D-Day and the Battle for Normandy

D-Day and the Battle for Normandy

D-Day and the Battle for Normandy

Writer and World War II historian Thomas B. Allen spent more than a year researching and writing “The Lost Heroes of D-Day” for National Geographic magazine. He was also the author of the magazine’s article “Pearl Harbor: A Return to the Day of Infamy,” as well as articles on the Battle of Midway and World War II. Tom has authored more than 20 books, including World War II: America at War, 1941–1945 and Spy Book: The Encyclopedia of Espionage. Click here for National Geogrpahic’s detailed D-Day feature as reported by Tom.

Tom will accompany the May departure.

On this specially crafted National Geographic expedition travel from London to Portsmouth. Then cross the English Channel by ferry, following in the wake of the invading armies to walk the beaches where the soldiers landed, and visit places of extraordinary heroism.

Day 1 New York/London, England
Depart for London.

Day 2 London
Arrive in London and check into your hotel. Explore the H.M.S. Belfast, the 11,500-ton battle cruiser that served throughout WWII and was one of the first to open fire on German positions on June 6, 1944. This evening, enjoy a welcome reception and dinner.
Jury’s Great Russell Street Hotel (D)

Day 3 London
Visit St. Paul’s Cathedral to pay respects at the American Memorial Chapel. Senior staff introduce the Imperial War Museum’s collections chronicling World War II in imaginative interactive displays. Enjoy lunch in a private room of the Imperial War Museum. Discover the real story behind the legend of the Enigma code breakers at intriguing Bletchley Park.

Day 4 London/Winchester
Visit the Cabinet War Rooms, in a fortified basement deep below Whitehall, where Winston Churchill directed the British war effort, safe from the bombing raids. See maps, telephones, and bunks perfectly preserved since 1945. After lunch at the White Lion Pub, an officer’s mess during the planning stages of the invasion, a special guide takes you through Southwick House, Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force, where Eisenhower made the “let’s go!” decision. Check into the charming Royal Hotel in the cathedral town of Winchester.
Royal Hotel (B,L)

Day 5 Southsea/Portsmouth
Join the curator of military history at the D-Day Museum in Southsea. We’ve arranged for a special tour of the Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth. Here, Mulberry harbours—enormous portable harbors crucial in transferring troops to the other side of the Channel—were constructed. This was also where the wounded from the beaches were received. Retrace the dramatic night of embarkation during a cruise in Portsmouth Harbour with a naval historian.

Day 6 Portsmouth/Cherbourg, France/Creully
Board a ferry in Portsmouth for the Channel crossing to Cherbourg. During the passage, remember the rough seas and the flat-bottomed landing craft experienced by the Allied Expeditionary Force. Check into your home for the next three days, a picturesque manor house in the scenic Normandy countryside.
Ferme de la Rançonnière (B,D)

Day 7 Utah Beach/Sainte-Mère-Église
Visit the Utah Beach museum and the monuments along the shore. In Sainte-Mère-Église, wander the picturesque market square, church, and streets where American paratroopers landed in a hail of gunfire. A parachute has been attached to the roof of the church and special stained-glass panes inserted in the chapel, commemorating this heroic commando action. Visit the museum for a dramatic exhibition about the night the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions dropped from the sky.

Day 8 Pointe du Hoc/Omaha Beach/Colleville-sur-Mer
Stand on the high bluffs overlooking Pointe du Hoc; walk Omaha Beach, site of the bloodiest fighting of the invasion day; and lay a wreath at the American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer. Be welcomed by the owners of the Château de Creully where BBC correspondents began reporting the war operations.

Day 9 Gold, Juno, and Sword Beaches/Arromanches/Caen/Paris
See the Mulberry harbour at Arromanches—known as Port Winston—a remaining prefabricated concrete harbor designed to assist in landing Allied supplies. This afternoon, explore the Caen Memorial Museum, where exhibits and a series of films trace the period following WWI, through the Depression and the rise of Hitler to the Battle for Normandy and the end of the war. Later, transfer to Paris, and bid farewell to your travel companions during a dinner at our hotel.
Millennium Hotel (B,D)

Day 10 Paris/New York
Depart Paris for the return flight to New York via London.