La Coupole

The V-2 rocket was one of the perceived "Wonder Weapons" or "Wunderwaffe" that it was hoped would get Germany back into World War II. Developed as a brainchild of Wernher von Braun (who would later go on to work for the Americans), it was given the nomenclature Vergeltungswaffe 2 or retaliation weapon in response to the destruction that Allied air forces had brought to German cities in their relentless air campaign. London would be the main target for the V-2 - the first missiles that could reach the stratosphere. On the whole, these 14m high rockets would be launched using mobile equipment in an effort to avoid being targeted by the bombers of the RAF and USAF, however static sites were built and it is possible to visit one thanks to the RAF the Germans were fortunately never able to complete - La Coupole.

Located in the Pas-de-Calais départment of northern France, about 5 kilometres from Saint-Omer, La Couple was intended to be an installation from which V-2 rockets could be launched almost incessantly towards London and the South East of England. Partially destroyed by the British at the end of World War II, it lay derelict until 1997 when it opened to the public as a museum.


About The Author

Jonny Mardling is the Editor of The History Herald. He has a keen interest in Second World War and Cold War history, and with a great grandfather who was killed during the Battle of the Somme, he also has a fascination with First World War history. Read more about Jonny »

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What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. upon it depends our own British life and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us now. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age, made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will say, 'This was their finest hour.'
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