The 'Riviera to the Rhine' US 6th Army Group
|In late August 1944 the US 7th & French 1st Armies landed on the coast of Southern France, with the intention to pin down German forces before they could withdraw to support
the fighting in Northern France.
The Allied forces hit beaches between Toulon & Cannes, while German rear areas were
disrupted by an airborne landing.
Three American Divisions, the 3rd, 36th & 45th, advanced northward on an axis defined by the Rhine river & the Swiss border. Frequently restricted by a long supply line, the divisions repeatedly clashed with strong German forces trying to pull back to Alsace & Lorraine.
Our tour follows many of these actions, including a visit to the site where the most decorated US soldier in World War 2 wins his Medal of Honor, Audie Murphy. From the Rhine we end our trip in Paris for two days of rest & relaxation.
Overnight flight from the USA to Paris.
Arrive Paris early am to be met by your tour director.
Internal flight from Paris to Cannes. Hotel at Cannes for the first 3 nights.
Welcome reception and overview of tour.
The first two days of your tour will be spent on and around the beaches used by the US 7th and French 1st Armies during their amphibious landings of the 16th August 1944. We plan to pay special attention to the US 3rd Division's (The Rock of the Marne) primary objective on the first day, being the seizure of the St. Tropez Peninsular on the left of the Anvil beachhead.
This afternoon we will study the short stretch of coastline between the mouth of the River Argens and Antheor. This was the designated landing beaches for the 'hard luck' 36th Division.
2nd night in Cannes.
During the early morning hours of the 15th August, the 1st Airborne Task Force, consisting of the US 517, 509, 550 (Glider) and 151st Parachute Regiments landed in and around the area of Le Muy, a major road junction, 15 miles north of St. Tropez. Many of these paratroopers were dropped miles from their target, however their attack caused major disruptions to the lines of communications to the German units holding the beaches.
After lunch we will drive to the US Military cemetery at Draguignan and pay our respects.
300 US servicemen lie buried here.
3rd night in Cannes.
Leaving Cannes this morning we continue to follow the advance axis of the 3rd Division as they breakout from the beaches. Ordered by their commander General Lucian Truscott to move westward and to follow the line of a number of tributaries of the Rhone River; on reaching the valley of the Rhone they turned north towards the towns of Orange and Montelimar.
One of the more unusual places liberated by the 3rd Division in this advance was that of the Chateau neuf du Pape vineyard. We will like-wise stop here for a sample. Hotel tonight in Orange.
For 14 days in early September very heavy and intensive fighting took place in a area which was to be called 'The Battle Square'. An area approximately 400 square miles from Montelimar in the south to Crest in the north was the center of some desperate assaults by a number of German Corps trying to withdraw to the north and keep ahead of the allies.
In a little over a week 6,000 German soldiers were captured.
Hotel tonight in Macon.
Today will see us at the towns of Bourg-en-Bresse & Montrevel where on the 3rd September elements of the 117th Cavalry were completely surrounded, a fierce and very one sided action occurred with serious losses to men and equipment. A Medal of Honor was awarded here to 2nd Lt. Daniel Lee.
As we continue to follow the route of the 3 US Divisions to the northeast we past the town of Rupt where the 3rd Division crossed the Moselle and the crossing point of the 36th Division at Remiremont.
At Le Tholy there is a monument to the 3rd Division.
Hotel tonight in Epinal.
Today we will look at the actions in around the town of Epinal, which eventually will fall to the 45th Division when they also cross the Moselle on the 26 September.
Since the 2nd November, the 45th Division had slowly been reinforced by troops from the fresh US 100th Division, the first of three new Divisions allocated to the 7th Army since its campaign in France began.
2nd night in Epinal.
Today finds us in the area of the Colmar pocket, the last German occupied part of France. Within this pocket in southwest Alsace were over 22,000 German soldiers, with their backs to the river Rhine. Could they escape from the Allied encirclement?
On the 26th January 1945 in a heavily contested area, the Riedwihr Woods, 2nd Lt. Audie Murphy will be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for gallantry in turning back several German tank attacks, from his own position in a turret of a burning tank.
Hotel tonight in Metz.
Leaving Metz this morning we start to head west to our final destination Paris, on the way we stop at Verdun, a town so devastated and bravely held by the French during Word War 1. We see where Colonel Driant's last stand took place, the trench of bayonets and the village of Fleury. Not far away are the battlefields where the Doughboys of World War 1 were blooded as well. Before departing for Paris we will visit the US World War 1 cemetery at Belleau Wood.
Hotel tonight in Paris.
A driving tour this morning of this beautiful city, full of charm, bustle, history and good restaurants. There will be plenty of time for you to relax or shop or just sit and watch as the fast life of Paris revolves around you.
Final dinner a group.
Transfer to airport for morning flight to the USA.