Saturday, 24 July 2010

V Weapons on the Cotentin Peninsula (1944)


Had the V1 bases at La Sorellerie and L'Orion, near Cherbourg, become operational then the city of Bristol would have been within range of these terrifying weapons. The successful allied landings in Normandy from June 6th 1944 meant that this scenario never turned into reality. Both sites are complete though neither were actually used in anger.

The sites can be found, albeit with some difficulty, approximately five miles south of Cherbourg on the Contenin Peninsula. We had just about given up trying to find them - having found just a single hard structure for housing a mobile searchlight battery. Luckily a local farmer came to our rescue and we were able to visit most of the buildings that make up the L'Orion site - though frustratingly, we weren't able to find the primary 'ski' ramp.

The pictures above show (top to bottom) the main command bunker, a V1 storage tunnel (heavily camouflaged and impossible to find without local help), a gun pit on the site perimeter and a building housing two V1 maintenance bays. There is evidence of heavy bombing in the vicinity but these buildings have survived well - most probably because they are well protected by earthworks and are tucked away in a natural fold in the landscape.