AMERICAN SECTOR D-DAY TOUR
A full-day private tour of the American D-Day sites in a modern air-conditioned minivan (up to 8 passengers). During the day we will walk in the footsteps of the troops who took part in history’s most ambitious military operation – Operation Overlord. Overlord involved more than 10,000 aircraft and 7,000 ships, and landed over 156,000 allied servicemen on the beaches and in the hedgerows of Normandy during the 6th of June 1944. We will visit Utah Beach, the US Airborne sector, Pointe du Hoc, Omaha Beach and the American cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer.
We start with an early pick-up from any hotel in the Lower Normandy area allowing sufficient time to arrive at our first destination, Utah Beach, around 9:00am. We will visit the memorials, the bunkers, climb aboard a landing craft (LCVP) and then walk down to the beach where Brigadier General Theordore Roosevelt Jr told his battalion commanders: “We will start the war from here!”
Normandy Invasion, June 1944. Photo: wikimediacommons
“…a special occasion for a son and daughter whose father was a tank commander in Normandy with the 2nd Armored Division following D-Day. Patrick gave us a private tour of the many places that their father had recorded in his field diary about his battles as well as the D-Day Beaches where he landed. Patrick’s explanations about the area and the historical context made the trip an emotional and memorable one that they will never forget.”
Time allowing, before leaving we can visit the Utah Beach Landing Museum*, watch a short but highly informative movie and view the impressive exhibits which include Major Dewhurst’s B26 Marauder ‘Dinah Might’, a DUKW amphibious truck and a restored Higgins Boat landing craft.
From Utah Beach we take one of the five causeways which provided the troops with their only exits from the beach across the flooded fields, past the Leadership Monument dedicated to Major Richard Winters, Easy Company 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment and through Sainte-Marie-du-Mont – one of the first villages to be liberated on D-Day.
We arrive next at Sainte-Mère-Eglise, a place made famous by the movie The Longest Day, where a manikin of paratrooper John Steele still swings from its chute lines atop the spire of the town’s 12th-century church. A visit to the church to see the beautiful stained-glass windows which commemorate the town’s Airborne liberators is followed by a stroll in the town square – the scene of one of D-Day’s first assaults on the night of June 5-6 1944. At this point we can enjoy a quick, simple lunch break and (time allowing) visit the Airborne Museum* whose fascinating exhibits include a WACO glider and an entire C47 Dakota transport plane.
If we are running ahead of schedule, we can visit the village church of Angoville-au-Plain, where two young army medics, Robert Wright and Ken Moore, valiantly treated over 80 casualties in the heat of battle.
Window in the church of Sainte-Mère-Eglise
Pointe du Hoc
After lunch we will travel the long road which links the Utah/Airborne sectors to Omaha sector, stopping en-route at the site of one of D-Day’s hardest fought (and held) objectives: Pointe du Hoc. We will learn about the 2nd Rangers battalion who, led by Lieutenant Colonel James Earl Rudder, scaled the seemingly insurmountable cliffs to capture the gun battery complex at the western end of Omaha beach. We will see the big gun emplacement pits and casemates and visit the Fire Control bunker.
Pointe du Hoc
From Pointe du Hoc it’s a short, pleasant drive to the villages that run the length of Omaha Beach – Vierville-sur-Mer, Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer and Colleville-sur-Mer. We will visit the Omaha beach memorials and set foot on the beach that claimed more allied casualties than any other on D-Day. We will follow the ‘draws’ – the heavily defended steep-sided gullies which provided the troops with the only exits from the beach.
Omaha Beach from Strongpoint 60
Lowering the flags at 'Taps' at the American cemetery, Colleville-sur-Mer
The North American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer covers 172 acres of beautifully tended cliff-top lawns above the vast expanse of Omaha beach. We will visit the memorial, the wall dedicated to over 1,500 missing soldiers, and the graves themselves – 9,388 crosses and stars of David. We can locate and visit the grave of a relative, or pay respects to some of the cemetery’s notable heroes, among them Theodore Roosevelt Jr, his brother Quentin, the brothers Preston and Robert Niland (who inspired the story of Saving Private Ryan), General Leslie J McNair, and Medal of Honor recipients Lieutenant Jimmie Watters Monteith Jr and Technical Sergeant Frank D. Peregory. We will plan to be at the cemetery for Taps and the solemn ceremony of the lowering of the flags (4:00pm during the winter period / 5:00pm during the summer period).
If time allows, we can visit Strongpoint 60 which gives a wonderful sweeping view of the beach itself.
At the end of the tour we will return you safely to your hotel.
Start/End : Winter period from 9:30am to 5:30pm / Summer period from 9:00am to 5:00pm.
Private tour prices including pick-up and return to your hotel or other residence** and all taxes for up to 8 guests, excluding museum entry charges, refreshments and gratuities.
* If time allows we may include one or two of the museums mentioned. However, the longer we spend in the museums the less time we can dedicate to our tour’s objectives: to experience the actual places where D-Day’s momentous events took place. The choice is yours!
** Within 1-hour's drive of the town of Bayeux.