Wikipedia:Today's featured article/March 25, 2013

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Railway tunnel at La Coupole

The Blockhaus d'Éperlecques, La Coupole and the Fortress of Mimoyecques were secret military bases built in northern France by Nazi Germany between March 1943 and July 1944. They were constructed by German specialists, civilian forced labourers and prisoners of war used as slave labour, and were intended to serve as launch sites for the Nazis' secret weapons, the V-2 rocket and the V-3 supergun. La Coupole (railway tunnel pictured) and the Blockhaus, located near Saint-Omer, were designed to launch dozens of V-2 rockets daily against London and other targets in England. The Fortress of Mimoyecques, near Boulogne-sur-Mer, would have housed the V-3 supergun, designed to fire 600 projectiles an hour at London. All three facilities were put out of action by the Allies' Operation Crossbow bombing campaign between August 1943 and August 1944 and were never used for their intended purposes. They were captured by Allied forces in September 1944 and partly demolished on Winston Churchill's orders to ensure that they could not be used to threaten the United Kingdom again. They were abandoned after the war, and opened to the public in the 1980s and 1990s as museums and memorials to the workers and airmen who died during the bombing. (Full articles: Blockhaus d'Éperlecques – La Coupole – Fortress of Mimoyecques)

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