ITINERARY

day 1

Flight to Paris

Flights out participants depart the United States for Paris.

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day 2

Normandy

After an early morning arrival in Paris at Charles de Gaulle Airport, the group will rendezvous and depart for Normandy by motorcoach. Your historian, Kevin Hymel, will give a brief overview of General Patton and his Third Army at the Welcome Dinner and reception this evening.

Please contact our office to discuss flight arrival times so we may coordinate with the other guests.

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day 3

Normandy

We will spend the morning at Omaha Beach where the Americans took the German fortifications after a fierce fight. Losses were especially high in the first wave of landings. Today the American Cemetery stretches along the bluff. We will study the battlefield, traverse the beach, analyze the maps and imagine the courage that saved our freedom that day. We also will pay our respects (at the thousands of crosses and Stars of David) to the deceased. Pointe-du-Hoc is a sheer cliff some forty meters high where the elite Ranger Force scaled the German breastworks on D-Day. We will spend part of the afternoon there, trying to fathom how they did it. Late afternoon we will visit Ste-Mere-Eglise, taken by the American Airborne on D-Day, and hear the stories of the veterans who took it.

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day 4

Normandy

After breakfast, our tour begins where the first shots of the Normandy invasion were fired, at the crucial Pegasus Bridge. Then we will pass the British and Canadian Beaches: Sword, Juno and Gold on the way to Arromanches. Here are still Mulberries, large flotation devices used to create an artificial port for the landing. There is then a viewing of the film The Price of Freedom at the Cinema Circulaire 360. It is a blend of present day photography with information from the archives of war correspondence. From here we proceed to the heavy gun emplacements at Longues-sur-Mer, thebattery against which HMS Ajax scored the most accurate (and perhaps the luckiest) hit of the war. We will see the evidence that remains.

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day 5

Annivsary of D Day Ceromonies

On this 70th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion, we will attend the commemorative events for the Normandy invasion. We will receive the exact schedules from the French government in 2014. If time permits, we will visit some notable historic sites after the ceremonies.

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day 6

Brittany The Breakthrough

Our day will begin at Patton’s Headquarters in Nehou where the general waited for the Third Army to become operational. From there we will drive to Coutances, where two armored divisions blasted south in Operation Cobra. Further south we will visit the site where American tanks destroyed the SS German armored column. We will stop at a statue to Patton in Avranches where the Third Army broke into the Brittany Peninsula and headed east, west and south through the German lines. Finally, we will see the Pontaubault Bridge where Patton’s troops poured into the Brittany peninsula.

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day 7

Normandy Hitler's Counterattack

We will visit Mont St. Michel, the medieval monastery which Patton visited during his honeymoon. It is a must for any visit to France. We continue to Mortain, the mountaintop town where the Germans attacked the 30th Infantry Division in an effort to cut off Patton’s base of supplies. Although surrounded, the Americans held out for six days until relief arrived. The mountaintop affords an excellent view of the surrounding countryside.

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day 8

Reims Breakout

In the morning we will visit Mayenne, where one of Patton’s hard luck divisions turned itself around by seizing a vital bridge. Then we will travel to Argentan where elements of the Third Army turned north to close the Falaise Gap. At Chambois, we will view where American, Polish and Canadian troops fought to stop the retreating Germans. The museum in Chambois provides an excellent overview of the battle at the Falaise Gap.

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day 9

Metz area World War I

We begin our day at Eisenhower’s headquarters in Reims where German General Alfred Jodl signed the unconditional surrender on May 7, 1945 ending WWII in Europe. We will then go to Verdun, site of some of the greatest battles of World War I, where Here in 1945 Patton, Eisenhower and Omar Bradley met to figure out how to defeat the German stranglehold on Bastogne, where the surrounded 101st Airborne Division fought for its life.

We will then visit Essen and Pannes, two of the towns where Patton led his tanks into the battle of St. Mihiel, one of the first major engagements by the U.S. Army in the First World War. Outside of Essen, we will see the location where Patton, a 32 year old Lieutenant Colonel at the time, met Brigadier General Douglas MacArthur during an effort by the Allies to cut off a German bulge in their lines,. and the two bravely stood together as German artillery approached them. In Pannes, Patton rode a tank into battle and personally helped chase the Germans out of the town. These actions in World War I foreshadowed the future proved the abilities of tanks in warfare.

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day 10

Metz area Without Gas

In September 1944, with little fuel, supplies and replacements, Patton found himself stalled outside Metz, a city surrounded by six steep granite hills that were heavily fortified by many conquerors over the centuries. No army had ever overcome its defenses. We will visit the dragon’s teeth of the German Siegfried Line. From there we will see where Patton’s forces crossed the Moselle River and fought off a German counterattack. After study and discussion in the field, we will retire to L’Horizon hotel for lunch. Later, we will tour Fort Hackenburg, part of the Maginot Line, France’s defensive front in 1940 and fought over by Patton’s troops in 1944.

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day 11

Luxembourg The Bulge, Part 1

When the Germans launched the Battle of the Bulge, Patton turned his Army north towards Bastogne where the 101st Airborne Division was holding the town. We will view the Patton statue in Ettlebruck and the Battle of the Bulge Museum in Diekirch. We will eat lunch in Clervaux, where the Germans broke through the 28th Infantry Division. From there we will travel to Longvilly and Noville, where armor and airborne forces slowed and stopped the German drive to Bastogne. We will complete the day with a visit to Patton’s headquarters during the Battle of the Bulge.

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day 12

Luxembourg The Bulge, Part 2

From Luxembourg City, we will retrace Patton’s relief of Bastogne. We will see the site of the final attack by Col. Creighton Abrams to relieve the 101st Airborne Division. After a stop at McAuliffe Square where you will learn the history of the Sherman tank on display, we will drive to Houffalize, where Patton’s Third Army helped close the Bulge. The day will end with a wreath laying ceremony at Patton’s grave in Hamm.

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day 13

Mannheim The Last Days of Patton

We will drive to Trier, Germany, where Patton seized the city despite orders to the contrary not to. When Bradley told Patton he did not have enough forces to take the city, Patton radioed back, what do you want me to do, give it back? We will visit a Roman coliseum and the Portae Nigra, the black gate that dates back to the second century erected by the Romans in 180 AD. After that we will drive to Mannheim and see the spot where a car accident paralyzed Patton and eventually cost him his life. We can review and reflect on our journey across Europe, and our travels in the footsteps of General Patton, at the Farewell Dinner on this last evening of the tour.

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day 14

Home

An early morning transfer to the Frankfurt International Airport.

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