Air War Europe: Colditz, Dambusters & the Great Escape

9 days from £849pp.


Colditz Castle

Visit: Colditz Castle, Battlefields

Lancaster Bomber

Visit: Lancaster Bomber, Battlefields

Follow the story of WW2 Airmen from the Dambusters to Colditz Castle in Germany and Holland as we look at the battlefields of the war in the air above Europe involving the men of RAF Bomber Command. On this tour we visit the RAF graves in Reichswald Forest War Cemetery then travel through the Ruhr Valley area on trips to the Eder Dam and Möhne Dam examining the Dambusters Raid. We later visit Colditz Castle, examine the fire-bombing of Dresden and the story of the Great Escape. In Berlin we look at raids on the Nazi capital and also visit the Luftwaffe Museums in Gatow and Hannover. The tour ends with a visit to the grave of Dambuster hero Guy Gibson VC.

    Depart from your chosen pick-up point and travel to the port where a coach interchange will take place, you will then join your tour coach for the Channel crossing. On arrival on the continent we continue to our first overnight hotel in the Netherlands.

    We continue our journey into Germany and visit Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, the largest WWII British Cemetery in Europe - nearly half the 7,400 graves are men from Bomber Command. From here we travel to the Möhne Dam, stopping en-route at Rheinberg War Cemetery where some of the Dambusters are buried. The Möhne Dam, in the Ruhr Valley, was heroically breached by the Lancasters of 617 Squadron (Dambusters) in 1943. At Mohne you can walk on top of the dam and still see where the breach was made. Of the 20 massive dams constructed in the Ruhr Valley, six dams were selected as targets with three of these being the primary targets - the Möhne, the Eder and the Sorpe dams. Between the Möhne and Sorpe, they held back 76% of the total water available to the industrial valley, one of the main reasons they were primary targets. If breached, these dams would bring the whole industrial valley to a standstill, causing massive damage to the steel industry, devastating production of tanks, aircraft, guns and locomotives which were all vital to Germany's war effort. As well as visiting Mohne Dam, we also make a stop at the Eder Dam en route to our overnight hotel in the former East German city of Jena, a centre of the optical industry.

    • Included meals: Breakfast

    Today we will visit the castle and museum at Colditz (entrance and guided tour approximately €7.50 per person), the infamous ‘bad boys camp’ and scene of many ingenious escape bids. Perched above a sleepy town of the same name, Colditz has a varied history, although we will concentrate on its use as an internment camp for Allied prisoners during WWII. Hear the story of the ‘Red Fox’, Mike Sinclair, killed on an escape attempt, and also the story of Douglas Bader, plus many more. From Colditz we continue to Dresden and our hotel where we will stay for two nights.

    • Included meals: Breakfast
    Dresden

    Dresden

    We stay in Dresden this morning to uncover the tumultuous history of this great city. As the seat of the Saxon royalty, Dresden became arguably Germany’s most beautiful city. During the war it suffered almost complete destruction; however, it has since been painstakingly restored to resemble its former glory. This afternoon is spent at leisure in Dresden, or alternatively you can join our optional visit to the Bundeswehr Military History Museum which has an unparalleled collection of WWII artefacts.

    • Included meals: Breakfast

    Today we cross the border into Poland to Zagan to visit the German POW camp, Stalag (Luft) III (entrance to the museum approximately €2 per person). The camp, founded in 1943, was one of the six special German POW camps specially built for the ever increasing amount of POW aircrews. At the height of the camps use, about 10,000 commissioned and non-commissioned officers were in the camp. The Stalag (Luft) III became famous for what was known as ‘The Great Escape’. In March 1944, a large group of 80 Allied prisoners got out during ‘The Great Escape’. They dug a tunnel with the nickname ‘Harry’. Only three men managed to escape to free territory. Of the rest, 50 were murdered by the Gestapo. We will uncover the story of the escape and the reprisals ordered by Hitler, and visit the memorial, before continuing to our hotel in the Berlin area for two nights.

    • Included meals: Breakfast
    Berlin

    Berlin

    In Berlin we look at the raids on the city but start at the impressive air force museum in Gatow, which has a large collection of aircraft from WWI to the Cold War Period. We then visit Berlin War Cemetery where many RAF Bomber Command Crews are buried. Around the city we see Flak Tower defences and the air raid shelters used to protect Berliners from the bombs. In the evening join us on an optional visit around Berlin’s WWII sites.

    • Included meals: Breakfast

    In the morning, we see one of the last remaining Flak Towers then travel to Hannover and visit the Air Force museum (entrance approximately €6 per person) which has some impressive WWII items as well as a memorial to Second World War air crew. In Hannover itself we see some of the signs of the bombing raids, ending the day at Hannover War Cemetery where more than 2,000 graves of bomber crew casualties can be found.

    • Included meals: Breakfast
    Arnhem

    Arnhem

    We travel into Holland, stopping at Rheinberg War Cemetery where some of the Dambusters are buried. We end at the grave of Guy Gibson V.C. whose war ended when his Mosquito crashed at Steenbergen. We stay overnight in Belgium.

    • Included meals: Breakfast

    We leave the hotel after breakfast and travel to the Channel port. You will leave your tour coach behind as you join your transfer vehicle for your return journey to your original departure point.

    • Included meals: Breakfast

    At a Glance

    Tour Includes

    • 8 nights hotel with continental breakfast
    • Specialist Battlefield Guide
    • Convenient local joining points
    • Travel by Silver Service or upgrade to Luxuria

    Included Excursions & Visits

    • Battlefield visits as described

    Optional Excursions & Visits

    • Entrance fees to museums & places of interest (extra cost)

    Notes

    EVENING MEAL PACKAGES - For your convenience, pre-book 4 evening meals to be taken at your hotels in Dresden and Berlin. £70 per person. 


     

    Single Room Supplement from £179.00 (9 days). Single Room Saver from £69.00 (9 days).

    Certain excursions are included in the price of your holiday. If you choose not to go on an included excursion, for whatever reason, no refunds will be made.
    Yes, you will receive one with your Travel Documents, which are sent 7-10 days before departure.
    We believe that our holidays may not be suitable for children under 8 years old (except for Disneyland Paris bookings) however, we will consider individual requests on application. Customers aged 18 and under at the time of travel must be accompanied by an adult, parent or guardian aged over 18 years old.
    You can check weather averages at here.

    Accommodation

    You will stay overnight in Holland at the NH Koningshof in Veldhoven, near Eindhoven, or similar, and the 4-star Best Western in Jena, then two nights at the 3-star Ramada Resident Hotel or Hotel Azimut in Dresden, two nights at the 3-star Tryp by Wyndham Berlin City East, or similar on the outskirts of Berlin, overnight at the 4-star H4 Hotel in Hannover, or similar and finally overnight at a city-style hotel in Belgium.

    Germany

    City Hotel Berlin East

    City Hotel Berlin East

    Germany

    Achat Premium Dresden

    Achat Premium Dresden

    City Hotel Berlin East


    The 4 Star City Hotel Berlin East is located close to Alexanderplatz and also other sporting facilities like the Sportforum, the Velodrome and Max-Schmeling-Halle. The hotel has good links to the highway and public transport. The hotel facilities include a bar, lounge, a restaurant, fitness area and Wi-Fi/Internet access. All bedrooms feature Hairdryer, T.V, Telephone and en-suite bathroom.

    • English Speaking Staff
    • Guest Lounge
    • Bar
    • Restaurant
    • TV
    • Hairdryer
    • Bath and/or Shower
    • Telephone

    Achat Premium Dresden


    The Achat Premium Dresden hotel is located in a quiet area but with close links to the highway system. The hotels features include a lobby bar, a restaurant, lift and Wi-Fi/Internet access. All bedrooms feature a modern décor with T.V, hairdryer, telephone and en-suite bathroom with shower.

    • English Speaking Staff
    • Guest Lounge
    • Bar
    • Restaurant
    • WiFi Available
    • TV
    • Hairdryer
    • Bath and/or Shower
    • Telephone

    If you prefer, then you can join the tour at the hotel. To do this, we will require a copy of your passport for identification purposes and you must advise us at the time of booking.

    No reduction will be given if you should choose to do this.

    All hotel rooms benefit from private bathroom facilities.
    Some hotels have tea and coffee making facilities. Please check the tour pages for more information or call our Customer Service Department on 01709 830333.
    Most hotels have a lift, please call our Customer Service Department on 01709 830333 for more information.
    Some hotels have ground floor rooms. Please email for information on individual hotels or call our Customer Service Department on 01709 830333.
    Your hotels will supply towels in your room.

    We are unable to guarantee that the hotel will be able to meet your dietary requirements. We find that the majority of European countries do not generally cater for vegetarians and that the meal supplied may well be what everyone else is having minus the meat.

    We will of course endeavour to arrange for a vegetarian meal at the hotel. We do however suggest that you advise us of your dietary requests at the time of booking and recommend that you speak to the receptionist on arrival with regard to your request.

    ;

    Travel Information

    Departure times given for each region are approximate. Please check your travel documents to confirm the actual timings.

    Front row seats can be reserved for £14pp (up to 6 days duration), £22pp (7 & 8 days duration) and £25pp (9 days duration and over) on all European tours. In addition to this seats on the second row can be reserved for £7pp (up to 6 days duration), £14pp (7 & 8 days duration) and £15pp (9 days duration and over). This offer is only available for bookings of two or four persons on the front row and is subject to availability. Guaranteed front/second row seats cannot be reserved on feeder journeys to/from the U.K. port. Children under 15 years cannot occupy a front row seat due to French Law.

    Please note: On some coaches the legroom on front seats may be slightly less than that available on other seats due to the presence of a modesty board in front.

    If your tour is cancelled for any reason and front/second row seats are not available on your new tour you will be refunded the supplement. No other compensation will be payable.

    Alternatively, we can take seating requests on your booking. However, requests are not guaranteed. All seat numbers are confirmed on travel documents approximately 7-10 days prior to departure.

    We guarantee that all passengers on the same booking will be seated together on the main tour coach. Seats on the transfer coaches to and from the U.K. port are not allocated.
    Hot and cold drinks are served on the main tour coaches. Prices are approximately £1 or 1.25 Euro per drink. Prices will be confirmed by the driver. Drinks may also be served on the transfer coaches but this is not guaranteed.

    Transfer coaches are routed approximately 2-3 weeks before departure and will depend on where passengers are booked to travel from on any particular date as to which route is taken. If you require further detailed information regarding the route to the port you can contact our Customer Service Department on 01709 830333 two weeks before you are due to travel.

    With regard to the route taken by the main tour coach, this is determined by the driver.

    All main tour coaches have on-board toilets. Transfer coaches to and from the U.K. port may not have on-board toilets. When non-British coaches are used on transfers and tours (air or TGV holidays only) an on-board toilet may not be available. However, comfort stops will be made during long journeys.
    All coaches feature air-conditioning. Should the air-conditioning system break down for a period exceeding 12 hours, compensation will be awarded up to a maximum of £10 per fare-paying passenger per tour.
    We operate a passenger interchange at the Channel port. Transfer coaches, including taxis, minibuses, Megabus and National Express operate to and from the U.K. port. You will join your main tour coach at the port.
    One medium sized suitcase per person, which should weigh no more than 20kg when full. We may refuse to carry larger or heavier cases. Hand luggage can be stored in the overhead racks aboard the coach.
    It could be either - This will be confirmed in your travel documents.

    Customer Reviews

    Book Now

    OR

    Call our reservations team on:
    01709 787 463