Ok folks, as promised here is the itinerary for the weekend - of course times may will change but this is the format.
“Basecamp” is the village of Broadmayne in Dorset and we will be staying on the historic campsite of Camp D5. The trees are still covered with the names and markings of men from the USA who were waiting for D-Day.
Camp D5 was one of many marshalling areas on the South Coast in preparation for OPERATION NEPTUNE, the Naval Invasion of the Normandy beaches on D-Day and part of the wider OPERATION OVERLORD, the battle for Normandy. These camps, also known as sausage camps because of their shape on maps, were chosen based upon certain requirements. Most obviously, they had to be a short distance from the embarkation points - at Camp D5, this was the ports of Weymouth and Portland, roughly 7 and 13 miles away.
Wooded areas were often chosen as they provided concealment from aerial surveillance, which was important to keep the movement of men, vehicles and machinery in preparation for the Channel crossing as low-key as possible. The camps at Broadmayne and West Knighton, whilst made out of canvas tents in fields, were surrounded by trees, making them a good strategic choice.
As with other marshalling areas, the US troops straightened, widened and improved the roads with tarmac to carry their vehicles. Evidence of this is still visible on Chalky Road just outside the village boundaries, where the original route of the road is visible between the trees. Hard standings and temporary Nissen huts were also put up to house vehicles and equipment, whilst the lower ranks lived in their canvas tents and the officers were billeted at Broadmayne House on Osmington Drove.
These camps were erected along the sides of the existing roads, which were used to load and unload men and supplies and so were within easy reach of the troops. The roads themselves were closed for public traffic.
The schedule for the weekend
Please note, that times are approximate and can change if we have breakdowns or traffic issues.
Friday 17th June 2016
Most of the vehicles will arrive at basecamp ready for the weekend. We will be taking a small amount of vehicles to the local school for educational purposes and for the children to ask the crews questions and to look at the historic vehicles. We will not know until the day what those vehicles will be as some crews will be ready for it and some will only have just arrived. An armored vehicle, Jeep and motorbike would be perfect. The aim is to be at the school for 11 am and we will be there for a maximum of one hour. We will then return to basecamp. The rest of the day will be booking in the vehicles and crews as they arrive. Friday night there will be a drivers and crew briefing from me and the team. The evening is free for people to relax in the village pub or around camp fires.
Saturday 18th June 2016
10 am. Leave basecamp in full convoy and travel to the Tank Museum (12 miles) for 13:00 for the awaiting members of the public. The convoy will do a circuit of the show ring and commentary will be given by the Tank Museum. The whole tank and vehicle convoy will then park up so that members of the public can come and see the vehicles and talk with the crews. The Museum will be providing catering trailers/vans so that the crews can buy their lunch and coffee – refreshments. The crews will also have access to the museum so that they can have a look around.
15:00. We will then leave in full convoy and travel to the county town of Dorchester (12 miles) and plan to get there at 17:00 and to park up for the public to come and see the vehicles.
17:00. To lead the Dorchester Carnival procession in a full circuit of the town, the streets will be lined with people.
18:00. Once we have done the circuit we will say goodbye to the town and head back to basecamp (5 miles). That is the day’s convoys over. There will be a hog roast for all of those that are part of the event and press guys.
20:00. The villagers are holding a 40’s dance in the village hall. Those that want to, can attend. For the rest, the evening is free to do as they please, maintenance checks on their tanks and sit around the camp fires...sleep.
Sunday 19th June 2016
The convoy will be split in two. Convoy 1, will be made up of a maximum of 10 tanks. Convoy 2 will be the remaining 30 vehicles, which will consist of armour – halftracks, Bren Gun Carriers, M20 scout cars and heavy and light vehicles – MAC No’s, GMC’s, Jeeps, Dodges, High Speed Tractors, Diamond T’s. Both convoys will have an accompanying numbers of motorbike outriders to marshal the traffic and get both convoys safely to their destination.
08:30. Convoy 1 will leave basecamp and travel to Weymouth (6 miles) to take part in the Weymouth’s Veterans Parade. We will marshal up in Littlemore’s carpark at 09:30 along with 80 other military vehicles from around the UK (we have to be there for this time as after 09:30 the Police shut off the roads to all traffic). There is a café there for breakfast, coffee etc.
11:00 am. All the 90 vehicles will leave the carpark together and form up on the main road. Once all the marching veterans and bands have finished, the whole convoy will then drive down and long Weymouth seafront (1 mile) which will be lined with thousands of flag waving people. We will give our nod/salute to the Mayor as we pass the VIP stand. We will then park up behind the Weymouth pavilion and wait for the crowds to disperse.
13:00. Our convoy of 10 tanks will leave and head towards the rendezvous point and meet up with Convoy 2 for lunch (we have yet to decide where that will be but we may be asked back into Dorchester town).
15:00. Both convoys head back to basecamp (6 miles) and that will then be the end of Armour and Embarkation 2016.
11:00. Will leave basecamp and travel to local pub (within 10 miles) for lunch and to await the arrival of Convoy 1 from Weymouth.
We are limited on numbers as we have a lot of armour coming this year. There will be a cost to cover all the expenses - we are just awaiting some final figures as we are having to undertake some 'highway' maintenance to get you guys with the low loaders into basecamp efficiently and a stack of other costs, so please be prepared for upto £40/head to cover everything. The event, as you can imagine is over subscribed all ready and we haven't opened for bookings yet. It is primarily an armour event so once we know for sure what we have coming, then we can take some softskins too (mans trucks etc etc). If you are coming with armour or softskins, please be prepared to share' a sit or two with the press - looks like we will have a massive press presence this year.
Jeep guys, would love to designate a Jeep and driver to some of the press teams - we would really appreciate any help with that, the same for the GMC drivers :-)
More to come and any questions then please just ask!!!