June 2 – 9, 2018
June 16 – 22, 2018
Retrace the events of D-Day, following the path of the Allied forces from Portsmouth, England to the shores of Normandy, France. Step back in time at important World War II sites in London. Then cross the English Channel, delving into the poignant events of June 1944 with a military historian. Stroll the legendary beaches and the cratered cliff top at Pointe du Hoc, and visit villages that still bear the vestiges of war.
Historian and retired archivist Timothy Mulligan has written three books and 20 articles on military history, most relating to the Second World War in Europe, including Lone Wolf: The Life and Death of U-Boat Ace Werner Henke and Neither Sharks Nor Wolves: The Men of Nazi Germany’s U-Boat Arm. He received his Ph.D. in diplomatic history from the University of Maryland in 1985. During his 34-year tenure as an archivist with the National Archives and Records Administration, he also compiled the two-volume finding aid World War II: Guide to Records Relating to U.S. Military Participation. This guide describes approximately 200,000 cubic feet of records in National Archives custody, and received the Society of American Archivists’ C.F.W. Coker award in 2009. Now retired, Timothy teaches a course on “History Through Hollywood.”
Upon arrival in London, check in to our centrally located hotel. The afternoon begins in the Churchill War Rooms, a fortified bunker deep underneath Whitehall from which Winston Churchill directed the British war effort. Wander through the rooms—and the adjacent Churchill Museum—and examine maps, telephones, and items from Churchill’s life. Gather for a welcome reception and dinner tonight.
This morning, immerse yourself in a world of intrigue and espionage at Bletchley Park and discover the story behind the Enigma code breakers, who successfully deciphered the encryption used by the Wehrmacht. After lunch, return to central London and explore the decks of the H.M.S. Belfast, now part of the Imperial War Museum. Enjoy a talk by our expert before spending the evening at leisure.
This morning, travel south to Portsmouth. At the D-Day Museum, examine the Overlord Embroidery—a stunning handcrafted depiction of the D-Day events that stretches some 270 feet— and see a replica of the map General Eisenhower used to plot allied positions. This afternoon, cross the English Channel by ferry. Settle into our hotel tonight.
Explore the village of Sainte-Mère-Église, where the 82nd and 101st Airborne Division paratroopers dropped from the sky in a hail of gunfire on the night of June 5. View the church steeple upon which one unlucky paratrooper was entangled for hours, and visit the village’s remarkable museum. Continue to Utah Beach, site of one of the two American amphibious landings in the early hours of D-Day. Stop for lunch at Le Roosevelt, a restaurant built around a former German bunker just steps from the historic beach. This afternoon, pay a visit to the German war cemetery at La Cambe.
On the anniversary of D-Day, wander along Omaha Beach, site of the bloodiest fighting of the invasion day, and then visit the Overlord Museum. See the Bayeux Tapestry this afternoon, then explore the town of Bayeux on your own.
One of the most dramatic sites along the Normandy coastline is Pointe du Hoc, where U.S. Rangers used hooks and ropes to scale cliffs some 100 feet high in order to destroy key German gun positions. Walk along cliff-top pathways still cratered by mortar blasts, and venture into the concrete bunkers from which German forces unleashed a barrage of artillery fire. Travel to Arromanches, where a Mulberry harbor still rises out of the surf—one of the few remnants of the prefabricated concrete harbors that assisted in landing Allied supplies. Visit the Arromanches Landing Museum, as well as the Pegasus Memorial Bridge and Museum—dedicated to the men of the 6th British Airborne Division.
At the American Military Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, pay your respects to fallen heroes by laying a wreath. Take in the poignant sight of row upon row of small white grave markers stretching across acres. This afternoon, drive to Paris and gather for a farewell dinner.
After breakfast, transfer to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport for your flight home.
Kensington Hotel or Bloomsbury Hotel
Hôtel Riva Bella or Manoir de Mathan
Hôtel Edouard 7 or Hôtel Royal Saint-Honoré