Pegasus Bridge

It is always good to have time to visit the original Pegasus Bridge, now in the grounds of the Memorial Pegasus Museum in Normandy. I first walked across the bridge, when it was still in its original location, in 1979 and was on it for the 40th anniversary in 1984. In the 1990s the Caen…

Book Review: Osprey Combat – France 1940

Osprey Combat 14: German Infantryman versus British Infantryman France 1940 By David Greenacre (Osprey 2015, ISBN 9781472812407, 80pp, illustrated, softback, £11.99) Until this title appeared in Osprey’s Twitter feed, I had no come across the Combat series before. They are a new one looking at different armies facing each other on a particular battlefield. This example…

Picardy Resistance & Deportation Museum

   The Musée de la Résistance et de la Déportation de Picardie is a Second World War museum dedicated to the history of the Picardy region of France – which covers the departments of the Aisne, Oise and Somme – under the Nazi occupation from 1940-1944. It looks at resistance to German occupation, the help and…

D-Day 71

I have just returned from Normandy with a group from Leger Battlefield Tours which included members of the York Branch Normandy Veterans Association, with whom I have travelled to Normandy many times. As ever it was a memorable weekend and great to spend time in company with the veterans. However, it once more begs the…

Higgins Boat Memorial

The Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel (LCVP), or Higgins Boat, was the main type of landing craft used by the American military in the Second World War. On D-Day they were used extensively on both Omaha and Utah Beaches, being immortalised in the opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan showing the landings on D-Day. Designed by American…

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…

Beds & Herts Memorial, Cassino

The Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire Regiment was a Territorial Army unit and it’s 2nd Battalion served with the 4th Division in the Italian Campaign. This memorial commemorates their role in the Fourth Battle of Monte Cassino in May 1944 when the battalion crossed the Gari river during the advance into the Liri Valley. It overlooks the…

WW2 Book Review: Over The Battlefield

Over The Battlefield: Operation Goodwood by Ian Daglish (Pen & Sword 2015, ISBN 978 1 84415 153 0, 272pp, illustrated, paperback, £14.99) The ‘Over The Battlefield’ series of books by Pen & Sword and authored by Ian Daglish take a different angle when examining some of the key battles of the Normandy Campaign by using…

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…