American/British/Canadian D-Day Experience

American/British/Canadian D-Day Experience

Package 3 days
Réf Tour : 8

Pick-up/Drop-off places : Rates are valid for Bayeux or Caen. Other places on request.
Pick-up time/Drop-off time : flexible

Duration : 8 hours with 1 h for lunch time. You will discuss with your guide the different options according to your preferences.

Rates for 1 to 7 pax : 1500€

Inclusions
Lunch of the guide/driver

Exclusions
Entrance fees or tasting fees, unless mentioned
Gratuities for the driver/guide
Meals and drinks, unless specified
Personal insurance and expenses

Things to know before the tour
This activity is not wheelchair accessible everywhere. This tour is not adapted for children under 4 years old. We can provide some car seats until 10 years old. The order of the visit can be modified for some reasons (weather conditions, access restricted to the museums and sites). The museum listed in the program can be changed if there is a restriction beyond our control and will be replaced by a similar one after a discussion with your guide.

How to prepare your tour ?
Wear shoes, clothing and equipment that protect you from the cold, rain and wind in winter (hats, scarves, gloves, umbrellas) and from the sun in summer (sunglasses, hat or cap).

If you change to modify the contain of the tour, please send a request for a quotation. We also can design a specific tour if one of your relatives came in Normandy during the WWII.

Description
Explore for three days with your licensed driver-guide the details of Overlord operation and discover all key Allied D-day sites and the different divisions (Infantry, Navy, Airforce, Support) involved in the landing of the 5 sectors (Sword, Juno, Gold, Omaha, Utah).

During that hilghly personalised tour, your guide will give you some full explanations to better understand what went wrong and what whent right for each battlefield sites. By the end of your D-Day experience, you will understand the strategic choices for the Allied invasion of Normandy and you will feel that you have proudly fulfilled your duty of remembrance by paying tribute to all those young men who sacrificed themselves to save France, Europe and the world.

Day 1 : Juno/Sword sectors

The Ardenne abbey in Juno sector – Pégasus Bridge – Cafe Gondrée – Ranville British War Cemetery in Sword sector or Bény-Reviers Canadian Cemetery in Juno sector – Sword Beach – The Grand Bunker museum – The Canada House – Hôtel Graves – Château de Creully

This first day will be focused on the British Commandos and the Airborne division in Sword sector as well as the Canadian troops in Juno sector. You will start in Juno sector at the Ardenne Abbey built in the 12th century and occupied by the monks until the French revolution. In the 20th century, the place was under the control of a farmer Jacques Vico and became under the German occupation a training camp for the the French resistance. A few weeks before D-day, the buildings were occupied by the Hitlerjugend Division (12 SS division) and today a memorial commemorates a tragic event that happened there with the execution of 24 canadian soldiers.

Then you will join Sword sector to discover the place where the British 6th Airborne Division landed and the emblematic Pegasus Bridge staged in the movie The Longest Day with its bagpiper crossing the bridge over the Caen Canal. You will also discover a Memorial in honour of the men of the 3 gliders that realized a fantastic landing in a tiny space. On the other bank, you will observe the first house liberated in France called Café Gondrée.

Then you have the choice to visit one of the two cemeteries.

Either the British Cemetery at Ranville in Sword sector where you will pay tribute to 2.563 men who died fighting for freedom. You may honor among those young soldiers, Den Brotheridge, considered to be the first Allied soldier to be killed, Robert Bobby who died at 16 years old or Emile Corteil burried with his paratrooper dog. Or the Canadian Cemetery at Bény-Reviers in Juno sector where 2.049 brave and young Canadians are burried and you will hear the story of 3 brothers you will hear the story of 3 brothers Westlake resting in this peaceful place facing the sea, two of whom were killed on the same day.

After the lunch, your guide will take you inside the highest bunker in Normandy (50 feet) facing Sword beach.The Grand Bunker is a former Command and Fire Direction Post with rooms completely refurbished with abundant and authentic material. Some key facts will be given about the full destruction of the city of Ouistreham Riva-Bella and the landing of the 177 Fusilliers Marins, a French Commando that trained with the British in Scotland for the preparation of D-Day.

Then you will reach Juno sector to gather at the Canada House where a memorial has been erected in honour of the Queen’s Own Rifles regiment and the Fort Garry Horse Armoured Division who paid a heavy price in the assault. Not far away, you will see the Hotel Graves, the headquarters for the Canadian and British War correspondants. The tour will end with a stop at Château de Creully, an 11th century castle, a former property hold by Colbert, prime minister of Louis XIV in 1682. But in the early afternoon of June 6, 1944, the Canadians of Royal Winnipeg Rifles (7th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division) supported by three Sherman tanks belonging to the 2nd platoon of 1st Hussars C Squadron (2nd Armored Brigade) liberated Creully.

A few days later, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) radio transmitter was installed in the tower of the castle. The castle also housed a club for the Canadian airmen from RCAF and close to it, the B9 airfield was set up from June to August 1944. With a bit of luck, you may see the white lady or Dame Blanche in the castle of Creully. Located to the northwest of the village, General Montgomery set up his tactical headquarters in Creullet castle from 7 to 22 June 1944. He received Winston Churchill on June 12, De Gaulle on June 14, Eisenhower on June 15 and King George VI on June 16. After the lunch, your guide will take you inside the highest bunker in Normandy (50 feet) facing Sword beach.The Grand Bunker is a former Command and Fire Direction Post with rooms completely refurbished with abundant and authentic material. Some key facts will be given about the full destruction of the city of Ouistreham Riva-Bella and the landing of the 177 Fusilliers Marins, a French Commando that trained with the British in Scotland for the preparation of D-Day.

Then you will reach Juno sector to gather at the Canada House where a memorial has been erected in honour of the Queen’s Own Rifles regiment and the Fort Garry Horse Armoured Division who paid a heavy price in the assault. Not far away, you will see the Hotel Graves, the headquarters for the Canadian and British War correspondants. The tour will end with a stop at Château de Creully, an 11th century castle, a former property hold by Colbert, prime minister of Louis XIV in 1682. But in the early afternoon of June 6, 1944, the Canadians of Royal Winnipeg Rifles (7th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division) supported by three Sherman tanks belonging to the 2nd platoon of 1st Hussars C Squadron (2nd Armored Brigade) liberated Creully. A few days later, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) radio transmitter was installed in the tower of the castle. The castle also housed a club for the Canadian airmen from RCAF and close to it, the B9 airfield was set up from June to August 1944. With a bit of luck, you may see the white lady or Dame Blanche in the castle of Creully. Located to the northwest of the village, General Montgomery set up his tactical headquarters in Creullet castle from 7 to 22 June 1944. He received Winston Churchill on June 12, De Gaulle on June 14, Eisenhower on June 15 and King George VI on June 16.

Day 2 : Gold/Omaha sectors

Arromanches (Mulberry B) – 360 museum – Gold Beach – The German battery of Longues-sur-Mer
The US cemetery – The German Battery Pointe du Hoc (the Ranger Memorial)

This second day will focus on the Gold and Omaha sectors which hosted commandos, infantry and armoured regiments.

The tour will start with Gold Beach where the 50th Infantry Division landed. Your guide will explain you the key facts of the success of the Battle of Normandy thanks to the construction of the artificial port of Arromanches (Mulberry B). Located on the heights of the town, Arromanches 360 circular cinema dominates the remains of the artificial port (Phoenix Caissons, floating platforms, …). You will live a true immersion at the heart of the story of the landing and the battle of Normandy with the projection of some archives footages.

The next step will take you to stunning location used for the movie The Longest Day with the famous scene of this German officer who sees from his command post thousands of Allied ships arriving from England. The Longues-sur-Mer artillery battery covering Gold and Omaha beaches includes a firing command post and four casemates, 3 of them still housing a 150mm artillery piece. This element of the Altantic wall is the only place with the guns in place in Normandy. You guide will give you some full explanations about the construction of the Atlantic wall.

After a lunch in a nice small fishing port called Port-en-Bessin, the French capital of scallops with its Omaha cliff-top golf club house, your guide will drive you to Omaha beach with two stops, elements of the German Atlantic Wall: the famous strongpoint WN 62, one of the main German defenses on Omaha Beach where the Big Red One division landed and the second strongpoint WN72 located on the Dog sector which had to face the first assault wave, the 29th division. You will be able to observe the remains of the artificial harbour of Omaha called Mulberry A. Naturally, a stop at the American cemetery overlooking Omaha Beach is in order to honour the memory of the 10,000 American soldiers buried or missing in action.

The visit will end at the German battery at Pointe du Hoc, the only place where huge craters are still visible due to naval and aerial bombardment.250 rangers bravely climbed the 35-metre cliffs to capture the 4 guns. They will be liberated a day and a half after intense fighting with the Germans.

Day 3 : Utah sector

The German cemetery La Cambe – Sainte-Mère l’Eglise – La Fiere bridge and Iron Mike statue – Utah Beach – The Utah Landing Museum – Memorial Dick Winters – Church of Angoville-au-Plain

The tour will cover the beach in Utah where the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions spearheaded before the arrival of the 4th Infantry Division. Your guide will have the opportunity to tell you about the exploits of Easy Company (506th Regiment) led by Officer Dick Winters whose story is told in the Band of Brother series featuring the attack on Brecourt Castle. Or the story of John Steele hanging from the church bell tower, which will be one of the most famous scenes in the film The Longest Day. Even if the film The Dirty Dozen with Charles Bronson is a fiction, it reminds us a comparaison with the existence of a demolition section (506th PIR) attached to the 101st division called the Filthy Thirteen whose men under the command of their officer Jake McNiece sported a Mohawk Indian style.

The first stop of the day will be the German cemetery which was in the early days an American field hospital at the border of the N13 before becoming a cemetery for American and German soldiers. In 1947, the bodies of American soldiers were transferred to the new Omaha Beach Cemetery. Those of the Germans remained there. Today 21,000 graves lie in this cemetery. You have the Ace tanker Michael Wittman buried there when his tank was discovered by accident in the 80’s or the worst Nazi criminal in France called Adolf Dieckman who killed 642 children, women and men by putting fire in a church and a barn in the village of Oradour-sur-Glane.

Then you will head to Sainte-Mère-Eglise, made famous in the movie « The Longest Day » with an accidental drop of some paratroopers of the 82nd airborne division in the center of the village. Among them, John Steel fell on the roof of the church and hung there for a few hours playing dead. Closed to the village, there is a statue baptized Iron Mike statue erected in honour of the numerous American paratroopers who lost their lives in this sector and it is where the 82nd airborne had to accomplish one of its most important mission : the capture of one bridge over the Merderet river and surrounded by the swamps and Gavin’s fox hole.

For the lunch, you will be heading to Utah beach for the lunchtime. We suggest you to have a quick meal in a special place a few meters from the dunes of Utah Beach where Theodore Roosvelt Junior landed here exactly. The restaurant was a a fisherman’s house before the war. Then during the German occupation, it served as an office for the Todt Organisation and became the headquarters of the 1rst Engineer Brigade. Adjacent to the house, there was a bunker for the US Navy communications center. Both operated from june until november 1944. You will have the opportunity if possible to visit the bunker with German and American equipments from the time. Inside the restaurant and bunker, hundreds of veteran autographs decorate the walls.

The visit continues on Utah Beach to pay tribute to the memory of the men of the engineers, the navy and the 4th and 90th infantry divisions. Then, you will admire in the Utah Landing Museum, a rich collection of objects, artifacts, vehicles, boats, materials among them, an original B26 bomber, one of the only six remaining examples of this airplane in worldwide.

You will finish the day with a stop to Dick Winters’ statue and the second one is the visit of a lovely church with military stained glass windows dedicated to the 101rst airborne division. Your guide will tell you the fascinating story of two US medics (501rst PIR) of the 101rst airborne division who set up a medical aid station to care for Allies, Germans and civilians. The ashes of one of these two men lie in this cemetery.

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