Saturday 2 September 2017
You will be met at Charles de Gaulle Airport by your guides and a 35 seat luxury coach which will take you directly to the recently completed Museum of the Great War at Meaux with its magnificent collection of WW1 memorabilia which is virtually unrivalled in Europe. Then we will drive across the Marne to the remarkable memorial of Les Fantomes at Oulchy le Chateau (sculpted by Paul Landowski who created the iconic statue of Christ at Rio de Janiero) which will provide us with the backdrop for our first stand before we proceed to Chateau Thierry and our hotel.
Sunday 3 September 2017
This will be a full day exploring Belleau Wood where we will follow the exploits of the 2nd & 3rd Divisions who were rushed into action to stem the German offensive which threatened to break through the Allied lines and reach Paris in June 1918. The subsequent month long battle to secure the wood, which the French re-named Bois de la Brigade de Marine in honour of the Doughboys who fought here, is a story of confusion and great personal heroism as the Doughboys learnt the realities of attritional warfare and we will seek to make clear the real significance of this seminal battle before returning to our hotel in Chateau Thierry.
Monday 4 September 2017
In the morning we visit Chateau Thierry where the men of the 3rd Division and two young American Lieutenants saved what could have been one of the great disasters of the war. Afterwards we transfer to the little village of Cantigny where the 1st Division attack heralded the awakening American giant as the AEF made their first major challenge in battle to the German army.
Our hotel will be in Amiens with an opportunity to visit Amiens Cathedral and admire the magnificent western facade of this Gothic masterpiece.
Tuesday 5 September 2017
Our first stop will be at Le Hamel where a small contingent of Doughboys marked Independence Day in 1918 by collaborating with the ‘Diggers’ of the Australian Army in what is often regarded as the first modern ‘all-arms’ battle that set the pattern for warfare in the 20th century. We will have lunch at Villers Bretonneux where the Australians halted the German offensive in April 1918. Afterwards we will tour the battlefields of Amiens which saw the start of the final ‘One Hundred Days’ Allied offensive which culminated in their final victory and visit the crash sight of ‘The Red Baron’ before proceeding to our hotel at Cambrai.
Wednesday 6 September 2017
We will spend the day examining the actions of the 27th & 30th Divisions as they helped break the supposedly invincible Hindenburg Line in September 1918. A visit to Flesquieres to see the iconic WWI tank D51, known as Deborah, will reveal the story of how one man, Phillipe Gorczynski, single handedly found and preserved this extraordinary reminder of the conflict. We will conclude the tour with a visit to the grave of a British officer and the tragic story behind one of the most poignant poems of World War I before proceeding back to our hotel and a final group meal.
Thursday 7 September 2017
We will proceed directly to Charles de Gaulle Airport to ensure that you have ample time to prepare for your homebound flights.
NB There is a United flight - Chicago > Kansas City at 1300 so have gone for the 1100 drop-off.