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WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Posted: Wed May 24, 2017 10:54 am
by Lavallin
This is a thing I've wanted to do for a long while. If I can get a few people interested, we can share driving etc. Nothing is set in stone yet, but in theory is a tour of WW2 historic sites something that people would be interested in doing?

Draft Itinerary:

Ferry to Calais
Visit Op Dynamo museum, Dunkirk
Visit La Coupole, Wizernes
Visit Dieppe
Visit Normandy (Beaches and Pegasus Bridge)
Visit Musée des Blindés, Saumur
Visit sub pens in Saint Nazaire
Ferry back to UK from St Malo

Now, this misses out a LOT of stuff which I'd originally wanted to include. Villers-Bocage, Bastogne, any Early War sites (e.g. Sédan or Eben Emael), any WW1 battlefield, etc. But for a full week, which is about as much as I think makes sense, this feels enough. I'm assuming most people wouldn't be able to take much more time than that off work etc.

Additionally, as a stretch target, I'd be really keen to do something like the Army Staff Battlefield Tours I've been privileged to attend, and ask for volunteers to prepare a little bit of a talk at the sites we visit. Whether it's on the grand scale operations, technology, personal histories, or whatever, if we had six visits, and got to give one talk and hear five, I'd hope we'd all come away having learned something.

Logistics-wise, depending on numbers, we could use our own car or cars, or hire a small minibus; I'm assuming that we'd probably want to stay at cheap-ish hotels, but I'm prepared to go glam or to pack a tent. It very much depends on who's interested and what kind of budget they'd be prepared to look at.

Also, I'm assuming Summer because people tend to be able to co-ordinate leave then, but if there's an overwhelming push for e.g. Easter instead I'd be very happy to listen.

Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Posted: Wed May 24, 2017 1:45 pm
by Lavallin
To note, the ferry back from St Malo is a long old slog (8+ hours), so an alternative might be to skip Saumur and St Nazaire, and instead do Carentan, Ste. Mere Eglise, and a ferry from Cherbourg. But I'm not wedded to any of these plans at this point.

Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Posted: Wed May 24, 2017 9:43 pm
by Wiggles
I'd be totally up for this.

Currently carless but I assume I will have that sorted by next year, also willing to drive a minibus (assuming I don't need more qualifications).

Regarding locations, I don't have a preference.

The one fly in the ointment is my sister will probably be getting married next year and that's one commitment I'll be expected to drop everything for.

Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Posted: Thu May 25, 2017 4:36 pm
by Stu's Idle
I'd be interested in this but I don't drive so would have to help out in some other way.

Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Posted: Sun May 28, 2017 9:44 am
by Lavallin
Stu's Idle wrote:I'd be interested in this but I don't drive so would have to help out in some other way.


That's no problem - I'm sure there'll be plenty of other things to do. Not least the co-driver role, with responsibility for navigation, music, and keeping the driver alert with stimulating conversation!

Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Posted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 5:40 pm
by Wiggles
We've got the 28th/29th July of next year as provisional dates, so that's out.

Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Posted: Fri Sep 01, 2017 12:35 pm
by Vyper
Stu's Idle wrote:I'd be interested in this but I don't drive so would have to help out in some other way.


I'd be interested too, but with a similar caveat!

Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Posted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 5:25 pm
by Lavallin
I'll be honest, I'd forgotten about this idea! But I'm still definitely up for this. Provisionally five or so at the moment (Seb, Stu, Peter, me and my brother), so a standard car might be a squeeze for a week including bags - we're probably into the realms of hiring a 7-seater people-carrier.

I haven't given this any further thought since my first post, but do people have any major thoughts regarding some of the options above, e.g. do we want to go to St Nazaire or Lorient for a sub pen, or do we want to head up the Cotentin and to a shorter return crossing? Include Saumur? Anywhere else that I've missed? And for accommodation: hotels, hostels, tents?

Personally, I'd quite like to try to include Saumur and a sub pen, so that it's a shade broader than just "D-Day and some other bits", but I'll need to have an actual look at driving times etc.

Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Posted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 9:21 pm
by TrenchyJJ
For the sake of comfort, I propose taking at least two cars, I'm happy to donate mine for the cause.
In terms of locations, I think Pegasus Bridge is a must, and the cafe next to it apparently has a fantastic book shop selling many books that are now out of print.

Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Posted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 9:09 am
by Lavallin
Thankyou for the offer, and I do definitely see where you're coming from. But the issue with two cars is that it requires twice as many drivers. I'd suggest we'd need at least four drivers so that people can take turns. So, not a bad suggestion, but at a total count of 5 I'm still thinking 7-seater MPV. Also, a single hired car is likely to be simpler on insurance.

Definitely agree on Pegasus Bridge and Cafe Gondrée. Plus it's near enough to the beaches that it's logistically simple.

Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Posted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 6:32 am
by Vyper
I'm afraid I don't know my history/geography well enough to have a strong opinion on the route, so happy to go with the group decision.

Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Posted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 4:33 pm
by Lavallin
I've started having a look at prices for this as a concept:

-It looks like ferry costs are about £50-£75 per person for the round trip, varying a little based on route, and mostly whether we're in one vehicle or two.
-Use of our own cars is just down to running costs incl fuel etc, although drivers should ensure that their insurance covers them.
-Otherwise, hire cars are pricy, with a 9-seater minibus coming in at ~£90 per day. I'm feeling own cars might be the way to go if people are willing to do so.
-Hotels vary significantly, and if we're willing to go for e.g. a triple room (3x single beds, don't get ideas) can be as low as £25 per person per night.
-Food and drink costs will depend on what you want to eat and drink.
-I haven't yet started gathering entry costs for museums etc (some are likely to be free, but not sure)

I reckon a reasonable minimum cost for six nights away (Sun to Sat) is probably at least £400 per person, and that's not including any fuel costs yet.

At that sort of price, are people still interested?
As an option to slightly reduce the cost per head, do we want to see if we can find a French wargaming club, make an "away visit" of it, and bid for some club funds? Does anyone speak French better than my GCSE-level efforts?

Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Posted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 3:42 pm
by Vyper
Price seems reasonable for basically a week away.

Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Posted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:04 pm
by Lavallin
I've started putting together a map on Google Maps showing the major sights etc, plus the two main options regarding routes. It should be viewable to everyone, so please let me know if I've screwed up and it somehow isn't.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1eFMVL ... sp=sharing

Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Posted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:02 pm
by Wiggles
So I'm going down the car club route rather than the owning route, but I'm willing to pitch in with the driving.

Lovely maps!

Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Posted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:54 pm
by Lavallin
I'm well aware that I've done nothing with this for some months; however I'm still keen to make this happen. As much as I'd like to have included going a little further (to the armour museum at Saumur and the sub pens at St Nazaire), the return crossing from St Malo is an impractical 8.5hrs, and overnight. So the below is my first offer of a slightly more detailed itinerary.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1EIU ... sp=sharing

Hopefully the link works - let me know I'm a chump if it doesn't.

To note, everywhere I've marked "Talk" is just an idea of where people might find interesting things to talk about. I promise I will not be delivering 9 lectures.

Finally, at the moment the itinerary includes the US cemetary, but not yet the British one in Bayeux (although we are nearby). I'm not sure exactly when, but I feel we ought to pay a respectful visit.

Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Posted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:04 pm
by Vyper
I can't remember if specific dates came up before, but I can see you've got 2nd-9th June planned out? Unfortunately I wouldn't be able to do those dates as the clash with the UK Games Expo on 1st-3rd June. :(

Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Posted: Sun Jan 28, 2018 3:07 pm
by Lavallin
That's more a placeholder. I'm not committed to any dates yet. I thought being there for the actual anniversary of D-Day would be nice, but not critical.