75th Anniversary of D-Day: D-Day to the Rhine
This D-Day tour is a dream trip for any WWII history buff who wants to stand on the beaches at Normandy, experience the powerful emotions brought forth by the military cemeteries in France and Luxembourg, stand in a foxhole in the Ardennes, and tour General McAuliffe’s office in Bastogne.
Our 12-night 75th Anniversary of D-Day Tour: D-Day to the Rhine, commemorating the Allied invasion of Normandy, promises to be a memorable occasion in many ways. With the number of WWII veterans decreasing rapidly, it may be one of the last times we are able to share their heroic experiences in the exact places that witnessed their bravery. You will walk the sands of Omaha Beach stirred by the memories of the young men who came ashore under fire in June of 1944, then visit the town squares, woods and fields where the paratroopers landed in the predawn hours on 6 June. We will honor and pay tribute to our fallen heroes at the American Cemetery.
Our 75th Anniversary of D-Day Tours, honoring the men who landed on D-Day, leading to victory in Europe in WWII, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
About Our D-Day Tours
Our D-Day Tours were designed by Stephen E. Ambrose, who first led WWII Tours in the late 1970s.The itinerary is based on thousands of hours of interviews with D-Day veterans, studying of the battlefields, and other World War II research. Thanks to Dr. Ambrose’s experience with the terrain and its history, his company, which is still family owned and operated, is able to present a D-Day Tour that is unmatched in its authenticity.
On our D-Day Tours, you will follow along the path where America’s best and brightest fought in World War II, including a Normandy tour that visits all of the American cemeteries along the Normandy beaches, including Omaha and Utah Beach.
The Evolution of the D-Day to the Rhine Tour
Stephen Ambrose founded the Eisenhower Center at UNO in the 1980s, when he began work on the book Eisenhower: Soldier and President, the first in a multi-volume biography of Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower. As part of Dr. Ambrose’s research, he began interviewing thousands of D-Day veterans about their firsthand experiences fighting during WWII. He set them up with tape recorders and each soldier started with his name, rank and serial number and then told his story.
Stephen Ambrose also began traveling with these veterans to the battlefields of Normandy to record their firsthand recollections. Not only did he use this research for many of his best-selling books, including D-Day: June 6, 1944, but he also began to tell the stories of these citizen soldiers on his D-Day tour at the very places where they fought.
The Most Qualified D-Day Historians
We have only the most qualified historians lead our D-Day tour. Our historians are experts in their field of history and world-renowned authors. Their years of extensive research and interviewing hundreds of WWII and D-Day veterans on the very battlefields on which they fought add a personal dimension to our tours that no other WWII or D-Day tour company can offer. It is a highlight to hear them tell these stories of America’s heroes at the very places where they occurred. These harrowing tales of bravery and courage capture a moment in time.
75th Anniversary Tour Options
We will have multiple groups, each with its own historian and logistics manager. They will all start the same way: two nights in London, one in Portsmith, a ferry ride across the English Channel and four nights in Normandy. The groups will have staggered start dates between May 29 – 31, 2019, but all groups will be in Normandy for the June 6 Anniversary Ceremony.
- Churchill War Rooms - The Churchill War Rooms, the underground nerve center for Britain’s war effort, is always a highlight.
- Normandy Beaches - Visiting the invasion beaches of Normandy: Omaha and Utah and the American Cemetery are one of the most moving things you will ever do.
- Ste-Mere-Eglise - You will not find this stop on other Band of Brothers Tours: the iconic church and steeple at Ste-Mere-Eglise and the guns at Longues-sur-Mer.
- Pointe-du-Hoc - Stand where the Rangers scaled the cliffs at Pointe-du-Hoc.
DAY 1 Flight to London
Guest travel independently to London on an overnight flight from USA.
DAY 2 London
Arrive in London and 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.
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 Britain’s 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.
DAY 4 Portsmouth
Depart for Portsmouth, the seaside town that became the staging center for the D-Day invasion. Here the Allies assembled the armies and equipment for the massive undertaking. Besides the hundreds of thousands of men, there were thousands of armored vehicles and the assemblage of sea vessels: landing craft of all kinds in addition to warships that made up the flotilla for the English Channel crossing. Nearby, General Dwight D. Eisenhower set up the advance command post of Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force, where he, Naval Commander Ramsay, Army Commander Montgomery and staff would meet to plan the invasion.
DAY 5 - 8 Normandy:
We will spend days 5-8 in Normandy where guests will visit all the key sites mentioned below and attend the June 6 Anniversary Ceremonies. Once you are assigned to a departure date and historian, we will send more detailed information and itineraries specific to your group.
- 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 Division 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 Division successfully delayed a German Panzer counter-attack against the Allied landing forces.
- We will begin “The Longest Day” at Brécourt 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.
- There will be 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.
- We’ll 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 tide’s ebb to the distant dunes to understand the emotions of the young soldiers of the 1st and 29th Infantry Divisions as they approached the “gates of hell.”
- We will pay our respects at the American Cemetery with its 9,387 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 Hitler’s 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.
DAY 9 Paris
We drive through the lush, scenic countryside of Normandy and northern France on the way to Paris, the City of Lights.
We aim to arrive in Paris between 3 - 4 p.m. so you can have access to your hotel rooms. 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 have a free evening to explore the city on your own. The evening is free.
DAY 10 Arnhem
After an early 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 “Hell’s Highway” where the 101st and 82nd Airborne Division 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 Division. 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.
DAY 11 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. We’ll 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. We’ll 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, Peiper’s 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.
DAY 12 Luxembourg
We’ll drive to Bastogne where the Americans rallied and stopped the German attack. Here we’ll view the route of the initial American retreat and the place where the 101st Airborne Division 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. We’ll also go to General McAuliffe’s HQ where he replied to German surrender demands with one word: “NUTS.” After our visit, it’s a short ride to Luxembourg. This afternoon affords some relaxing free time in the center of this bustling but charming old world city.
DAY 13 Frankfurt
We drive to nearby Hamm and the American cemetery and the site of General George Patton’s grave. America’s foremost WWII field general rests here among his men.
We’ll drive to the Siegfried Line to see remnants of the German communication trenches, pillboxes and dragon’s teeth that American GI’s fought so hard to take in late 1944. This evening we gather for a farewell dinner and discussion after an enriching campaign into history
DAY 14 Frankfurt
Early morning airport transfer to Frankfurt International. If you are interested in extending your tour, we are offering three post-tour extensions: Berchtesgaden; Nuremberg & Berchtesgaden; or Berlin.
OPTIONAL POST D-DAY TOUR EXTENSIONS
Guests on the 75th anniversary tours have the option to book post-tour extensions. These extensions start in Frankfurt.
- $2,050 per person based on double occupancy
- If rooming alone, the single occupancy supplement is $450.
- Reichstag, Topography of Terror Museum, Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, Karlshorst, Soviet War Memorial
- One night in Weimar, three nights in Berlin
Nuremberg & Berchtesgaden
- $1,550 per person based on double occupancy
- If rooming alone, the single occupancy supplement is $350
- Nuremberg, Dachau Concentration Camp, Berchtesgaden, Eagle's Nest and Munich
- One night in Nuremberg, two nights in Munich
Berchtesgaden only - SOLD OUT
- $1,550 per person based on double occupancy
- If rooming alone, the single occupancy supplement is $350
- Dachau Concentration Camp, Berchtesgaden, Eagle's Nest and Munich
- Two nights in Berchtesgaden, one night in Munich