Le Bunker Eperlecques, France

Towards the end of the War , during 1943, the Germans commenced the building of a number of huge bunkers from which to they were to construct , prepare and launch their newly developed V2 Missile. One of these bunkers was situated on a wooded hillside over looking the village of Eperlecques in Northern France and was codenamed Kraftwerk Nord-West.  The design of the bunker was organised by the Todt Organisation and the work was undertaken by forced labourers and volunteer labourers, they worked on the site until the Allied bombing raid on the 27th August 1943. After this air raid, the Germans began using captured prisoners from Russia, Czech, Poland and Belgium for the construction of the bunker. They were kept nearby in strictly guarded forced labour camps and there numbers totalled nearly 3000.

The Bunker
The south face of the bunker is the area that houses the liquid oxygen factory that was to supply the V2’s with fuel. This is some 75 metres in length, 35 metres wide and a visible height of 22 metres (actual height 33 metres). The pentagonal structure on the front is the uncompleted control tower for the V2 rocket launch pads. Rockets would have been brought out of giant doors either side of the control tower but these are not visible having been sealed up after the original bombing damage.

The north face of the bunker is a raised concrete platform that would have had train tracks running into it so that the Rocket components could be easily brought in. This is the most heavily damaged part of the site having been extensively bombed by the Allies.  The entrance to the bunker is on the West side of the bunker and is protected by  a 3 meters thick door weighing 216 tonnes. The floor level inside the bunker has been raised by 10 meters to combat flooding. On the right is a bay for preparing, fuelling and assembling the huge V2 rockets prior to being launched.  Along the corridor and up the slope lies the liquid oxygen production plant,. This was equipped with 5 Heylandt compressors producing 320 tons/month of liquid oxygen which would have been sufficient to launch 220 V2’s a month.

Outside the entrance is a crater left by one of the ‘Tallboy’ bombs, it measure around 100ft across and 20metres deep. The Tallboy bombs did little to damage the bunker but caused such pressure and shock waves that the plant equipment inside the bunker was rendered inoperable and effectively sealed the fate of the Bunker.

The information included here was referenced from the excellent guide book produced by R. Hautefeuille and H. de Megille

Modified: 27th Dec 2017