Le Val Ygot V1 launch site
Preserved V1 flying bomb launch facility near Dieppe
Val Ygot V1 site location
What to see
The V1 launch facility hidden in the forest at Le Val Ygot, to the south of Dieppe, in Northern France is an eerie place to walk around.
Surrounded by tall trees, the secret site features many concrete buildings designed for the final construction and launch of this fearsome ‘vengeance’ weapon, known to the English as the buzz bomb or doodlebug.
There were hundreds of similar sites constructed across northern France with their weapons targeting the cities of southern England but this one has been preserved by a group of volunteers as a memorial to the slave labourers who died constructing this and many other similar sites.
Today you can see many buildings including storage and construction bunkers for the V1 - which would arrive by road to where the car park now stands - along with chemical storage bunkers, workshops, an anti-magnetic building for setting the gyroscopes, a fire control post, and the launch ramp itself.
Fortunately, the facility never got to launch a single weapon on England thanks to the bravery of RAF Mosquito crews who repeatedly bombed the location - the craters from their 500lb ordinance can be seen all over the area.
The V1 had a range of 250km (160miles). Often called a 'rocket' the V1 was actually a early type of cruise missile and were first launched on June 13, 1944, a week after the D-Day landings, and over 9,500 were launched against England before the last site in range was captured in October.
The ramp itself is a fascinating piece of engineering which you can get up close to at the site. The long tube inside the ramp construction is where the piston was located and a device was positioned below the V1’s fuselage which would be fired along the tube at a rapid rate by the pressure created by the chemical reaction of mixing hydrogen peroxide and potassium permanganate.
The V1 was propelled to the end of the ramp in just one second, reaching 300 km/h before it’s own rocket engine would accelerate it to over 600 km/h (300 miles/h) cruising speed.