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The Eastern Front 1941 - 1943

The Great Patriotic War

The defence of Moscow, the siege of Stalingrad and the battle of Kursk - three of the most pivotal events of the Second World War (or the Great Patriotic War as it is known in Russia). In August 1941 Hitler turned south relinquishing his best chance to breach the Moscow defensive line. A staunch defence during the winter of 1941/42 was the catalyst for the beginning of the Soviet fight-back. A second German offensive in the summer of 1942 saw great advances in the south terminating in the abortive drive to the Caucasus and the monumental battle for Stalingrad, a turning point of the Second World War. Surrounding and isolating their beleaguered German adversaries at Stalingrad, the Russians commenced their drive to the west. In a last ditch attempt to stem the Russian tide, the Germans launched a massive offensive in July 1943 which culminated in the battle of Kursk, the greatest tank battle in history which involved as many as 6,000 tanks, 4,000 aircraft and 2 million fighting men.

Our nine-day tour visits many significant sites and allows us to enjoy the Victory Day Parade in Kursk and we travel the breadth of this vast battlefield visiting preserved trenches and gun emplacements. At Stalingrad (now Volgograd) we see buildings left just as they were in 1942 including the basement in which Field Marshal Paulus surrendered. The tour necessarily involves much travelling due to the distances involved - internal air-travel to Stalingrad is by scheduled Aeroflot Airbus flights, rail travel is overnight in comfortable 1st class sleeping accommodation (two berth compartments), whilst the remainder of the nights are spent in the best available tourist hotels in this area.

“The duty of the men at Stalingrad is to die”.

Adolf Hitler: during a lunch conference January 1943


Day 1 - Depart.

Fly London – Moscow and check-in to our hotel for two nights.

Day 2 - The Mozhaisk Line and the defence of Moscow.

We travel out to the battlefield of Borodino and explore the battles of both 1812 and 1941. We then follow the German advance on Moscow through Istra and Yakrohmato to its closets point.

Day 3 - Stalingrad.

Fly Moscow - Volgograd. Landing at Gumrak airport, we commence our tour of the Stalingrad area from the heights of the Mamyev kurgan, with its impressive memorial complex. Thence to the Grain Elevator, the Volga River crossing and Pavlov’s House. Check-in to our hotel at Volgograd for two nights.

Day 4 - Stalingrad.

A full day covering the battle beginning with the Volga River crossing with a view of the city from a boat trip on the Volga, the Panoramic Museum, the Factory district, Lyudnikov’s Island, Paulus’s final HQ at the Univermag store and the Soldier’s Field.

Day 5 - Moscow.

Return flight to Moscow. We visit the superb Central Armed Forces museum before catching the overnight train to Kursk.

Day 6 - Kursk.

We drive to the southern part of the salient to follow ‘the death ride’ of the Fourth Panzer Army, the furthest extent of von Manstein’s advance, Prokhorovka, the monument, museum and preserved trenches and gun emplacements. Check–in to our hotel for one night.

Day 7 - Kursk.

After enjoying the victory parade at Kursk we travel to the ’northern shoulder’ of the salient to follow Model’s assault on Ponyri, the station and Teplov Heights and view Rokossovky’s HQ. Catch the overnight train back to Moscow.

Day 8 - Kubinka.

We spend a full day at the magnificent tank museum at Kubinka, with its wealth of exhibits including a German Mark VIII Maus tank. Check-in to our Moscow hotel for one night.

Day 9 - Moscow and home.

Visit the Great Patriotic War Museum. Fly Moscow - London.