Military Historical Tours (MHT) is proud to partner with Forgotten Weapons.com to offer this comprehensive tour of this world-changing war’s battlefields.
Tour Historian: Ian McCollum is the editor of ForgottenWeapons.com and the host of the Forgotten Weapons channel on YouTube, as well as co-host of InRangeTV. His study of World War One firearms has led him to a deep interest in the Great War in all its aspects and its influence on all the defining events of the 20th century. With nearly one million YouTube subscribers, Ian has honed his skills at making history come alive for many years and is very excited to be working with MHT for this tour. Ian has previously worked with the British Royal Armouries, the Dutch Military Museum, the Association of Firearms and Toolmark Examiners, the Cody Firearms Museum, the Maltese Tourism Authority, the Outdoor Channel, the Discovery Channel, and a multitude of podcasts.
To many people World War One is seen as a static historical event; five years of trench stalemate and then an Allied victory. The war did not have the great ranging movement of the Second World War, but it was far from the monotony that is so often assumed. In this tour, Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons will lead you through the evolution of the war as the years progressed.
We will begin in Belgium, following the path of the Schlieffen Plan’s sweeping attack, including the great forts of Liege and the fields in Mons where the British Expeditionary Force showed its deadly rifle marksmanship. The second day will move to Ypres, and the entrenching on both sides. The town would remain a battlefield for virtually the entire length of the war as both sides furiously improved their tactics and counter-tactics. Next we will move to the two great battles of 1916, the Somme and Verdun. We will visit Lochnagar Crater, an example of the extraordinary lengths which were taken to affect a breakthrough, and we will explore the corridors of Fort Vaux, where flamethrowers and grenades made the subterranean passages an unimaginably hellish and brutal battlefield.
Victory - or at least survival - at Verdun gave the French confidence in new tactics for a grand 1917 offensive under Nivelle, at the same time that German General Ludendorff implemented a massive gift to defense in depth. The carnage of the Nivelle offensives would lead to a French mutiny, and we will explore these events as we visit the caves on the Chemin des Dames. Finally, the arrival of American forces in 1918 would force the German hand into a massive attack in the spring of 1918, only to be pushed back by a combined force of French, British, and American men in 1918 until, their last hopes ground away, the German general staff capitulated and signed an armistice on November 11th, 1918.
These six days on the Western Front will illuminate the intricacies of the Great War that are so often unrecognized. We will conclude with a free day in Paris, where you may explore the City of Lights on your own, or join Ian for a half day at the Musee de Armee with its excellent exhibits of French military history and weaponry. Whether you are a student of the First World War already or curious to find a new understanding of a conflict which has truly defined the 20th Century, this trip will be one you will never forget!
For those wanting to go into more detail, the onsite staff is always available. We welcome your phone calls, letters or e-mails to discuss this expedition with one of our Battlefield Specialists. Call us toll free at 703-590-1295, M-F 10AM - 5:00PM or e-mail us. We look forward to hearing from you!
Spain Tour Pricing:
Main Tour Cost (Air not included): $ 3,375
(bodo - based on two persons sharing double room)
Single Room Supplement: $ 580
Main Tour Price Includes:
- Air-conditioned deluxe motorcoach
- Meals as indicated in itinerary
- Historical Trip information packet, containing maps & other information
- Admission fees to all sites, museums and special attractions listed
- Services of experienced Tour Directors & English-speaking local guides
- First Class Hotel Accommodations
Airfare Not Included: Optional MHT Round-trip economy airfare from your hometown airport to Brussels and back from Paris CDG available upon request (price subject to confirmation at time of booking.) Business class is also available.
Sat 7 Sep (Day 1) Departure. Individual departures from USA to Brussels, Belgium.
Sun 8 Sep (Day 2) Arrive Brussels Airport.
Group assembles at hotel. Early evening wine reception and tour overview briefing before the Welcome Aboard Din- ner. Remain Overnight (RON): Brussels (Dinner—D)
Mon 9 Sep May (Day 3) Liège, Mons & Ypres (1914)
We start the day heading Liège to visit Fort de Loncin where the fort's magazine was hit by a large-calibre German shell from the debut of the German’s Big Bertha howitzer, killing most of the fort's occupants. Relatively few of the dead were recovered; the site is now a military cemetery. After lunch we tour Mons English Cemetery before seeing the battlefield where the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) first fought the Germans in WWI. We transfer to Ypres and check into our hotel with the evening at leisure. RON-Ypres. Meals: (B)
Tue 10 Sep (Day 4) Ypres Battlefields (1915)
After breakfast we start the day at the Dodengang (Trench of Death) in Diksmuide, Flanders in the First Battle of Ypres between the Belgians and Germans. We continue to the Third Battle of Ypres in 1917 also called the Battle of Passchendaele one of WWI’s most controversial attacks. We visit the Passchendaele Museum before lunch. Afterwards we walk the fascinating restored German trenches at Bayernwald. Our final stop of the day is Kitcheners’ Wood part of the 2nd Battle of Ypres where the Germans introduced poison gas in 1915. We return to Ypres in time for the moving “Last Post Ceremony.” RON- Ypres. Meals: (B)
Wed 11 Sep (Day 5) Somme Battlefields (1916)
This morning we head South to explore the Somme Battlefields where the BEF crashed against the German in one of the war’s most iconically futile and bloody offensives. We will visit the Beaumont-Hamel Canadian battlefield, and Lochnagar Crater - where the Royal Engineers tunneled under “no mans land” and detonated a huge mine under the German trench line at the start of the offensive. We proceed South to Verdun for the other cataclysmic battle of 1916. Check into our Verdun Hotel with evening at Leisure. RON-Verdun. Meals: (B)
Thur 12 Sep (Day 6) Verdun. (1916)
After breakfast, we will journey to the famous, or infamous, Verdun battlefield. This 1916 attack by the Germans to “bleed the French Army white.” We begin our exploration of the Battle of Verdun at the tomb of Emile Driant, a French martyr of the battle who tried to warn of Verdun’s lax defenses and fought valiantly in the initial German attack (and was buried on the site of his defense). We will visit Fort Vaux to explore the role of fortification in the battle, and the Fleury village to gain some perspective to the scale of its devastation. The day will conclude with a visit to the Verdun Ossuary, a massive tomb for the unidentified dead of the battle, both French and German. RON- Verdun. Meals: (B)
Fri 13 Sep (Day 7) Nivelle Offensives. (1917)
Thinking that they had finally learned the key to overcoming German defenses, the French launched a massive new offensive in 1917 under General Nivelle. This offensive would collide headlong with new German defensive strategy, and come to a dead stop, precipitating the French mutinies of 1917. We will visit two sites of the Offensives today, the Caverne du Dragons (a network of caves used by both sides as command posts and field hospitals) and the Plateau de Californie, where we can retrace the steps of the attacking French forces. The newly renovated museum at the Caverne will provide additional context to the battles of the Chemin des Dames. RON-Reims. Meals: (B)
A note on Reims: Reims is an ancient city founded circa 80 BC. Consequently, time permitting, there are a multitude of cultural things we can do individually or as a group...Champagne cellars, the magnificent Reims cathedral and Eisenhower’s HQ where the Germans surrendered in 1945.
Sat 14 Sep (Day 8) Meuse-Argonne & Belleau Wood Battlefield. (1918)
Today we will see the Americans enter the war, with a short visit to Les Mares Farm, where the US Marines halted the furthest thrust of the German spring offensive with long range marksmanship that had not been seen since 1914. We will then visit Blanc Mont Ridge and trace the battle from the American jumping off line up the ridge to the German defensive positions - a victory which Petain called, “The greatest achievement of 1918.” Lastly, we will visit the most famous of American WW1 battlefields, Belleau Wood. We'll then return to Paris with the evening at leisure. RON-Paris. Meals: (B)
Sun 15 Sep (Day 9) Departure for Home.
Check out for the flight home or extend your stay in Paris to see Versailles or additional sites in the most beautiful city in the world! Meals: (B)
Evolution of the Western Front 1914-1918 (7 - 15 Sep 2019)
- Product Code: 1909-EUR-IAN
- Availability: Seats are available