ITINERARY

day 1

Overnight Flight to London

This tour is the brainchild of the late Dr. Stephen E. Ambrose and further developed by Capt. Ronald Drez. Ambrose and Drez designed this itinerary after thousands of hours of interviews with veterans, study of the battlefields, research and writing. Thanks to their experience with the terrain and its history, we are able to present a tour that is unmatched in its authenticity.

Please sit back and relax on your overnight flight!

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day 2

London

Check into the hotel where the entire group will gather for an evening welcome reception. Our historian will treat us to our first lecture, with introductions all around.

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day 3

London

The morning will feature key sites in London that figured prominently in the War. We then proceed to the Churchill War Rooms, the underground nerve center for Britains war effort. We will also visit the Imperial War Museum, which houses authentic examples of World War II weaponry, tanks and aircraft and an exhibit of WWI trench warfare. We will have free time to enjoy London in the evening.

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day 4

Portsmouth

Depart London for Bletchley Park where we will visit the nerve center for intelligence used in the Allied War effort, code name Ultra. Here we will see the place where the Enigma machine is housed and where the cyphers and codes of several Axis countries were decrypted during the war. This afternoon we will tour Southwick House, the advance command post of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force. In the months leading up to D-Day in 1944, the house became the headquarters of the main Allied commanders, including Naval Commander-In-Chief Admiral Ramsay, Allied Supreme Commander General Eisenhower, and the Army Commander-In-Chief General Montgomery.

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day 5

Normandy

Following breakfast, we will board the cross-channel ferry and embark for Normandy as the troops did in 1944. In the afternoon, we will begin our visit to Normandy at Ste-Mere-Eglise, one of the villages where the American Airborne descended on D-Day. Here we will view and explore the iconic church where John Steele and his landing on the steeple are memorialized. We also visit La Fiere Bridge where the 82nd Airborne successfully delayed a German Panzer counter-attack against the Allied landing forces.

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day 6

Normandy

We will begin The Longest Day at Brcourt Manor where Lt. Dick Winters with members of Easy Company successfully silenced German artillery firing on American troops landing at Utah Beach. From there we will visit Utah Beach itself, where the 4th Division landed, and the Invasion Museum that depicts their heroics. Next we will stop at Ste-Marie du Mont where still stands the unique Renaissance-style steeple used as an observation post by the Germans. From there, we will proceed to the town of Carentan where we will follow the exact steps taken by American Paratroopers during the Battle of Normandy. Finally, the day will conclude with a visit to Pointe-du-Hoc, where Rudders Rangers scaled the cliffs to neutralize heavy German guns defending the expanse of beaches on D-Day.

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day 7

Normandy

Well spend the morning at Omaha Beach where the Americans landed and faced the strongest German resistance of the day and incurred the greatest losses. We will walk the beach and visit some of the German defense fortifications. We explore these sands from the tides ebb to the distant dunes to understand the emotions of the young soldiers of the 1st and 29th Divisions as they approached the gates of hell. We will pay our respects at the American Cemetery with its 9387 American soldiers graves stretching along the top of the bluff overlooking the beach. In the afternoon we will view the battery at Longues-sur-Mer, a fine example of the great defenses that made up Hitlers Atlantic Wall. We will proceed along the British Beaches from there to Pegasus Bridge where the first shots were fired on D-Day. Here the British Sixth Airborne led by Major John Howard with a miraculous glider landing carried out a surprise attack that yielded great success in overtaking this crucial bridge across the Caen Canal

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day 8

Paris

We arrive in Paris this afternoon. The Allies, preceded by Free French troops, symbolically reclaimed the French capital from the Nazis in August 1944. As did the American troops on leave, you may explore the city on your own. The evening is free.

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day 9

Arnhem

After breakfast, we board a high-speed train to Brussels and begin our study of Operation Market Garden, the early attempt by the Allied forces to strike directly for Berlin. Control of the bridges at Eindhoven, Nijmegen and Arnhem was essential for the push into Germany. We drive Hells Highway where the 101st and 82nd Airborne broke through to connect with the British in Arnhem. We visit Nijmegen to see the daring crossing of the Waal River by the 82nd Airborne. From there we proceed to Arnhem where again we cross the Bridge Too Far. Our historian will recount the desperate three days that the British 1st Airborne under General John Frost held it. Afterwards, we finish at the Airborne Museum at Oosterbeek.

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day 10

The Ardennes

This is where Hitler put everything he had into his only counter-attack. On December 16, 1944, Lt. Lyle Bouck was one of the first people to see the German columns coming on. Well make our first stop in the Ardennes at Lanzereth, the town where Bouck and a platoon of 19 men held off a full strength German SS Battalion under the infamous Joachim Peiper for an entire day. Well visit the American positions and hear their story, a breathtaking tale of heroism.

On December 17, 1944, the second day of the offensive, the Germans had several breakthroughs and many Americans surrendered near the town of Malmedy. Outside the town, Peipers SS lined up about 150 GIs and fired at them point blank. Less than half escaped alive. We will view the site of the massacre and the American Memorial at Malmedy. From there, we have a scenic drive through the Ardennes Mountains to our evening lodging

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day 11

Luxembourg

Well drive to Bastogne where the Americans rallied and stopped the German attack. Here well view the route of the initial American retreat and the place where the 101st Airborne and elements of the 10th Armored held off fifteen German divisions for six days. Our group will visit key sites in and around this historic crossroads town. Well also go to General McAuliffes HQ where he replied to German surrender demands with one word: NUTS. After our visit, its a short ride to Luxembourg. This afternoon affords some relaxing free time in the center of this bustling but charming old world city.

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day 12

Frankfurt

We drive to nearby Hamm and the American cemetery and the site of General George Pattons grave. Americas foremost WWII field general rests here among his men.

Well drive to the Siegfried Line to see remnants of the German communication trenches, pillboxes and dragons teeth that American GIs fought so hard to take in late 1944. This evening we gather for a farewell dinner and discussion after an enriching campaign into history.

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day 13

Flight Home

Early morning departure to the Frankfurt International Airport.

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day 14

Post Tour - Berchtesgaden

We continue our journey toward the Bavarian Alps. We will visit Dachau, site of some of the most nefarious acts of and against humankind during the war, as we travel south through Bavaria. In total, over 200,000 prisoners from more than 30 countries were housed in Dachau: notably Jews, resistance fighters, clergymen, politicians, communists, writers, artists and royalty. The second camp liberated by British or American forces, Dachau was one of the first places where the west was exposed to Nazi brutality.

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day 15

Post Tour - Berchtesgaden

The morning begins with a city tour of Berchtesgaden and Obersalzberg where we will visit the Eagles Nest and the remains of the vast Nazi Party complex liberated by the Allies in May 1945. Eagles Nest was built as a 50th birthday present to Hitler from the Nazi party. Perched at 6017 feet, the complex and the road network leading to it were considered feats of engineering as they were completed in only 13 months time in 1937-38.

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day 16

Post Tour - Berchtesgaden

Today the schedule is open and guests are free to enjoy the day as they please. You may choose to explore the charming town of Berchtesgaden which is easily walkable. An option would be an hour train to Salzburg, Austria, birthplace of Mozart. In Salzburg and its environs, The Sound of Music was filmed. The old city features marketplaces, buildings and churches from the Romanesque, gothic, Renaissance and Baroque periods as well as many museums and cafs.

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day 17

Post Tour - Flights Home

Depart our hotel in Berchtesgaden for Munich and our flight back home. Please do not schedule a return flight until after 10:00 a.m.

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