D-Day Landings and Paris

D-Day Landings and Paris

Breaching the Atlantic Wall

BattlefieldHistory

D-Day Landings and Paris

Breaching the Atlantic Wall

BattlefieldHistory

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Tour Introduction

What was it like to parachute in the night skies above Normandy or land by glider directly onto Pegasus Bridge at Ranville at midnight? How was it for Colonel Rudder's Rangers to scale the cliffs at Pte du Hoc, or wade ashore with American soldiers struggling through the surf at Omaha, alongside renowned war photographer Robert Capa? At the surviving German coastal battery position at Longues Sur Mer, we hear how terrified German gunners duelled with fearsome battleships from the Atlantic Wall. Fighting for Paris may have been brief, but it was brutal. How was the German Panther tank, photographed burning at the Place de la Concorde, actually knocked out? What happened at the German Headquarters of the Commandant of Paris in the streets by the Hotel Meurice around the corner? This is the story of D-Day to Paris described through the eyes of the British, American and German soldiers who fought these desperate battles.

Background

D-day and the advance on Paris signalled the beginning of the end of the Second World War. The 6 June and the days that followed it have given birth to some of the most heroic stories from the war, which have inspired authors and film makers ever since. It took the allied forces around three months after landing in Normandy to liberate Paris, which was famously spared total destruction by von Choltitz after the Nazi commander of the city refused Hitler’s order to raze it to the ground.

Highlights

  • With expert lecturer Simon Trew
  • Told from the soldiers' perspective
  • The beaches of Sword, Juno, Gold & Utah 

"The eyes of the word are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you."

General Eisenhower

Itinerary

Day 1 - Outward travel

Depart London St Pancras by Eurostar to Paris and thence to Caen by coach. Check-in to our hotel for 4 nights.

Day 2 - The British Sector

To Pegasus Bridge, the site of the British glider-borne assault followed by the fight for the Merville Battery. Continue to La Riviere and Gold Beach to follow the exploits of 69th Infantry Brigade and learn how the only D-Day VC was won.

Day 3 – The British and American Sectors

We visit the site of the US airborne landing at St Mere Eglise and the La Fiere causeway, scene of a desperate four-day struggle to establish control over a critical crossing of the River Merderet. After a brief stop at Utah Beach we visit Port-en-Bessin captured by 47 RM Commando and the German battery with its extant guns at Longues sur Mer. We end our day in Bayeux.

Day 4 - The American Sector

We visit the German battery at Pointe Du Hoc, an area preserved as it was in 1944. Then on to several sites at Omaha Beach before ending our day at the American National Cemetery and memorial at St Laurent.

Day 5 - Liberation of Paris

Drive to the French capital and discuss its Liberation, visit scenes of intense fighting and many iconic city sites. Return to London on Eurostar.

Recommended Reading List

Photo Gallery

  • WN33 Stronghold
  • Utah Beach
  • The original Pegasus Bridge
  • On Lieutenant Colonel James Rudder’s command post at Pointe du Hoc
  • Merville Battery
  • Gold Beach
  • Bayeux War Cemetery
  • A replica of a Horsa Glider

Video

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