, one of which is for the official, the Arena is of one floor in a circular way, there is also a small second floor for VIP.

Le Sphinx

Le Sphinx was a maison close (brothel) in Paris in the 1930s and 1940s. Along with the "Le Chabanais" and "One-Two-Two" it was considered one of the most luxurious and famous Parisian brothels.It was the first luxury brothel and opened on the left bank of Seine. Because of its location in the triangle of "literary" cafes (La Coupole, Rotonda and the Cafe du Dome) in Montparnasse, it was popular with literary and artistic bohemians.

List of indoor arenas in Africa

This is a list of indoor arenas in Africa with seating capacities of at least of 2,000.

Missile launch facility

A missile launch facility, also known as an underground missile silo, launch facility (LF), or nuclear silo, is a vertical cylindrical structure constructed underground, for the storage and launching of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

The structures typically have the missile some distance below ground, protected by a large "blast door" on top. They are usually connected, physically and/or electronically, to a missile launch control center.

Parisian café

Parisian cafés serve as a center of social and culinary life in Paris. They have been around since the 17th century, and serve as the meeting place, neighborhood hub, conversation matrix, rendez-vous spot, and networking source, a place to relax or to refuel - the social and political pulse of the city. Parisian cafés show the Parisian way of sitting undisturbed for a couple of hours, watching things happening and people going by.

Typical Paris cafés are not coffee shops. They generally come with a complete kitchen offering a restaurant menu with meals for any time of the day, a full bar and even a wine selection. Among the drinks customarily served are the "grande crème" (large cup of white coffee), wine by the glass, beer ("un demi", half a pint, or "une pression", a glass of draught beer), "un pastis" (made with aniseed flavour spirit), and "un espresso" (a small cup of black coffee). Drinking at the bar is cheaper than doing so at one of the tables. The café sometimes doubles as a "bureau de tabac", a tobacco shop that sells a wide variety of merchandise, including metro tickets and prepaid phone cards.

Some of the most recognizable Paris cafés include Café de la Paix, Les Deux Magots, Café de Flore, Café de la Rotonde, La Coupole, Fouquet's, Le Deauville, as well as a new wave represented by Café Beaubourg and Drugstore Publicis. The oldest still in operation is the Café Procope, which opened in 1686.

Sacha Zaliouk

Sacha Zaliouk, born Alexander Davidovich Zaliouk (1887–1971), was a Russian Empire-born illustrator and sculptor, from a Jewish family in Radomysl, Ukraine . The Zaliouks were businessmen, artists, & musicians in this Zhitomer region from early in the 19th century. Many of them were fluent in both Russian & French.

Terence Sanders

Terence Robert Beaumont Sanders (2 June 1901 – 6 April 1985) was a British rower who competed in the 1924 Summer Olympics, a lecturer in engineering at Cambridge, an army officer engaged in countering the V2 threat, civil servant and High Sheriff of Surrey.

Sanders was born in Charleville, Cork, Ireland. He was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge. At Cambridge, Sanders, Maxwell Eley, Robert Morrison and James MacNabb, who had rowed together at Eton, made up the coxless four that in 1922 at Henley won the Stewards' Challenge Cup as Eton Vikings and the Visitors' Challenge Cup as Third Trinity Boat Club Sanders stroked the Cambridge in the Boat Race in 1923 which was won by Oxford. The coxless four won the Stewards' Challenge Cup at Henley again in 1923 crew won Steward's at Henley again in 1924 and went on to win the gold medal for Great Britain rowing at the 1924 Summer Olympics.In 1925 Sanders became a Fellow of Corpus Christi, Cambridge and lectured in engineering. He was active in the Territorial Army at the university. He also served as honorary treasurer of the University Boat Club from 1928 to 1939. With G.C. Drinkwater he produced The University Boat Race: Official. Centenary History 1829–1929 in 1929. He was in the Leander Club eight that won the Grand Challenge Cup at Henley in 1929.

In 1936 Sanders was appointed University lecturer in engineering. He was a Member of the Institute of Civil Engineers and the Institute of Mechanical Engineers.

Sanders joined the Ministry of Supply in 1941 and in 1946 he was appointed Principal Director of Technical Development (Defense). Maintaining his army role, he was active in Operation Crossbow which was concerned with the threat of V2 rockets. In November 1944, the "Sanders mission" led by Colonel T. R. B. Sanders inspected the site at La Coupole.-

Later he was Assistant Controller of Supplies at the Ministry of Supply. He was awarded the CB in 1950. He left the Army the following year with the rank of colonel. He later became Chairman of the Buckland Sand and Silica Co. and in 1967 he was appointed High Sheriff of Surrey and Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Surrey.

Sanders died at Dorking, Surrey at the age of 83.

Construction and bunkers
Allied countermeasures
Related weapons
Post-WWII development
In fiction
Key people
Bombing targets
  • Technology
  • Tactics


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