Battle Damage: Munich

When you explore Second World War sites across Europe you look at the landscape differently from other visitors: you always have one eye out for visible traces of conflict. In cities this means looking for buildings damaged and repaired or which still bear the scars of war: battle damage. Munich was at the spiritual heartland…

Remagen Bridge

The story of Remagen Bridge is one of the iconic moments of the last months of the Second World War. By March 1945 the German Army was in full retreat with American and British forces pushing from the West and Russian troops advancing in the East. As the final advance on the river Rhine began…

Florence War Cemetery

Florence War Cemetery is situated on the outskirts of the famous city near to the River Arno, and close to the fighting in this area in 1944. The fighting reached Florence in August 1944 when New Zealand and South African forces were in action here following the capture of Rome in June. From September 1944 attacks…

Remembering VE Day

Today is the 70th Anniversary of Victory in Europe Day – VE Day – when the war in Europe came to an end.   German troops had first surrendered to Field Marshall Montgomery at Lüneburg Heath on 4th May 1945. This though only concerned German units facing 21st Army Group, so the fighting in the…

Exploring The Hürtgenwald

The Hürtgenwald was a forested area just inside the German border and east of the city of Aachen. It was protected to the south and west by the Siegfried Line but was reached by American troops in September 1944. The fighting in the Battle of the Hürtgenwald lasted well into December 1944, and the final breakout…

Siegfried Line, Aachen

The Siegfried Line, or Westwall as the Germans called it, was a 390 mile long defensive wall built in the 1930s to screen Nazi Germany in from an attack from the West and was partially built in reaction to the construction of the French Maginot Line. During the Phoney War in 1939.40 it inspired the famous song…

Eyewitness Museum, Beek

Eyewitness WO2 is a new privately owned museum, which has only been open since 2013. I came across it while researching a new battlefield tour for Leger Holidays and this week had the chance to pay it a visit. It proved to be quite an experience! The museum is located in a large former private…

Ede Sherman

We ended our journey following the battles of 1945 in Holland, looking at the ground around Arnhem. Most people who come to Arnhem do so to follow the Airborne element of Operation Market Garden and examine the fighting here from a 1944 perspective, perhaps not even realising that there was a battle at Arnhem in…

Seelow Heights Battlefield

Today we spent the day looking round the Seelow Heights battlefield which saw fighting from January through to April 1945 when the position finally fell and the road was open to Berlin for the advancing Soviet forces. Like the Oderfront we visited the other day, this is not an area for the casual visitor as…

Treptower Murals

Today we looked at the Battle of Berlin itself visiting a number of locations in and around the city where evidence of the 1945 fighting took place. Inevitably such a journey takes the battlefield visitor to Treptower Park, where the massive Soviet Memorial site is located. The site commemorates more than 80,000 Soviet soldiers who…

Oderfront Battlefields

Today we crossed into Poland and had a look at the battlefields along the river Oder on what was known as the Oderfront. This marks the old boundary between Brandenburg and Prussia and today the border between Germany and Poland. Soviet forces reached this area in January 1945 have pushed the Germans back since Operation Bagration…

Elbe Meeting Memorial, Torgau

On Day 5 of our Last Days of WW2 battlefield recce myself and my fellow battlefield guides ended the day on the Elbe River at Torgau where American forces meet with Soviet troops on 25th April 1945, a day that was later known as ‘Elbe Day’. A contemporary newsreel report is found here. It had…

Lorraine American Cemetery

The Lorraine American Cemetery is the largest American cemetery from the Second World War in Europe with 10,489 burials and 444 service personal commemorated on the memorial to the missing: meaning that it is even bigger than the US Cemetery at Omaha Beach in Normandy. It covers more than 113 acres and the dead here…