Battlefields Worth Visiting3 min read
Our history, culture and freedoms wouldn’t be what they are today without some of the violence our ancestors endured. Traveling to some of the sites of conflict can not only remind you of how we got to where we are now, but it can also evoke feelings of remembrance, patriotism, empathy, respect, and self-discovery.
If this is something that interests you, or you’re simply a history buff with a passion for traveling, here are some of the most poignant and historic battlefields in the world.
Stirling Bridge, Scotland
If you’re a fan of the movie “Braveheart” you might already be familiar with this battlefield. This is where the first great victory was had by Scottish landowner William Wallace against the forces of Edward “Longshanks” I of England in 1297. While the film omits some of the facts about this battle, you can visit the grounds where the Scots waited until the frontline of the English army crossed a narrow wooden bridge before storming, trapping and tearing it down. The English commander ordered the bridge be destroyed – this bridge never appeared in “Braveheart.” The best vantage point to view the battlefield and landscape is from the Wallace Monument.
The Battle of Somme, which is also known as the Somme Offensive, was a WWI battle fought by armies from the French and British empires against Germany. This battle that was fought on both sides of River Somme was one of the largest from this war – more than 1 million men were wounded or killed, making it one of the bloodiest battles in history. You may not realize that when you see the battlefields today – they’re located in the beautiful rural region of Picardy and the Département de la Somme with the river rolling through. It seems… peaceful.
Here you will find one of the world’s most renowned battlefields: Pointe du Hoc. This was the point of attack in the Battle of Normandy in WWII. The U.S. Army Ranger Assault Group landed here on the beach in amphibious DUKW trucks while being fired upon by German forces. Not only is there a memorial and museum dedicated to the battle here, but the original German fortifications are still standing here, along with a number of bomb craters.
This town is home to numerous battlefields that played a significant role in the U.S. Civil War, including the combat sites Devil’s Den and Little Round Top. The Battle of Gettysburg was a massive three-day clash that started when Confederate General Robert E. Lee attempted to invade the North in an effort to end the war. However, he and his forces were forced to retreat, marking a turning point in the conflict – there were no other major Confederate invasions of the North in the remaining two years of the war and the rest of the battles were fought on southern ground.
Tourists today can still see the effects of the war here through bullet holes in trees and historic buildings. So many men died here during the three-day long battle, more than 50,000, that it’s long been touted as haunted.
While there isn’t a battlefield per se to visit here, this country holds key sites of the rise and fall of Nazi Germany, which is arguably one of the most crucial aspects of the WWII conflict. Such sites include the birthplace of the Nazi Party in Munich, the Dachau Concentration Camp, the Nazi retreat in Berchtesgaden, Nuremburg, where the war crime trials took place, and the numerous sites in Berlin where the Nazi regime ended. While these aren’t technically battlefields, they hold huge historic significance – the types of places that make you stop and think.
Photo courtesy of SlipTalk.