While international travel remains out of reach for most due to COVID-19 restrictions that are still firmly in place for many European nations, the National WWI Museum and Memorial is offering to break up the drudgery by hosting virtual battlefield tours across France.
On Saturday, June 12 at 10:30 a.m. CDT, the museum is offering a 90-minute presentation led by historians James Taub and Clive Harris that, according to the press release, “will use a blend of technology, period records and the National WWI Museum and Memorial’s extensive archive to virtually explore the Doughboys struggle against terrible resistance in this iconic battle” at Montfaucon.
The virtual battlefield tour will follow the path of the 79th “Liberty” Division of the American Expeditionary Forces who fought to capture the village of Montfaucon during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. The 79th was assigned to seize the German stronghold that held a commanding view of the countryside.
The offensive, which started on September 28, 1918, pitted 1.2 million Americans against 450,000 entrenched Germans near Verdun. Montfaucon was one of several simultaneous attacks during the final offensive of World War I.
The fight that ensued over the next seven weeks was “America’s deadliest battle ever, with 26,000 U.S. soldiers killed, tens of thousands wounded and more ammunition fired than in the whole of the Civil War,” writes The Associated Press.
The battlefield tour of Montfaucon, according to the museum, will “Examine the unique challenges and outcome of the mission with battlefield historians as they piece together one of the most harrowing stories from the Western Front, featuring period records and archival materials from the National WWI Museum and Memorial’s collection.”
Can’t make this one? Other upcoming tours include “Breaking the Hindenburg Line” and traveling through “Verdun and Saint-Mihiel” in July and September respectively.
Tickets are available online at $27 a pop — so marginally cheaper than an international flight.