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Picardy Battlefields with Gary Sheffield

July 14 - July 18

Tour Dates: 14/18 July 2024 

Price Per Person: £1100.00 (Single Supp £180) 
Hotel Accommodation: (Bed and Breakfast basis)
Hotel Moxy, Amiens

Picardy Battlefields with Professor Gary Sheffield 2024

Following on from last years sucessful Flanders study, this new tour for 2024 is again jointly led by Professor Gary Sheffield and Clive Harris is based in central Amiens, a vital rear concentration city for the BEF throughout the war. The focus of the tour is to study the battlefields of the Somme in 1916, alongside the the ground fought over in the spring and summer of 1918, providing context between military operations and the leadership at Army, Corps, Divisional and Brigade level to greater understand how decisions were made and why. 

Through a number of stands across the 1916 Somme Battlefield, we will consider the evolution of fighting over open ground against well dug in positions, across and around destroyed villages turned into rubble strewn fortresses and through dense woods that typify the Somme. Costly failures and still costly successes are studied alongside the leadership of the day, their decision making and use of tactical innovations as they emerged. We then turn to 1918 and the ground between Villers Bretonneux and Mont St Quentin in the Spring and Summer of the last year of the war. How total war became one of movement and the advancement of the capabilities and intergration of Artillery between 1916-1918. Importantly, the events of 1916 and 1918 will be set in context against the wider Western Front during the same period.      

Author of numerous seminal Great War publications and one of the worlds leading historians on the subject, Gary Sheffield alongside co-guide Clive Harris, has spent decades visiting and studying the battlefields of the Western Front. This fascinating tour is an opportunity to visit and hear about a number of the lesser visited spots across the area and intended to link up the many elements to war in Picardy from training, fighting to leadership at the Operational level.           

Tour Itinerary

Day 1 
The tour can be joined at either Ebbsfleet International Rail Terminal or Dover Eastern Docks from where we cross to France via the Dover – Calais ferry.
Once on the continent we make our way towards Amiens stopping at Flixecourt, a vital industrial and training hub for the BEF in 1916 & 1918, often overlooked reminders of the war survive a century on. From the Chateau that housed the Fourth Army Battle School, we set the scene for the 1916 Somme Offensive and view Flixecourt through the eyes of a number of men who trained here including Siegfried Sassoon. We then continue onto our accommodation in Amiens and the centrally located Hotel Moxy. 
Day 2
The Infantry Assault 
Our morning begins with a visit to the site of ‘the Grandstand’ a purpose built viewing platfrom for staff officers and command to witness the opening phases on the 1916 battle. We continue onto the ground between Auchenvillers and Beaumont Hamel to make a detailed study of the 29th Divisions assault on the 1st July, through a number of key stands we look at the challenges faced by this regular division and their use of artillery, infantry support weapons and mining.   
The afternoon will be spent looking at the more succesfull, yet still costly attacks by two New Army Divisions, the 18th (Eastern) and 30th Division around Carnoy and Montauban, again looking at the technological and tactical innovations employed before ending the day around the Pommiers Redoubt and directly opposed by dense woodland.    
On arrival back in Amiens, Clive will lead a short evening walk to look at some of the popular wartime haunts for men when out of the line, including the famous Salon Godbert.     
Day 3
Woodfighting & Villages 
John Terraine described the the horseshoe of Trones, Bernafay, Mametz, High and Delvile Woods as representing ‘the true texture of the Somme’ and our morning is spent studying the evolution of woodfighting, (somewhat surprisingly something the BEF had yet to encounter in the first two years of the war).
Comparing the 38th (Welsh) Division assault on Mametz Wood on the 7 July and the 47th (London) Division action at Highwood on the 15 September, we will discover how both actions witnessed the costly bitter nature of fighting in woods and lead to the removal of respective divisional commanders, we will also consider how the tactics and technology differed in wood fighting as the Somme Battle progressed. 

During the afternoon we remain with the 47th (London) Division as we turn our attention to the numerous small fortified farms and villages that stretch between Martinpuich and the Butte du Warlencourt. As summer became autumn and the weather worsoned, we consider the attritional nature of fighting through destroyed yet still defended villages set against the deteriorating landscape, torn apart by the increasing violence of artillery and over soften rain sodden ground, in many ways these conditions foretold the conditions in the Ypres Salient the following year. We end atop the Butte de Warlencourt to consider the Somme offensive, its cost, and its place in the nations psyche over a century on.                   
Day 4
The ebb and the flow of 1918
Beginning at Villers Bretonneux we consider the end of the German Spring Offensive and whether the arrival of fresh Australian troops in the right place at the right time was good a fortunate or good planning. After visiting a number of key spots including time to explore the Sir John Monash centre, we then follow the advances of 4 July at Le Hamel, 8 August (Battle of Amiens) through to the capture or Mont St Quentin to learn how the combined efforts of British, Australian and Canadian troops finally pushed back over the old Somme Battlefield, threatening the long held German Schwerpunkt at St Pierre Vaast Wood and leading to a war of movement as they approached the Hindenburg Line.          
Day 5 
Our final morning provides an opportunity to visit the fortified hilltop town of Montreuil sur Mer, home to GHQ and nerve centre for BEF planning before we continue onto Calis and onward travel to the UK. 

Personal visits and requests are encouraged throughout.  

 

Booking

Deposits can be paid via BACS transfer (IBAN if overseas) both account details are on the bottom of the booking form.

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”

Details

Start:
July 14
End:
July 18
Event Category:

Organiser

Angie

Venue

Battle Honours Limited
Hill Farm Barn, Stowmarket Road,
Ringshall, Suffolk IP14 2HZ United Kingdom
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Phone
(0)1438 989129
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Battle Honours Limited
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Tel: +44 (0)1438 989129
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