It was built in secret but the Allies discovered it and bombed it

Mimoyecques, the fortress from which Hitler wanted to raze London with huge cannons

In the last two years of World War II, Nazi Germany invested considerable resources in retaliatory weapons.

Trondenes Fort: an old German battery in Norway with four colossal cannons
The interior of two well-preserved Third Reich batteries on a British island

With these weapons, Hitler intended to carry out long-range strategic attacks against the Allies, believing that by sowing terror among the civilian population he would be able to win the war. The two most famous retaliation weapons were the V-1 flying bombs and V-2 rockets (the V stood for Vergeltungswaffen, "revenge weapon"), with which Germany carried out massive attacks against Belgium and the United Kingdom.

There was a third retaliation weapon that is much less known: the V-3 cannon. It was a huge cannon of 150 mm caliber and a length of 130 meters, with which Germany intended to reach targets at a distance of up to 160 kilometers.

A plan of the installation of a V-3 cannon (Author: Sanders, T.R.B.).

Unlike traditional cannons, the V-3 was installed in an underground fortress and operated through a multiple loading system, the purpose of which was to give greater velocity to its 140 kg projectiles.

These cannons were fixed and were installed in the Mimoyecques Fortress, next to the English Channel, whose construction was carried out in absolute secrecy under the code name Bauvorhaben 711. The Germans' plan was to install 25 large cannons in 5 wells, in order to attack the city of Londonwith a rate of up to 600 shots per hour for each cannon.

The construction of the Mimoyecques Fortress began in September 1943. Its construction involved more than 5,000 workers, many of them German engineers and miners, but also many slave workers from occupied countries. The Allies did not know what the Germans were up to there, but they soon began bombing that fortress after identifying it as a possible launching platform for V-2 rockets.

The serious damage caused by the Allied bombings meant that the Mimoyecques Fortress never went into action. The few cannons that were installed never opened fire, fortunately for the residents of London, since the capital Britain could have been devastatedby such a weapon.

Between 1984 and 2008 the Mimoyecques Fortress functioned as a private museum. After its closure, two years later the fortress reopened as a public museum, where in addition to showing a scale model of a V-3 cannon, you can also see monuments to the airmen who lost their lives in the bombing missions against this site, among them Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., brother of John F. Kennedy, president of the United States between 1961 and 1963. There are also monuments to slave workers strong> who died during the construction of the fortress. Periodically, French military and civilians gather there to pay tribute to those Fallen.

Here you can see a video of Normandy Bunkers that tours the interior of this strength:


Photos: Forteresse de Mimoyecques / Bundesarchiv.

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