THE WAR TO END ALL WARS CONCLUDED ON THE 11TH HOUR OF THE 11TH DAY OF THE 11TH MONTH OF 1918 – ARMISTICE DAY.
It has been called THE GREAT WAR and THE WAR TO END ALL WARS but 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 began ferrying carrying U.S. troops of the American Expeditionary Force to France. 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.
At 11AM ON November 11th 1918, the Great War ends. At 5 AM that morning, Germany, bereft of manpower and supplies and faced with imminent invasion, signed an armistice agreement with the Allies in a railroad car outside Compiégne, France. The First World War left nine million soldiers dead and 21 million wounded, with Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, France, and Great Britain each losing nearly a million or more lives. In addition, at least five million civilians died from disease, starvation, or exposure.
Military Historical Tours, Inc. is pleased to offer our legacy tour of the battlefields for this world-changing event and we are happy to have two of our finest leading you “Over There.”
Our MHT Tour Leader: James White is Col William White’s USMC(Ret), MHT’s senior historian, son and a WWI expert in his own right having lead this tour for years and Steve Girard a Veteran of the 2ID, noted WWI historian & author of C’est La Guerre-The Memoirs of Capt James McBrayer Sellers, USMC. They have conducted multiple trips throughout the WWI battlefields east of Paris and has extensive knowledge of the American Expeditionary Force campaign in France.
CLICK HERE FOR GREAT WWI COMMERCIAL (Sainsbury Chocolates in conjunction with the Royal British Legion who receives all profits have commemorated the 1914 Christmas Truce from over a century ago. Enjoy!)
CLICK HERE FOR GREAT NY TIMES ARTICLE ON WWI BATTLE MONUMENTS (MHT always provide you a way to walk the ground where a century ago The War to End All Wars was fought...join us this May and enjoy France in the springtime!)
Tour Price: $ 3,575*
BODO - Based on Double Occupancy
Single Supplement: $ 695*
Tour Price Includes:
- First-Class Hotel Accommodations
- 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 MHT Tour Leaders & English-speaking local guides
Airfare & Airport Transfers Not Included: Optional MHT Round-trip economy airfare from your hometown airport to CDG Paris available upon request (price subject to confirmation at time of booking.) Business class is also available.
* - Price based on € current rate of exchange
Wed 3 Nov (Day 1) Departure. Individual departures from USA to France.
Thur 4 Nov (Day 2) Arrive CDG Paris. Rendezvous at Hotel Mercure Paris Tour Eiffel. Day at leisure until 6:00 PM wine reception/administrative briefing in hotel. Remainder of evening at leisure. Hotel: Mercure Paris Centre Tour Eiffel
Fri 5 Nov (Day 3) Morning departure to tour key terrain features and sites of the “Second Battle of the Marne.” Among sites to be visited will be the impressive American monument atop Hill 204, overlooking Chateau Thierry and the valley of the Marne River, using the terrain map there to orient the overall battlefields. We'll then pay our respects at the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery, second largest American WW I cemetery in Europe, where 6,012 Americans lie, including the well known poet, Joyce Kilmer, a sergeant in the 42d “Rainbow” Division, who was killed by a sniper while crossing the Ourcq River. Time and weather permitting, other interesting sites in the area will be visited. Next, we'll drive through the zone of action of the US 2d Infantry Division, with its 4th Marine Brigade, during the under-appreciated Battle of Soissons, “the turning point of the war.” Our approach will be from the German lines, providing a good feel for the difficulties the attacking Americans faced as we work backward through the battlefield from its finish to the “jump-off line,” where the attack went in. We'll discuss why the battle was fought, how it was fought, casualties, outcome, and impact on the war. We'll provide the same information for all of the battlefields on the tour. Our next stop will be in the lovely and historic lakeside village of Pierrefonds, with lunch on your own in the village square, with a great photo opportunity of its magnificent castle on the hill overlooking the town. Then, it's on to the Armistice Clearing, where the documents were signed that ended the war 100 years ago and where, some-22-years later, Hitler compelled the French to surrender during WW II. The small museum there houses a sister coach of the original railway car destroyed by the Germans in WW II but displaying the original furnishings that were hidden by the French during that war. Our final stop of the day will be in Rheims (Reims), the commercial hub of Champagne country and a hugely historic and delightful little city. Our hotel will be the Holiday Inn, where we have stayed countless times with pleasant experiences. Dinner will be on your own, with a wide choice of restaurants, cafes, and bistros. Hotel: Holiday Inn Reims Centre Meals: (B)
Sat 6 Nov (Day 4) Today, we retrace our steps to visit the Belleau Wood battlefield, a mecca of the Marine Corps and high-up on the “bucket list” of most Marines. You'll see machine-gun nests, trenches, fighting positions, aid stations, and posts of command. We'll stop at Les Mares Farm, the closest the Germans came to Paris in 1918, stopping to view Hill 142, Lucy-le-Bocage, Bouresches, “The Wheatfield,” the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery at the base of Belleau Wood, the Marine Corps “Iron Mike” Monument by sculptor Felix de Weldon in the center of the wood, and a visit to the legendary “Bulldog Fountain,” where you'll have an opportunity to drink what is said to be among the purest water in France. Lunch this day will be on your own in Chateau-Thierry, with a group dinner in Rheims. Hotel: Holiday Inn Reims Centre Meals: (B,D)
Sun 7 Nov (Day 5) This morning, we'll drive eastward along the French-German front line from 1914 to 1918 in the Champagne region between Rheims and the Blanc Mont battlefield. We'll discuss the action of the US 42d Division which helped the French defeat the German attack there on July 16, 1918. Next, we'll stop at Navarin Farm to view the French monument to all of the Allied units that fought in the Champagne region and from where the commanding general of the US 2d Division, Maj Gen John A. Lejeune, USMC, observed his division's attack on Blanc Mont ridge. Moving on to Sommepy, we'll pause at the Blanc Mont jump-off line to analyze the 2d Infantry Division's brilliant attack of Oct 3, seizing that dominant terrain feature between Rheims and the Argonne Forest. Taking and holding this objective was called by French General Henri Petain, “ the greatest achievement of 1918.” We'll continue to the top of the ridge to enjoy the incredible view from atop the American Memorial, from where, on a clear day, you can see forever. Then, we'll tell you, “the rest of the story,” of a blood bath for the 5th Marine Regiment and a near disaster for the division when the attack was continued the next day. Despite any shortcomings, this major victory freed Rheims from four years from under German guns. It also triggered a massive German withdrawal from the dominant high ground running from Rheims to the Argonne Forest that would continue until the war ended, a little over a month later. Moving eastward to the Argonne, we'll stop and relate the saga of the famous “Lost Battalion” of the 77th Infantry Division at the site of its ordeal. Going forward, we'll enter the western portion of the Meuse-Argonne battlefield, the largest American battle until World War II, visiting selected sites of interest, including the small monument recognizing the heroic action of the Army's legendary Sgt Alvin York of the 82d Infantry Division. Lunch will be in the field today and our hotel will be Les Jardins du Mess, a French Officers' Club dating from 1891, recently converted into a luxury hotel. Hotel: Les Jardins du Mess Verdun Meals: (B/L)
Mon 8 Nov (Day 6) Today, we'll drive to unforgettable sites within the infamous Verdun battlefield, a killing ground, where the Germans attempted to “bleed the French Army white.” Combined casualties on the two sides are estimated to be between 750,000 and a million men, with some-300,000 of those dead. We'll start at the recently renovated museum at Fleury, which displays an outstanding collection of artifacts from the battle and which overlooks a portion of the battlefield, where very large areas remain “no go zones,” due to huge quantities of unexploded ordnance that still remain uncleared. Among our visits will be a photo-op of Fort Douaumont, the largest of the French forts surrounding Verdun, that incredibly fell to the Germans without a shot being fired. We'll tour the inside of Fort de Vaux, the smallest fort, which put up an heroic fight and surrendered only after a prolonged and vicious underground battle and after its water supply had been exhausted. We'll also view the Ossuary, where the remains of 130,000 dead from both sides are entombed. As time allows, other sites will be visited. Following lunch on your own in Verdun, the afternoon will be spent studying the St Mihiel battlefield, where, for the first time, an American army took the field in WW I and which resulted in a significant American victory. Stops will be made at the American monument atop Montsec, which offers spectacular views of the battle area in all directions and which is, arguably, the most beautiful American monument in France and at the lovely American Military Cemetery at Thiaucourt. Other sites will be visited as time and weather allow. Hotel: Les Jardins du Mess Verdun Meals: (B,D)
Tue 9 Nov (Day 7) Depart Verdun for the largest American battlefield of the war, the Meuse-Argonne, where two American armies took the field for the only time and which lasted from Sept 26 until the end of the war on Nov 11, 1918, 100-years ago. Twenty-one (plus) American divisions and some-one million US troops were involved, as well as several French divisions. There were 117,000 American casualties incurred. Highlights include the huge, 180-feet tall Montfaucon American Monument, that, on a good day, has panoramic views over a large portion of the battlefield and all the way to Verdun. Also, the American Military Cemetery at Romagne, our largest in Europe, with 14,246 graves; followed by a stop at the jump-off line for the 2d Division at Landres-et-St Georges, from where, on Nov 1, it broke the Hindenburg Line for a second time in spearheading the final American attack of the war. Our last stop on the battlefield will be the site where two battalions of US Marines crossed the Meuse River under heavy fire on the night of Nov 10, the last night of the war. We then return to Rheims. Hotel: Holiday Inn Reims Centre Meals: (B)
Wed 10 Nov (Day 8) Today, we'll journey back to Paris, making at least two more stops en route. We arrive in Paris and see the famed Escadrille Memorial plus we see the Suresnes American Cemetery that is beautiful and provides a marvelous overview of Paris. Time to explore the “City of Light” at night on Nov 10th, after we celebrate the 246th Birthday of the US Marine Corps. Hotel: Mercure Paris Centre Tour Eiffel Meal: (B)
Thur 11 Nov (Day 9) Today, we'll be in Paris on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, 103 years from the end of the Great War. We will attend events commemorating the end of WW I. The rest of the day is at leisure to enjoy the countless attractions that Paris has to offer. More information on any additional centennial activities will be supplied to participants as it becomes available. Hotel: Mercure Paris Centre Tour Eiffel Meal: (B)
Fri 12 Nov (Day 10) This day may be to enjoy Paris or simply decompress in preparation for the journey home or to spend a relaxing day walking around what is widely believed to be the most beautiful city in the world. Suggestions on possible things to do will be furnished to tour participants. In the meantime, a Paris guidebook or research on line might be well worth the time/cost/effort. Hotel: Mercure Paris Centre Tour Eiffel Meal: (B)
Sat 13 Nov (Day 11) Departure for Home. Check out for the flight home or extend your stay in Paris to visit Versailles or additional sites. Meals: (B)
World War I Battlefields - Armistice Day in Paris (3 - 13 Nov 2021)
- Product Code: 2111-EUR-ARM
- Availability: In Stock