My interest in Battlefields in Europe was certainly piqued when I attended the World Travel Market 2013 seeing as the prime sponsor was Visit Flanders. They wanted to create a lot of awareness for the 100th anniversary of the First World War in 2014. I shall be visiting some battlefields in 2014 particularly Flanders. But what other battlefields could there be in Europe?
During the First and Second World Wars, British forces took part in tough, decisive battles throughout Europe, Asia and elsewhere. While many of these battlefields are today covered by small towns and thriving cities, others are open to the public for a form of educational, commemorative tourism.
This travel guide contains three famous British battlefields accessible by battlefields coach holidays. From the beaches of Normandy to the dense forest of the Ardennes, read on to learn about three of the bloodiest, most important battlefields that British forces have fought on.
1. Remember the D-Day landings at Normandy
After months of planning and deception, the British, American and Canadian forces made their assault on the beaches of Normandy on the 6th of June, 1944. Hundreds of thousands of troops descended on the French coastline via sea or air, confronting a fierce German resistance at many points.
From complicated deception plans to early morning surprise, a number of factors played a part in the success of D-Day. None, however, had such a major impact as the brave, selfless people that risked – and often lost – their lives in order to save Europe from the grip of Nazi Germany.
Today, the Normandy beaches are open to the public, and many people visit to see the site of one of World War II’s most well-known campaigns. Military cemeteries in the region are the perfect place to pay your respects to the thousands of people who sacrificed their lives to bring the War in Europe to a swift and successful end.
2. Relive one of World War I’s longest battles at Flanders
The Battles of Ypres were some of Britain’s toughest military engagements, costing the Allied forces hundreds of thousands of lives. Today, visitors can revisit some of the First World War’s hardest battles, including the Battle of Passchendaele.
Known for incredible casualty rates, the battles fought in West Flanders were widely regarded as the toughest of the war. Revisit the famous poppy fields of Flanders and learn what life was like for soldiers of the Great War.
3. Visit the Ardennes and relive the Battle of the Bulge
With the Allied forces rapidly moving across Western Europe towards Germany, the German High Command organised a final attempt to split the approaching forces in two and secure the Rhineland against military assault.
The Battle of the Bulge was one of the final major battles of World War II in Europe, and was one of the deadliest encounters of the war for the British, and particularly for the American forces in Europe.
Today, it’s easy to visit the Ardennes and see the toughest battlefields of the latest stages of the Second World War for yourself. The Bastogne War Museum offers an excellent look at the tactics – and the costs – of the Ardennes Counteroffensive.