Kaliningrad: Russia’s forgotten exclave

Kaliningrad: Russia’s forgotten exclave

A military history of Konigsberg and East Prussia

Battlefield Tours

30th August - 4th September 2020
(6 Days)

Expert Historian : Alan Rooney

Tour price: £2,295

click here to book

Kaliningrad: Russia’s forgotten exclave

A military history of Konigsberg and East Prussia

Battlefield Tours

Your Holiday Essentials

30th August - 4th September 2020
(6 Days)

Return flights from London, train fares, 4 star hotel, buffet breakfast, lunches, 3-course dinner with drinks each evening, lunches, all entrance fees and expert guide throughout.

Activity Level: 2

Expert Historian: Alan Rooney

Tour price: £2,295

Single supplement: £240
Deposit: £225
Price without flights: £2,145

Booking open

click here to book

Interested in this tour but not ready to book? Register your interest using the link below and we will keep you updated on the progress of the tour.

click here to register your interest

Tour Introduction

Today Kaliningrad, a city that is still recovering from the ravages and scars from 70 years ago, is gradually re-discovering its past with great efforts being made to restore and open up hitherto abandoned remains of its rich and varied history. The region still has plenty of echoes of its Teutonic past that the former regime found it impossible to erase. The original German place names are no longer whispered, indeed many of the Russian population embrace that past as their own. Our centrally located hotel will be close to the banks of the River Pregel and within easy walking distance of Kneiphof Island, where Kant lays guardian to his seven bridges conundrum. Perhaps you will be the one to solve it?

Background

Königsberg, the former capital of Prussia, home to the Teutonic Knights and the great philosopher Immanuel Kant, is today known by its Russian name, Kaliningrad and is now the capital of the isolated exclave of the same name. Due to its proximity to Russia, the former East Prussia has frequently been the scene of conflict between the two nations. During the Seven Years War, a smaller Prussian army was defeated at Gross Jagesdorf in 1757, whilst fifty years later the region played host to the armies of Napoleon and Tsar Alexander at the great battles of Eylau and Friedland followed by the treaty of Tilsit signed on a raft moored on the River Neiman which sealed the fate of Europe in 1807. At the outbreak of the First World War, against specific orders to the contrary, General Prittwitz took the fight to the Russians but was defeated at Gumbinnen in August 1914 and abandoned Prussia as far as the Vistula. Flattened by the RAF in 1944 and besieged for almost three months in 1945, when Königsberg’s defenders finally surrendered they found themselves some 500 kilometres behind the front line. Of great strategic importance, the region was ethnically cleansed of its German inhabitants after WW2.

Highlights

  • With expert historian Alan Rooney
  • Battles of Eylau, Friedland, Gumbinnen & Pillau
  • From Napoleon to Hitler
  • Based in capital of former East Prussia

"Prussia, with all the veils that hide the thing, is a military organisation led by a military corporation"

Ardant du Picq: Battle Studies

Itinerary

Day 1 - Fly London Heathrow to Kaliningrad via Warsaw

Check in to our hotel for five nights.

Day 2 – Eylau and Friedland 1807

At Eylau Napoleon received the first real check of his career. We travel to the Polish border to examine this winter battlefield from the French and Russian perspectives; we see where Augereau’s division was destroyed and Murat led his massed cavalry charge, visit the small museum, churchyard and battlefield monuments. Continue to the unspoilt battlefield of Friedland where from the top of the church tower we will gain great views of the surrounding countryside and understand the importance played by the River Alle and its tributary to one of Napoleon’s finest victories. Other than a couple of monuments there is very little evidence that a battle of such importance was ever fought here!

Day 3 – Koenigsberg 1945

We visit the command bunker where German General Lasch surrendered to the Russians, the Friedland Gate museum and the impressive model used by the Red Army to plan its assault on the city. It is surprising how much of the 19th century fortifications remain and we will visit many of the strong points which held out against great odds such as Fort Frederich-Wilhelm III and Fort Stein.

Day 4 – Kaliningrad and Pillau

We spend the morning exploring modern Kaliningrad including a visit to the outstanding and restored Dom Cathedral before following the route of many of the German evacuees to the Baltic seaport of Pillau, so bitterly fought over during the closing days of the war and where we visit its impressive Swedish citadel.

Day 5 – Stalluponen & Gumbinnen 1914

We drive to the far side of the Oblast to see where the opening shots of WW1 were fired on the Eastern Front at Stalluponen (Nesterov). Thence to Gumbinnen (Gusev) to visit the fine regional museum, the model village of Technopolis, where the company has played a significant role in restoring commemoration of WW1 in Russia and the new memorial complex recently erected by the Russians to commemorate their part in the foiling of the Schliefen plan. Thence to Insterburg (Chernyakhovsk), the furthest advance of the Russians in 1914. It was also an important staging point for Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812.

Day 6 – Gross Jagersdorf 1757 & Tilsit 1807

This morning we explore the extant battlefield of Gross Jagersdorf where the Russian secured occupation of East Prussia in 1757. We drive to Tilsit (Sovetsk), stand on the banks of the Nieman, visit the regional museum and see the sites of the French and Russian headquarters. We then make our way to Kaliningrad airport to check-in for our evening flight to London via Warsaw.

Recommended Reading List

Alan Rooney, CIMA Ad Dip MA, MBA

Alan Rooney, CIMA Ad Dip MA, MBA

Alan Rooney has been exploring and guiding the battlefields of the Peninsular and Napoleonic Wars for 20 years. He is a Fellow of the International Napoleonic Society and holds a Masters in Business Administration in which he specialised in consumer financial protection in the travel industry. He is the founder director of The Cultural Experience and was previously Managing Director at Holts Tours and Midas Tours.

Photo Gallery

  • The monument placed on the spot where the Tilsit peace treaty was signed
  • The Konigsberg diorama
  • The GS Technopolis WW1 memorial
  • Statue of Tsarina Elizabeth at westernmost point of Russia
  • Queen Louise Bridge over the River Nieman at Tilsit (Sovetsk).
  • Krown Prinz barracks
  • Kaliningrad - Royal Gate
  • Inside Lasch's bunker
  • Friedland Gate Museum
  • Baltiysk - German cemetery

Your Holiday Essentials

30th August - 4th September 2020
(6 Days)

Return flights from London, train fares, 4 star hotel, buffet breakfast, lunches, 3-course dinner with drinks each evening, lunches, all entrance fees and expert guide throughout.

Activity Level: 2

Expert Historian: Alan Rooney

Tour price: £2,295

Single supplement: £240
Deposit: £225
Price without flights: £2,145

Booking open

click here to book

Interested in this tour but not ready to book? Register your interest using the link below and we will keep you updated on the progress of the tour.

click here to register your interest

Tour Reviews

View images of our latest Kaliningrad tour here

Take a look at some independent reviews of this tour by previous participants here

Photo Gallery

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