Whether you are looking to retrace the footsteps of a family member, want to pay tribute to your fallen soldiers, or simply have an interest in history, joining a battlefield tour is the perfect way to combine history, remembrance and culture. This week’s photo showcase highlights some of the most important battlefields and memorial sites around the world with tours to match. Educational and moving, these itineraries offer a balance of history and culture taking in important battlefield and poignant memorial sites while also visiting the key sights of each destination. Explore the war fields of Gallipoli in Turkey, pay your respects at the memorial graves of the Boer War in South Africa, or remember the fallen heroes of the Western Desert Campaign in El Alamein in Egypt.
1. The Vietnam War
In 1959 Vietnam was a divided country, with communist rule in the north and a democratic government in the south. The launch of a guerrilla campaign by the north was followed by almost two decades of unrest, with both sides backed by American or Soviet allies. In 1975 the war came to an end with a loss of 2-4 million civilian lives, over one million Vietnamese soldiers and 58,000 American troops. Our Good Morning Vietnam tour aims to educate as well as commemorate the lives of all of those that were lost.
2. The Gallipoli Peninsula
On the 25th April 1915 the Allied Forces of Britain, France, Australia and New Zealand mounted a joint military campaign in an attempt to open up a third front - in addition to the Eastern and Western Fronts, and to also secure control over the Dardanelles Strait. Ending just nine months later on the 9th January 1916 the Allied Forces suffered a gruelling defeat - culminating in the loss of some 214,000 lives. Our ANZAC Day tours commemorate these gallant men during the poignant Dawn Service at ANZAC Cove.
3. The Western Front
Made up of a series of trenches that stretched over 700 kilometres from the Belgian coast to the Swiss border, the Western Front was arguably one of the most important and heavily fought areas of World War I. Here soldiers fought perilously for four years until 11am on 11 November 1918 when the guns of the Western Front fell silent. This date has attained a special significance in the post-war years and become an important day to remember those who heroically lost their lives, and our ANZAC on the Western Front tour allows you to do just that.
4. The Battle of El Alamein
Located on the Mediterranean coast, four hours north of Cairo, lies El Alamein. It was here that two extended battles of the Second World War were fought between the Allied Forces of Britain, Australia and New Zealand and the Axis Powers. These two battles at El Alamein took the lives of some 13,000 Allied soldiers, with 70,000 others wounded. Our El Alamein & Egypt tour offers insight into World War II and these two battles while also paying tribute to the soldiers who lost their lives.
5. Anglo-Zulu War
The Anglo-Zulu War was a six-month military conflict between British Forces and Zulu warriors instigated by increasing British interest in the region. In late 1878 Britain sent an ultimatum to the King of Zululand and after receiving no response sent 15,000 troops to invade the Kingdom in January 1879. The initial Battle of Isandlwana was followed by seven more bloody battles, culminating in a victory for the British and the end of the Kingdom of Zululand. Photo by: BBM Explorer/Flickr
6. Boer Wars
The first of the Boer Wars lasted from December 1880 to February 1881. This war saw fighting between the British and Boers in the Transvaal, after the British attempted to annex the area. In 1885 the discovery of gold in the area caused an increase in tension, with the start of yet another war in October 1899. Three years of fighting ended in the Boer’s final surrender in May 1902. Our Zulu Battles & Beach tour visits battlefields and memorial sites dedicated to both the Anglo-Zulu and Boer wars.
7. The Siege of Leningrad
During World War II St Petersburg was blockaded in a 900 day stand-off between Nazi soldiers and the city’s civilians, giving them two options: to surrender, or starve. The Russians chose to fight for their sovereignty and against the odds, and with the loss of between 500,000 and one million lives; they defeated the Nazi soldier. Our Siege of Leningrad tour commemorates this David & Goliath encounter and celebrates the victory and patriotism of the people of St Petersburg. Photo by: Alexey Ivanov/Flickr
8. The Sandakan Ranau Death Track
In 1942 the Japanese arrived in Sandakan in North Borneo with roughly 2,400 Australian and British Prisoners of War. Three years later the Japanese decided to move their camp to the remote mountain town of Ranau – a distance some 260km away through marshland, dense jungle and up the steep slopes of Mount Kinabalu. The prisoners were transferred to this new camp over three marches but of the 1,900 remaining soldiers only 30 made it to Ranau. Our Borneo & the Ranau Track tour commemorates these brave soldiers with the rare opportunity to trace their footsteps.