Hill 107 is an unremarkable feature 351 feet high overlooking the point where the Tavronitis river estuary flows into the Mediterranean on the northwest coast of the island. Fresh water attracted village settlements, and the hamlet at Maleme was established on the hill’s lower northeast slope near the river by shepherds from the village of Lakkoi, from the southern foothills of the White Mountains. Such fresh water outlets also attracted pirates, who plundered the locals. A vantage point like hill 107 provided village security to give warning. The height overlooked a kilometer long by half-kilometer wide primitive red-clay dirt landing strip. Maleme aerodrome, concreted today, was barely finished in 1941.
World War II
The ‘miracle of Dunkirk’ is lauded in British history and folklore as a victory of human endeavor, celebrated each year with a profusion of TV documentary veteran accounts and memorial services. German soldiers constantly referred to the wunder or miracle of reaching Dunkirk in wartime letters back home. There the resemblance ends. For the British it was a miracle of survival and deliverance, for the Germans it was one of achievement. They had reached the sea in May 1940 in less weeks than it took years for their fathers not to succeed in 1914-18.
The name Borodino Field resonates with patriotism and Mother Russia for Russians. The battle in September 1812 is known to most as one of the epic climaxes in Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Napoleon’s pyrrhic victory there took the French Grande Armée to the gates of Moscow and on to catastrophe during the subsequent winter. Another lesser known, but equally bitter battle was fought at Borodino Field in October 1941.
This tour covers the Market-Garden Operation in September 1944, which was an attempt to lay an airborne carpet of parachute and glider landings across the last major remaining waterways barring access to the Germany’s industrialized Ruhr.
This tour deals with the human story of D-Day on 6 June 1944 and the Paris insurrection and liberation the following August. It explores what it was like to parachute in the night skies over Normandy, land by glider behind enemy lines, climb the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc and wade ashore on the British and American beaches under fire.
This tour forms part of The Cultural Experience The Invasions of Belarus tour, covering Napoleons invasion in 1812 and Hitler in 1941.
This tour is about the battles that occurred along the famous Raate road from the Russian border to Suomussalmi, and follows another Soviet invasion route to Kuhmo further south.
This is an epic tour, covering the three turning points of the Second World War: Hitler’s failed winter offensive against Moscow in 1941, the defeat and loss of the German Sixth Army at Stalingrad, now Volgograd, in 1942-3 and the climactic clash of armor around the Kursk salient in 1943.
Interviews with Dutch civilians and British and German veterans during the battle of Arnhem reveal that nearly all of them stood on the Utrechtseweg at some time during the battle. Closer examination of this one road has started to unveil aspects of the battle not considered before.
The participants had no idea about what was going on around them in big-picture terms. The street is the personal story of what it is like to fight a modern war in your own back-yard.
This is the story told from the human perspective how military men adapted Leonardo Da Vinci’s parachute ‘umbrella’ and glider concept as a means of going to battle. Different countries evolved their own personalized approaches to airborne warfare and these are examined through the individual experiences of those that pioneered them. Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany were at the forefront of translating this into military reality.