Welcome, travelers, to Knee Deep Into History, a battlefield tour company offering WW1 and WW2 battlefield tours in Western Europe! I’m delighted to join with the other Slow Travel Tours operators in offering specialized tours to Europe. Whether you’re interested in retracing a relative’s war-time footsteps, a particular military unit, or interested in military history in general, we believe that KDIH has developed a battlefield tour philosophy over three plus decades of touring that brings the battlefields of WW1 and WW2 to life.
Into the Field with KDIH Battlefield Tours
There is a reason for the “INTO” in the name Knee Deep Into History; we emphasize getting our clients into the field as much as possible. This includes modest walks along key portions of the front lines, where we explain the significance of these locations, using first-person accounts, photos and maps.
One could literally plan an entire tour visiting only museums and memorials on a given battlefield. We do visit these, but why pay a guide to take you to a museum that you could visit on your own?
Small-Group Tour Concept
Our scheduled tours limit participants to a maximum of 18, and in most cases we operate with a smaller group. This allows for greater interaction with the guides, Randy and Markus, enhancing your education and experience.
Closer to a “Nutter” than a “Romance” Tour
Some military history tours include copious amounts of downtime in European cities. We emphasize exploring the battlefield, but we work in cultural events in each of our tours. These can include wine or champagne tasing, a visit to a historic site, etc.
Telling Both Sides of the Story
Most tours are led jointly by historians and guides Randy Gaulke and Markus Klauer. Randy has been visiting and studying the WW1 battlefields since 1986, and he speaks English and German fluently, plus French. His knowledge base expanded exponentially in 2017-18, when he quit his day job to spend eight months living in France. Randy has also been studying the WW2 battlefields since 2008.
Markus Klauer is a retired Bundeswehr officer living in Lille, France. His resume looks similar to Randy’s with one key exception: he has the advantage of practically living on the battlefields. Markus speaks German, French and English fluently, and he has worked in a military capacity with troops from all three countries.
We first met through a German WW1 organization in 1994 and have collaborated in several research projects and tour offerings since then. Because of our language abilities, we have both done significant research on “the other side” of the war.
Bridging Cultures on Battlefield Tours in Europe
We want to introduce clients to and make them comfortable in European cultures. Therefore, we tend to select small, family-owned three-star hotel/restaurants for our operating base. After a day in the field, travelers can relax with some downtime and then enjoy a wonderful European dinner.
We both have a deep contact base in the regions where we tour, which benefits our tours opportunistically. For example, we might invite a distinguished historian or local official to dinner one night or we might know of a new exhibition.
What Battlefield Tours do we Offer?
On an annual basis, KDIH currently offers the following tours:
Meuse-Argonne and St. Mihiel Salient, 7-days/6-nights (WW1)
Verdun, 4-days/3-nights (WW1)
Flanders Fields and the Somme, 6-days/5-nights (WW1)
Ardennes/Battle of the Bulge, 7-days/6-nights (WW2)
Normandy, 7-days/6-nights (WW2)
Private Battlefield Tours
KDIH can work with you, jointly or individually, to create a private tour that fits your family’s or your organization’s needs. Our 102nd Infantry Regiment / Yankee Division Tour in April 2023 is being offered as a fundraiser with the Connecticut State Library and the Connecticut Heritage Foundation. A percentage of tour revenues will help fund their “Digging Into History” youth archeological program.
In late June we are running a six-day family tour that will focus on one WW1 soldier and one WW2 soldier. The eleven participants will include several sons, one spouse, and several grandkids ranging in age from 11 to 72.
What do Clients Say About our Battlefield Tours?
It is important to pick a tour operator with a similar travel philosophy. That’s why we emphasize our travel philosophy so much, and why we encourage you to read the feedback we publish on the testimonials section of our website. A selection of our 2022 feedback:
“You have provided me one of the best experiences of my life in the historical arena. In many ways it is superior to the drama of the first “take” in filming the First Manassas battle scene in North-South Pt. II. That was a near total immersion experience in Civil War (movie) combat. While it was good, yours was better as it was on the real ground and intellectually stimulating. Your scholarship is awesome and MAKES your program—especially through your analysis of period photography…”
Matt Switlik, Michigan
“Thank you for a wonderful time. It is so fun to visit the many places in the Meuse-Argonne and to gain a depth of knowledge that would otherwise be impossible without your guidance… Most of all I want to thank you for helping not just one, but now two, of my sons to gain an incredible appreciation for WW1 and their great-grandfather. There is nothing like getting to walk in his footsteps. Thank you for all you and Markus do to keep the memories of these valiant men alive.”
Matt Treaster, Kansas
“Randy—It is always a boon when your expectations of a great learning experience turn into a grand WW1 adventure with two guides whom are first-class historians. The two tours I took cleared my many uncertain opinions about the war… Knee Deep in History Tours is a wonderful military history touring venue.”
Ken Baumann, Michigan
Join us on an Unforgettable Battlefield Tour!
Have you thought about retracing Uncle Charlie’s footsteps? Have you wanted to see the battlefields of Western Europe up close? We would love to get you knee deep into history! Visit our website or contact us today!
|After decades of personal battlefield tours, Randy Gaulke quit his job as a financial analyst in Manhattan and spent eight months in France in 2017-18 as a freelance guide during the World War I Centennial.|
He subsequently founded Knee Deep Into History, with a philosophy of getting clients into the field on a small-group tour designed for the military history enthusiast. Equally important is the attempt to tell both sides of the story and to help Americans bridge cultures. Most tours are led jointly with European guides, including retired Bundeswehr officer and historian Markus Klauer. The groups enjoy family-owned European hotels and restaurants.
Experience a military history tour that brings the battlefield to life! Learn more at www.kneedeepintohistory.com
Slow Travel Tours is an affiliation of small-group tour operators who offer personalized trips in Italy, France and other European countries.