Blockhaus d'Éperlecques

Watten, France

The Blockhaus d'Éperlecques is a Second World War bunker, now part of a museum, only some 14.4 kilometers 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.

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Address

Watten, France
See all sites in Watten

Details

Founded: 1943
Category: Museums in France

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Chris P (9 months ago)
A really interesting place. Not especially heavily advertised but it's definitely worth visiting. The bunker is an engineering feat in itself and it has an interesting and often chilling story to tell. V1 and V2 rocket exhibits on site too. There's an audio tour in several languages. You walk around the site but it's not too strenuous. Highly recommended
Dinja vd Broek (9 months ago)
Surprising museum, you start outside with some information about the start of World War 2. There was a deportation train where you could imagine how it was during the war. After a walk in the museum garden, you come across a giant bunker! It looks abandoned (little bit urbex) but you can visit the inside of the bunker where an old car is hiding. There is a V2 diplay in the bunker (still not sure if it is a 2D or 3D rocket) and a short documentary in a language by choice. Outside the bunker is a V1 and V2 display. It's impressive to see. I would recommend this museum (and the shop too!). The people who work here are doing their best at English:)
Steve Irving (10 months ago)
This has to be seen in person to be appreciated. An important story of a certain totalitarian WW2 government (which Google evidently won't let me namef) and its forced labour policies and how close WW2 came to being even worse. And Google, I understand not glorifying groups like that, but naming them in this context is is just the historical record.
Birdies Bikes (10 months ago)
Impressive building. I've been there 5 or 6 times now, generally on the way back to Calais and it never fails to inspire awe when you turn a corner after walking through the woods and it just confronts you.Rest of the museum is good as well with lots of info. If you are on a motorbike then they also have a parking area for the bikes with lockers to put your crash helmet / backpacks in! Never seen that at a museum, so very bike friendly (but then France generally is)! You could do the site in about an hour but if you want to read the boards and take in the atmosphere then 1.5 to 2 hours would be better. Highly recommended.
Carol Lewis (12 months ago)
A must see. From this site many V1 and V2 bombs were launched and hit many targets in Britain. Awful history of prison workers and concentration camps but we must learn and acknowledge history even if its not palatable to us. Inside the structure was incredible. The only negative is that although it's all wheelchair accessible the gravel pathways through the site are not easy for disabled/mobility scooters.
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