World War Battlefields: 2010
This June 6th marked the 60th anniversary of World War Two's D-Day landings in Normandy. This summer was the 90th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One. Both wars engulfed Europe for years and traces of the battles can still be found. What evocative European sights have you discovered that bring these two conflicts to life?
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D-Day beaches tours
For many years I have wanted to tour the D-day landing beaches in Normandy( I had an uncle there).My wife was less enthousiastic.We were fortunate in going on a tour with Dale Booth(www.daleboothnormandytours.com).Not only is he a fountain of all knowledge of the technical military strategy of the various battles but he is incredibly enthousiastic about the human side of them too.This won over my wife who now speaks of the tour and our guide in glowing terms.We were delighted with our tour and can recommend highly to anybody Dale Booth tours
Billericay, Essex UK Wed 12/15/2010
i have just completed a private tour of of many of the D Day landing sites with Overlord Tours. Although hesistant at first due to the cost i can whole heartedly recommend this organization to anyone who is seeking a thoroughly professional, comprehensive and well balanced tour. I felt well versed in the history of the event but my excellent guide Oliver greatly impressed me with his knowledge and ability to respond to so many of questions. The whole experience exceeded my best expectations.
canmore, AB canada Mon 12/13/2010
Victory Tours - Exceptional! Raul Klinkhamer is very thorough and informative of Normandy. We enjoyed the tour more than anything else we did on our vacation. There was so much info and facts about that particular time in history. The tour was very surreal and we left with intense feelings. Raul was a real treat for a tour guide and we wouldn't have missed it for the world. He even went looking for us as the train was late. An extraordinary experience!
Chesapeake, VA USA Thu 11/18/2010
WW2 battle tours - Roel at Victory Tours
Just completed a full day tour with Roel at Victory Tours. Roel was very enthusiastic, informative and funny. We saw everything on the standard tour and a little bit more. Great tour.
As a side note...avoid DDayBattletours.com with Ellwood. The first time we emailed him, the prices were more than what is shown on his website with no explanation why. When we contacted him again, the price immediately went even higher because he was "busy."
Edmonds, WA USA Sun 11/07/2010
Dale Booth Normandy Tours
We took Dale Booth's two day tour and I can honestly say I was speechless. His passion and his commitment to keeping the memory of these brave men and women is simply unbelievable. He is an excellent tour guide and we will recommend him without hesitation to anyone that is interested in the history of this event. www.daleboothnormandytours.com
Saint Petersburg, Fl USA Tue 10/19/2010
My husband and I signed up for a full-day tour of the Normandy Beaches with Roel Klinkhamer of Victory Tours, This was an outstanding tour! It was a real highlight of our trip to France. Roel is very knowledgeable, friendly, and humorous. He showed many photos at each stop, and he relayed numerous personal stories from veterans. Roel's passion for the beaches of Normandy is very obvious...his tour brought WWII history to life. Since Roel conducts small tours [there were 8 of us in the morning and 4 in the afternoon], we had time to see everything...there was no waiting for 50 people to unload and board at every site. And we did see a lot! As a "one man, one van" company, Roel covers quite a bit. He gave an informative commentary at each stop, then gave everyone time to explore and "clicky-clicky" on their own. We made every stop as advertised on his full-day tour, and he even arranged for us to have extra time at Utah Beach, as he knew that my father had landed there as a an Army Medic. He even got us to the train station in time to catch our train back to Paris! We were very impressed with Roel's tour, and would highly recommend his full-day tour through Victory Tours. Thank you, Roel!
Gerry & Gary Bucsis
Fonthill, ON Canada Sun 10/10/2010
The Caen Memorial Museum offers 5 hour guided tours. Well worth it, excellent guide. 5 hours doesn't seem long enough, though. Very many things to see in Normandy in regards to D-Day.
the Island, Canada Tue 10/05/2010
D-Day Sights Tour
Summer 2010. We had a delightful, insightful and moving tour of D-Day sights with www.victorytours.com. Operating out of Bayeux, FR, Roel is a multi-lingual, encyclopedic tour-de-force. He balances the desire of his clients to see it all with the reality that it can't be done in a day. The result is a most meaningful and informative tour with a couple special sights thrown in if the group stays on schedule. This is something every American (Canadian and Brit) should do. As Roel points out, we are losing our WWII veterans at record pace. If you know one who was there and they can still travel, Roel has a special place in his heart for those heroes. It would be an amazing visit for all involved.
Incline Village, NV USA Sun 10/03/2010
Overlord D-Day Tour
D-Day Tours at www.overlordtour.com We spent September 12, 2010 touring Omaha/Utah Beaches and the area portrayed in "Band of Brothers" with Mr. Alain Chesnel. Mr. Chesnel is extremely professional and has a vast knowledge of D-Day. He is very intelligent, well informed and clearly has a passion for the events of D-Day history and their implication in world history. We highly recommend his services. Jim Juknialis Becky Morgan Cleveland OH USA
Cleveland, OH USA Sat 09/25/2010
D-Day Tours with Overlord - Stephane
We just returned home from a European vacation, ending in the Normandy area. We had planned a private 2-day tour with Overlord, and Stephane picked us up at our hotel in Bayeaux as planned. I cannot say enough about this tour - it was exceptional! We had sent Overlord army records of my father-in-law, who was in the 1st wave on D-Day. Stephane knew where his company had been, and made history come alive for us. Everything about the tour was above and beyond what we expected, and I would recommend Overlord, and Stephane, to anyone. He was very knowledgeable, and fun to be with at the same time. During the 2 days, we toured both the American beaches and the British/Canadian beaches, villages, monuments, Pegasus Bridge, museums, etc. We had a very thorough tour, well worth the price. Our D-Day tour was definitely the highlight of our 3 week vacation.
Lake St. Louis, MO USA Wed 09/22/2010
Vimy Ridge - World War 1
My wife and I wanted to see world war 1 sights. So we stayed in amiens and rented a car. While they are all over the area, we drove to vimy ridge. It was amazing. There were still trenches and the fields are covered with the holes from all the shelling. There is a memorial there that is huge and covered in names of those that dies there. I believe they are Canadian. There is also a nice museum there as well.
Fl USA Fri 09/17/2010
Private Normandy Tour
Last month, August 2010, we were disappointed with our difficulty in finding available Normandy tours at the last minute. Fortunately we stumbled upon Normandy Sightseeing Tours and booked a 1/2 day private tour with Christopher. I wasn't exactly excited about the long day trip from Paris but was trying to appease my husband. We ended up having the BEST day...one of the top 2 of our trip to France. I recommend the private tour so that's it's easier to hear the guide and ask questions. It was amazingly interesting. Christopher was extremely well versed on everything war related[INVALID]in Europe and beyond and his accent was very easy to understand. Next time we are in France we will be booking a longer tour with Christopher. At the end he even took us into Bayeux and enjoyed lunch with us at a great neighborhood restaurant and told us more about French culture
Cypress, TX USA Sat 09/04/2010
Had a great tour with Victory Tours out of Bayeaux with Rouel. He gave a great tour with anecdotes and places tur buses do not always go. Enjoyed it thoroughly
Fresno, CA USA Sun 08/22/2010
World War Battlefields
I work at the National WWI Museum in Kansas City & just finished my Masters in Military History writing about the 35th Division (MO/KS ARNG) in WWI so decided to see the Meuse-Argonne Battlefield that I spent the last 3 years researching from here in the US. We stayed in Verdun at one of the hotels recommended by one of Rick's travel consultant. It was nothing fancy. I tried to find a car & driver to take us to the M-A battlefields. Had a tough time trying to tell people that we did not want to go to the Verdun battlefield. I finally had to rent a car myself, but had no problems with driving in France. Not a whole lot to see except for Vauquois Hill and the American Cemetery. Most of the area has now returned to farmland & the trees are overgrow/much larger than 90+ years ago. Tough to see why Vauquois Hill was so important. In Verdun, there is an excellent tour of one of the WWI tunnels. The "electric car" takes you thru the tunnels & videos pop up in English along the way to tell a story of a younger officer standing up to an older officer when they are gettig ready for some VIPs. Even my 13-year daugher said is was "cool" and she did not mean the temperature even though it was quite cold. There is a small WWI Museum/local history museum at Varennes right next to the 28th Division Monument. Wish I could have spent more time exploring, but I enjoyed my time in Verdun actually more than Paris.
H. David Pendleton
Lenexa, KS USA Sat 08/07/2010
We just returned from Normandy and took the two-day Bradley tour with Overlord tours. We thoroughly enjoyed our tour of the American sector. Our guide, Oliver, was informative and helped us meld as a group. He showed us numerous photos of soldiers right where we were standing. It was also exciting to walk on Omaha and Utah beaches. We have put "Band of Brothers" on our Netflix list so we'll be watching that and it will be exciting to see some of the sites we visited. we highly recommend Overlord tours.
Coatesville, PA USA Sat 07/31/2010
Airborne Museum in Arnhem
We recently spent a couple of hours at the Airborne Museum in Arnhem (actually in Oosterbeek)and really enjoyed the experience. It's a nicely laid out museum that does an excellent job of explaining Operation Market Garden, aka "A Bridge Too Far". The best part of the museum is in the basement where you walk through "The Airborne Experience" that gives you a realistic feeling as to what the paratroopers were experiencing in that horrible situation.
Gulfport, FL USA Sun 07/18/2010
Normandy Beaches Battle Tours
What a wonderful tour of the beaches of the Normandy Invasion of World War II, June 6, 1944! I toured the beaches, the surrounding battlefields, and historic towns with The Overlord Tours. Alain was the guide. He is a wealth of information for this daughter of a liberator who was born during the Battle of the Bulge. Alain happens to be the son of a French Resistance fighter. While neither of us had front row seats in 1944, we both were able to share information and insight that we heard from our fathers. I was fortunate to be with a group of others. One young man in our group was the grandson of a soldier who fell at St. Lo. Alain assisted us to find special graves in the American Battlements Cemetery. He explained many of the details of the burials and ceremonies to satisfy our curiosity. Alain graciously assisted the grandson to his grandfather's grave where the grandson obtained some of the soil from the grave to return to his home in the U.S. It was a tearful moment. I continued through France, Belgium, and Germany following the path of the battles my father fought. It certainly was a trip of a life time! I plan to take the tour again as I return to Normandy. The tour is very worthwhile and the guide was exceptional.
Dr. Patsy F. Scott
Ottawa Hills, Ohio USA Tue 07/13/2010
Normandy Tour with Victory Tours
My wife and I recently took a tour of the Normandy Beaches with Roel Klinkhamer of Victory Tours, in a word AWESOME! Having two grandfathers who fought on the beaches on D-Day and being a Golf Vet myself, I was blown away by Roel’s knowledge and expertise on the D-Day invasion from both the German side as well as the invasion forces perspective. Roel has a great personality and sense of humor. The full day tour went entirely too fast, even from my wife’s perspective, who is still telling everyone how great it was. Roel shared many stories, photos and it was obvious that he is passionate about what he does. He added a personal touch to the tour that made you feel like each tour was completely unique to him and not scripted out. Not only did Roel take us on the tour of the beaches but took us to several places that were "off the beaten path" in the surrounding areas giving us valuable insight on what occurred behind the beaches as well. I have been on several WWII tours and by far Roel was the best tour guide I have had, I recommend to anyone to use Roel of Victory Tours, he is simply AWESOME! To take another tour would be selling yourself short. Thanks Roel, I am sure my grandfathers are proud to see you sharing your extensive knowledge to future generations.
Lancaster, PA USA Thu 07/08/2010
Cab Tour Services D-Day Tour
I recently went with friends to Bayeux for a day in order to see the D-Day beaches. I didn't realize how far in advance I needed to book a tour in the middle of May, so I attempted to book with BattleBus and Victory Tours, who were sold out, before getting a reservation with Overlord Tours. Then, about a week before we got to Bayeux, I received an email from Alain telling me that one of their drivers had a family emergency and was unable to do the tour on our scheduled date. Since we were only in Bayeux for a day (a mistake, by the way; Bayeux is a beautiful little town and I wish we'd scheduled at least a couple of days there), we were unable to take a tour the following day. Alain then contacted his friend Pierre Doublet, who runs Cab Tour Services, and Pierre emailed me. I went ahead and reserved our spots. I was a bit worried because Pierre's emails indicated that his English was probably not the best, and his website is not particularly in depth. I thought "oh well, we don't have a car and at least this tour is cheaper (240 euro for all four of us, 60 apiece), and I know a bit about D-Day so if need be I can explain things to my non-history nerd friends."
As it turned out, I had no reason to worry. Pierre picked us up from our hotel on time (actually he arrived about ten minutes early) and began driving. As the name suggests, he has a regular sized car, so we were the only four people on the tour. Although he once or twice was unsure of a word, his English was excellent. More importantly, he gave us the most informative tour I could have imagined. Not only did he take us to the 82nd Airborne Memorial, Utah Beach, Point du Hoc, St Mare Eglise and the museum, Omaha and Utah Beaches, and the American cemetery at Coleville-sur-Mer, during which he explained everything we were seeing in more detail than I knew existed, he also told us quite a bit about the region in general and non-World War II sites we passed. Apparently his family can trace their lineage in Normandy back to the 16th century, and it shows--there seemed to be nothing about the region he didn't know. It was a fantastic tour, for a great price (especially considering that it was private), with the most knowledgeable tour guide I could have imagined. Don't be scared by the mediocre website or his written English (which is not as good as his spoken English). I guarantee that you'll get a good tour from Pierre. He also runs several other tours, including a William the Conqueror tour and a Mont St. Michel tour, both of which I expect are excellent as well. Pierre's website is http://cabtourservices.com.
On a side note, I'd also recommend Le Bayeux for accommodations in the town. It was clean, comfortable, cheap, a short walk from the train station, and in a great location--one street over from the cathedral.
Salt Lake City, UT USA Mon 05/17/2010
A trip never to be forgotten- Stephane
My two sons and I had talked about visiting Normandy and Bastogne for a long time. Finally we decided to go and set some dates. We realized it was a once in a life time experience and spent nearly 5 months planning. We contacted Alain for a 3 day tour and with Stephane had a wonderful experience. It is not possible to put into words the feeling we came home with. We could never explain to anyone our experience. You have to go there and witness it in person. Stephane is a bright and well educated person who has become a friend. Overload met all of our expectations and then some.
Dr. Lewis Turchi
Palos Verdes Estates, CA USA Wed 05/12/2010
German secret weapons and 3rd Reich tour, Munich
My son and I were recently in Munich and we took a guided tour around the Deutsches Museum. Our guide was a guy called Taff. The museum is huge and would probably take a day to see it all. As it was we were there for about 3 hours and just concentrated on the military stuff that was there. We started off looking at a couple of full size Uboats, one of which was the very first german sub, U1. Later we saw a load of german warbirds like the Me 109 (oldest one in the world taff reckoned) the Me 163 rocket plane and the Me 262 jet. My son really liked that taff had these models that he used to explain the tactics with. We finished the tour looking at the V1 and V2 they have here. Afterwards we went to the Hofbrauhaus and saw some bunkers on the way as well. I have to say that this museum is probably one of the best kept secrets in Munich and definitely worth a look. We had planned to do a 3rd Reich tour in Munich as my boy will be doing this in school. We asked our guide about it and jumped on a tour with him a few days later. The tour was quite hands-on and we got to examine original documents and photos as well as seeing places like the Feldherrenhall (where the Beer hall putsch was put down) , the nazi art gallery and hitlers office. We also learned about “TheWhite Rose”, resistance and the holocaust – Dachau is only about 30 minutes away. I found that the tour was pitched just right and he didn’t mind being bombarded with questions by a teenager. They have a website http://www.dark-history.eu/secret%20weapons.htm
Birmingham, UK Mon 03/15/2010