Knee Deep Into History… Today, Flanders Fields and the Somme battlefields of WW1 stand as symbols of the futility of WW1 trench warfare and the thousands of casualties that it produced. More important, each of these battlefields also tells the story of changing strategies, tactics and weapons to try to break out of the Western Front stalemate.
Flanders fields is just 20 miles or so from the North Sea Coast. In 1914 it played a key role in the “Race to the Sea” during the First Battle of Ypres; with British and Belgian forces managing to hold on to a tiny sliver of Belgian territory. In 1915 the Imperial German Army launched its first gas attack during the Second Battle of Ypres; seeking to push the British lines west of Ypres and to reduce the threat of a British combined land / sea operation. In 1917 it was the British turn to attack; hoping to push the Germans back and to eliminate the North Sea U-boat bases that were wreaking havoc on British shipping. This Third Battle of Ypres (also known as Passchendaele) would become synonymous with the horrors of trench warfare, in part because of the incessant rains that reduced the battlefield to a morass.
The Somme has become equally symbolic. The two-week preparatory bombardment, combined with the blowing of mines on day 1, was unheard of until that time. In spite of this, Kitchener’s Army would suffer its worst day in history, producing 60,000 casualties in just one day, as leaders were slow to grasp the bombardment’s failure. The French Army would have better outcomes, but it would still suffer. In September 1916 the British Expeditionary Forces would use tanks for the first time; hoping to break the stalemate. However, the early tanks were far too unreliable to bring victory.
Today, the landscape of the two battlefields is dotted with countless cemeteries, memorials and preserved battlefield parks that the story of the once-giant trench warfare battles that occurred here. Equally important, participants will attend the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate. Explore these two areas with us and get knee deep into history…
Day 1—Wednesday, 17 May—Pick up at BRU at 12:00pm. Introductory briefing and dinner in the evening.
Day 2—Thursday, 18 May—Somme Battlefields
Day 3—Friday, 19 May—Somme Battlefields, including the Somme American Cemetery at Bony France. Also a visit to the Flanders Fields American Cemetery and Memorial in Waregem, Belgium.
Day 4—Saturday, 20 May—Ypres Salient, including the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate.
Day 5—Sunday, 21 May—Ypres Salient
Day 6—Monday, 22 May—Morning departures at 9:00am to BRU. We expect to arrive at the return point by 11:00am, but delays are always possible.
Schedule is subject to modification as outlined in the 2023 Tour Brochure and 2023 Terms and Conditions.
Select Testimonials from 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 of 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 more feedback from tour clients!
Download the Tour Information! Sign-up Deadline is 17 March!
Flanders Fields and Somme Tour Brochure
Visit our Q&A Page for more information.
Still have questions or concerns? Email Randy Gaulke at mailto:email@example.com.