Bocage

On our May 2018 tour with only 10 booked, we had to get a smaller mini-coach so that the tour could “go”. We have a Mercedes Sprinter that is 3/4s the width and about 2/3rd as long as the big 40-seat coach.

The upside of the smaller vehicle is that our specialist World War II Normandy guide says that it will make it easier to get to the old hedgerow. I learned decades ago when The Prisoner’s hotel burned down before I got there (Portmeirion Wales was the set for the Patrick McGoohan series), when it comes to travel, “go and see it while you can”.

For the kiddies, it will cause much hilarity that I only learned this as I putting 3-hole punched pages in 3-ring binders that the travel agency had for hotels around the world. This was in the late 1970s and there was no internet. But we were among the first one hundred in the nation to have Sabre computers to make reservations and no longer had to handwrite or manually type airline tickets.

Anyway, I have a Belgian friend, Henk, who has French friends who have original hedgerow on their property.

bocageHenksWEB
I call it Henk’s Bocage but really it’s his friends’.
BocageHenksFriends_MapTo-
En Français, hum do you know the way to San Jose, and ask “Connaissez-vous le chemin de Bocage?”

The bocage is quickly being lost as the farmers tear it down. Already on 1991 and 2003’s tours old hedgerow was quite hard to find so that was one of the key requirements for my guide.

The other requirement was a blow by blow tour of  Michael Wittman’s Tigers exploits at Villers-Bocage. Of course, we will be going to all the major sites too but I wanted to make sure that I got some of these off-the-beat items that are never on general-interest tours.

VillersBocageCamoPzIV

Villers-Bocage, zerstörte Panzer VI und IV

Note: the top image is of 6mm scale bocage from a Command Decision game. it is made with fluffy pipecleaners that have foliage wrapped around them. The benefit of the pipe cleaners is that one can bend them easily to custom design the exact shape of all the little fields in Normandy.

 

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