Operation Dragoon

3rd Infantry Division disembarking from LCI (L)

3rd Infantry Division disembarking from LCI (L)

This article is about a battle in World War II.

The landing in Provence is a military operation during World War II (code name Anvil Dragoon) from August 15, 1944 by Allied troops in the south-eastern France (between Toulon and Cannes).

Originally called Anvil (Anvil in English), the name was changed to Dragoon by Winston Churchill as he was against this landing (he said there have been dragooned constrained) preferring a breakthrough of troops on the front of Italy to the Balkans to take the German army in a pincer movement in Central Europe and reached Berlin before the Soviets. It runs counter to De Gaulle, who threatens to withdraw the French divisions of the Italian front. The objectives were to release Toulon, Marseille and then up the Rhone to make the junction with the forces of Operation Overlord landings in Normandy.

Operation Dragoon included a glider landing (Operation Dove) and a false landing in northern Italy (Operation Span).

The German defense composed of the nineteenth army (mostly foreign troops) is stripped, including the German 9th Panzer Division, following the sending of reinforcements to the Normandy front. Hitler then operates a retreat to avoid encirclement, but ordered the destruction of the ports of Toulon and Marseille, and keeps these two cities.

The Wehrmacht, already engaged on the forehead Norman is outnumbered. Its disposal to defend the Mediterranean coasts of France of the 19th Army (General Friedrich Wiese), it was subdivided into:

the 62nd Corps (AK LXII., General Ferdinand Neuling) HQ in Draguignan, including:
the 148th DI (148. ID) (Generalmajor Otto Fretter-Pico) (Cannes, Nice and Menton);
the 242nd DI (242. ID) (General Baessler, around Sanary in Saint-Raphael. PC: Hyères then Brignoles);
the 85th Army Corps (LXXXV. AK), including:
the 38th Army Corps, on the coast from Toulon to Marseille, including:
244th DI (244. ID) (General Schaeffer) (Sausset les Pins Bandol);
338th DI (338. ID) (Mauguio Sausset les Pins);
a body responsible for defense of Languedoc:
271st DI (271. ID) (Generalleutnant Danhauser Paul (10 December 1943 to August 1944, PC: Celleneuve) (Mauguio in Agde);
272nd DI (272. ID);
277th DI (277. ID) (Generalleutnant Albert Praun (5 April 1944-10 August 1944) replacing the Generalleutnant Heinrich Huffmann (10 December 1943-15 April 1944) (Leucate Valras, PC: St. Felix). Sent in Normandy, she retreated to Germany in August 1944. It is thus replaced by the 198.ID Generalmajor Otto Richter.
157th DI (157. ID), south of Grenoble;
189th DI (189. ID) (Sète in Aigues Mortes);
198th DI (198. ID) (Generalmajor Otto Richter) (Brignoles, to the left of the 338. IDPC: St. Felix);
326th DI (326. ID) (the Spanish border in Leucate, PC: Thuir (66). It is sent to Normandy in July 1944).
the 62nd DI (62. ID) in the Provence hinterland (Draguignan). ;
716th DI (716. ID) occupies the area of ​​Perpignan since July 1944, after being virtually wiped out in Normandy (from the Spanish border in Narbonne).
11. PzD (coming from Toulouse, Montauban, Albi, Carcassonne. PC Rouffiac (31)).
Kriegsmarine, commanded by Kom. Adm. D. Franz. Südküste. Command of the Mediterranean coast of the Kriegsmarine and commanded by Vice Admiral Paul Wever. C.Q.G. Aix en Provence.

Marine Einsatzkommando 71. charge of naval intelligence. P.C.: Aix-en-Provence.
The Sicherungs-Regiment.95: Located between Grau de Vendres and Frontignan.
The Generalkommando IV. Luftwaffen-Feldkorps: General der Flieger Erich Petersen on August 1 until November 19, 1944. The PC is the body established in Montpellier, then in July 1944, transferred to Capendu (11). It Depends Flughafenbereich 1/VII Carcassonne tactically under the command of Oberst Gieche. It is divided between Montpellier (I./FI.Rgt.71), Carcassonne (II./FI.Rgt.71 two companies are based in Perpignan) and Beziers (III./FI.Rgt.71).
II. / 3. Brandenburg-regiment: three companies, the fifth, seventh and an Italian company special employment. (Aix-en-Provence).
A battalion of security Sicherungregiment 200. (Aix en Provence).
2. Fliegerdivision: Staff installed Montfrin (Gard) (JGr.200, II. / JG 77., 26 KG., KG 77., 1 (F) ./33., 2./SAGr128.).
Allied units
Ground units

U.S.forces stormed by the sea consist of:

the 36th Infantry Division
the 45th Infantry Division
the 3rd Infantry Division
French naval units

The Allied naval unit consisted of 880 warships, of these 130 were primarily engaged with thirty French ships.

Battleship Lorraine
3rd Cruiser Division
Cruiser Emile Bertin
Cruiser Jeanne d’Arc
Cruiser Duguay-Trouin
4th Cruiser Division
Cruiser Montcalm
Glory cruiser
Cruiser Georges Leygues
10th division of light cruisers
The Terrible
The Fantasque
The Evil One
Third division of destroyers
The Fortune
The Forbin
6th division destroyer
The Tempest
The Simoun
The Alcyon
Second division of destroyer escorts
The Moroccan
The Tunisian
5th division of destroyer escorts
The Hova
The Algerian
The Somali
6th Division sloops
The Gracious
The Boudeuse
Commander Delage
Commandant Bory
10th Division sloops
Commander Dominated
The Mocking
The landing

The day before, London Radio broadcasts 12 messages for the Resistance, regions R1, R2, R3, R4 and R6, and the best known are: “The hunter is starving (Bibendum)” or “Nancy has the torticollis (guerrilla)” …

As in Operation Overlord, the battle plan provides for a division of troops in various “forces” all with a purpose.
The naval assault

The naval assault takes place on the Var coast between Toulon and Cannes. 880 ships Anglo-American, 34 French and 1,370 ships for the landing.

During the night of August 14 to 15, French commandos landed on the slopes of future landing:

North Rosie Force (naval group French assault, Commander Seriot) arrives in Miramar to cut off the German reinforcements from the east.
South, Romeo Force, a group of French commandos Africa Bouvet, arrives from either side of Cape Negro.
Sitka Force consists of the 1st Special Service Force and commanded by Colonel Edwin E. Walker handles the same night to destroy the batteries of coastal islands of Port-Cros and Levant located at Hyeres.

The three American divisions formed Force General Lucian Truscott of Kodak. The assault troops of the 6th U.S. Corps are themselves divided into three forces:

Alpha Force General John W. O’Daniel, composed of the 3rd Infantry Division’s Combat Command and one of the 1st French Armored Division of General Sudre, landed on the west side of the beach and Cavalaire Pampelone.
Delta Force Gen. William W. Eagles, composed of the 45th Infantry Division, at the center in La Nartelle.
Camel Force General John E. Dahlquist, composed of the 36th Infantry Division, on the east side of 3 different ranges: Fréjus, opposite the Naval Air Station at Dramont and Anthéor on the beach.
The objective was to land and form a front line of 25 km depth (called Blue Line). Then, move towards the Rhone valley and to contact the second French corps.

The air assault
The air assault consisted of a drop of men and materials between Muy and the Motte with 5,000 paratroopers from the 2nd Brigade of independent British and American gliders for vehicles. They were parachuted from Italy. The objective was to seize the heights of Muy and Grimaud to prevent the flow of enemy reinforcements from the west.

This is Force General Robert T. Rugby Frederick who was in charge. This force consisted of the following units:

1st Airborne Task Force
517th Airborne Regimental Combat Team, composed of the 517th PIR (Parachute Infantry Regiment)
NTFP 460th (Parachute Field Artillery Battalion) and 596th PCEC (Parachute Combat Engineer Company)
509th Parachute Infantry Battalion.
551st Parachute Infantry Battalion
550th Glider Infantry Battalion
2nd Independent Airborne Brigade (British Army, Gen. Pritchard)
SEE: http://www.camargue-insolite.com/article-la-stele-de-la-place-lamartine-a-arles-101788634.html

The naval assault

At the dawn of August 15, the Allies deploy Task Force 88 off the coast of Provence. This tactical force’s mission is to provide air cover of the landing at first, and then landed troops to help in their progression as a second step.

After the assault

On August 16, at D+1, Garbo arrived Force of the U.S. 7th Army under General Alexander Patch consists of the 6th Corps and U.S. Army B commanded by General de Lattre de Tassigny .

French divisions of the army accompanied B:

Second French army (army B) of General Larminat
1st DFL General Brosset
DIA’s 3rd General Monsabert
1st Armoured Division of General du Vigier
Three quarters of the Force Garbo were under French command of troops with half of the colonies.

The goal was to make a push towards Toulon. A week later, the army B is completed by:

DIC 9th General Magnan
2 groups of Moroccan Tabors of General William
Map forehead September 1 1944 is a goal of landing in Provence was to create a new front in France, the plan also included the destruction of the nineteenth German army, which was responsible for defending the south-east of France. The U.S. 45th Division and the 3rd goal was to push the Rhone valley, while the Free French forces were responsible for freeing the ports of Toulon and Marseille. To achieve the second objective – the destruction of German forces – an armored force was set up during preparations for the landing, Task Force Butler, whose mission is to advance northward from Draguignan, via Laugh and Digne and Sisteron , and turn toward the Rhone-on-Buech Aspres, and so cut off the retreat of German forces, in what will be the Battle of Montelimar.

The news of the rapid success of the attack, with an advanced deep into twenty-four hours, sparked an uprising of popular insurrection in Paris.

Main articles: Battle of Marseille and Liberation Nice. En two weeks in Provence has been released. Worthy and Sisteron are reached on 19, 20, Gap. Grenoble was taken on August 22 (or 83 days before the scheduled date), Toulon on August 23, Montelimar August 28 and August 29 Marseille. Allied forces, up the Rhone valley, joining September 12, Montbard, in the heart of Burgundy than the western front.

In the Alpes-Maritimes, Nice is released August 28, 1944, but is reversed only Saorge April 4, 1945.

The main progression is to the north, leaving on its eastern flank, a front at the Alpine passes, which are not an immediate target for allied staffs. German units from Italy and driven from Provence take refuge there, including various structures and forts that made up the Maginot Line Alpine.

The latest fighting to liberate the region in late April 1945. The highlights of the Ubaye, the Maginot works of Saint-Ours and Roche-la-Croix, is retaken from the Germans and Italians between 23 and 24 April by French forces helped the U.S. military, or 8 months after landing on the coast of the Var, while the latest fighting took place in Germany.


In total, more than 94,000 soldiers and 11,000 vehicles were landed on the first day.

On a workforce of 260,000 combatants, including 5,000 female auxiliaries, 10% were from the metropolis or black African, 90% came from North Africa, among these, 52% were of North African origin and 48% of European origin.

In large units, the percentage of North African soldiers ranged from 27% to the 1st AD and 56% at the second Sun.

By type of weapon, this percentage was about 70% in the regiments of infantrymen, 40% in engineering and 30% in the artillery.

From August 15 to 29 (taken from Marseille), loss of the B Army totaled 933 killed, 19 missing and 3,732 wounded, the most terrible days being 23 and August 24. Approximately 35,000 Germans were captured.

Allied soldiers who fell during the campaign of Provence are buried in different cemeteries.

National Necropolis of Boulouris located a few kilometers from the beach Dramont, there lie the bodies of French soldiers killed during the month of August 1944.
National Necropolis of Luynes between Aix-en-Provence and Marseille, nearly 10,000 soldiers killed during the two World Wars are buried.
Rhone American Cemetery, Draguignan: nearly 900 American soldiers killed in-court battles of the liberation of Provence are buried here.
British Military Cemetery Mazargues, Marseille: This cemetery contains the bodies of the British Empire troops killed during the 1944 year in Provence to the graves of soldiers of the Great War.
The bodies of German soldiers killed during Operation Anvil Dragoon and during the years of occupation of southern France are grouped Dagneux German Cemetery in Ain.

60th anniversary of D

The ceremonies of the 60th anniversary of D August 15, 2004 took place successively in Muy, the American military cemetery in Draguignan, in Saint-Raphael, Cavalaire-sur-Mer and inToulon harbor aboard the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. President Jacques Chirac, with sixteen Heads of State and Government of Africa, praised the “enormous sacrifice” of “the forces of freedom” that sixty years ago participated in the invasion of Provence. Some 200,000 people attended the coast toulonnaises the ceremony, according to the prefecture of the Var. The President presented decorations to twenty-one veterans, mostly African, and the cross of the Legion of Honour “to the city ofAlgiers as the capital of fightingFrance” for its role host of the French Committee of National Liberation.

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One Response to “Operation Dragoon”

  1. Jill Manley says:

    My father was involved in Operation Dragoon and we have alll the photos to proove it but there is no mention of his flotilla being listed here.
    He was in the 19th Flotilla of the Algerian fleet minesweepers and his ship was called the HMS Spanker.
    His flotilla cleared the seas of the mines prior to the invasion and was also involved in the fighting based on his photos with explosion off the sides of his ship.
    Please could you recognise the dangerous work done by the 19th flotilla of ALgerian Minesweepers in Operation Dragoon and the important work they did.

    My father has the Battle Honours South of France 1944.

    Kind Regards
    Jill Manley

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