01709 385 624

Air War Europe: Colditz, Dambusters & the Great Escape


9 days from £849pp

About the tour: Air War Europe: Colditz, Dambusters & the Great Escape

  • Campaign: World War 2 (WW2)
  • Campaign Dates Covered: May 1943 - Feb 1945

This tour will cover the following key events

  • Operation Chastise: Dambusters Raid - 17 May 1943
    Carried out by the Royal Airforce, Operation Chastise, or the Dambuster Raid, saw the British use of the ‘bouncing bomb’ to attack and destroy German dams in May 1943. The destruction caused extensive flooding in both the Ruhr and Eder valleys, killing around 1600 people.
  • The Great Escape - 24 March 1944
    After a year spent digging the tunnel, on a moonless night in March 1944, 200 men equipt with disguises, papers and maps lined up to attempt to scape Stalag III. 76 men managed to escape before the tunnel was discovered, however of the 76 only 3 made it home, the rest being recaptured or executed.
  • Dresden Raid - 13 February 1945
    Known as one of the most controversial aspects of WW2, the Dreseden bombings of February 1945 saw the town lose around 25,000 civilians and be left in ruins, as a result of bombs dropped by British and American airforces. It was argued by the Germans that the Allies had no right/reason to bomb the town, especially so late in the war.

Tour Introduction

On this tour, we take an in-depth look at the World War 2 battles in the air above Europe. Following the footsteps of the men of the RAF Bomber Command from the Dambusters to Colditz Castle in Germany and Holland. We pay a visit to many different location, which were all key points in this overhead battle. We see the RAF graves at the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, examine the Dambusters Raid at the Eder and Möhne Dams, and hear the stories of the fire-bombings in Dresden and the legendary Great Escape at Colditz Castle. We spend time exploring the German capital of Berlin, as we look at how the raids impacted the then Nazi capital. To complete the tour we visit two Luftwaffe museums in Gatow and Hannover, before we visit the grave of Guy Gibson VC- a Dambuster hero.

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Tour Includes


  • 8 nights hotel with continental breakfast
  • Specialist Battlefield Guide
  • Convenient local joining points
  • Travel by Silver Service or upgrade to Luxuria
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(Deposits from £150pp)

Once you have booked your battlefield tour either online, or by telephone (01709 385 624), you have the flexibility of how you pay off the remainder of your balance. You can -

  1. Use our balance payment facility online to make and track your card payments. You can pay as much as you want up until your final due date or pay it all, the choice is yours.
  2. Send payments via online banking.
  3. Send payments via cheque.
  4. Call us and make a card payment, either a small amount or as lump sum until your final due date.

Our contact and online banking payment details will be on your confirmation invoice to remind you of your choices.

Abta - Travel with confidence
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Air War Europe: Colditz, Dambusters & the Great Escape - Feefo Rating

This trip fulfilled everything we could have hoped for. Amazing informative guide, happy with everything and learnt so much.
Susan Frost

Tour Itinerary

Day 1

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.

Day 2 - Möhne Dam

We continue our journey into Germany and visit Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, the largest WW2 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

Reichswald Forest War Cemetery

Reichswald Forest War Cemetery (2)

Key Visits

  • Reichswald Forest War Cemetery
  • Mohne Dam
  • Eder Dam

Day 3 - Colditz

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 WW2. 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

Colditz Castle

Colditz Castle (1)

Key Visits

  • Colditz Castle

Day 4 - The Dresden Raids

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 WW2 artefacts.

Included meals: Breakfast

Dresden

Dresden (1)

Key Visits

  • Dresden
  • Bundeswehr Mititary History Museum

Day 5 - Zagan & The Great Escape

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

Key Visits

  • Zagan: Stalag Luft lll

Day 6 - Berlin Air Raids

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 WW2 sites.

Included meals: Breakfast

Berlin

Berlin (3)

Key Visits

  • Berlin
  • Checkpoint Charlie
  • Air Force Museum Gatow
  • Berlin War Cemetery

Day 7 - Hannover

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. We stay overnight in Hannover.

Included meals: Breakfast

Hannover

Hannover (2)

Key Visits

  • Hannover
  • Air Force Musuem

Day 8 - Rheinberg War Cemetery

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

Rheinberg War Cemetery

Rheinberg War Cemetery (1)

Key Visits

  • Rheinberg War Cemetery

Day 9

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

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


 

Pre-Tour Reading

A selection of related books for pre or post tour reading.

  • Brickhill, P. - The Great Escape (Many Editions)
  • Dilby. D. - Dambusters: Operation Chastise 1943 (Osprey 2010)
  • Holland, J. - Dam Busters (Corgi 2013)
  • McNally, M. - Colditz: Oflag IV-C (Osprey 2010)
  • Middlebrook, M. - The Berlin Raids (Many editions)
  • Reid, P.R. - The Colditz Story (Many editions)
  • Wilson, K. - Men of Air: Doomed Youth of Bomber Command (W&N 2008)

Passenger Information

The Tour


This tour focusing on the Air War over Europe examining the huge cost to Bomber Command in the skies above the Third Reich and the terrible losses in Germany seeing the effect on places like Dresden, as well as visiting sites connected with some of the most iconic stories of WW2 – the Dams attacked by the Dambusters and Colditz castle.

Foreign Currency

This tour takes place in Holland and Germany and therefore you will only need the Euro. You are advised to get Euros – in cash – in advance of your tour, as most banks in Holland and Germany do not provided currency exchange services.

What to Bring


The weather in Holland and Germany can be changeable and it is advisable to bring sensible clothes and always pack a jumper and waterproofs. Good, stout shoes are essential and comfortable walking boots or trainers are ideal. In warm weather always bring a hat and sun cream, and it is advisable to have a supply of water, which is usually on sale on the coach as well.

Specialist Battlefield Guides

All of Leger’s battlefield tours are accompanied by specialist guides. Their individual in-depth knowledge of warfare will be informative, as well as enhance your overall experience, as they recreate a fascinating perception of the history and factual events of each battle. Discover the actual catalysts for war, the strategies employed and the final, inevitable outcomes, as well as experiencing the emotional human side of the front line.

Please note: On certain tours, you may get tour guides other that the ones listed below.

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Hotel

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 (2017 departures), Achat Premium (2018 departures)  or Hotel Azimut in Dresden, two nights at the 3-star Grand City Berlin 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.

City Hotel Berlin East

City Hotel Berlin East

About the hotel

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.

Hotel Features

  • Bar
  • English Speaking Staff
  • Guest Lounge
  • Lift
  • Restaurant

Room Features

  • Bath and/or Shower
  • Hairdryer
  • Telephone
  • TV

Achat Premium Dresden

Achat Premium Dresden
Achat Premium Dresden
Achat Premium Dresden

About the hotel

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.

Hotel Features

  • Bar
  • English Speaking Staff
  • Guest Lounge
  • Lift
  • Restaurant
  • WiFi Available

Room Features

  • Bath and/or Shower
  • Hairdryer
  • Telephone
  • TV

Travel Options

When it comes to getting to the Battlefields, Leger Holidays make it easy, with a selection of travel options for you choose from.

Silver Service Coach

Silver Service, refreshments
Silver Service, lounge
Silver Service, entertainment

Silver Service Features

  • Sit back and relax in specially-designed, deluxe reclining seats, with leather headrests, footrests and more legroom than standard coaches.
  • Enjoy the perfect temperature onboard with climate control.
  • Relax and have a chat in the spacious rear lounge.
  • Servery on board offering a range of refreshments.
  • Porterage* at most hotels, so you really don’t have to lift a finger.
  • Time flies with our onboard entertainment system.
  • With free personal headphones you can tune into the music channel, listen to the radio or watch DVDs.
  • Onboard toilet

Silver Service Seating Plan

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Luxuria Coach

Luxuria - Charging sockets
Luxuria - TV
Luxruia - Seating

Luxuria Features

  • Deluxe armchair-style seats with leather exterior, central arm rests with cup holders and retractable calf rests give you a more comfortable journey.
  • Every seat has its own, fully interactive, touch screen T.V. offering a wide choice of entertainment so you can control what you want to watch and when.
  • There’s also a selection of double and single seats, including four seats face-to-face with tables. And with a total of 7 single seats available, these are ideal for passengers travelling independently.
  • Plug sockets and USB points at each seat mean you can keep your devices fully charged throughout your journey.
  • Onboard toilet.

Luxuria Seating Plan

Luxuria Seating Plan

Travel Extras

With an overnight stay, a Door-to-Door pick up or the option to meet us at the interchange, our travel extras allow you to create a travel experience to suit your needs...

Stay overnight near Dover

Why not go the night before your tour for a relaxing start?

You can park for FREE for up to seven days at the Holiday Inn Ashford North and enjoy an overnight stay with English breakfast from just £38 per person (Based on 2 sharing a twin/double room on a B&B basis, subject to availability. Single supplements and terms and conditions apply.) We’ll then collect you from the hotel on the day of departure and return you there at the end of your holiday.

To book this package, please call the hotel on 01233 713333, quoting ‘Leger Holidays’ and your booking reference. If your holiday is longer than seven days you can pay for additional days’ parking. Ask one of our friendly reservations team for more details when you book your holiday

Join coach at Interchange

Join your tour coach at the interchange.

On most tours if you’d prefer to join your tour coach at Stop 24 services, you can park your car in the car park which is accredited by the Park Mark safer parking scheme and is monitored 24 hours a day by CCTV. Payment for the parking is made on arrival using the self-service machines.

Excludes tours to Ireland and the U.K. and tours travelling via Brittany Ferries.

Door-to-Door service

On Battlefield tours of 7 days’ duration or more, you don’t even have to think about getting to your local joining point. If you live within 20 miles of one of our free joining points we’ll pick you up from your home and take you to meet your transfer vehicle, then return you back home at the end of your holiday. The cost is just £30 per booking each way for up to four people per booking.

If you live a little further afield, you can also take advantage of this convenient option for an additional charge – please enquire at the time of booking.

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Call our friendly advisors on: 01709 385 624