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9th Armored Division - 19th Battalion - Company B

Hello Everyone, My father, 90, has said that he wants to return to Europe to visit the places he was when he was there during WWII. I've tried to research where they went and it looks like Normandy,St. Vith, Belgium; Ecternach, Luxembourg; Bastogne; Rur River; Rheinback and then the Remagen Bridge; not sure where he went after that. Most of it is sketchy. My questions are: 1) Do you recommend taking a standard tour or try to do it by ourselves? (Dad, sister, me) 2) Does anyone know where I can find a detailed itinerary of where his unit went?
Thank you for all of your help. Maryanne

Posted by
173 posts

Hi Maryanne, If you can, try to rent a car. Some of those places are tricky to get to if you are busing/taking the train. I really wanted to go to Bastogne while we were over there, but it was too time consuming to do a day trip. As for the guided tour, I think it depends on what you and/or your father are looking to get out of the experience. Is he looking for more information about what happened there or just to revisit? The D-Day Beach tours are great but they don't cover everything, even if you do a full day tour. The Caen Memorial Museum is fantastic, but huge. Some of the places you have listed may not have guided tours, too. Check around the internet for what is left in those places. And, of course, Rick's books have some info as well. As your father is a veteran, he might be able to access more information as well. Find out all you can about your father's battalion, unit, etc. and plug it into google and you might be able to find out more info about their route. Hope this helps!

Posted by
2876 posts

After the Remagen bridge, the 9th Armored took the city of Limburg, where they liberated the first German prisoner of war camp. You can read the unit's WWII history here, including specific names of many 9th Armored soldiers: http://www.lonesentry.com/gi_stories_booklets/9tharmored/index.html As a veteran of more recent vintage, let me throw out a salute to your Dad. We can never repay guys like him for what they did.

Posted by
21 posts

My father was in many of these places with a mechanized cavalry troop. There is a Belgian organization whose members will help you and may even drive you to some of the places your father would like to go. Look at criba.be, the website for the Centre de Recherches et d'Informations sur la Bataille des Ardennes (Center for Research & Information on the Battle of the Ardennes). You will need a car to explore the area around St. Vith, Ecternach, etc. The website has accounts written by veterans of their war experiences and your father may want to contribute to it or, at least, read what others have written.
Alice

Posted by
8419 posts

This is a minor point, but we thought the WWII museum in Bayeux was much better than the one in Caen. It is small, manageable and much better done imo. We found the one in Caen to be too big, confusing and not well done. Considering your dad's age, I'd recommend the one in Bayeux. My dad just passed away at 97, he landed at Omaha and worked under Bradley. Normandy will be an amazing trip for your dad and all three of you, how great of you to do this for him.

Posted by
31524 posts

Maryanne, Regarding your visit to Remagen..... The Peace Museum is located in one of the former towers of the Ludendorff Bridge (on the west side, as I recall - the other towers and railway tunnel shown in the movie are on the east side). While it's easy to get to Remagen by train, the Museum is about 1 kM from the station so a Taxi (or whatever) would be needed. It's an easy and level walk from the station, however I'm sure your father would prefer not to walk. I can't recall if there's any parking near the Museum? Note that there's no elevator in the Museum - it's all stairs. It's not difficult to get between the floors, and there are some interesting exhibits that depict what conditions were like for those living in that area. There are large plaques on the front of the Towers commemorating the U.S. Regiments that fought in that area. Regarding the Normandy area, I'd highly recommend taking one of the day tours there. The battle sites cover a large area so a tour is really the best and most efficient way to see them in a limited time. The tour operators always enjoy having Veterans along, and as your family will probably comprise one group (I believe the Vans hold six people), they may be able to tailor the tour to the sites your Father wants to see. If you need suggestions for tour companies, post another note.

Posted by
18 posts

Wow! Thank you to everyone. This is great. It really helps me to customize a good trip for him. I was thinking of doing the whole thing as a bus tour- it would be easier but they wouldn't be taking him where he was - so I thought I should try to figure this out for myself. You, readers, all see to be so experienced with this. It's true that he can't walk long distances anymore but he still is in good health. Of course, now, I wish he did this when he was younger. I think he was afraid to go back and revisit all those feelings. Now, time is running out, and he wants to do it. So here we go. Yes, Ken, any suggested tours would be greatly appreciated. Also, any suggested B&Bs and hotels would be helpful. I'll also read through the previous posts.
Thank you all so much. I'm still open to all your information!

Posted by
4374 posts

I would absolutely try to find a war history buff to research and design a tour for you - the ones I've met (and the ones I've read about) LOVE just this kind of thing! They are a wealth of information! It's a real passion for them. Here are two sites to get you started: http://users.skynet.be/bastogne.battle.bulge.guided.tours/index.htm http://users.skynet.be/fa531049/home/index.html These are only some of the highly-regarded former Battlebus tour guides (Battlebus has ceased to be); they provide private/customized tours... http://www.ddayhistorian.com/ http://www.overlordtour.com/index.html I encourage you to contact these men; it can't hurt, and you may get some wonderful help from them. They have a real and genuine appreciation for our veterans. I've toured with Battlebus; I recommend any of their former guides without reservation. (cont.)

Posted by
4374 posts

(cont.) I found this (link included afterwards) and thought it 'might' be of help if you can track down the book mentioned...(fingers crossed - may have been scanned and put online somewhere; again, the history buffs look for this kind of stuff) "The 9th Armored Division landed in Normandy late in September 1944, and first went into line, 23 October, on patrol duty in a quiet sector along the Luxembourg-German frontier. When the Germans launched their winter offensive, the 9th, with no real combat experience, suddenly found itself engaged in heavy fighting. The Division saw its severest action at St. Vith, Echternach, and Bastogne, its units fighting in widely separated areas. Its stand at Bastogne held off the Germans long enough to enable the 101st Airborne to dig in for a defense of the city. After a rest period in January 1945, the Division made preparations for a drive across the Rur river. The offensive was launched, 28 February, and the 9th smashed across the Rur to Rheinbach, sending patrols into Remagen. The Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen was found intact, and was seized by elements of the 9th Armored minutes before demolition charges were set to explode on 7 March 1945. The Division exploited the bridgehead, moving south and east across the river Lahn toward Limburg an der Lahn, where thousands of Allied prisoners were liberated. A small booklet covering the history of the 9th Armored Division, "The 9th: The Story of the 9th Armored Division," is one of a series of G.I. Stories published by the Stars & Stripes in Paris in 1944-1945" Good luck, and please come back and report on what happens - hopefully, you'll report on going on a rewarding tour with your family!

Posted by
4741 posts

The tour company Battlebus used to offer some special services for WWII Veterans. While the company has shut down, two of the guides have their own companies. ddayhistorian.com is run by the former owner of Battlebus. dboothnormandytours.com is run by one of their former guides, Dale Booth. You might try contacting both of these companies about tours and advice on research. I took a two-day Battlebus tour with Dale Booth and he is absolutely passionate about WWII history. I definitely think a private tour with him would be worthwhile and I suspect that he would tailor it to your father's experience. His website indicates that he offers discounted veterans tours. Say thank you to your father for his service. I never fully appreciated what the servicemen and people of France endured until I visited Normandy.

Posted by
2283 posts

This sounds like a fantastic trip. I strongly urge you to plan it yourself and do it yourself, rather than take a big bus tour. You want to make sure you go to all the places your Dad went and at a pace that he can handle. I would use guides where you can for day tours. The suggestion to use one of the ex-Battlebus tour guides for Normandy is excellent. They are very popular, so contact them soon to make sure you can get a tour on the day you want. We toured with both Dale Booth and Stuart Robertson. They were both very good and will treat your father with the respect he deserves. They have dedicated their lives to honoring the men who fought in WWII and they would love to take your father on a tour. They can customize the tour for your group. It won't be cheap (though they do discount for veterans), but it will be worth every penny. Borrow if you have to; you won't have this opportunity again. I was in Bastogne in September. I had scheduled a tour with Henry Mignon, who was a child during the Battle of the Bulge. Dale Booth recommended him to me. Unfortunately, he got sick and we didn't get to go on our tour, but he seems like a very nice man and is highly regarded. He will customize tours and would be a good option in Belgium. I have not been to the other areas you mention. If you connect with a tour guide in Normandy, he may be able to direct you to tour guides or resources for the other areas. I envy you going on this trip with your father, and I hope you have a wonderful time. Do NOT miss this opportunity. God bless your father for his service.

Posted by
4374 posts

Laura and Carroll are vouching for the same men I've recommended; you trust us, don't you LOL?!? And just in case I wasn't clear (thanks for the idea, Carroll) - when I say 'tour' or 'private tour' I mean a tour for just the 3 of you. Customized. These types of tours aren't cheap, but they are thorough and would mean the world to you, your sister, and especially your father. Just pretend your airfare was a bit more expensive instead...

Posted by
8419 posts

In case you're apprehensive...I just wanted to add that driving in Normandy is super easy, both on the two lane country roads and the highway. Bayeux makes a great base in Normandy, we've stayed at Hotel D'Argouges many times and really like it. It's in RS France guide, or you can just google it. It's what I would call a "manor house" with beautiful gardens, lots of parking and the friendliest owner (Madame Ropartz) and staff I have ever encountered, anywhere. I would also like to say thank you to your dad, and God bless him.

Posted by
31524 posts

Maryanne, Some of the others have already mentioned some of the Normandy Guides I was going to suggest. The four that I was going to recommend are: > www.ddayhistorian.com (this firm is owned by Paul, the previous owner of BattleBus) > www.daleboothnormandytours.com (Dale was previously a Guide for BattleBus and is now operating his own tour company) > www.overlordtour.com (I've never toured with Overlord but a few of Paul's Guides are now working here, and I'm sure they'll provide a great tour). > www.ddaybattletours.com/ (this firm is owned by Ellwood von Seibold - I believe he's listed in the Guidebook and I've heard from RS tour members that he provides an excellent tour) You'll have to contact them to determine what type of tours each can offer. Be sure to mention your Father's military history. I've toured with both Paul and Dale, and they're both outstanding Guides! Cheers!

Posted by
342 posts

Maryanne - I have no information or help to offer. I just want to repeat, like the others, a big thank you to your father for his service. I truly hope the trip is a fantastic one for you and your family.

Posted by
1157 posts

You might also check out tripadvisor.com, type in Normandy forum, and ask your questions there. TA has a search option as well and you will receive first hand advice from French residents of Normandy on all manner of tours and trips for WWII vets. TA also has Belgium forums where you can get specific details from local residents and others who have done the same thing you wish to do with your dad.

Posted by
1035 posts

Can I come? p.s. I'm not kidding!! This sounds amazing. Thank you to your father for his service

Posted by
108 posts

Maryanne, My dad was also in the 9th Armored Division, 2nd Tank Battalion, Company C, 1st Platoon Sergeant. His platoon fought alongside the CCR in the operation Task Force Snafu, under the command of Capt. Howard Pyle, whose assignment was to defend Bastogne, beating off attack after attack. My dad was wounded on Dec. 26, 1944 in one of the attacks where they were surrounded on all sides by German tanks. He was evacuated to England for medical treatment at some point afterwards. I have a map of the Campaigns of the 9th Armoured Division, which is fairly detailed, and contains info from the point of entry of the 9th Armoured Div. up to V-E Day, along with remnants of a small booklet which has missing pages, and scribbles of a very small child (me), which was sent to my dad either late 40's, early 50s. I'm almost positive this booklet is The Lone Sentry, or at least an excerpt from it. If you're interested in a copy of this map, which may be of use in planning your itinerary after Remagen, just send me a private message. My dad rarely spoke of the war. The horrors of war was just not an experience he wanted to relive. He passed away in Nov., 2002, and had he lived, would also now be age 90. You are so fortunate to still have your father, and be able to do this trip with him. Good luck with your planning, and hope all goes well.

Posted by
515 posts

Maryanne,
My husband and I did a similar trip two years ago. His father, who died many years ago, was in the 11th Armored. From Paris Gare St. Lazare, we rode the train to Bayeux where we spent a few nights at the Churchill Hotel (very lovely town with many wonderful hotels, cathedral, and the Tapestry) and toured with Paul Woodadge, who is now ddayhistorian, as several have mentioned. Beyond fabulous and we highly recommend. After those special days in Normandy, we rode train back to Paris for another night. On the next day, we took a day trip to Rouen where my own father was stationed in WWII with the 179th General Hospital. Next day we took Thalys train from Paris to Brussels where we were picked up by Martin King who took us on a two day trip to Bastogne, Houffalize, St. Vith, Foy, Malmedy, etc. I don't know if he still does this, but it was a remarkable two days in the Ardennes. And this is his site, also previously mentioned: http://users.skynet.be/fa531049/home/index.html We flew back from Brussels airport, a smaller and easy to negotiate airport. We chose train travel because we were a bit nervous about driving a car. We packed very light because we were on and off trains so much...one carry-on each along with a small day bag. Also, I purchased train tickets in advance since our time schedule was rather tight. To say we had a memorable trip is an understatement. You will be so glad to have this experience with your father. My dad died last month at age 85. He never returned to Europe, but he was so happy that his daughter was able to visit. Please give your dad my sincerest thanks for his service.

Posted by
31524 posts

Maryanne, One point to clarify - Normandy is a region rather than a specific place. You'll need to decide which town to use as a "home base" in that area. My suggestion would be to stay in Bayeux, as that will likely be the most convenient, both for the Dale Booth tour and Martin King. While there you could also see the historic Bayeux Tapestry, the WW-II Museum there, and take a short drive to the Gun Batteries at Longues sur Mer which are a short distance outside Bayeux. Bayeux is a wonderful small town, and has some nice restaurants (although I found that many don't open for dinner until about 19:00). You might consider This Hotel for your stay there (I'm sure the others will have a few suggestions as well). Driving from Bayeux to Remagen is a considerable distance and will probably take a full day (or more if you get lost), so I'd probably go by train on that route as it will probably be a more relaxing and pleasant journey. The shortest trip I could find on that route was a departure at 08:41, which requires a transfer from Gare St. Lazare to Gare du Nord in Paris which will take some time (use the Metro - 50 minutes estimated for this connection), and then one change in Köln (travel time 7H:32M, reservations compulsory). If you choose to go by train, I'd suggest asking your Hotel to pre-arrange a Taxi to the station the previous day. If you rent the car in France and drop in Germany, there could be expensive "drop charges" which will add to your cost (don't forget tolls, especially in France and the cost of fuel). For the return trip to the U.S., Frankfurt would be the best choice as it's a major hub (lots of flights available) and it's easy to get to from that part of Germany. Cheers!

Posted by
18 posts

Hi Tom,
Thank you for that info. No, I haven't chosen the Rhine cruise yet. Travel planning is exhausting and takes a lot of time! I'll let everyone know soon.

Posted by
2283 posts

Maryanne, Don't be scared. You can absolutely do this. You will treasure the memories you create for the rest of your life. Are you by any chance confusing Bayeux with Bastogne? If you're planning to use Martin King to tour the Battle of the Bulge sites, it would be a very long way for him to pick you up in Bayeux. But if he can, great. Bayeux is a great base for touring Normandy. There are numerous inexpensive hotels there. Also, Dale Booth has a B&B you can stay in. That might be a really nice experience for your father as he has a small museum there. Finally, make sure you reserve your tours right away. Dale Booth and some of the other guides are very popular, and their tours fill quickly. I would do this right away. You can look into flights and hotels later. Good luck and come back if you need more help.

Posted by
18 posts

Hello everyone, Based on your wonderful recommendations, the trip looks something like this: Any help to fill in the gaps would be greatly appreciated. Not sure where to fly into - don't necessarily want to see Paris. We can leave from Hartford,Ct, Newark, NJ or Philadelphia. I'll rent a car somewhere. 1. Normandy will be our first stop. Dale Booth 2 day American Tour. Hotels? 2.then I want to get to Bayeaux to meet up with Martin King-I would like to do a 2-day tour with him to follow the 9th's involvement in the Battle of the Bulge. Ques. How long does it take to drive from Normandy to Bayeaux? Hotels? 3. After that, I will drive from Bayeaux to Remagen Anyone know how long it takes to get there? Spend 1-2 days there touring the site and the museum then a cruise down the Rhine. 4. What airport should we fly out of to get back to the US?
I guess that's it. Any suggestions? Thank you all so much for your help I can't tell you how you have all helped me to trudge forward and do this for him. Honestly, I'm scared - don't know where we're going, just hope he loves it!

Posted by
2876 posts

Bayeux is only 20 Km from Omaha Beach. In fact, Bayeux would be a perfect spot for your 'home base' in Normandy. Even though you don't necessarily want to see Paris, it is the best place to fly into for a Normandy visit. You can find driving times and distances on viamichelin.com. Bayeux to Remagen is 725 kilometers. You will go across Belgium. Viamichelin.com says 6 3/4 hour driving time (not counting stops). Almost all the drive will be on interstate-type highways. There are many different Rhine river cruises. Have you picked one yet?

Posted by
18 posts

Carroll, You're absolutely right I am confusing Bayeaux with Bastogne and I think have totally confused Ken and Tom.
So, let me correct my trip - Land in Paris then it looks like we should take the train to Bayeaux - Spend 2 days with Dale hopefully on tour-then take train to Brussels to meet with Martin King to tour Bastogne. then figure out how to get from Bastogne to Remagen Bridge - do cruise - then figure out how to get to the Frankfurt airport to fly home.

Posted by
31524 posts

Maryanne, Thanks for the additional information. That clears things up considerably! You can certainly take the train directly from CDG to Bayeux. That will involve a short trip on the RER B to either Gare du Nord or Chatelet-Les Halles (Gare du Nord would be my choice), then Metro to Gare St. Lazare (lots of Escalators as I recall) and then train to Bayeux. Some of the trips on that route are as short as 3H:14M, but which combination to use will depend on what time your flight arrives and how long it takes to get through Passport control and collect your luggage. You might find it helpful to have a look at This website for detailed instructions on the best ways to get out of CDG. The trip from Bayeux to Brussels will be as short as 4H:16M, depending on which train you choose and the number of changes. One of the routes with 2 changes is 4H:42M, and that's probably the one I'd use. Will Martin King be providing transportation to Bastogne? If so that would be a big help as Bastogne no longer has a rail station (if travelling by public transportation, the last leg of the trip is a 35-minute Bus ride from Libramont). The rail trip from Brussels to Remagen is very easy, about 3-hours. If your Father doesn't want to do much walking, you can take a Taxi from the station to the Museum (it's about 1 kM as I recall - I walked from the station). Where will you be going on the cruise once you leave Remagen? How to get to Frankfurt Airport will depend on which town you'll be in for your last stop. It should be very easy, as there's a railway station in the airport (there are actually two stations, but Lee will have to provide the details). Cheers!

Posted by
18 posts

OMGosh, Ken - would love to take you on the trip with us! Where are you getting all the information on the schedules? You know so much!
Initially, I was planning on renting a car but after reading through out a lot of the sites and hearing that travelling from France and dropping the car off in Germany could be costly-, it seems that the trains would be our best bet since we are arranging transportation for the tours. Martin doesn't have his name or location on his site so I've been having trouble planning that part. He offers use of his van or our car so I thought it might be best to pay a little more and use his van. After Remagen, I thought I could find a cruise that goes right by the Remagen just to see how it looks from the water but we don't need to do that. We could leave right after we tour the Remagen Museum. My question is, what airport do you think would be the easiest to fly out of after we visit Remagen. I would take a taxi back to the train station and try to get to an airport.

Posted by
7 posts

Dear Maryanne, Just wanted to tell you that we took my father-in-law back to Normandy in 2007. He wanted us to see where he was stationed during the war . My husband and I were stationed in Heidelberg so we knew our way around. It was one of the best trips we have taken and so memorable! One we'll never forget!Enjoy your trip and take lots of pictures!!!Ceal

Posted by
515 posts

When we toured with Martin King, he was living in Antwerp I believe. He picked us up early in the morning at our hotel in downtown Brussels, and we drove to Bastogne, where we stayed overnight at a small hotel near Place MacAuliffe. We toured with him for a day and a half and then he returned us to Brussels. The memories. The memories.

Posted by
4374 posts

If you stay in Frankfurt, I recommend a taxi to the airport...Our plan (husband and his parents) was to take the train from Frankfurt to the airport - his parents pooped out LOL! They voted TAXI, and the price was the same as taking the train, and was actually a few minutes quicker. And you're let out at the ticket counters, practically. Less physical trauma for your father (AND you). He's probably going to poop-out by this point, too! DO reserve your Bayeux hotel ASAP, and your tours too (if you haven't already). I, too, recommend the Bayeux DDay museum, and the British war cemetery literally across the street (check your map). They are both very manageable. And if he doesn't already have something like this, your father might like a portable seat, or one of those cane/seat combos - they'll be a lot of standing, and it gets hard on the body, I don't care how old you are LOL. Have a wonderful trip! It would be great to hear from you afterwards...

Posted by
652 posts

To Maryanne and all the others who's fathers served in WW2-thank you so much. I've been in Germany several years now and learn more and more about WW2m I"ve done the Bastogne Memorial Walk once, and every time I learn something else, I realize that the men and women who served truly are the finest of "The Greatest Generation"!

Posted by
31524 posts

Maryanne, Have you decided on a Rhine cruise yet? Depending on what type of cruise you have in mind, you could consider a day cruise with This cruise line. If possible, choose a departure on the Goethe, which is an elegant old Paddlewheeler. When you leave Remagen, one possibility would be to drop the car in Bonn or other nearby town (assuming you're using a rental car), stay one night and then take the cruise the following day. If you just want a day cruise, you could (for example) start in Cologne or Bonn and cruise past Remagen (might be nice for your Father to see the remains of the bridge from that perspective) and end the trip by spending a night or two in one of other towns along the Rhine - St. Goar, Bingen or Bacharach. It's very easy to reach the Frankfurt Airport by train from those towns. For example, the trip from Bacharach to Frankfurt Airport Regional Bahnhof is as short as 1H:04M, which includes one six-minute change in Bingen. There are two stations at the Frankfurt Airport, and I believe the shortest travel times will be to the regional one. Cheers!

Posted by
18 posts

Eileen,
The cane/seat combo is a fabulous idea. I'm going to buy that for him. Thank you so much. We were thinking last night about bringing his cane but the added seat will be so much better. Thank you.

Posted by
18 posts

Ken,
I was going to drop the idea of the cruise because most of them seem like a full day. I thought it would be wonderful after we visit the museum to just cruise past the Remagen Bridge so he could see it from that perspective and then end up in one of the towns along the Rhine as you've suggested-Spend the night there-and then take the train back to the Frankfurt Airport. So far, I haven't found anything that would be a short cruise after our touring.

Posted by
1313 posts

I hope you take this wonderful trip. My father just died (almost 89). He served in the 8th Army Air Corp, 351st Bomber group out of Polebrook, England. I wish I had been able to take a trip to revisit the site of his old base with him. On D Day he flew missions to take out bridges and highways. He used to say there were so many planes in the sky during D Day the hardest thing was to keep from crashing in to each other. He was a B-17 pilot and I just found a listing on-line of all 30 of the missions he flew-mostly in 1944. My thanks to your Dad for his service and let us know about your trip.

Posted by
31524 posts

Maryanne, Cruising past Remagen is a bit of a problem, as there are limited sailings each day. It would probably mean an overnight stop in Bonn or Köln. One option you could consider after visiting Remagen and the Museum, would be to travel (by train?) to one of the other towns along the Rhine such as Bacharach. While there you could take one of the KD Cruises to St. Goar and then return to Bacharach by train. The trip only takes a few hours and if the weather is nice, it's a very pleasant trip cruising past Castles and Vineyards (but of course you wouldn't be able to see Remagen from a cruise). That would also leave you in a good position for getting to the airport in Frankfurt, as the trip from Bacharach is very easy (one change in Bingen). I did that trip last year, although I went in both directions by boat. I'm sure there are similar options from other towns. Cheers!

Posted by
18 posts

Draft Itinerary in 2 Parts PART 1 - SUN THRU TUES DRAFT TRIP ITINERARY Sat. June 11 p.m. – Leave USA Sun. June 12 a.m. – Arrive CDG – Paris -Plan is to travel to Bayeaux during the day Per Ken, Take the train directly from CDG to Bayeaux- -Take the RER (rapid transit) to Gare du Nord (North Station) then Metro to Gare St. Lazare and then train to Bayeaux (should take about 4.5 hours) Stay Sunday night in Bayeaux – Visit Bayeaux DDay Museum Sunday or Mon or Tues Stay at Hotel D'Argouges? per Susan's suggestion. Triple is 150 Euros ($205 USD) Churchill Hotel = Triple 165 Euros Breakfast =10 Euros Each Hotel Reine Mathilde Mon. June 13 – Dale Booth to pick us up at hotel and begin the Two Day American Tour Mon. night – June 13-Stay at Dale's B&B – Dinner that evening at Dale's B&B- 30 Euros per adult includes breakfast-Dinner is 13 Euros per adult
Tues. June 14 – Day 2 of the American Tour with Dale Booth

Posted by
28131 posts

Maryanne, I think that the idea that your Bastogne guide could get you from Bayeux may have come from a post where the two places got confused. The distance between the two places is just short of 400 miles, about the distance from Chester Springs to Akron or Cleveland, Ohio. In reality, that's probably a bit far to expect a guide to come and collect you, then take you back the same distance. I don't want to pre-judge, but another plan may be better. If I were in my 90's I might prefer another mode of transportation. Sorry..

Posted by
18 posts

PART 2 Tuesday night- Do we stay at a hotel in Bayeaux? Or a hotel in Brussels? Wed. June 15 – Travel Day and Rest Day – If staying in hotel in Bayeaux , then go early in morning to train to Brussels – need to find out if there is a train that goes from Bayeaux to Brussels or do we have to go from Bayeaux back to Paris and then get the TVG from Paris to Brussels south train station where we are to meet Martin on Thursday morning. Need hotel in Brussels for Wed night. Thurs. June 16 – Martin King to pick us up to begin 2 Day Tour of Bastogne. Fri. June 17 – Day 2 of Tour with Martin King – Northern shoulder of Bastogne. Take train or drive with Martin to Remagen (Drive from Bastogne to Remagen is approx. 2 hours) Sat June 18 – Tour of Remagen Bridge and Museum – Should we go on to Limburg to see the first German POW Camp? After that option suggested by Ken, to take train to Bachrach and from there, take one of the KD cruises to St. Goar (few hours) then return to Bachrach by train to stay the night. Sat. night June 18 – Stay in Bachrach (Per Ken, train to Frankfurt Airport using the Frankfurt Airport Regional Bahnhof is 1 Hour which includes 6 min. change in Bingen Sun –June 19 Take train or taxi (Eileen said taxi is same price and more convenient if staying overnight in Frankfurt) to Frankfurt Airport
Fly out of Frankfurt Airport to USA

Posted by
31524 posts

Maryanne, A few more comments..... > Tues, June 14 - definitely stay in Bayeux that night. You probably won't get back from the tour until ~17:00, so travelling to Brussels would not be a good idea. > Travel from Bayeux to Brussels - I believe you will have to return via Paris. There are a variety of options on that route and the quickest and easiest one I could find is a train departing at 08:41, arriving Brussels Centraal at 13:33 (time 4H:52M, 2 changes in Paris and Brussels Midi, reservations compulsory). Although this involves getting from Gare St. Lazare to Gare du Nord via Metro, IMO this would be the easiest option for your father. Some of the other routes have 4-changes. I tried to choose the best combination of travel times with fewest number of changes. Of course, schedules subject to change. > I'm not clear on your plans at end of the trip? Are you planning to take the train from Bacharach to Frankfurt Airport, or stay in Frankfurt for the night and take a Taxi or train to the airport? Depending on what time your flight leaves, you could stay in Bacharach on Saturday night and take the train to the airport on Sunday morning.

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8419 posts

Are you sure your dad, at his age, is up for all the transferring from CDG to RER to Metro to train upon arrival? And again by metro from one station to another in Paris after leaving Bayeux? There will be lots of walking and lots of stairs. I think a taxi is better for your dad, even though it's more expensive. Especially with luggage.

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18 posts

Hi Susan.
That's exactly why I'm grateful to have this blog - after hearing how difficult and time consuming it can be to travel by train . I think it would be too much for him - I think I'll rent a car - Drive to Bayeaux then after the D-Day Tour - drive to Brussels. What is concerning me is that I'd be renting the car in France then can I return it in Belgium? I wanted to drop the car off so we could go on to Remagen Bridge and then end the trip by flying out of Franfurt. If it costs too much for the drop off charges - I'll have to rent at CDG - keep the car for the whole trip, then after Remagen, travel back to CDG to drop off car - then fly home to USA from CDG airport. The pre-planned bus tour is looking good now.

Posted by
2876 posts

Hertz's drop fee for a pickup at CDG and a dropoff at Brussels airport is only 55 euros. Just checked today.

Posted by
8419 posts

Hi Maryanne, I think all the suggestions you've had so far are excellent - except for the fact that your dad is 90 yrs old. That changes everything imo. I cannot imagine going from CDG to the RER to the Metro, to the train station, to the train with someone in their 90's and with luggage. It's just not realistic If it were me, I would rent a car from CDG and keep it throughout the trip. I think your dad would be much happier and much more comfortable in a car. It will be far less physically demanding and he can save his energy for seeing the sites, you can stop for restrooms much more easily, and he can take naps while you're driving. Not to mention the continuity of having "your" own car which is important at his age. Whether you fly out of Frankfurt or return to CDG is something you'll have to decide. If the cost to return the car at the Frankfurt airport isn't outrageously expensive, that's what I would do. On one of our trips to Normandy, my son wrote in the sand at Omaha Beach "Thank you Grandad, I love you" and stood by it for a photo. We gave that photo to my dad, framed, and he treasured it. You and your sister may want to do the same at Utah Beach =) Edit: Just saw Tom's post above. 55 euros is well worth it imo.

Posted by
18 posts

Hi Susan, I love that story of the photo with your son. Yes, I think I'll steal your idea! Okay, so now we're renting the car.
Tom, Could you please tell me where you find out that the rental car drop off fee is 55 euros -? I'd like to see how much it would be to drop it off in Frankfurt in case we decide to drop it off in Franfurt.

Posted by
4374 posts

Maryanne, now that you've put the ideas to actual dates... ...you have a 2-week trip planned in a 1-week period. 1) Upon arrival at CDG, take a SHUTTLE to Gare du Nord. It doesn't matter if your father is the best 90-year-old specimen on the planet - he's still 90. Pretty much noboby sleeps on the airplane ride, so you'll all arrive exhausted. 2) a) Plan to eat dinner in Bayeux. Period. Perhaps make it to the cathedrale...(check closing times). Stretch your legs a bit (and be sure to do that on the airplane and the train, also).
b) Is there no way to go on to Dale Booth's B&B that first night? I strongly encourage you to do so if at all possible. I'd stay the 3 nights...get settled a bit and get your 'sea legs' under you. 3) Check ahead of time and be sure that Dale Booth has a small step stool he can bring if you're using a minivan. The in-and-out, in-and-out is awfully hard on the hips, and everything else, when you're climbing in and out of those tall minivans.. And you sure don't want any falls. (live and learn - it's a $5 item that should be in the back of all of those tour vans) 4)Wed AM train to Brussels (you will need to go to Paris). The train is a 5-hour ride from Carentan; check with Dale about the logistics in getting to the train station in Carentan...If you purchase these tickets as soon as they're available, they can be very good buys! (fine print, of course: non-refundable, depending on just how good of a buy you choose) (cont.)

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4374 posts

(cont.) 5)Thurs looks fine; Fri...? If the tour is an all-day tour, then I wouldn't plan on any more sights that day. Dinner. 6)Is Limburg something you've researched and know to be a 'worthy' site for your limited sight-seeing time? I know it was previously mentioned, but don't know how 'worthy' the site is to you and your other plans. It's for you to decide. 7)Frankly, for Sat, all I'd plan is to leave Brussels for (for instance) St Goar, and do my KD cruise from there to Bacharch. The doorways to the trains along the Rhein are level with the sidewalk/train platform, so no steps.
Have you done research on the KD Cruises yet (the timetables, the fact they land on BOTH sides of the river, etc.), and/or watched any videos on how they work? 8) I see no problems with your guides, with respect to Nigel's post; there may have been some editing done since your original post... (cont.)

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4374 posts

(cont.) 9)IF you rent a car, be aware that automatic transmissions are very much NOT a given; you can always request one, but it's not guaranteed. Also, be very careful with your car choice - the trunks can be very small, and your luggage won't fit. Especially a problem if you need to park your car anywhere in between hotels, and your luggage is now exposed inside the car cabin. Use the website "Via Michelin" to figure driving routes and times; add 50% or so to time estimates. KNOW the legend on your driving map! Ideally, you can add some time to this itinerary. I caution you that European travel is much more exhausting than driving cross-country in the USA. You're constantly having to figure out the language (meals, traffic signs, entrances/exits/open/closed, etc.), you're sleeping in a different bed, eating meals at sometimes strange hours (sometimes strange meals LOL), etc. Plus you're doing some heavy-duty touring - you'll be in bed pretty early, hopefully. I would hate for this trip to run you over like a steamroller...Add some time to it if at all possible.

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4374 posts

And apologies to Tom in Chicago... When I first read this thread, I saw Michael say "Tom, what a great website.". The only post ahead of Michael's was by MD...I blinked, then read it again. I refreshed the page; still, only MD and Michael. Just who WAS this mystery man, "Tom"?!? Your post just wasn't showing up, for whatever reason...And Then It Did...! So a big DUH! on me for my 'find' of lonesentry.com LOL!!!

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18 posts

to our trip: Hello Everyone, I thought I would you all on our trip which is now scheduled for June 11 through June 20. Thank you all for all of your suggestions and e-mails. I honestly could not have done this without all of you. A special thanks to Gina for your maps and kind words. I will return all to you when we come home. I basically planned the trip based on the guidance from the readers here. We fly into CDG and pick up our rental car there. We have hired Dale Booth for the Normandy portion of the trip (2 days) and Martin King for 2 days to tour Bastogne and other sites from the Battle of the Bulge. We will then drive to Remagen by ourselves to spend 2 days there then drive to the Frankfurt Airport for our flight home. When I explained that Dad will be 91 in August, you all made suggestions for canes etc. We have decided to do that. I did purchase the cane with stool as suggested by a reader on the site and last week, I bought a light weight wheel chair. My father wasn't happy about that but I explained that it would give us "options" in case he needs it and we don't want to ruin the trip if he doesn't feel he can walk.
Thank you , thank you all. I am in your debt. I'll let you know how the trip turns out! Maryanne

Posted by
198 posts

Keep in mind this will be a very emotional and therefore draining trip for your dad. Make sure you have enough down-time. And enjoy it all. It will be amazing. I took a full day tour with Overlord last October, and then watched "The Longest Day" when I got home. Wow.

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8419 posts

Hi Maryanne, I'm really looking forward to hearing all about it when you get back! I hope you, your sister and your dad have an incredibly wonderful trip!!

Posted by
31524 posts

Maryanne, It's great to hear that you've now got all the arrangements worked out. Dale is an outstanding Guide, so I know you'll have an incredible tour in Normandy. Given the significance of the trip, be sure to get lots of pictures! Hope you all have a wonderful trip! We'll all be looking forward to hearing the details when you return.

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1313 posts

Maryanne, I said I would let you know when I got back from France and my tour of the D Day beaches. We stopped at Omaha and Utah Beaches, Ponte du Hoc, the American and German cemeteries and St. Maire Eglise. Probably due to my Dad's passing earlier this year, the day in Normandy with Stuart our guide was particularly moving. This will have even more meaning because your father is with you. It sounds like you have worked out many of the logistical issues you were concerned about. Have a wonderful trip. I salute your Dad.

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4374 posts

I've wondered about your trip from time to time; I'm glad it's going to happen! Tell your father that he can push you around some ;-) I hope he can appreciate the wheelchair; he may be surprised at how tiring the whole experience will be. Let us know when you get back how your trip was!

Posted by
1064 posts

Maryanne, you say your father is in good health, but , at age 90,can he cope with a stressful, fatiguing cross-Altantic flight, plus an equally stressful, equally fatiguing flight back? The flight takes a toll on me, and I am decades younger. I cannot imagine making the trip at that age, even if I remain in good health until then. Your father may be robust, but he is still 90 years ago. I hope you discuss this with his doctor before you book the flight.

Posted by
2283 posts

This is so weird. I was just thinking about you and wondering if (hoping!) you were still planning your trip. And then I came across your post. I'm so pleased you are going and hope you have a wonderful trip! p.s. Dale Booth is a fantastic guide.

Posted by
18 posts

Hi Everyone, Thank you all for your good wishes. Our final itinerary has us landing in CDG early Sun morning. We will then drive to Normandy. That is all we do that day. Mon and Tues with Dale then Wed off - just driving to Bastogne. Thurs and Fri with Martin then drive to Remagen and spend Fri and Sat night there leaving for the FRKT airport Sun morning. I tried to make it as easy as possible on Dad by deciding on renting the car - the trains and taxis seemed like they would be too exhausting.
I am scared that something could happen to him. He came with my children and me on a 10 day car trip to Ireland in June 2008 and did well. I am afraid of the plane trip too. His cardiologist said it was up to him. He said, "I could die sitting here in my living room chair. I'd rather go on the trip. You gotta go on living for every day." My sister is a nurse so that helps. I just have to trust in God that he'll be okay and we'll all be thankful that we shared in this experience with him.

Posted by
2876 posts

<<He said, "I could die sitting here in my living room chair. I'd rather go on the trip. You gotta go on living for every day.">> Maryanne, I think your Dad is still a soldier.

Posted by
18 posts

Hah!, Tom. Yes he is. He has said," After being in war, every day is a holiday and every meal is a feast!"
I'm the one scared about going over there - the worry over the traveling, the driving, his emotions etc. He said, "Nah - I'm not scared - I'm just glad they won't be shooting at me this time!"

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1 posts

Hi Maryanne, my father was in the 9th Armored at Bastogne - St. Vith. Unfortunately, a few years after the war he was killed in a car wreck when i was 7 years old and we never got to talk about the war. My uncles, who were also in the war, told me that he never talked to them about any details of what happened at Bastogne so i don't know exactly where he was and what he did during the siege. I see that others have given you the websites and other sources for the history of the 9th. Unfortunately, the Division was retired after the war and no comprehensive battle history was ever written. I once thought of doing a history, but life got in the way. My father's name was Clifford "Dick" Jordan from Hedrick, Okla., he was a corporal in the MP's. Tell your father that his son says hello and wishes him (and you) the best. I hope you both enjoy the trip. Mike Jordan, Albuquerque, NM.

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18 posts

9th Armored Division - 19th Battalion - Company A (We figured out he was in Company A not B) This is Maryanne - finally getting around to reporting about our trip back to France, Belgium and Germany last June! This site and you, fellow bloggers helped us tremendously in our plans. Of course, we made a few mistakes, which I'll get to but, overall, it was fabulous, in fact, we plan to return again next June! For my report, I am dividing it into 2 parts - Normandy and then the Battle of the Bulge sites and Remagen Bridge.
We got the rental car and met Dale Booth and had a wonderful 2-day tour with him. It was amazing and so interesting and emotional. He took us to many places and all I could think was that these Americans were so young and were basically taken out of the factories like my father, to fight. He wasn't a professional soldier and neither were they - yet what they accomplished is so inspiring. On the beach, you could just feel their spirits. How did they ever make it up this beach when all the Germans were just waiting? I left that Normandy tour, a changed person - Can you believe what those guys went through? All of the citizens we met were coming up to my Dad with tears in their eyes, thanking him for his service - he was so touched. Dale had arranged for my father to take down the American flag at the American cemetery for the evening. They also chose 2 young boys about 10 and 12 to help him. My sister and I thought it was so symbolic - the older person handing over the flag to the new

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18 posts

9th Armored Division 19th Battalion-Company A For Part 2, We went to Bastogne to view the Battle of the Bulge sites. Our tour guide gave us a tour but it was a general tour. We wanted a more personalized tour of where my father went. We met the guide in Bastogne and then he proceeded to give a tour but it was actually backwards as my father ended up in Bastogne after fighting in other towns. We were disappointed in that tour as it confused my father because everything was all mish mashed. We had hoped that the tour guide would study where the 9th Armored went and take us on a town by town tour. We now think that Dad was in Company A and not Company B. We are certain he was in the 9th Armored-19th Battalion. We want to go back next June. Does anyone know of a good tour guide who could give us a personalized tour?? That is what we want. We went to Remagen on our own. Totally different experience from Belgium with the citizens. The Belgium people were so pleased to meet my father and thank him. In Germany, they were not very friendly or welcoming. In Belgium, no one charged my father an entrance fee to the museums but at Remagen Bridge, he had to pay full price!
Please if anyone knows of someone who is a bit of a historian and could give us a personalized tour tracing my father's footsteps, we would love it.

Posted by
13004 posts

Maryanne, I am glad your trip came off well. As for tracing the exact unit which your father was part of, did you look at his discharge papers? I would assume he was discharged by the end of 1945 or sometime in 1946. It should list the division and his regiment (I assume). Maybe for armor it was by battalion instead. Another possible way of tracing where he was since you know definitely he was part of 9th Armored is to see whether the 9th Armored published its division history. Check with Carlisle Barracks, Pa...the Center for Military History whether the division's history was published. As to his "detailed itinerary" and "where his unit went," Lux., the Rur River, Remagen, etc., I am sure you could track it down using the US Army Official History...those green volumes...in an university library, in addition to the division history.

Posted by
31524 posts

Maryanne, I'm pleased to hear that you had such a wonderful trip with your father. The arrangement that Dale made to have your father lower the flag was sure a nice touch! He's an outstanding Guide!

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28131 posts

Maryanne I had a look at the http://www.unithistories.com/units_index/default.asp?file=../units/9th%20Arm.Div.asp which is the UnitHistories.com summary history of the 9th Armored "Phantom" Division. It shows the campaign from their activation in mid July 1942 to their arrival on the continent at D+111, through their last position in Bavaria at the end of the War. It shows their command posts including during the Battle of the Ardennes (Battle of the Bulge) and refers to the 19th Batt. as a Tank Batt. It also shows A Company., 19th Tank Batt., being detached to 4th Infantry Division from 16.12.1944-19.12.1944. The 9th Armored took 51% casualties. My hat is off to them.... Lone Sentry also has a reprint of the Division history written for Stars and Stripes. It is at http://www.lonesentry.com/gi_stories_booklets/9tharmored/ . There are mentions of 19 Batt, and Company A. There is a short history at http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10006146 , the Holocaust Encyclopedia. Sorry for the closed links; the editor won't allow links of these urls.

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1678 posts

Maryanne - not sure if this was mentioned in the many posts on your original question, but did you check to see if your dad's unit has an organization/reunion group listed on the web? A friend of mine found contacts through a US group to locals in towns in France and Germany that he was able to email and meet up with on a recent trip. His dad is long past, but these locals were so amazing to his son - they met them at the train station, drove them all around the towns where his father served, showed him their garage full of USA memorabilia, fed them dinner. My friend is not an emotional guy, but he was teary eyed telling me about how welcome they felt, even though several spoke no English (their young kids translated). Your story makes me wish I had thought to ask my grandfather about his service - too late now unfortunately. You are lucky to be able to share this wonderful experience with your dad.

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8419 posts

Maryanne, thank you for writing about your trip. I am so glad it went well and that you are planning to return next June. I got choked up reading about your dad taking down the flag at the
American Cemetery. My Dad landed at Omaha Beach during the invasion and my son and I have been there 5 times now, we both feel such a strong connection to the area that we keep wanting to return. I agree with everything you wrote about how incredible it was that they made it up the beach and in the end were so successful. Amazing what they all did. Truly the Greatest Generation.