AMERICA’S FIRST BATTLE OF WWI IN FRANCE HOSTED BY MATT DAVENPORT
This is the first over there WWI tour hosted by Matt Davenport Author / Historian
Tour Historian: Matt Davenport – Our Tour Historian: Matthew J. Davenport author of, "First Over There!" Published in 2015 by Macmillan, it was hailed by Pulitzer-prize winning historian James MacPherson as "Military history at its best." It was a finalist for the 2016 Guggenheim Prize in Military History, and the recipient of the 2017 Daughters of the American Revolution Medal of Honor. Matt has presented at the New-York Historical Society, the First Division Museum, appeared twice on C-Span's Book-TV, and his articles on America in World War I have been published in the American Legion Magazine and the Wall Street Journal. He is an experienced tour historian with Military History Tours.
Tour Leader: James White – James is the son of Col Bill White, USMC(Ret) who originated this legacy tour for MHT and a WWI expert in his own right having lead this tour multiple times and has extensive knowledge of the French battlefields.
It has been called THE GREAT WAR and THE WAR TO END ALL WARS. We know it as WORLD WAR I. It began in 1914 and ended with an armistice at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. The cost…included 52,947 dead and 202,628 wounded Americans. After war was declared on 6 April 1917 the U.S. began preparations to enter the morass of European trench warfare. In June 1917, transport ships carrying 14,000 U.S. troops in the American Expeditionary Force approached the shores of France, these soldiers would join the Allied fight against the Central Powers. They disembarked at the port of Saint Nazaire. However, the “Doughboys,” as the British referred to the green American troops, were said to be untrained and ill-equipped, untested for the rigors of fighting along the Western Front.
Nevertheless, the war-weary Allied armies enthusiastically welcomed the fresh American troops. In 1918, the Yanks won a small but important victory at Cantigny, stopped the German attack toward Paris at Belleau Wood and along the Marne, played the major role in turning the tide of the war at Soissons, eliminated the German salient at St Mihiel that had existed for four years, smashed the Hindenburg Line at Blanc Mont and again in the Meuse-Argonne, driving the Germans back across the Meuse River to the North and East by the time the Armistice was signed. The inexperienced and hastily trained Americans took severe casualties but were ultimately victorious in every major battle they fought as the Germans called the U.S. Marines Teufelshunden—Dogs from Hell or the now common “Devil Dogs!”
Military Historical Tours, Inc. is pleased to offer our legacy tour of the battlefields of this world-changing war and we are happy to have one of our finest leading you “Over There.”
Tour Price: $ 3,475^
(Based on Double Occupancy)
Single Supplement: $ 655
Tour Price Includes:
* First Class Hotel Accommodations
* Air-conditioned deluxe motorcoach with onboard restroom
* Meals as indicated in itinerary
* Historical trip information packet, containing maps & other tour information.
* Admission fees to all sites, museums and special attractions listed
* Services of experienced Tour Leader and English-speaking local guides.
Airfare not included: Get your own or Book Optional MHT Airfare: Round-trip economy or business class airfare from your hometown to Paris CDG price quoted upon registration!
^ - Price based on € conversion rate at final billing
Sat 18 May (Day 1) Departure. Individual departures from USA to France.
Sun 19 May (Day 2) Arrive CDG Paris. Group assembles at airport hotel. Early evening wine reception and tour overview briefing. Remain Overnight (RON): Paris CDG Hilton.
Mon 20 May (Day 3) Compiegne, Soissons Battlefield, Reims. We begin with a visit to the Armistice Clearing near Compiegne where the Armistice was signed to end WWI and where Hitler forced the French to surrender in 1940 during WWII. Lunch on own in town square in Pierrefonds with photo op of its magnificent castle on the hill. We explore the Soissons Battlefield on our way to Reims. When we arrive we visit the historic Notre Dame Cathedral, the traditional coronation site of the French Kings, largely destroyed during the war. Group dinner. RON-Reims. Meals: (B/D)
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.
Tue 21 May (Day 4) Blanc Mont & Meuse-Argonne Battlefields. Drive along the French-German front line in the Champagne region from 1914 to 1918 from Reims to Blanc Mont and tour the Marine (2nd Infantry Division) battlefield where the seizing of Blanc Mont ridge was called by French General Henri Petain, “The greatest achievement of 1918.” Continue eastward through the Argonne Forest, stopping at the site of the famous “Lost Battalion” of the 77th Infantry Division. Then, on to the Meuse-Argonne battlefield, the largest American battle until WW II, stopping at sites of interest in the western portion of the huge battlefield, with a group field lunch across the Meuse River at Mouzon weather permitting (if lunch is cancelled—group meal this evening.) RON-Verdun. Meals: (B/L or D)
Wed 22 May (Day 5) Verdun. 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 with the excellent Verdun Museum in Fleury recently reopened after a two-year renovation for the battles 100th anniversary. In addition we will see the vast areas of shell craters (some areas are still off-limits due to thousands of unexploded munitions) with lunch on your own. In the afternoon, tour the St. Mihiel battlefield, where for the first time an American army entered into battle. We end the day at the beautiful St Mihiel American Military Cemetery. Returning to Verdun, we will drive along the line occupied by the Marine Brigade while training under fire in the “Toulon Sector”, prior to going into battle at Belleau Wood. Group Dinner RON-Verdun. Meals: (B/D)
Thur 23 May (Day 6) Meuse-Argonne. Tour the central/eastern portion of the Meuse-Argonne battlefield, stopping at the huge American monument atop Montfaucon, then paying our respects at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery at Romagne, the largest American cemetery in Europe and visit an interesting private museum in Romagne. We'll continue to the jump-off line of the 2nd Division, where the Hindenburg line was smashed and follow the attack of the Marine Brigade as they drove north to the Corps Objective at Barricourt Heights. Then, on to the Meuse River near Mouzon where we'll view the spot where on 10 November, the last night of the war, two battalions of the Fifth Marine Regiment crossed the river on a footbridge under heavy fire. Lunch on own in Sedan at the Flunch. Group Dinner in Reims. RON-Reims. Meals: (B/D)
Fri 24 May (Day 7) Belleau Wood Battlefield. Today, we'll visit the iconic Marine battlefield at Belleau Wood, a site at or near the top of most Marines' “bucket lists.” Here, you'll see fighting positions, trenches, medical aid stations, machine-gun nests in and around the woods and view Les Mares Farm, Hill 142, Lucy-le-Bocage, Bouresches, “The Wheatfield,” and much more. You'll also have the opportunity to drink from the legendary “Bull Dog Fountain.” Lunch will be on your own in Chateau-Thierry. We'll then return to Paris with the evening at leisure. RON-Paris. Meals: (B)
Sat 25 May (Day 8) Paris in the Springtime. Today, you experience Paris, quite arguably the most beautiful city in the world. Your tour leaders will be available to offer suggestions of things to do and places to visit, as well as how to use the excellent Paris public transportation system. Your choices are endless and a Paris guidebook of your choice, obtained before the tour would be most helpful. You can ride one of the hop-on/hop-off tour buses for an excellent driving tour. Want more military history? Visit Napoleon's Tomb at Les Invalides, where Marshal Ferdinand Foch, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces is also entombed and which also houses the National Army Museum, a fabulous collection of French militaria. Had enough military history for the moment? Visit the incomparable art treasures of the Louvre, Orsay Museum, Rodin Museum, Pompidou Center, take in the architectural wonders of the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Opera, the Basilica de Sacre Coeur in Montmartre, the Marais, or take an optional tour to Versailles. Or, you can just sit on a bench on the Champs Elysees or at a table at the Cafe de la Paix on the Place de la Opera and watch the world go by. Overnight: Paris. Hotel: Concorde Montparnasse. Meals: (B)
Sun 26 May (Day 9) Battle of Cantigny, Memorial Day Ceremony at Somme American Cemetery. We depart this morning to visit the Cantigny Battlefield where the AEF first impacted the war. We have lunch in town before we'll participate in the annual Memorial Day observance at the cemetery. This ceremony gives our tour appropriate “closure” to all we have experienced. After the ceremony we are on our way back to Paris to enjoy a final night in the City of Light with our evening at leisure. Overnight: Paris. Hotel: Concorde Montparnasse. Meals: (B)
Mon 27 May (Day 10) Departure for Home. Check out for the flight home or extend your stay in Paris for some French Open Tennis, Versailles or additional sites in the most beautiful city in the world! Meals: (B)
“America’s First Battle of WWI” France (18 - 27 May 2019)
- Product Code: 1905-EUR-WWI
- Availability: In Stock