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D-Day and the Race Across France - Tour Map
If my history teacher in high school had taught it this way, I’d have learned a lot more history!"
— --Osher Student, World War II in Western Europe, 2017
On a 60-mile stretch of coastline in northern France, in just twelve hours, the course of World War II was changed and the death of Nazi Germany made certain. Come tread those beaches with us. Places you have seen in films and read about in novels and texts will come to life as you see what the troops saw and go where they went. When you stand at water’s edge and gaze upon the same 300 yards of open sand that greeted the first assault troops, you will be very glad you made the trip.
This tour is different. Tours that visit venues and museums are certainly entertaining and enjoyable, but can sometimes lack depth. An academics-based, historical tour that involves serious preparation, explores the environs of the Normandy beaches, and offers learned insights into the risks, the alternatives, the decisions, and the people forever tied to the D-Day outcome...such a tour is rare indeed.
D-Day and the Race across France focuses on the specific events of the first Allied campaign in northern Europe, and even more on the thoughts and actions that led to initial success and final victory. In addition to visiting the venues, we will carefully examine the pros and cons of the major alternatives, the factors in play, and why the final decisions were what they turned out to be. The essence of this tour is to not only visit the actual sites where the Battle of Normandy was fought, but also to explain the depth and complexity of the decisions that were made, the risks that were involved, and the near-prodigal talent with which the Allied leaders made the most difficult choices.
Almost everyone knows the basic events that happened during the D-Day landings and the events that followed. But far fewer people know and understand...
Why the Allies did not invade sooner
Why Normandy was chosen as the assault location
Why the Germans responded as poorly as they did
Why a pair of women's shoes was so important to the outcome (!)
Tour Highlights Include:
Guided bus tour with local-area expert to complement tour leader Steve Hall's information. Local experts know specific topography and locales, and can add a level of detail unattainable elsewhere.
"Mission Prep" (with wine and cheese) each evening prior to the next day's visits. As we sip wine and enjoy the fromages du Normandie we will discuss the highlights and nuances of the upcoming day. Pre-mission briefings were never like this!
The Pegasus Bridge and the British beaches Sword, Juno, and Gold. American audiences know less of the British sectors, the successes and failures, and their overall contribution to the assault. We will learn much more.
Visits to two superb D-Day museums: one in Caen, one in Arromanches.
Omaha Beach, Pointe du Hoc, and the Normandy National Cemetery. Vistas we have seen in The Longest Day and Saving Private Ryan come to life as we walk to water's edge and re-live those early hours.
Ste. Mere Eglise, Brecourt Manor, and Utah Beach. Band of Brothers comes alive in the village and environs. And yes, the "Church of the Snagged Paratrooper" is actually there, complete with paratrooper.
Mont Ste. Michel, the jewel of the Normandy coast. One could spend the entire day merely staring at the island...but we will do more than stare.
Countless opportunities to hold impromptu conversations and discussions re the Normandy invasion, from strategy to tactics, from concept to execution.
So, mark your calendar and join our historical strike force as we execute our own assault of the beaches of Normandy.