Made famous by The New York Times best-seller Band of Brothers and the critically acclaimed miniseries that followed, the stories of the Easy Company members were immortalized by the National WWII Museum founder Stephen E. Ambrose. On this unforgettable, 13-day travel experience, you will follow in the footsteps of Easy Company, from England to the hedgerows of Normandy, along “Hell’s Highway” in the Netherlands, through the foxholes surrounding Bastogne, and atop the Eagle’s Nest. Led by expert battlefield guides, and accompanied by original cast members from the miniseries, this tour immerses you in the incredible lives of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne.
After individual arrivals into London-Heathrow, the group proceeds west of the city toward the training areas of Easy Company. The tour begins in the small towns and villages of Wiltshire to gain a better understanding of where Easy Company prepared for the invasion, while they lived among the locals. A walking tour of Aldbourne and a visit to Littlecote House (506th Parachute Infantry Regiment Headquarters) is followed by a festive welcome banquet attended by some of the same villagers who would have welcomed Easy Company over 70 years ago.
Portsmouth / Normandy
Visit Southwick House, where Eisenhower set D-Day into motion with three short words—“OK, let’s go.” The group lunches at the Golden Lion Pub, which served as an unofficial officers’ mess leading up to the invasion. The tour then crosses the English Channel, landing in Normandy.
In the small town of Sainte-Mère-Église, members of the Renaud family recount what it was like to see paratroopers dropping from the night sky. Stops at the Airborne Memorial and the Airborne Museum precede an exclusive tour of Brécourt Manor and picnic lunch with Charles de Vallavielle, whose family lived at the estate at the time of the invasion and continues to reside there today. A busy afternoon continues with tours of Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, Marmion Farm, Utah Beach, the Utah Beach Museum, and the church at Angoville au Plain, where US medics treated troops from both sides of fighting.
Today, the group first visits the historic Château de Bernaville, where a little-known event involving US paratroopers factored heavily into the Allies’ D-Day success: German General Wilhelm Falley, who was using the château as his headquarters and was visited there by Rommel just prior to D-Day, was killed by American paratroopers at 4:00 a.m. on D-Day. The group then follows the story of Easy Company at the important town of Carentan, which linked the Utah and Omaha Beach forces. Stops will include the Dead Man’s Corner Museum and “Bloody Gulch.”
On the group’s final day in Normandy, touring is devoted to the ground troops who came ashore in the Omaha Beach area. A morning visit to Pointe du Hoc highlights the Army Rangers who faced tough odds coming ashore and scaling the imposing 100-foot cliff. Visits along Omaha Beach take place in the afternoon, and the day closes with a visit to the Normandy American Cemetery.
Normandy to the Netherlands
After bidding farewell to France, the group heads to The Netherlands. Along the way, guests view exclusive oral history showcases of Easy Company men featured in the Museum’s collection.
Eindhoven / Nijmegen
Today the tour covers the American areas of Operation Market-Garden, the failed yet heroic Allied attempt to cross the Rhine River in September 1944. Visiting Easy Company’s drop zone and following its path of liberation, guests see where Dick Winters led the attack at “The Crossroads,” the subject of Episode 5 of Band of Brothers, as well as members of the company helped in the rescue of over 100 British airborne troops who were stuck behind enemy lines across the Rhine in Operation Pegasus.
Arnhem / The Ardennes
The day brings a tour of Arnhem and the “Bridge Too Far” before an independent lunch in town. Guests then head to the Netherlands American Cemetery to visit gravesites of select members of Easy Company and pay respects to all buried there. Next, the group travels on to the medieval market town of Clervaux, Luxembourg, in the heart of the Ardennes. Along the way, the tour historian presents an overview of the Battle of the Bulge—Hitler’s last-ditch effort to defeat the Allies in the west and the largest land battle fought by the US Army in World War II.
This day is dedicated to the heroic defense of the besieged crossroads town of Bastogne. This includes visiting Easy Company’s foxholes in the Bois Jacques and a tour of the Bastogne Barracks, where Gen. Tony McAuliffe of the 101st gave his famous reply of “NUTS!” to the Germans’ request that the Americans surrender.
Luxembourg City / Haguenau
As the group departs the Ardennes, the final stop will be to the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial, where guests visit the graves of Easy Company members and Gen. George S. Patton. In Haguenau, guests walk the “Last Patrol” of Easy Company where they held fast against Operation Nordwind for more than a month.
Dachau / Zell Am See
Located ten miles northwest of Munich, the Dachau Concentration Camp was established in 1933 to hold political prisoners. Throughout the rest of the 1930s, the camp grew to hold Jews, Roma, Slavs, and more groups deemed unworthy by the Nazis. In 1943, as total war was waged across the continent, the Nazis constructed more than 150 subsidiary camps near Dachau where prisoners were often worked to death. The terrible conditions in Dachau and throughout the subsidiary camps led to a widespread typhus epidemic by the end of 1944 as the Allied armies were preparing to enter Germany. When the first American troops approached the camp in April 1945 the sight of the prisoners and the living conditions tested even the most battle-hardened soldiers. After reflecting on why World War II was fought, the group will head to the Bavarian Alps for the final chapter of the journey.
On the final day of touring, guests take in the spectacular views from Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest, captured by Allied forces in May 1945. The group also tours the former headquarters and bunkers of the SS at Hotel Zum Turken and surveys the ruins of Berghof, Hitler’s mountain residence. Returning to Zell am See, guests view sites where Easy Company was stationed after V-E Day and end the day with a farewell dinner.
Zell Am See / Munich
An early morning group departure sees guests off at the Munich airport for individual return flights to the United States.
Churchill’s London optional three-night pre-tour
We’re pleased to offer “Churchill’s London” prior to the commencement of the main tour. Pre-tour guests will enjoy three nights in London at the luxurious Rubens at the Palace Hotel, a historic 5-star property that dates back to the 1700s and has served royalty throughout the centuries. Two full days exploring the wartime life of Sir Winston Churchill will provide context of what the UK was like when Easy Company arrived there to train in 1944. Touring includes Chartwell, Sir Winston’s countryside manor; the storied Churchill War Rooms, hidden beneath the streets of Westminster; and the Imperial War Museum, home of artifacts of British conflicts from the World War I to the present. Breakfast at the hotel is included each morning, and lunches during the full days of touring are included. Evenings are free to enjoy London on your own.