Leger Holidays Battlefield Tours

The UK's Leading Battlefield Tour Operator

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Verdun: The Mincing Machine

5 Day Tour from £389.00

The Battle of Verdun, in France, was one of the most costly and terrible of WW1. With more than 770,000 casualties in the fighting there in 1916 it was known as the ‘mincing machine’ or the ‘meat grinder’ to the French troops who served there. On this tour

Itinerary

5-Day Tour

  • Day 1 – Local departure by coach, then to Maizieres-les-Metz for a four-night stay.
  • Day 2 – We start at the Bois des Caures where the Battle of Verdun began in February 1916. Here Colonel Driant and his Light Infantry troops bore the brunt of the opening stage of the German assault. We see Driant’s command post and see where he died, then continue to the Fleury Museum which re-opened for the centenary, followed by lunchtime in Verdun. In the afternoon we look at the cost of Verdun seeing the massive Douaumont cemetery and the moving Douaumont Ossuary, under which are the bones of more than 120,000 soldiers who died in 1916. We then look at two of the Ouvrages – defensive redoubts – at Thiaumont and Froideterre where we see the effect of the shelling, and explore bunkers and see gun turrets. We end the day at the Trench of Bayonets memorial and look at the famous story of French soldiers buried alive in their front line trench. Breakfast
  • Day 3 – Returning to Verdun we spend the morning looking at two of the most famous forts at Verdun: Fort Douaumont and Fort Vaux. Now national museums, we visit the top of the forts, see the gun turrets and explore the tunnels inside. After lunch we visit the Citadel Museum where France’s unknown soldier was selected after the war and then look at the ‘left bank’ of the battlefield seeing the high ground at Mort Homme and Cote 304, where there was bitter fighting in 1916. Breakfast
  • Day 4 – The fighting at Verdun was always linked with the ground to the south around St. Mihiel and today we look at the St. Mihiel Salient. We see the hill at Les Eparges, torn apart by mine warfare, and then look at the role of American troops in the area in 1918, seeing the US Memorial at Mont Sec. After lunch in St. Mihiel we explore the rich remains of trench systems in the Apremont area, where we see examples of both French and German positions. We then continue with a look at the role of the ‘Doughboys’ and visit the St. Mihiel American Cemetery. Breakfast
  • Day 5 – Return home. Breakfast

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