Normandy and the D-Day Landings
(Four day tour)
The Normandy invasion and the liberation of Europe was one of the largest undertakings in military history and it effectively signaled the beginning of the end of the Second World War. The logistics for this operation were unparalleled from the assembly of the largest and most powerful armada, to the landing of three airborne divisions as well as massed infantry. Overlord, as it was codenamed, is quite simply a military feat to be marveled at.
Day One: Depart by coach from your chosen UK collection point and proceed to Dover for our channel crossing by ferry to Calais and then on to the city of Caen where we will book into our centrally located hotel. The rest of the evening is at your leisure when you can explore this vibrant and historic city.
Day Two: We begin our tour of the British sector by visiting Pegasus Bridge which was taken by the Ox and Bucks in a stunning coup de main operation. Here we visit the Pegasus Bridge Museum (entrance fee included) and Café Gondree, the first house liberated in France, before moving on to the Merville Battery and Ranville where we pay our respect at Lt Brotheridge’s grave. Brotheridge was the first allied soldier killed on D-Day.
A packed lunch is provided (included in the price) before we move on and visit the beaches of Sword, Juno and Gold and discuss the actions that took place as the allied troops came ashore and moved inland. This includes the story of Stanley Hollis the only VC winner of D-Day. We finish the day at Arromanches where the British established their Mulberry harbour and remnants of it remain in the bay to this day.
Day Three: As we travel into the American sector we stop at La Cambe, the German War Cemetery. Here we visit the grave of Michael Wittmann, the panzer ace, before we travel onto Sainte-Mère-Église. Here a company of the 82nd airborne dropped on to the market square in the early ours of June 6th and were cut down by the waiting Germans. One John Steele was snagged on the church steeple and a model of him is suspended there as a reminder of the event. At Sainte-Mère-Église we visit the Airborne Museum and explore the town before partaking of a packed lunch (museum entrance fee and lunch inlcuded in price).
The afternoon sees us look at the exploits of ‘Easy Company’ made famous in the television series Band of Brothers. We visit their memorial and the site at Brécourt where they silenced four guns on the morning of the 6th June before looking at the first of the American beaches, Utah.
We then travel along the coast to Pointe Du Hoc, taken by the US Rangers before entering Omaha Beach via the Verville draw. Here we travel the length of the beach and discuss the actions that took place on what became known as ‘Bloody Omaha’. We finish the day with a visit to the American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer. This stunning cemetery contains three Medal of Honour winners and the brothers the film Saving Private Ryan was based on.
Day Four: When we leave our hotel in Caen we travel to the Bayeux War Cemetery to pay our respects to the commonwealth fallen before travelling back to Calais and the return ferry home.
Omaha Beach Memorial