School Trips to Dunkirk and the Atlantic Wall

CURRICULUM FOCUS - French, History, Geography, English, Drama, Media Studies, Religious Studies - KS 3 & 4.

'Operation Dynamo’ was the code name for the famous evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) that was trapped and surrounded at Dunkirk in 1940. This was the darkest hour for the British and French Armies stunned by Hitler’s Blitzkrieg strategy. Just four years later the Germans fortified the coast of Europe by constructing the Atlantic Wall designed to repel an Allied invasion. The wall consisted of a thousand miles of interconnected bunkers, beach defences and command posts all under the command of Rommel. In 1940 Hitler ordered the construction of the ‘Vengeance’ weapons – the V1 and V2 rockets (known as doodlebugs) and the V3 superguns designed to hit London from sites near Calais.

La Coupole Rocket Site

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La Coupole was a Nazi rocket bunker constructed by slave labour for the planned for V2 rocket launches. This was one of Hitler's Vengeance Weapons designed to break the will of the Allies. The rockets were to be sent from Germany by rail and then fired at London from the base. An excellent museum explains the purpose of the base.

www.lacoupole-france.com

Dunkirk Operation Dynamo Museum

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The Operation Dynamo museum covers the Battle of Dunkirk (May 28th to June 4th 1940) when allied troops were caught between the advancing German troops and the sea. Admiral Ramsay put into action the audacious 'Operation Dynamo' to save the troops by sending boats to bring them to British shores. All available boats, ships and other sailing vessels, including those of private owners were commandeered for this effort. As a result 340,000 allied soldiers including 120,000 French soldiers and a few thousand Belgians, were evacuated from Dunkirk before the town fell.

Atlantic Wall Museum, Ostende

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Just outside the port of Oostende is a very well-preserved part of Hitler's Atlantic Wall. Built on land owned by the Belgium Royal Family,  the site consists of reinforced bunkers, storage facilities, personnel quarters and machinegun nests dating from both World Wars, interconnected by two kilometres of trenches. Two different tours are available in this open-air museum, each taking approximately 90 minutes. The museum also possesses a very large collection of mostly original weapons, uniforms and personal belongings.

Batterie Todt

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The Batterie Todt was part of the German WW2 Atlantic Wall defences. It is just outside the village of Audinghen at Cap Gris Nez. It is now a museum to WW2 with a good collection of uniforms and guns as well as a rail mounted supergun. It is one of the seven biggest bunkers built to protect the enormous 380mm gun. The walls and roof of the bunker are over 3 metres thick. The battery was completed in January 1942 by Dr Fritz Todt`s organisation. During the war the bunker had a farmhouse and some trees painted on the side as camouflage.
Hitler himself visited the site as well as Rommel and Goering.

Calais WW2 Museum

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Calais has its own WW2 museum (Musée de la Seconde Guerre Mondiale) situated in a bunker near the town hall which was used by the war time German navy as their regional command post. A total of 20 rooms display a large number of interesting objects relating to the conflict in the area.

2 Day School Trip to Dunkirk from £119

Day 1
Travel early morning via Calais. We could visit the Calais WW2 museum* and then drive to Dunkirk. Here we can spend some time in the excellent museum* before visiting the beach and Mole where the ‘little ships’ collected 338,000 men.
Day 2
Visit to a preserved section of the Atlantic Wall* near Ostend. This part of the Atlantic Wall was built on land owned by the Belgium Royal Family who decided to leave the fortifications in place as a reminder of the German occupation. We can have a guided tour* of the tunnels, bunkers, dormitories and command posts. The bunkers still have their guns in place pointing out to sea. We then return via Calais.

3 Day School Trip to Dunkirk, the Atlantic Wall and La Coupole from £159

Day 1
Travel early morning via Calais. We could visit the Calais WW2 museum* and then drive to Dunkirk. Here we can spend some time in the excellent museum* before visiting the beach and Mole where the ‘little ships’ collected 338,000 men.
Day 2
Visit to a preserved section of the Atlantic Wall* near Ostend. This part of the Atlantic Wall was built on land owned by the Belgium Royal Family who decided to leave the fortifications in place as a reminder of the German occupation. We can have a guided tour* of the tunnels, bunkers, dormitories and command posts. The bunkers still have their guns in place pointing out to sea. Alternatively we can visit the Flanders Field WW1 Museum* in Ypres.
Day 3
We drive to St Omer and visit La Coupole*, a huge concrete bunker and underground base which was designed to launch hundreds of V2 rockets at London. We can tour the base and visit the exhibition of life in Occupied France. Next we could visit the huge V1 rocket launch bunker* at Eperlecques or the V3 supergun site at Momoyecques. Alternatively we could visit the Batterie Todt* near Calais. This preserved Atlantic Wall bunker has an excellent collection of WW2 vehicles and weapons.

Dunkirk evacuation

Dunkirk evacuation

La Coupole

La Coupole

Atlantic Wall Museum, Ostend

Atlantic Wall Museum, Ostend

La Coupole museum

La Coupole museum

Atlantic Wall Museum, Ostend

Atlantic Wall Museum, Ostend

Accommodation in Calais, St Omer and Ypres

Accommodation – 1 or 2 star hotels or School Hotel.
Students share multi-bedded rooms on Full Board basis (breakfast, packed lunch and dinner).

 

Dunkirk evacuation

Dunkirk evacuation

La Coupole

La Coupole

Atlantic Wall Museum, Ostend

Atlantic Wall Museum, Ostend

La Coupole museum

La Coupole museum

Atlantic Wall Museum, Ostend

Atlantic Wall Museum, Ostend

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How to Book

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Testimonial

"Your tours are brilliantly organised and Rhapsody Staff are helpful at all times. It was an excellent trip that the children will never forget."

Laycock Primary School

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