Knee Deep Into History… In planning since 1942, the Allied landings on the beaches of Normandy on 6 June 1944 would go down in history as the largest amphibious invasion ever attempted. The first day landings alone would involve three American infantry and two airborne divisions, three British infantry divisions, two Canadian infantry and one airborne division as well as other specialized units. The landing would be accomplished using more than 4,100 landing craft supported by more than 1,200 naval combat vessels, 1,500 other ships plus more than 11,500 aircraft! The above-mentioned numbers do not reflect the role of intelligence gathering, deception and the French resistance.
In spite of the overwhelming numbers, success was far from insured: Field Marshall Erwin Rommel, who became General Inspector of the Western Defenses in November 1943, embarked upon a rapid expansion and strengthening of the Atlantic Wall. Even if thinly manned, the fortifications and obstacles along France’s coastline posed significant threats to any invasion attempt. Also, there was the risk that German intelligence would discover the plan.
In hindsight, it is easy to see that weather, Allied boldness and deception won the day. Convinced that the landing would not take place in the unsettled weather of early June, key German leaders were away at a war game; Rommel was in Germany celebrating his wife’s birthday. Also, Hitler’s conviction that the main Allied invasion would take place near Calais resulted in an unfavorable disposition of enemy forces, thus delaying German response time.
Nevertheless, the Allied hold on Northern France remained tenuous until the major Allied offensives around Villers-Bocage and St. Lo in July.
Prepare to get knee deep into history as we explore the various aspects of this monumental invasion!
Day 1—Wednesday, 14 June—Pick up at CDG at 12:00pm. Evening briefing followed by introductory dinner.
Day 2—Thursday, 15 June— Utah Beach, Airborne operations around Sainte-Mère-Église, German Cemetery at La Cambe and a German battery in the Cotentin Peninsula.
Day 3—Friday, 16 June— Omaha Beach, German battery at Longues-sur-Mer, Pointe-du-Hoc and the Normandy American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer.
Day 4—Saturday, 17 June— British and Commonwealth Landing Beaches and Arromanches.
Day 5—Sunday, 18 June— Pegasus Bridge (Airborne Operation), Hillman Bunker, Canadian Cemetery at Bény-sur-Mer. German radar station at Douvres.
Day 6—Monday, 19 June—Push inland, the Falaise Pocket and the story of German Panzer Ace Michael Wittmann.
Day 7—Tuesday, 20 June—Morning departures at 9:00am to … We expect to arrive at the return point by 12h00, but delays are always possible.
Schedule is subject to modification as outlined in the 2023 Tour Brochure and the 2023 Terms and Conditions.
Testimonals from Select 2022 Clients
“…This is my second visit with you and I am working on my third and fourth visits in the future. Most of all I want to thank you for helping not just one, but now two, of my sons to gain an incredible appreciation for WW1 and their great-grandfather. There is nothing like getting to walk in his footsteps…” Matt Treaster, Kansas, 2022.
“You have provided me one of the best experiences of my life in the historical arena. In many ways it is superior to the drama on the first “take” in filming the First Manassas battle scene in North—South Pt. II… While it was good, yours was better as it was on the real ground and intellectually stimulating. Your scholarship is awesome and MAKES your program—especially through your analysis of period photography. I hope to use your talents again for my wife, Viola, to gain some perspective on her father in WW1.” Matt Switlik, Michigan, 2022.
“It is always a boon when your expectations of a great learning experience turn into a grand WW1 adventure with two guides whom are first-class historians. The two tours I took cleared my many uncertain opinions about the war… My interest in artillery and narrow-gauge railways was a cause that Markus and Randy accepted and lead me to many interesting sites…” Ken Baumann, Michigan, 2022.
See our Testimonials Page for additional feedback from clients.
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Still have questions or concerns? Email Randy Gaulke at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.