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“Needed more time!”
Review of D-Day Battle Tours

D-Day Battle Tours
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Rene van Oirschot, Monica Baan and Ellwood Von Siebold of D-Day Battle Tours will provide you with one of the most memorable Normandy D-Day tours. D-Day Battle Tours offers you a quality choice of World War Two D-Day tours with Normandy tours tailor made to match your time schedule and level of interest. D-Day Battle Tours is an established tour company located in the centre of Sainte Mere Eglise, Normandy. We aim to provide a battlefield tour experience which is informative, flexible and memorable for you and your group.
Reviewed October 6, 2012

I have been a history buff all my life and like many in my age group (50+) I am especially fascinated by WW2. I had several Great Uncles who were in the war and I was just spellbound as a child when I would listen to their stories. I have visited many sites that were key in the conflict and many other famous battlefields such as Borodino, Gettysburg and Sedan. We had scheduled a 3 week family vacation with a week in Paris and I convinced my wife and Mother-In-Law to take this tour. My son was keen to go to Normandy as his grandfather and I had sat around the kitchen table discussing a future trip there. I was in several hot zones during my time working for the US Army and was attached to the 4th Infantry Division for a while in Iraq. This too stoked my interest as that unit is still steeped in the historical apsects of the Normandy operation.

We booked the trip with Ellwood von Siebold way in advance based on the advice of Rick Steves. I did a lot of research prior to this trip and it was far and away the most highly recommended tour. I am glad that I took the time and effort to make the personal communication with Ellwood regards the tour. Ellwood even gave us instructions on which train to book and at what time. He arranged to pick us up in Carentan.

Like me, Ellwood is passionate about the subject and his tour is more than just a litany of chronological events. He actually lives in a house that a paratrooper landed in and starts the tours by combining a "get to know you" Q&A along with a BUB (Battle Update Brief). By the time he finishes in his drawing room he understands who you are and why you came and you have a full understanding of the background and planning that took place. Unlike many amateur historians Ellwood understands that logistics win wars. No amount of fighting spirit can make up for a lack of operational and contingency planning along with supply.

There were 4 of us (Me, wife, son, Mother-In-Law) and another American family of 4 adults. My son is only 10 but he is quick and intelligent so Ellwood did not demean him by talking down to him. He treated him like an adult. He treated all of us with dignity and respect and took extra pains to not only answer our questions but to also try and impart upon us the emotions, personal actions and fear of the men involved that day. He did not demonize the Germans. He has respect for them and for all the participants. He took us to the locations we requested to see and it did not take me long to figure out that we were only going to scratch the surface and that I needed days to soak it all in.

The tour was paced for the group and did not feel rushed even though he kept us on schedule. Since we had made the trip by train from Paris he knew he had to get us back to Carentan early. Had we stayed locally or even driven we could have seen and heard much, much more. The day trip by train from Paris really cuts into your time.My son and I have already agreed that he and I will return to spend several days in the area and will include visits to Mont Ste. Michele and Cherbourg. We will also go with Ellwood again. He is worth it. By the end of the day Ellwood did not seem like a guide, he seemed like a friend. I hope to take the tour again soon.

2  Thank AmericanTourister59
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 30, 2012

This was a tremendous day. We were looking forward to getting a real sense of what our fathers experienced. Our guide was Alain Bryson, very nice chap. He was extremely knowledgeable and had many wonderful personal stories. Alain took us to all the sites listed on the itinerary. However I will say he NEVER stopped talking. The introduction in Ste Mere Eglise seemed to go on forever. I think it would have been helpful if he had asked us how much we knew about the war. At times I felt as if I was in high school again...it was a non-stop lecture. It was a little difficult to ask questions because he became so involved in his stories.

We stopped at a rest area for lunch which was VERY disappointing. We could have stopped at any boulangerie or cafe...there were plenty along the way. As a result of the lengthy discussions I felt very pressured to "hurrry" through the American Cemetery & the Museum. I realize there is a lot of territory to cover but if you take 5 minutes to get to know your audience you could possible tailor your presentation accordingly.

2  Thank BJWTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 17, 2012

Ellwood is fantastic. It is a 8+ hour tour, but seems like only moments. There is so much history and stories I never would have known about had I not taken this tour. I am a history buff, read many, many books on the D-Day invasion and still learned volumes from Ellwood. He also was just a joy to be around, funny, likeable and made each person, irregardless of their knowledge level, feel included. Can't recommend this enough.

1  Thank domertom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 13, 2012

There were four of us and we contracted with Mr. Elwood for a private d-day tour. The price was high - 600 euros - but we were keen historians and the reviews were excellent. When we arrived in Sainte Mere Eglise we were greeted not by Mr Elwood but by an associate, which was of course unexpected. We were on holiday, we had looked very much forward to this day so we decided not to make a fuss but to go with it.
Our tour guide was an odd sort, a youngish American, who at times bordered on rudeness. He said he had a lot of material to get through so questions were not encouraged, often not allowed. He seemed to have learned much of his material by rote so I thought perhaps if he was interrupted he might lose his place. We passed dozens of little cafes and boulangeries but he took us to eat in a gas station. He sent us off on our own at several junctures to see various memorials, i noticed many guides went with their groups.
On the positive side, his stories were very interesting, he covered all the bases, we saw what we were promised and we learned a lot.
That said it was not a 600 euro tour and Mr.Elwood's non appearance, with no reason given, was unethical.
We loved this day, touring all the d-day sights is a wonderful thing to do and was a high point of our vacation. I would recommend hiring a guide if you can, just not this company.

8  Thank jdavis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 6, 2012

Our day tour with Ellwood was the highlight of our trip to France this past July. Everyone should take this tour with the most knowledgeable, likable guy in Normandy! Ellwood is a natural teacher with engaging wit and charm. His powerful presentation gave us the information we needed and his spirit of delivery touched our lives forever. We were even fortunate enough to have Ellwood join us for dinner that evening. We are so grateful to Ellwood for making this dream come true for us.

Thank Harriet J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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