SPOT 1 - OMAHA BEACH – DOG GREEN – COMPANIES A / 116th –
6th JUNE 1944 – 6h 30...
Baptism of fire for the 29th Division… The men are aboard the barges without knowing what waits for them on the beach.
This company will be almost the only Company in the first assault to land in its intended area. The others drift to the East because of sea currents. The misfortune was that Dog Green Sector was one of the best defended German fortification points!.
TOUR # 2B THE BATTLE OF THE HEDGEROWS TOUR
RDV time and place are 8.20am Place de Québec, in the center of Bayeux. Therefore you can only join this tour if you are spending the night before in Bayeux or vicinity. If you are residing in Paris, please check our "Tours from Paris" section for more options.
General Bradley referred to the ‘bocage’ country as “the damnedest country I’ve seen”.
In fact, Brigadier-General James Gavin Assistant Commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, seemed surprised at the actual terrain in the bocage country in spite of the fact that prior to the Normandy landing there had been some talk about the hedgerows in France.
Several units trained in the various regions of the English countryside but the hedgerows there were pretty different compared with those GI’s encountered in Normandy.
More to the point, the priority for combat training in England since October 1942 had not been for the European mainland but had focused on getting Divisions formed and shipped overseas. The bad surprise was total!
Overlordtour will take you from Bloody Omaha to Saint-Lô following the steps of the famous 29th Infantry Division “Blue and Grey” through the Norman countryside.
This Tour begins on Omaha Beach in Vierville sur Mer , where we will tell you the terrible history of the Bedford Boys. We will not be able to cover the full story of what happened on this beach on D-Day, which is why we invite you to also take our Tour # 2 of the Omaha & Utah sector before taking this tour. This tour will give you a very good account of the landings on Omaha Beach. We will present the history of the young men of the "A" Company of the 116th Regiment of the 29th Division who were massacred on the beach.
By day's end, nineteen of the company's Bedford (Virginia) soldiers were dead. Two more Bedford soldiers died later in the Normandy campaign, as did yet another two assigned to other 116th Infantry companies. Bedford's population in 1944 was about 3,200. Proportionally this community suffered the nation's severest D-Day losses. Recognizing Bedford as emblematic of all communities, large and small, whose citizen-soldiers served on D-Day, Congress warranted the establishment of the National D-Day Memorial here.
Vierville-sur-Mer and Bedford are sister cities.
Although this tour starts from Omaha beach we will only give a short explanation about the unfolding of D-Day. Instead, we will follow the path of one of the Infantry Units across the Hedgerows to Saint-Lô. We will talk of the 29th Infantry Division: the famous Blue and Grey! However the Blue and Grey did land on Omaha beach in the first wave at a cost of terrible human sacrifice. Company A of the 116th Regiment is the most horrific example. This is why our starting point is a particular area of Omaha (Green Dog) which also marks the beginning of a campaign for this valiant unit of the US National Guard.
Do not be surprised to find that the guide does not include all the details of the D-Day landings in their commentary. Nor do we go to the American cemetery ....
This tour is a logical continuation of the Tour # 1 Omaha Beach Half Day Tour or the Tour # 2 Omaha / Utah Full Day Tour.
Our Two Day Tour package gives you the advantage of a price discount in the same way as our Neptune or Bradley Tour.
Next we move on into the countryside towards Saint-Lô. You will follow the same path taken by the GI's of the "Blue and Grey Division" who landed on 6th June to liberate the crossroads of Saint-Lô on 18th July.
42 days of bloody fighting were needed to gain 25 miles!
You will find this tour full of emotion through the recounting of unpublished anecdotes. Thanks to the contacts maintained over the years with the veterans of the 29th Division by the manager of Overlordtour, Alain Chesnel, you will discover moving stories that only Overlordtour Company can tell you.
MORNING: Spot I - Omaha Beach - Dog Green - Companies A / 116th - 6th June 1944 - 6h 30... – On the way to Vierville-sur-Mer... – Spot II - La Vigne aux Gendres Cross road - 2nd Battalion 115th Regiment - Night 9th to 10th of June –
Spot III - Elle River Battle - 115th and 116th Regiment - 11th June 12th/June - On the way to Saint-Jean de Savigny... - Spot IV – Stop at the Wall of Remembrance - On the way to Saint Clair sur Elle... Stop for lunch.
AFTERNOON: Spot V – Stop at the Bretel Wood - On the way to Saint-Lô -
Spot V – Stop at Madeleine Chapel - Spot VI – Stop at Saint-Lô
SPOT II – LA VIGNE AUX GENDRES CROSS ROAD – 2ND BATTALION 115TH REGIMENT – NIGHT 9TH TO 10TH OF JUNE
This was the first stop the battalion had had in twenty hours of marching and fighting. Many of the men threw themselves on the ground in exhaustion and fell asleep, some even without removing their equipment, many without digging in...
At this same time a column of German foot troops, self propelled guns and trucks were moving through the darkness towards the crossroads in the direction of the 2nd Battalion...
SPOT V – STOP AT THE BRETEL WOOD
This Wood marks a remarkable place on the front line that remained static from 15th June to 11th July, the date of the great offensive on St. Lô.
It is in a field bordering the road near this wood that Sergeant Frank J. Wawrinovic was wounded on 18th June. His cries for help were heard by two medics and a medical officer, who were mowed down by a German machine gun. Franck explained to Alain that throughout his life he felt responsible; thinking that in some way the death of these men was his fault.
The exclusivity of this story will be detailed with the help of maps drawn up by Franck recounting how he survived.
Come and experience a moving story which also recounts the story of Dr. Carter, killed here in Battle. Dr. Carter’s son came in 1997 to walk in his father’s footstep.
SPOT III – ELLE RIVER BATTLE – 115TH & 116TH REGIMENT – 11TH JUNE / 12TH JUNE
The Elle River may be considered as marking the beginning of a new phase of the Normandy Campaign, for south of this river the tempo of the advance slowed down in front of an enemy who fought back gamely.
This place marks the Battle of Saint-Jean de Savigny and St. Clair sur Elle and here we will explain the problems encountered by the GIs during the progression through the Norman Bocage. The Battle of the hedgerows really starts from 11th June for all the American units. The Germans are reinforced behind the hedgerows typical to the area in a landscape still unknown for the Americans.
After reaching the small village of Couvains, it will be a long static period for the Blue and Grey that will last until the morning of the 11th July.
SPOT IV – STOP AT THE WALL OF REMEMBRANCE
A monument built at the initiative of Alain on his property with the help of the people from Saint-Jean de Savigny.
SPOT VI – STOP AT MADELEINE CHAPEL
We will talk about the epic story of Colonel Sidney Bingham and the tragic end of Major Howie. Entering the Chapel is not guaranteed every day and we ask for your understanding if it is closed!
On July 13, 1944, Major Howie was assigned to command the 3d Battalion. On July 16, the 3rd Battalion used hand grenades and bayonets to break through the German lines and join the 2nd Battalion (Colonel Sidney Bingham), which was isolated and nearly out of food and ammunition. Howie left the 2nd Battalion to defend the position, reporting that they were "too cut up", and planned to use the 3rd Battalion alone to capture Saint-Lô. On the morning of July 17, Howie phoned Major General Charles Gerhardt, said "See you in St. Lo", and issued orders for the attack. Shortly afterward, he was killed by shrapnel during a mortar attack. He died in Captain Putney’s arms near the Chapel. The next day, the 3rd Battalion entered Saint-Lô, with Howie's body on the hood of the lead jeep, at Gerhard's request, so that Howie would be the first American to enter the town.
ON THE WAY TO SAINT-LO
We leave the front line to follow the advancement to St. Lo in the footsteps of the 116th and 175th Regiments of the 29th Division, Couvains, Martinville Ridge and stop at La Madeleine Chapel.
SPOT VII – STOP AT SAINT-LÔ
ST-LO, capital of the department of Manche, can be used as one symbol of the First U. S. Army's victory in a most difficult and bloody phase of the Campaign of Normandy: the "Battle of the Hedgerows," during the first three weeks of July I944. Other names figure in this battle.
La Haye-du-Puits, Periers, Hill 192, like St-Lo, will be remembered by First Army soldiers from a background of stubborn struggle for gains too often measured in terms of a few hundred yards, or of two or three fields, conquered against a bitterly resisting enemy.
A visit to several places in the rebuilt city will make you appreciate the magnitude of the almost total destruction of the city. A very comprehensive collection of pictures will transport you back in time.