Sottevast V2 Facility
Construction started slightly earlier than at Couville and it is much closer
This is because it was realised that with Allied bombing going on it was
impossible to complete two sites, and hence only the more advanced of the two
Sottevast also had the advantage of having existing railway sidings and a nearby
Construction started in early 1943. There had been little bombing and an
air-raid siren had been placed on the top of a concrete shelter.
Approaching from the south-east, the main building is like a giant 'L' laid on
its side; the legs are 600 ft and 190 ft long, enclosing a concrete parking area
of 263 ft x 127 ft.
There is no access above ground; the rockets came from the sidings at Sottevast
via the site narrow gauge railway and entered the main building via a vertical
shaft at the end of the shorter leg. The entrance shaft is 40 ft x 37 ft, now
roofed over with concrete beams, and makes an opening on the other side of the
The short leg varies in height from 14 ft on the inside of the 'L' to 20 ft on
the outside and is 16 ft wide.
Inside the 21 ft-wide entrance of the shaft, the concrete on both sides
disappears into the ground, and according to a local farmer the shaft was
originally '30—40 m' deep.
On the inside of the opening, pointing back down the leg, are two rectangular
slots, 32 in x 21 in, 5 ft 6 in apart and extending approximately 30 ft into the
These slots must have been intended for part of the lifting gear for either a
door (remains of which are hidden under the soil) and/or the rockets as they
were lowered into the bunker.
Other constructional details of the short leg are steel reinforcing bars which
protrude above the rocket entrance shaft, indicating that an extension or cover
was meant to be added over the entrance, and on the opposite side there are
eight vertical V shaped recesses 18 in wide and 24 in deep, arranged at regular
intervals, 5 ft 8 in apart. These also disappear into the soil.
The recesses were probably intended for beams which would have supported a
lightweight structure attached to this outer wall, providing a weatherproof
cover over this opening.
The long section of the leg is 600 ft x 29 ft. Its height above ground varies
from 4 ft to 6 ft, and the last 196 ft of the leg slightly slope downwards
(100). Its purpose is unknown.
However, at Couville, too, there is a slight slope to the last 100 ft of the two
The concrete for this longer leg also disappears into the ground but it appears
that the roof, supported by the ground, was constructed first and that the
supporting walls were to be added later, and there is a 6 ft-wide recess on one
side where this wall would be added. On the roof of this section are several
scrap pieces of the site's narrow gauge railway.
On the inside of the 'L' is a large irregular concrete parking area, which
overall measures 263 ft x 91 ft.
Just outside the area enclosed by the 'L' is another smaller structure, parallel
to the short leg.
This concrete building, which is partially buried, is 100 ft x 31.3 ft and its
height varies from 3.5 ft to 6.9 ft above the ground.
The entrance, 30 ft wide, is at the south end and it is now blocked with soil.
On the roof are more pieces of the site narrow gauge railway.
This building appears to have been the site garage and locomotive shed.
Sottevast, like Couville, was intended to provide a secure storage and servicing
facility for the modified V2 and its larger developments.