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The V3 was one of the three "Vengeance Weapons" built by Nazi Germany during WW2. The other two were the V1 and V2 guided missiles. Unlike them, however, the V3 was not a missile but a huge underground complex located in Mimoyecques, France. Some sources erroneously report the Wasserfall Missile as being the V3.

This complex contained five hidden batteries, each containing a single buried super-howitzer. The guns, with a barrel length of about 120m, were the largest Axis' artillery pieces, surpassing the Dora or Schwere Gustav railway propelled 800mm super-cannon, the Mörser Karl (Gerät 040) 600mm tracked siege mortar, the Leopold and Robert 320mm railway cannons, etc.

The technological innovation employed by these huge guns was the use of multiple propelling charges, placed along the barrels' length and timed to explode as soon as the projectile passed them by, to provide an additional boost. Due to their higher suitability and ease of use, rocket boosters were used instead of explosive charges, arranged in symmetrical pairs, attached to the barrel with a low (below 30 degrees) angle.

These guns had a muzzle speed of 1100 m/s and the whole complex was designed to be capable of shooting 300 shells every hour, with a maximum range of over 90 km.

It was of course very hard to aim even a single gun, but that was not much of a problem since the complex had been built and oriented with the sole purpose of bombing London from a safe distance, in a desperate attempt to "retaliate" against the Allied heavy bombing raids over Germany. That was also the purpose of the other V-weapons, but all of these efforts were of dubious efficiency and effect compared to the devastating impact of the deadly Flying Fortresses, and clearly show the serious problems faced by the Luftwaffe during the last years of the war.

The complex was never used in this way, though, and only test shots were made.

External links

Fortress Of Mimoyecques (French)