Military History Tours
Military History with Game Options
Note that most of our Military History tours have optional wargames that one may participate in, watch or skip. These will usually be in the evening and may be either:
"What Might Have Been" battle planning exercises, wargamed by tour members roleplaying staffs as map exercises—no rules or complexities.
Traditional rules-based wargames, either hexagon boardgames (like from Avalon Hill, Strategy & Tactics etc.) or miniatures rulesets.
All of these tours are designed primarily for those interested in military history and games are just a free-time option. Note that we usually have other visits of a non-military interest also. Free time will allow one to pursue ones own interests or take it easy.
Past Military HIstory & Wargamer Tours Bill Owen designed:
1991 Millennium of Mayhem, with Strategy & Tactics wargamer designers, James F Dunnigan and Al Nofi. En route JFD gave a wargame design seminar to create a very topical game, Saving The Soviet Union.
1997 Tanks for the Memories where the tour members got to drive actual battle tanks in England and went to a wargame convention, Triples, in Sheffield, England. This is when Nick Moran drove his first tank, a Chieftain, and may have been the inspiration for his nickname on World of Tanks.
2003 WYWAE: Wargame Your Way Across Europe was another title suggested by Dunnigan as we included a large miniature wargame table in the back of the bus. Rome to London.
2010 Tour of Battle with Al Nofi in France and Belgium. We covered a number of periods of military history.
2011’s Civil War Train had historian Al Nofi providing historical commentary about the American Civil War while all travelers slept in restored sleeper cars from the 1940s and 1950s—en route and in the train station. I figured this concept had a strong pair of interests were married: the nostalgia of old trains and the Civil War as evidenced by the popularity of the Ken Burns documentary series. This was a unique opportunity to ride in old trains with fine dining and free-flowing adult beverages. The cars were pulled behind scheduled Amtrak services and the cars unhooked to park in the station “yard” from which chartered motor coaches would take us to sites. This was the Sesquicentennial of the beginning of the Civil War, the 150th anniversary.
A wargamer asked me if I could arrange his Napoleonic re-enactor group’s air flights and tour arrangements as they participated in a 200th anniversary demonstration of Napoleon’s battles throughout Europe. They started with Austerlitz in the Czech Republic.
2018 WargamerTour.com was called World War II & Castles. The group had a great time. See can see photos from that tour here.
2020 watch this space or contact Bill Owen for the latest word.
Al Nofi led two tours: 2010 Tour of Battle &...
...2011's Civil War Train, vintage rail cars from the 1940s & 1950s, private train to the battlefields.
Napoleonic re-enactors at Austerlitz 2005. And to think that the they sleep in tents on the “battle” days. (All our other tours sleep in hotels every night!) “They listen to your wants and desires and follow through. Totally professional but friendly all the way.” – Michael Mathews, Sous-Officier, 21e Régiment d’Infanterie de Ligne, 3e Compagnie
Al Nofi and James F Dunnigan at Maastricht, Netherlands on 1991's Millennium of Mayhem. One of benefits of the tours is the lifelong friendships made among US and foreign wargamers whose clubs kindly hosted games for us.
Bob Bledsaw won the Napoleon at Waterloo tournament we played on the coach en route to the actual battlefield of Waterloo.
This map shows the 2018's WargamerTour.com
Along the way we added bonus features that are not shown on the map or the website description:
V3 site in Calais that was recently restored. A weapon that never got into operation but would have blanketed rockets on London.
Opportunity for a nice lunch aboard the Princess Elizabeth, a ship that took part in the Dunkirk evacuation.
Stop in olden Bruges.
Private canal cruise in Amsterdam.
An extra wargame in Caen.
A visit to Arromanches to see the Mulberry floating harbor, still just off the D-Day Invasion beaches.
A tour in Overloon of the largest tank battle in Netherlands.
All made possible, through our excellent Dutch driver, Coen (who even joined in a wargame at Arnhem), tour manager/historian, Mark, with tour host Rich Baier: they did what Stevie Jay and I wanted—give more value than the guys had bargained for.
Of course, part of the credit goes to the group members themselves by exercising good "march discipline", camaraderie and good humor!
-Bill Owen, my 28th year planning military history tours
Here are the upcoming Military History tours being planned:
English Civil War 1642-46: battles of Edgehill, Marston Moor, Naseby, etc. Cromwell vs King Charles I, watch this space for the departure date in 2020.
Bismarck's Battlefields: the German Civil War of 1866: two portions: "Through the Fulda Gap," with central German battlefields of the least-known (but very interesting) campaign in military history, & "Bohemian Battles," including Trautenau, Nachod, and the biggest battle of the 19th century at Königgrätz. Tour would be in Germany and the Czech Republic, watch this space for the date in 2020.
When planning our 1991 wargamer tour, we made up a competitive game that helped determine the best combination of sites.
Conflict simulation designed aboard 1991's Millennium of Mayhem by James F Dunnigan, Albert A Nofi and the rest of Mayhem tour members: Saving the Soviet Union. A solitaire game asking "can you keep the USSR from going down the tubes?"
On our Tanks For The Memories tour, Nick Moran accelerated his Chieftain tank into a giant mud puddle. Mark and Mitch jumped aboard to see if he was drowning in the resulting wall of mud but after wiping the mud out of eyes, his smile remained. Later on, after serving in the army, Nick became a military expert for a computer game company and his screen name is The Chieftain.
While at Poteau, Belgium we arranged for a ride in a German World War II half-track. Dave Nelson, WYWAE tourmember (shown at left, with John Holtz at right), wrote when he heard about the latest tour plans, “Was on your 2003 tour. Definitely will recommend this tour to others. Well worth whatever the cost will be. I’m 80 now and just finished a similar 14 day tour in Poland, my father’s birthplace.”
A magnetized miniatures Pegasus Bridge game board was set up in the back of the motor coach for the 2003 WYWAE tour.
Popular Dutch driver, Coen, from WargamerTour 2018, had an American oddity as a gift: Peeps!