Tuesday 16 October 2018
- The tour will start at 1100
in the Citizen M Hotel
Charles De Gaulle Airport. Our first stop is to visit the impressive Museum of the Great War,
Meaux to provide some context for the next few days touring. We then continue onto our hotel.
Overnight St Miheil Evening Meal and Museum Entry Included
Wednesday 17 October 2018 - St Miheil Salient/Meuse Argonne. Harry S. Truman’s ’D’ Battery were held in reserve for this battle but as this was the first major battle fought by the American Army in World War 1, we feel that it this a fitting place to begin our pilgrimage in his foot-steps.
We will start our visit in the lovely town square of Pont-a-Mousson where the French nation honoured the courageous young American volunteers of the American Field Ambulance Service with a magnificent memorial. Afterwards we will walk through the remarkable German trench complex at Flirey before visiting Seicheprey where in April 1918 the 26th ‘Yankee’ Division became embroiled in vicious hand-to-hand fighting during a German trench raid. We will then visit the stunning American Battle Monument atop Montsec which honors the sacrifices of the American 1st. Army here in September 1918.
Lunch will be in the railway station at St. Mihiel which was bombarded by American forces in 1918 and afterwards we will experience the reality of the 22 days in September 1917 which ‘D’ battery spent marching at night as we follow their gruelling 100-mileroute to the Meuse Argonne. Our visit to this iconic battlefield will commence at the American memorial at Montfaucon and the hardy members of the party will have the chance to ascend its lofty column and survey the battlefield where Harry S. Truman won his spurs as a leader of men.
Overnight Vienne Le Chateau Breakfast included
Thursday 18 October 2018 - Meuse Argonne Truman’s Footsteps
The battle of Meuse-Argonne is still the largest ever deployment of American troops in a single battle and his words will guide us through the heart of some of its fiercest fighting. There can be no better guide for this day than Harry S. Truman’s own vivid letters and so we will follow him from the time he is awoken on 26 September 1917 by the barrage of 14” naval guns.
We will start in the fields of Neuvilly where ‘D’ Battery commenced its bombardment and then trace their progress as they advanced under heavy fire and reached the Butte de Vauquois which was one of the most heavily defended positions on the Western Front. From there we will proceed via Cheppy where George C. Patton was wounded and visit the location where Harry S. Truman disobeyed his orders and saved many lives by preventing a German attack.
Harry S. Truman often risked his life by acting as a Forward Observation Officer (FOO) when he would crawl forward towards enemy lines and then, using a telephone, direct his guns onto the best targets. He never did this to better effect than at Charpentry and we will see the site of the action where his guns enabled the Doughboys of the 35th Division to overcome strong German defensive positions. Afterwards ‘D’ Battery advanced to a hill where Harry S. Truman directed his guns as they withstood a fierce counter-attack and one of his men described how he had ‘never heard a man cuss so well or so intelligently, and I’d shoed a million mules’.
It was after this action that the 129th Field Artillery were relieved so we will finish the day with a visit scene of the Medal of Honor action by that formidable son of Kansas, Pvt. John Barkley and the woods where a 13-year-old boy became the youngest Doughboy to see action. We will end the day by assisting in the ‘Taps’ ceremony at the American cemetery at Romagne-en-Argonne.
Overnight Vienne Le Chateau Breakfast included
Friday 19 October 2018 - Meuse Argonne - Verdun
We will following the move by ‘D’ Battery to the battlefield of Verdun and see the bunkers where Harry S. Truman learnt to ‘sleep with a gas-mask on’ in ‘a very large arched room’. Here the landscape still bears witness to the ferocity of the ten-month battle in 1916 which was a ‘war within a war’ and we will walk this extraordinary landscape before we visit the legendary Fort Douaumont.
We will take lunch in a café built immediately after WWI to feed the battlefield pilgrims, and then we will visit Verdun which Harry S. Truman described as ‘the most famous, and hardest fought for city in France … where every house I saw had a shell hole in it’ before returning to our hotel.
Overnight Vienne Le Chateau Breakfast and Evening meal included
Saturday 20 October 2018 Chateau Thierry
After finishing our visit to Meuse-Argonne we will drive to the memorial at Blanc Mont which commemorates the brilliant action fought by the U.S. 2nd Division in October 1918 and which the French thought was one of the most brilliant divisional actions of the war. Afterwards we will drive to the south to the Marne and hear the story of how the American 38th IR / 3rd Division earned the soubriquet ‘Rock of the Marne’ and helped change the course of World War I.
Overnight Vienne Le Chateau, Breakfast included
Sunday 21 October 2018
Leaving our hotel we head for Paris where will visit both the Museum of the Legion of Honour and the French Army Museum before an late afternoon/evening freetime to explore Paris
Overnight Paris Breakfast included
Monday 22 October 2018 -
Return Paris (or optional extension to Normandy)
Today we drop those returning home at Charles De Gaulle Airport for return AM fights to the US, those continuing onto Normandy will visit Pegasus Bridge and pass through the British & Canadian beaches prior to arriving at our hotel.
Overnight Port En Bassin Breakfast included
Tuesday 23 October 2018 -
A full day studying the US Rangers Action at Pointe du Hoc, the 101st Airborne Division landings at St Mere Eglise and action at Brecourt Manor. We end the day with a visit to Omaha Beach and its nearby War Cemetery and Interpretation Centre
Overnight Port En Bassin Breakfast Included
Wednesday 24 October 2018 - A return to Charles de Gaulle Paris for onward flights to the US
Further details regarding this tour will be found here: www.trumanlibraryinstitute.org