ARHEAD TOURS

Reliving history together since 2012

NEPTUNE "B" TOUR (full-day tour, British)

Merville Battery (optional) - The members of 9th Para, British 6th Airborne Div., commanded by Lt. Col. Otway, went through months of training in preparation for the assault on Merville battery. However, only a few things would go according to the plan on D-Day: paratroopers drowned in the marshes or had been scattered over several kilometers. Yet the "Red Devils" improvised on the assault of the battery and finally managed to seize the German in a mission successfully completed right before dawn.
 
Ranville British Cemetery - Ranville was the first village to be liberated by British paratroopers and its churchyard was used as burial ground for the men fallen on D-Day. A little bit later, adjacent to the church a graveyard was created. When the war ended, the site was chosen to regroup burials from this part of the battlefield. Graves were moved from Amfreville, Colleville-sur-Orne, Houlgate, Colombelles and Villers-sur-Mer. The Cemetery contains today 2,235 Commonwealth WWII burials, 97 of them unidentified, as well as 330 German graves.
 
Pegasus Bridge (photo 1) - The delicate task of capturing the bridges over Orne River and Caen Canal fell to a selected group of men, members of D Company, 2nd Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, and the Royal Engineers. Six gliders were to land very close to the bridges in order to allow Maj. John Howard and his "chaps" to seize them quickly and intact. It came to be known as the most outstanding flying achievement of the war and, upon landing, the bridges were taken in less than 15 minutes! Nowadays, one of the original bridges captured on D-Day and baptized Pegasus is displayed in the courtyard of the homonyms museum inaugurated in 2004 by HRH Prince of Wales.
 
Sword Beach and Ouistreham Bunker - "Sword" represented the easternmost sector of the landing beaches as well as the narrowest of them. Nevertheless, this beach was the key of the Normandy landings in so many respects. Being the closest to Caen, region's administrative capital and gateway to Paris, the Allies knew that getting a foothold in this area was indispensable for the success of the whole operation. At Ouistreham, the "Grand Bunker" (photo 2) which used to overlook the German positions of "Riva Bella" has been rebuilt after the war and is today a museum. This 52ft tall concrete blockhouse reflects the German strategy at that point in the war but also shows how much work the former invested in building the fortifications deemed necessary to stop an imminent invasion.
 
Colleville-Montgomery and "Hillman" - This German strongpoint was part of a series of defenses located just inland from "Sword Beach", the same beach on which the British 3rd Infantry Div. assaulted on D-Day. The attack on this objective was launched around 01.00 p.m by the 1st Suffolk Regiment. Despite the determination of the assailant, "Hillman" fell only after two subsequent offensives in which the British forces would suffer heavy casualties.
Mont Fleury Battery (Ver s/ Mer) - Located at Ver sur Mer ("King Sector", "Gold Beach"), this battery presented itself as a threat to the Anglo-Canadian landings since, theoretically, it had a field of fire that covered both "Gold" and "Juno" beaches. Although the works started in April 1944 in accordance with the latest time-saving methods of the time, the battery was still under construction in June. On D-Day, it was captured by CSM Stanley Hollis and the members of D-company, 6th battalion of the Green Howards after they have stormed the beach located a few hundred yards in front of the battery. 

NEW! Although optional, a stop at British Normandy Memorial (dedicated in 2021) may be added to the itinerary upon request. 
 
Green Howards Memorial (Crepon) - Unveiled by His Majesty Harold V, King of Norway and Colonel-in Chief of the Green Howards, the memorial commemorates the men of 6th and 7th Battalion of the Green Howards who gave their lives for freedom during the Normandy Campaign. The monument is also about CSM Stanley Hollis and his D-Day actions which earned him the highest British military distinction - Victoria Cross. As a matter of fact, he was the only man to receive this prestigious award on D-Day! 
 
Asnelles - The mission of taking Le Hamel ("Gold Beach" - "Jig Sector") was assigned to 231st British Infantry Brigade. The 1st Hampshires were to take the brunt of the fire coming from the 88-mm gun placed in the blockhouse located on this section of the beach. The Dorsets, landing further east, out of the range of fire coming from Le Hamel, fared slightly better. This was the strip of beach on which the 8th Armored Brigade quickly opened three beach gaps enabling later waves to have a swift drive inland.
  
Mulberry B (Arromanches) - This was one of two artificial harbours designed by T5 branch of the Royal Engineers. Its components had been built in England but assembled in Normandy. Set-up right in the heart of the assault area, Arromanches harbour represented a masterpiece of engineering. The numbers show how the amazing work done by the Royal Engineers allowed the Allies, during six month of intense activity, to land at Arromanches 25% of the stores, 20% of the personnel and 15% of the vehicles brought to Normandy in the course of the entire campaign.

Longues s/ Mer Battery -This site is an excellent example of a WWII German Coastal battery. Today a historic monument, Longues is considered to be a representative strongpoint for Hitler's Atlantic Wall in Normandy. Furthermore, it is the only German battery to retain three of its four original guns 150-mm  in situ!

 

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