Tour of American World War

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Tour of American World War

On the 13 Day Tour trough Europe we will visit many beautiful places, for example: – Lourdes – Santiago de Compostela – Lisbon

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Tour of American World War


Depart on an overseas International flight, with dinner and breakfast on board.
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Tour of American World War

Paris – London

Arrive at London Airport. Meet your TourLeader and transfer to your hotel. Get installed. Afternoon guided tour of Paris. Dinner and accommodation at Hotel.

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Tour of American World War

Soissons battlefield & other second battle of the Marne sites – Reims

Depart this morning for 1918 Second Battle of the Marne battlefields. Emphasis will be on the attack of the American 2nd Division, with its 4th Marine Brigade, on 18-19 July south of Soissons. This critical counter-attack, which gained eight kilometers, took 3000 prisoners and 66 guns, severed the German main supply route in the area, causing a general withdrawal from the large Marne Salient recently seized by them.

After Soissons, considered by many historians to be the turning point of the war, the Germans went over to the defensive and never gained another foot of ground, thereafter. In addition to following the division’s attack, with stops at key points, we’ll discuss and visit some other important sites encompassed by the overall offensive of which the division was a part. Then will come a tour of the “Armistice Clearing” near Compiegne and a walk through the small museum housing a sister coach to Marshal Foch’s “Surrender Carriage” where WWI essentially ended and where the French capitulated to Hitler in June 1940. The original was removed to Berlin and was destroyed near the end of WW II but an identical one is outfitted with all of the original furnishings which the French removed and hid from the Germans during the war.

We end at our hotel in the pleasant city of Reims, in the heart of Champagne country.

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Tour of American World War

Belleau Wood

Today, we tour the famous June-July 1918 battlefield of Belleau Wood., a “mecca” for US Marines. The victory there by the 4th Marine Brigade arguably saved Paris and unquestionably proved to the Germans that the Americans could and would fight well. The positive morale implications of this for the Allies and the negative ones for the Germans cannot be overstated in their impact on the outcome of the war.

We’ll stop at Les Mares Farm, famous for the battle cry, “Retreat, hell, we just got here,” uttered by Marine Captain Lloyd Williams, and the stopping of the Germans by accurate, long-range rifle fire never seen by them before. It was the closest the Germans would get to Paris in 1918. Then, we’ll view Hill 142, where the first Marine attack took place early on June 6 and where the first Medal of Honor of WW I was awarded to Gunnery Sergeant Charles Hoffman; followed by a visit to Lucy-le-Bocage, Marine supply and water point, post of command, and medical aid station during the battle. We’ll also walk through Bouresches and discuss its capture; observe the famous “Wheatfield” and analyze the ill-fated attack there; spend time in Belleau Wood; and pay our respects at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery. Led by expert historical guides, you’ll see posts of command, foxholes, German machine-gun positions, aid stations, and more.

A special stop will be made at the “Bulldog Fountain’ on the grounds of the stables near the ruins of the old Chateau de Belleau, destroyed during the war. Those who wish can take a drink of water, said to be among the purest in Europe and thought by some to add years to a Marine’s life.

We’ll then return to our hotel in Reims, with the evening at leisure.

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Tour of American World War

Blanc Mont Ridge – Verdun

Depart this morning for Blanc Mont Ridge, a critical objective for the French who had been trying to take it for four years. It was seized by the 2nd Division in a matter of hours but at an extremely high cost in casualties in the continuing advance. Of this great victory, French Marshal Philippe Petain said that it was the greatest military achievement of 1918. Prior to leaving Reims, however, we will tour the impressive Cathedral of Notre Dame, ancient coronation site of nearly all of the kings of France, which was rebuilt after suffering extensive damage during WW I.

En route to Blanc Mont, our route takes us parallel to the front lines of the old Champagne battlefield, fought over from 1914 to 1918 and where the US 42nd “Rainbow Division,” attached to the French, helped stop a major German attack on July 16, 1918. Turning north, we’ll make a stop at Navarin Farm to view the French monument to all of the Allied troops who fought in the region during the war and from where the commanding general of the 2nd Division observed his division’s attack on Blanc Mont. Just outside of Sommepy, we will stop at the jump-off line marked by one of 22 small monuments placed after the war to commemorate important sites where the division fought in France and discuss the attack. You may then choose to ride or walk up the slope to Blanc Mont Ridge taken in the morning assault on Oct 3, 1918, where you may visit the American Memorial which provides stunning views of both sides of the ridge.

After a field lunch and an opportunity to wander among the remaining trenches and bunkers, we’ll continue to follow the division’s attack over open ground, against heavy German fire, to the village of St. Etienne. Leaving the Blanc Mont battlefield, on our way to Verdun, we’ll view the site in the Argonne Forest of the US Army’s world-famous “Lost Battalion” of the 77th Division and view the area where the Army’s legendary Sgt Alvin York won his Medal of Honor.

Our final stop for the day will be in Verdun.

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Tour of American World War

Verdun – Mont Saint-Michel – Verdun

In the morning, we will visit selected sites of the incredible French 1916 battlefield of Verdun where combined casualties on the two sides are estimated to be between 750,000 and a million men, with about 300,000 of those dead. There is so much unexploded ordnance still in and on the ground that there has been no effort to clear many large areas. They have simply been designated as “Red Zones” and it is forbidden to enter them. The ground is still pock-marked with shell craters from the time when the terrain was denuded and resembled a moonscape. At one time or another every French infantry division rotated at least once through the sector. We will go to the point of the initial German assault, have a photo op at Ft Douaumont, the largest fort defending Verdun, which fell without a shot being fired, and tour the inside of Ft Vaux, the smallest fort, which was forced to surrender only after a vicious underground battle and its water supply was exhausted.

We’ll also view the Ossuary, which contains the skeletal remains of 130,000 dead from both sides, visit the fine museum at Fleury, and much more. After lunch on our own in Verdun, the afternoon will be spent studying the St Michell battlefield, where the Americans first fought together as an Army and which resulted in a significant victory. Stops will be made at the American Monument atop Montsec, probably the most beautiful American monument in France, which offers spectacular views of the battlefield in all directions, and at the beautiful American Military Cemetery at Thiacourt. Time will be taken to walk through the French/German trench complex at “Tranchee de la Soif” (Trench of Thirst), probably the best example of trenches as they were at the time, very well-preserved, not reconstructed.

We’ll overnight in Verdun

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Tour of American World War

Verdun – Meuse-Argonne – Paris

Depart Verdun for the largest American battlefield of the war, the Meuse-Argonne, which lasted from Sept 26 to the end of the war on Nov 11, 1918 and included 21-plus American Divisions consisting of one million men of which 117,000 were casualties. Highlights will include the 180-feet high Montfaucon American Monument atop a hill that dominates the surrounding area and gives a panoramic view of a large portion of the battlefield; the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in Romagne, our largest in Europe, with 14,246 graves; the jump-off line for the 2nd Division at Landres-et-St Georges from where, on Nov 1, it broke the Hindenburg Line for a second time in spearheading the final American attack of the war. Our last stop on the battlefield will be the site where two battalions of the 5th Marines crossed the Meuse River under heavy fire on Nov 10, the last night of the war in one of the most courageous acts in American military history. We then return to Paris where we will spend the next four nights.

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Tour of American World War

Paris

Today you experience Paris, quite arguably the most beautiful city in the world. Past tour participants have expressed the desire to have more, unstructured, free time to explore Paris on their own. You will have today as well as the entire next day, at leisure. Your tour leaders will be available to offer suggestions of things to do and places to visit, as well as how to take advantage of Paris’ excellent public transportation system. Your choices are endless and a Paris guidebook, obtained before the tour may help you.

You can ride one of the hop-on/hop off tour buses for an excellent city driving tour. You can experience more military history with a visit to Napoleon’s Tomb in Les Invalides, the National Army Museum, where Marshal Ferdinand Foch, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in France, is also entombed. You can see firsthand the art treasures of the Louvre, Orsay Museum, Rodin Museum, and Pompidou Center, take in the architectural wonders of the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Opera, the Basilica de Sacre Coeur in Montmartre, the Marais and even take an optional tour to Versailles. Or, you can just sit on a bench on the Champs Elysees and watch the world pass by.

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Tour of American World War

Paris

Today is another free day, many past participants have favored the huge flea market at Porte de Clignancourt, where you can find all types of military and other antiques. Shopping at the large department stores and small boutiques is fun. Head up to Roland Garros on the day before the grand slam tournament begins. Take a walk along the Quays that line the River Seine to check out the bookstalls and artists, are but a sampling of things our tour alumni have done. Whatever you choose today it will likely provide great memories.

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Tour of American World War

Paris – breakfast

Breakfast and transfer to the Airport of Roissy. Paris- Breakfast. Transfer departure to the Airport. End of services after registration of passengers and baggage.