WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

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Lavallin
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WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Postby Lavallin » Wed May 24, 2017 10:54 am

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.
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Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Postby Lavallin » Wed May 24, 2017 1:45 pm

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.
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Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Postby Wiggles » Wed May 24, 2017 9:43 pm

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.
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Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Postby Stu's Idle » Thu May 25, 2017 4:36 pm

I'd be interested in this but I don't drive so would have to help out in some other way.
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Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Postby Lavallin » Sun May 28, 2017 9:44 am

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!
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Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Postby Wiggles » Sun Jun 11, 2017 5:40 pm

We've got the 28th/29th July of next year as provisional dates, so that's out.
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Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Postby Vyper » Fri Sep 01, 2017 12:35 pm

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!
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Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Postby Lavallin » Sat Sep 02, 2017 5:25 pm

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.
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Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Postby TrenchyJJ » Sat Sep 02, 2017 9:21 pm

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.
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Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Postby Lavallin » Sun Sep 03, 2017 9:09 am

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.
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Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Postby Vyper » Wed Sep 06, 2017 6:32 am

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.
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Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Postby Lavallin » Fri Oct 20, 2017 4:33 pm

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?
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Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Postby Vyper » Sun Oct 22, 2017 3:42 pm

Price seems reasonable for basically a week away.
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Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Postby Lavallin » Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:04 pm

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
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Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Postby Wiggles » Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:02 pm

So I'm going down the car club route rather than the owning route, but I'm willing to pitch in with the driving.

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Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Postby Lavallin » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:54 pm

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.
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Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Postby Vyper » Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:04 pm

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. :(
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Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Postby Lavallin » Sun Jan 28, 2018 3:07 pm

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.
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Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Postby Lavallin » Tue Apr 24, 2018 7:52 am

Is there still an appetite to do this? I'm aware that if we want to make this happen, I need to start looking at making some actual arrangements and bookings, and not just vague plans.

The first week of Jun wasn't good for people; how is the week of the 18th? Potentially leaving on the 17th, and returning 22nd or 23rd (once I actually do a bit more to confirm e.g. ferry crossings). Not sure whether it's a decision factor for people, but this deliberate clashes with neither Tankfest (29th Jun-1st Jul) nor the FoW Welsh Open (9th-10th Jun).
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Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Postby Wiggles » Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:19 pm

I can do any of those.
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Re: WW2 France Road Trip, Summer 2018

Postby Lavallin » Thu May 10, 2018 3:02 pm

Any more takers? 17th - 22nd June, a driving tour of battlefields of Northern France. I will start making bookings soon; please yell if you're still interested and want to be included.

I believe so far it's just me, Jon (my brother) and Seb. Based on small numbers, it may make most sense to use my own car; I will add anyone willing (and qualified) to drive to my insurance for the week so that we can split the driving. I understand Jon will have his own car too (tying up with another visit), and would probably welcome any similar offers.

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