The Atlantik Wall In Normandy



V1 Sites in La Manche

The Germans started building V1 sites here in La Manche in 1943, by D-day they had forty sites nearing completion. None of these sites ever launched a V1, the Americans arrived in the area before the flying bombs were available. Another 25 sites were planned, but no trace of the construction being started can be found.

The largest site was at Brecourt, this was a converted French Oil storage depot and was first conceived by the Germans as a V2 launch site. As the V2 program vas running late is was converted to V1, for more information follow the link below.

All of the sites were given code numbers and I have used these on the following pages.

They also built 8 "Heavy Sites with numbers 11 to 18.  Numbers 14 15 & 17 are explained below in more detail. These sites were called SKI sites by the British, because of the shape of the storage garage. These sites were bombed on a regular basis. This caused disruption to the construction schedule, but not a lot of damage to the actual site. The German's abandoned these Ski Sites early in 1944 in favour of the light sites, by then the V1 & V2 programmes has been taken over by the SS.

Forty sites (including the abandoned Ski Sites) were either completed or were work in progress here in the Cherbourg Peninsular, by D-day, and a further 30+ sites were planned, but no trace of construction can be found, with the exception of some ground works.

To evade the frequent visits by the Allied air forces they the built 30 Light sites dispersed in countryside, these seemed not to have been bombed. Sites 144 & 224 are detailed below.

It is thought that the Headquarters was in the Chateau de Martinvast and that possibly the sites at La Malbreche and La Foret de la Hermitage could have been Command Posts.

The V1's would have arrived by train to either Valognes or Bricquebec, and at both rail heads evidence of the workshops can still be seen. The French Navy site at  Nardouet was also earmarked for storage, this is south of Cherbourg with easy access to the railway. the site is still used by the Navy and visitors are defiantly not welcome.

The sites in La Manche were aimed at British cities in the south and west Exeter, Bristol, Plymouth and Cardiff.

Two of the light sites are curious 237 & 231 because any V1 launched from them would fall into the sea. Could this have been a mistake by the Germans or an act of sabotage by the Polish prisoners used built the sites. French forced labour (STO) had been used on the coastal fortifications as well as the Ski Sites, but for these light sites the SS were in control and knew that if they used STO workers the Allies were sure to find out about the construction program.

A team of around forty me could complete a V1 light site in around three weeks.



Home Headquaters Reception Sites Ski Sites V1 Light Sites Brecourt 14 La Fournellerie 15 La Glacerie 17 La Boissais 144 Tonneville 224 Besneville La Hermitage V1 Story V1 History

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