BattleField Tour

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by anon852, Sep 20, 2010.

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  1. Hello
    I am fairly new to this site. My unit has tasked me with trying to find
    out some details about a battlefield tour, Monte Cassino (Italy) was
    mentioned and Malta, has anyone organised this kind of thing before
    and is there some kind of standard package you can go for from start
    to end rather than looking at flights, then hotel etc etc.
    Ian (RLC)
  2. Are you finding out details or completetly running it ? How long ? how many ?

    My Old man did the Monte Cassino tour with Leger a few years ago, about 10 days. Format now changed and they fly out which takes away the following in the footsteps feel.

    I would look at the Leger tour of Monte Cassino, cut and paste the itinerary, add or delete what you want then either contact the guide who does the tour or delegate a specific area to a certain person. Use youtube to look for relevant films etc and wikipedia. Google hotels and also check reviews.

    Malta sounds a bit boring, bit like standing on an island saying if you look into the sky, that's where the german bombers came from and at sea the convoys saved the island.

    Even though I am a regular battlefield tourer, I always look at things before I go and make my own folder based on the itinerary
  3. oldbaldy

    oldbaldy LE Moderator Good Egg (charities)
    1. Battlefield Tours

    What you've put is very vague.
    I organise the Arrse WW1 battlefield tours.
    First port of call is where, without that looking for hotels, transport, guide cannot start.

    Edit to ask why you've put this in Jokes, Military History is the place.
  4. elovabloke

    elovabloke LE Moderator

  5. If this is a unit thing, then forget the guided tour companies. I advise you to talk to the HAC Signal Squadron - they visited Monte Cassino two years ago. They were guided by Peter Caddick Adams of the GBG. Peter is an ex-Yeomanry officer and my arch-nemesis! No, he is actually a good egg and a good guide.
  6. Cuddles,

    If you are referring to the HAC tour to Monte Cassino 26-29 June 2008, I think we had a hand in its organisation. Maybe there have been two with Peter Caddick Adams as a guide, but we certainly organised one of them and provided one of our guides alongside Peter!

    There are pros and cons to doing if yourself.

    If you have the historic interest, time and energy you will gain a lot from planning and running a Battlefield Tour Study or Staff Ride on you own. It is a fulfilling activity and you will learn a lot from the exercise as a project if you are in need to the practice as part of your professional development -if that's of value to you. If, OTOH you have more importnat ways to spend your time or no desire to delve in the historic weeds, then its worth looking at what a Tour Company can offer. Thgis isnlt mere idleness, we have helped units plan tours while they were deployed so that the tour formed part of the post operational actities.

    Tour companies can provide the following:-

    - Expertise in travel packages.
    Buying travel and accommodation is our bread and butter. We are structured as a travel business and staffed by people who do this for a living. You might only visit Monte Cassino once. Your tour operator will go there several times a year, know the locals and should be able to negotiate rates on a trade basis. We have been visiting some destinations since 1927 and others since 1945.

    - Advice on Tour planning.
    A staff ride or Battlefield Study is a military exercise. As with other types of training there are examples of best practice, short cuts as well as pitfalls to be avoided. Good design does not mean dusting off a staff ride taken from the Doctrine retrieval cell. Its about delivering the tour that satisfies your unique training aims. That means starting with what you want to do and designing an exercise that delivers the content and interactions and even group atmosphere you want.

    Good tour operators do not just provide a travel package. They provide an experience that helps to deliver a training aim. This includes the design of the tour, what historical examples might best suit your aims and how to obtain the kind of interaction or training objectives from discussions on the ground. If you tell us what training objectives you want, we will suggest locations, and historic examples and activities that support your aims. We can even suggest a doctrinal structure that puts your intention into activities that pass muster - even if the unstated aim more recreational than intellectual.

    A good operator can help you to avoid the pitfalls. It is easy to plan battlefield tours which don't turn out as well in practice as they did in theory. Its not always easy to remedy the tour once you find that the programme is too rushed to allow discussion, or syndicates deliver repetitive presentations or that the administrative arrangements don't work. The remedy is in the 5Ps and, as with any other form of training, experience can help.

    - Good Guides
    A good operator will have access to guides who can tell a story on a battlefield. This is more important than having a published author. Not everyone can communicate to soldiers or maintain the interest of an audience with the range of education and intellect in a mixed rank military group. Good guides should also be able to work as part of a team with the exercise staff responsible for delivering modern lessons. Guides should provide the historic background, but to have value, these need to be translated into the current day. A good guide will also be an experienced tour manager and help to resolve problems on tour.

    Most soldiers who find themselves organising a battlefield tour will probably be doing it for the first time. If you want to design a tour that best meet the commanders intent from the exercise, you might wish to consider asking the people who do it all the time.

    If you PM me, call the Poppy Travel office or send an email to us we would be happy to give you advice about tour planning. Its a Legion service we can offer to the serving forces. We would be happy to put the whole thing together for you, including the draft staff work if you are deployed on operations. We will even help with the AGAI. You don't have to use us, but we would like the opportunity to quote!
  7. Unless things have changed a lot there is no longer any Public funding for this kind of thing, nor use of military resources like transport, CILOR & the like. You'll need to fund it all yourself.

    (Caveat is that I was last dealing with this in 2006...)
  8. <<Sensible head on>>

    If anyone is in the Falklands and wants to do a Battlefield Tour, go to the JEC (Joint Education Centre). They have everything you need there and guides to help you. They are run every day except for weekends and Mondays (no-one likes Mondays) but are willing to accommodate. The JEC library also has a wealth of books and DVDs on the islands and other stuff. Anything you can't find, ask Sheena and she will order it.

    <<Sensible head off>>

    I'm in a book in the library - a big photo of my fat head - if you find it, I'll kill you.
  9. It may change with the defence spending review, but tours have been funded in the past year. The K Battery Battlefield Study to Hondeghem mentioned on another thread in this fourm was publically funded and so were over 20 others. A staff ride is a cheaper way to develop tactical skills than a field training exercise.

    Its not just staff Rides that get funding. 7 RLC and 200 Sigs Sqn obtaioned some public funding for all ranks groups led by fairly junior officers and NCOs. Regimental and Corps funds can be generous if they see that the beneficiaries will be junior ranks. Using unit transport can reduce the amount that needs to be bid externally. Though 16-24 hours from UK or Germany to Italy by minibus is a test of endurance.
  10. If I remember correctly there's a central point for collection of info re Staff Rides and Battlefield Tours for the army. Can't remember where it is though but Education sections should know, for the RAF all rides have to be approved by Cranwell, so presumeably there's the similar set up for the army. My mate organises all the rides for HQ 1 Gp, but he's away at the moment so I can't ask him.

    What I would say is, having done a ride organised by a civvi company, that they aren't anywhere near as good and certainly far from value for money compared with what with a bit of effort you can organise yourself. If you are going to do it yourself then make sure you run round like a blue arsed fly a couple of months prior doing a recce of the sites to be visited, and roads used. Nothing more embarrassing than trying to get a coach down a road meant for a horse n cart that looked great on the map. :)
  11. Thanks, Poppy_Travel, I did say I was out of date!

    It's good to hear this kind of thing is back on. I fondly remember taking my Troop to Ypres one year, then the Somme and the Normandy (although that trip was taken over by the Squadron) and all trips were great experiences for all involved.

    One of my Soldiers had never held a passport or travelled much beyond the area round the TAC before we went & I could see his confidence building as a result of being part of the experience. OK it isn't the role of the Armed Forces to build character & increase knowledge in the unfortunate, but when Schools are keener than visiting the Concentration Camps than remembering the Soldiers who brought their demise someone needs to show what we stand/stood for.
  12. Thats why Realities of War tours have formed part of initial training. Turning someone into a soldier is about forming the military character not just learning a set of skills. Knowing in whose footsteps you tread is part of the moral componant, as is gaining confidence in who you are.
  13. Heartened to hear! The trips I ran (which depended heavily on my Tp SSgt who was a First World War guru) tried to provide this for the Reserve component too.

    They didn't cost a lot as IIRC we went on C1 with CILOR, had a minibus, a fuel card & a couple of gas cylinders to cook the scoff. Still, higher priorities for the limited TA budget these days!
  14. Indeed, last year I was to guide a party from a TA regiment to Dieppe. I am more of a WW1 guide but I can turn my hand to most things, so i did all the research, knocked up some focused 7 Qs type battlefield study materials and went for a recce in advance of the formal recce. Then the dead hand of LONDIST fell once again and cancelled all non essential training.

    Fools! Don't they realise the critical relevance of Operation Rutter/Jubilee to TA soldiers mobilising for Herrick?? :)
  15. I suppose for me Battlefield Tours were another of the "nice to haves" which made serving in the TA a little bit more attractive when set against all the other options for people's valuable spare time*. Sad these luxuries are now unaffordable...

    *I always loved the Permanent Staff vs TA attitude to time off. When given a whole shedload of (mainly MS) paperwork to do I asked the CO when I was supposed to complete it. "In your spare time," said the CO. "But Colonel the TA is already in my free time," didn't quite cut the mustard!