V1 site No 17 Mesnil-au-Val
Early type of V1 flying bomb launch site
V1 site No 17 Mesnil-au-Val site location
What to see
This site, south east of Cherbourg, is one of the most complete V1 flying bomb launch sites in Normandy.
Located on private farmland, many of the buildings have modern uses but you are still able to understand the network of builds and follow the route the V weapons would have taken through the sites from their delivery by road to their construction, fueling, and launch from the ramp.
This site was pointed in the direction of Bristol in the south west of England - over 200 miles away across the English Channel - but was never able to fire on the city due to being overrun by Allied forces following the D-Day landings.
Access is with permission only and at the start of the route from the main road you can see a long reception bunker to which the disassembled weapons would have been delivered to.
Following the original concrete road takes you past assembly workshops, fuse storage facilities, buildings for storing chemicals used in the firing process, and several storage depots where the partly rebuilt bombs would have been housed.
Prior to firing the V1s would have been taken on a trolley to the anti-magnetic building in the middle of the site and just a few yards from the launch ramp. This building was unique in that it didn't contain any metal in its construction and inside here the V1 would have been hung and its gyroscope set ready for launch.
Unlike many of the later sites, the ramp here enjoyed the protection of two flared walls to prevent damage from Allied bombers.