Normandy, Beyond the Beaches, with Professor Gary Sheffield
June 23 - June 27
Tour Dates: 30 June – 4 July 2024
Price Per Person: £1100.00
(£180:00 Single Supplement
Hotel: TBC (centrally located 3 Star Hotel with AC and WiFi)
Normandy Beyond the Beaches
The Battle of Normandy was fought over eleven weeks in the Summer of 1944. This tour unlike many others, will look only at the battles beyond the beaches and focus on the fierce bocage campaign fought by the Americans to the west and the attritional battles around Caen won over by the British, Poles and Canadians.
By late August 1944 General Eisenhower had Two Million Allied Soldiers under his command in the field. This incredible coalition force inflicted a decisive defeat on the German military machine in the West, with their combat losses exceeding 300,000 men.
We are joined on this tour once again by Professor Gary Sheffield who brings his expert campaign and strategy knowledge to the bocage where he has led numerous Sandhurst and Army Staff College battlefield studies before.
Join us on this five-day battlefield tour which takes in many of the key inland battles beyond the beaches, from Caen to Carentan and from St. Lo to Falaise. This itinerary will immerse you in the Campaign and allow you to really gain a deeper understanding of this pivotal battle in World War Two.
We travel to Normandy by coach arriving in Caen by late afternoon. We start with an orientation stand at the vital crossroads village of Breville. This vital high ground on the Allied Eastern flank proved to be key terrain in the June and July Battles for Caen, and ultimately the whole Normandy Campaign.
Crossing the steep ravine sided river Odon was key to Operation Epsom west of Caen in late June 1944. Today we look at this area assaulted by the 15th (Scottish) Division and see where they struggled to make progress fighting against Hitler Youth and other SS divisions, some equipped with Tiger tanks. From the river we ascend the slopes of Hill 112 where Wessex men of the 43rd Division fought a tenacious and costly battle in July (Operation Jupiter) with a determined and well dug in foe in the form of Bittrich’s II SS Panzer Corps. We end the day at the Hill 112 memorial.
Today we trace some key moments in the US advance in Normandy by looking at the capture of the vital towns of Carentan and St. Lo. At the base of the Cherbourg peninsula Carentan contained vital bridges and lock gates defended by Fallshirmjagers of 6th Parachute Regiment. They would ultimately end up losing the town to US forces including the 101st Airborne Division and 2nd Armoured Division. We see “Purple Heart Lane” and “Bloody Gulch” at Hill 30 which featured in the TV series Band of Brothers.
We then see how Operation Cobra punched a hole in the German bocage defences and opened up the road south toward Brittany. Using heavy Bombers and a carpet bombing raid to neutralise the Panzer Lehr Division, we see “The Four Braves” Cobra memorial to the fallen of the 90th Division ‘Tough Ombres’ at Periers and end at Coutances, captured by the 4th Armoured Division on 28 July.
During the morning we will look at the British and Canadian attempts to breakout from the Caen bridgeheads and move south on the Falaise axis. We will look at the shaping Operations by the Canadians near Verrieres ridge which had terribly high casualties but eventually secured the desired start line for Operation Totalize. We follow the advance by Canadian Infantry travelling in “Kangaroos” (Sherman APC’s) and see where the innovative night attack broke through but also hear of the confusion of battle on Hill 140.
We end the day with time in the notorious Falaise Pocket where Allies began encircling German Army Group B in mid-August 1944. We visit St. Lambert where Major David Currie was awarded the VC, and the grim site at Moissy ford where so many German troops perished in what was described as a corridor of death. To finish we see where the Polish Armoured units tried to fight off a counter attack by 2nd SS Panzers on the high ground at Mont Ormel, which was close to where the Normandy campaign concluded.
After breakfast we journey home via Calais.
If you wish to pay by credit card, drop us an email and we will send you the relevant link.
Cheques can be made payable to “Battle Honours Ltd”