France Fights On (English Translation) - Thread II - To the continent!

Recap 1940
First French Campaign (06/06/40 - 07/08/40)
POD (06/06)
Weygand Sacked (10/06)
Reynaud/Margerie meeting (10/06)
Pétain arrested (12/06)
Battle of Chaumont (16/06)
Battle of the Loire (17/06 - 24/06)
Raid on Bordeaux (01/07)
German offensive resumes (10/07)
Battle of Pont-Saint-Esprit (17/07 - 19/07)
End of the First French Campaign
Results of the Grand Déménagement
Death of Marshal Petain (07/09)

Early Mediterranean Campaign (10/06/40 - 31/12/40)
Calabrian Tango (24/06)
Naval Battle of Benghazi (12/07)
Battle of Convoy AP.1 (14/07)
Battle of Olbia (18/07)
Inter-allied Council (24/07)
Operations Hats & Caps (10/08)
Attack on the Italian Battlefleet (15/08)
Battle of Kythira (20/08)
Operation Judgment / Attack on Taranto (24/08)
Operation Punishment (24/08 - 25/08)
Operation Ravenne / Attack on Pantelleria and the Pelagies (31/08 - 01/09)
Order of Battle
Coup de Main on Capraia (29/09)

Libyan Campaign (10/06/40 - 30/10/40)
Death of Italo Balbo (28/06)
Operation Scipion (14/07 - 30/10)
Order of Battle
Operation Alma (12/08 - 30/10)
Map of Libya (December)

Dodecanese Campaign / Operations Cordite & Accolade (06/09/40 - 02/11/40)
Operation Cordite (Rhodes, 06/09 - 05/10)

Order of Battle
Operation Accolade (Other Italian Greek Islands, 11/10 - 02/11)
Order of Battle

Sardinia Campaign / Operation Marignan (04/09/40 - 11/10/40)
Order of Battle

Other Fronts (1940)
Battle of the Farasan Islands (21/10)
The Jervis Bay’s sacrifice (05/11)
Khartoum Conference (28/11)
Battle of the Cape Verde Islands (03/12)
Kerguelen Incident (14/12)
Recap 1941
Mediterranean Campaign (1941)
Raid on Oran and Mers el Kebir (18/01)
The Hand of God (Malta) (24/01)
Nogues replaces Huntziger (30/01)
A morning with GR.33 (23/04)
Operation Coronation (12/05)
Operation Ikarus / Cretan Raids (20/07 - 14/08)
Battle of Syros (24/07 - 26/07)
Naval Battle of the Dardanelles (27/07)
Operation Style (10/08)
Operation Bellerophon (19/09)
Operation Retribution (11/11)
Strike on Genoa
Strike on Corsica (Operation Stendal)
Strike on Sardinia and Sicily
Strike on Provence
Strike on La Spezia
Axis reaction and Map of the Mediterranean
Corsica bleeds (17/11)
Formation of the Free Yugoslav Air Force (28/11)
Corsican Revenge (01/12)
Operation Orzen (03/12)
Naval Battle of Limnos (06/12)

Operation Merkur (17/02/41 - 20/03/41)
Order of Battle
Naval Battle of Calvi (18/02)
Battles of Solenzara (21/02)
Battle of Gallura (21/02)
Battle of Cape Figari (27/02)
Battle of Bastia (01/03 - 04/03)
Battle of Olbia Gulf (07/03)
24 hours of hell for the Marseillaise (07/03)
Battle of the Gulf of Propriano (16/03)
End (Corsica)
End (Sardinia)

First Greek Campaign (19/02/41 - 18/07/41)
Greek invasion of Albania (19/02)
Operation Marita I (04/05 - 28/05)
Battle of Gavdos (16/05)
Naval Battle of Igoumenitsa (16/05)
Battle of the Ionian Sea (17/05)
Battle of Veroia (24/05 - 28/05)
Battle of Corfu (31/05)
Operation Marita II (09/06 - 18/07)
Second Battle of Verioa (09/06 - 11/06)
Battle of Katerini (13/06)
Fall of Volos (22/06)
Battle of Thermopylae (23/06 - 26/06)
Battle of Euboea (24/06 - 29/06)
Fall of Athens (29/06)
End of Mainland Operations (11/07)
Battle of Cephalonia (13/07)

First Yugoslavian Campaign / Operation 25 (04/05/41 - 16/05/41)
Battle of Kumanovo (06/05 - 14/05)
Fall of Belgrade (10/05)
Results of the Balkan Campaign
Map of the Balkan Campaign

Franco-Thai Incident (26/03/41 - 09/05/41)
Battle of Koh-Chang (31/03)
Armistice (20/05)

Other Fronts (1941)
Glorious 25th of April (25/04)
End of the Iraq Campaign (02/05)
Battle of the Denmark Strait (24/05)
End of the East Africa Campaign (25/05)
Operation Copenhagen / Start of Operation Countenance (25/08)
End of Operation Countenance (27/08)
Armée de l'Air dispositions as of 29/08/41
Defending Indochina
Fate and Map of East Africa (17/09)
USS Reuben James Incident (31/10)
Death of General Huntziger (05/11)
Battle of the Abrolhos Islands (10/11)
Tulle Tragedy (25/12)
Recap 1942
Chinese Campaign (1941-42)
Allied Naval and Air Forces in the Far East (07/12)
Japanese Forces in the Pacific (07/12)
Battle of Kouang-Tcheou-Wan (07/12 - 09/12)
First Battle of Tam-Poum (08/12)
Second Battle of Tam-Poum (09/12)
Battle of Mont de la Surprise (09/12)
Third Battle of Changsha (24/12 - 15/01)
Fall of Hong Kong (31/12)

Indochina Campaign (1941-42)
Battle of the Tonkin Gulf (09/12)
Fall of Siem Reap (11/12)
Decoux Report (12/12)
Sainteny Report (17/12)
Schlesser Report (18/12)
Battle of An Khe (13/01)
Haiphong massacre (16/01)
Fall of Hanoi (17/01)
Battle of Xuan-Loc (20/01)
Battle of Tay-Ninh (24/01)
Saigon mobilized (28/01)
Fall of Saigon (11/02)
Map (30/04)
Battle of the Annam Railway (20/07)

Malaya Campaign (07/12/41 - 01/04/42)
Brooke-Popham Report (10/12)
Barstow Reports (14/12)
Spooner Report (16/12)
Massacre of Malacca Strait (17/12)
Y Service Report (17/12)
Malacca Action Report (17/12)
Japanese Massacres (18/12)
Percival Report (23/12)
Chevallier Report (23/12)
Kondo Report (23/12)
Landing at Kuching (29/12)
Hara Report (30/12)
Battle of the South China Sea (30/12 - 31/12)
Battle of the Anambas Islands
Battle of Kuching Bay
Decoux Report (01/01)
Dudley-Pound Report (01/01)
Battles of Endau and Mersing (12/01)
Endau-Mersing Report (12/01)
Gort takes charge (20/01)
Empire Report (22/01)
End of the First Battle of Kluang (23/01)
Japanese carrier down (03/02)
Second Battle of Kluang (16/02 - 23/02)
Fall of Kuala Lumpur (02/03)

Pacific Campaign (1941-42)
Attack on Pearl Harbor (07/12)
Fall of Guam (10/12)
Action off Rabaul (05/02)
Darwin Raid (22/02)
HMAS Moresby vs IJN Ro-68 (25/03)
Doolittle Raid (18/04)
Blaison Raid (19/04)
Cann Estuary Disaster (30/04)
Surrender of Bataan (06/05)
Battle of the Coral Sea (20/05 - 21/05)
Day 1
Day 2
Battle of Templeton’s Crossing (05/07)
Fall of Corregidor, Death of McArthur (08/07)
Battle of GP-19 (09/07 - 10/07)
Raid on Sydney (21/07)
Fall of Fort Drum, End of the Philippines Campaign (25/07)
Guadalcanal Campaign (05/08/42 - 11/01/43)
Landings (07/08)
First Battle of Savo Island (09/08)
Battle of the Matanikau (17/08)
Second Battle of Savo Island (31/08)
Battle of Lunga Ridge (12/09 - 14/09)
Battle of Tetere (16/09)
Naval Battle of Guadalcanal (16/11)
Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal (28/11 - 29/11)
Day 1
Day 2
Battle of the Box (05/12 - 06/12)
Order of Battle, Operation Ke (26/12)
Battle of Tassafaronga (29/12)
Second Battle of Eora Creek (10/08)
End of the Second Battle of Eora Creek (23/08)
Battle of Milne Bay (12/08 - 27/12)
Battle of the Kalobi (20/08)
Battle of the Eastern Solomons (13/08 - 15/08)
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Battle of Mission Point (13/08)
Makin Island Raid (16/08)
Battle of China Strait (17/08)
End of Kokoda Track (19/10)
Japanese Naval Aviation at the end of 1942

Dutch East Indies Campaign (17/12/41 - 28/04/42)
Start (Invasion of Borneo)
Battle of Balikpapan Bay (22/01)
Battle of the Savu Sea (02/02)
Naval Battle of Java (27/02)
Invasion of Java (01/03)
Fall of Surabaya (05/03)
Fall of Bandung (11/03)
Fall of Batavia (12/03)
Batavia Report (12/03)
Fall of Banda Aceh and Sumatra (28/04)
Tarakan-Banjarmasin Raid (20/12)

Mediterranean Campaign (1942)
Dark Knight Operations (02/01)
Operation Coeur Renversé (10/01)
Battle of Cape Kimi (11/01)
Operation Sud-Kroatien (15/01)
Operation Bolero (31/01)
Operation Avenger (05/02 - 02/03)
Convoy BC-41 (07/02)
Operation Dark King / Invasion of Limnos (27/02 - 03/03)
Battle of Aghios Eustratios (07/03)
Operation Anjou (12/03)
Operation Jaguar / Invasion of Pantelleria (16/03 - 18/03)
Operation Theseus (20/03 - 05/04)
Order of Battle
Second Naval Battle of Limnos (21/03)
Phase II (27/03)
Third Naval Battle of Limnos (28/03)
Air Massacre of Limnos, Fourth Naval Battle of Limnos (31/03)
Battle of the Straits (11/04)
Allied Agents in Yugoslavia (31/05)
Allied Naval forces in the Med (29/06)
Operation Ajax (02/07 - 05/07)
Battle of Zakynthos Strait (04/07)
Operation Blowlamp / Raid on the Romanian Airfields (16/08 - 19/08)
Order of Battle
Battle of Convoy PN-78 (08/09)
Battle of Convoy ML-44 (13/09)
Submarine hunting on the MN Yser (14/09)
Operation Ciseaux / Andros (28/12 - 29/12)
Operation Tent / Samothrace (01/01 - 16/01)

Burma Campaign (1942)
Battle of Moulmein (30/01 - 01/02)
Order of Battle
Battle of the Sittang (22/03 - 25/03)
Raid on Colombo (19/05)
Operations Roundshot & Fauconneau (27/07)

Peloponnese Campaign (27/02/42 - 07/01/43)
Operation Crusader (28/02 - 09/03)

Order of Battle
Priam Beach
Troyen Beach
Ajax Beach
Battle of Sparta (04/03 - 06/03)
Liberation of Tripolis (13/03)
Operation Agamemnon (16/03 - 17/03)
Operation Nestor (22/03 - 23/03)
Map of the Campaign (08/04)
Axis air forces in Greece and the Balkans (29/04)
Operation Pericles (21/06 - 03/07)
Order of Battle
Liberation of Cephalonia and Ithaca (05/01)
Liberation of Corfu, Paxos, Lefkada (06/01)
Map (07/01)

Singapore Campaign (08/04/42 - 21/09/42)
Troops defending Singapore (01/04)
Start of the First Siege (08/04)
Singapore-Torrance Report (09/04)
Second Battle of Bukit Timah (18/04)
End of the First Siege (19/04)
British Counter-Attack (20/04)
Prince of Wales salvage report (24/04)
Japanese retreat (26/04)
Operation Vimy Ridge (29/04 - 01/05)
Status of Allied Forces (01/05)
End of the Second Phase (05/05)
Start of the Third Phase (06/05)
Singapore-Malaya Forces (10/05)
Singapore Supply Report (23/05)
Singapore under siege (02/06)
IJN Naval units engaged at Singapore (30/06)
Losses of the First Battle of Singapore and Malaya counter-attack (01/07)
Pedestal sails from Ceylon (03/07)
Malacca Dash (07/07 - 08/07)
Withdrawal to Singapore, End of the Third Phase (19/07)
Start of the Second Siege, Fourth Phase (27/07)
Evacuation of Penang (20/09)
Fall of Singapore (21/09)
“I am Lord Gort” (22/09)

Eastern Front (1942)
Operation Barbarossa (17/05 - 31/05)

Order of Battle
Finnish Front (17/05)
Naval Battle of Constantza (20/05)
End of the Three-Day War (24/05)
Fall of Vilnius (28/05)
End of the Battle of the Frontiers (31/05)
Battle of Liepaja (08/06)
Fall of Liepaja (02/07)
Battle of Ventspils, Fall of Minsk (11/07)
Fall of Smolensk and Chisinau (16/07)
Fall of Tartu (20/07)
Second Battle of Ventspils (23/07 - 24/07)
Day 1
Day 2
Operation Borodino (01/08 - 13/08)
Order of Battle
Attack phase (08/08)
Closing the Ventspils and Smolensk pockets (12/08)
Operation Kegelrobbe (21/08 - 26/08)
Operation Wirbelwind (26/08 - 05/09)
Operation Typhoon (12/09 - 12/10)
Order of Battle
Naval Battle of Saaremaa (26/09)
Map of Saaremaa (26/09)
Operation Iskra (01/10 - 07/10)
Liberation of Tartu (06/10)
Map (30/10)
Fall of Odessa (04/11)
Operation Zvezda (11/11 - 19/11)
Operation Mars (21/11 - 15/12)
Operation Uranus (21/11 - 21/12)
Operation Wintergewitter (03/12 - 14/12)
Operation Kolso (21/12 - 14/01)
Operation Saturn (21/12 - 08/01)
Order of Battle
Battle of Rybakivka (28/12)

Sicily Campaign / Operation Torch (19/09/42 - 28/10/42)
Strategic Implications
Situation of the Axis powers prior to Torch
First air battle of the Gulf of Noto (20/09)
Map at D-Day+1
Battle of Acireale, Second Battle of the Gulf of Noto (23/09)
The Marseillaise in combat off Sicily (24/09)
Naval Battle of Palermo (25/09)
Fall of Palermo (30/09)
Fall of Catania (01/10)
Operation Trident (05/10 - 28/10)
Mussolini ousted (01/11)

Other Fronts (1942)
Operation Drumbeat (11/01)
Operation Biting (07/02)
Operation Cerberus (11/02 - 12/02)
Operation Chariot (01/03)
Mexico joins the war (21/03)
Operation Gauntlet (26/06)
Brazil joins the war (22/08)
Japanese raid on the Panama Canal (23/08)
Japanese raid on the East Coast (25/08)
Operation Rutter / Dieppe Raid (02/09)
Order of Battle
Operation Grouse (20/09)
Battle of Convoy DDCH-100 (21/09 - 23/09)
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Operation Noel (12/11)
Status of the Aeronavale (17/12)
Operation Gunnerside (27/12)
Inter-Allied council (31/12)
Recap 1943
Italian Campaign (1942/43)
Italy turns (24/12)
Natale di Sangre, Operation Avalanche (25/12)
Battle of Rome (25/12 - 26/12)
Day 2
Liberation of Corsica (27/12)
Rescuing a Queen (31/12)
Part 1
Part 2
Operation Romulus (20/01 - 31/01)
Operation Aiglon (07/05 - 12/05)
End, Liberation of Elba
Operation Chianti (28/05 - 12/06)
Liberation of Perugia (08/06)
Abdication of Victor-Emmanuel III (20/06)
Operation Marsaille (22/06)
Operation Diadem (10/07 - 22/07)
Liberation of Siena (19/07)
Liberation of Ancona (20/07)
Operation Buffalo (25/08 - 08/09)
Liberation of Livorno (05/09)
Liberation of Pisa (06/09)
End, Liberation of Florence

Eastern Front (1943)
Operation Skachok (16/01 - 15/02)

Order of Battle
Operation Eisbär (08/02 - 15/02)
Battle of the Reznekne Salient (11/02 - 16/02)
Operation Serp (24/02 - 25/02)
Battle of the Barents Sea (25/02 - 26/02)
Day 1
Day 2
Operation Great Uranus (25/02 - 25/03)
Liberation of Vinnytsia (03/03)
Operation Great Saturn (01/03 - 18/03)
Operation Frühlingserwachen (07/03 - 25/03)
Second Siege of Odessa (15/03 - 31/03)
Naval Battle of Odessa (30/03)
Map on April 30th
Dvina-Niemen Offensive (01/06 - 22/06)
Battle of the Irbe Strait (05/06 - 07/06)
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Operation Narwa (17/06 - 22/06)
Operation Zitadelle (10/07 - 31/07 or 08/08)
Map, July 23rd
Map, July 30th
Soviet counter-attacks
Defeat of the SS PanzerKorps (03/08)
Halt of Soviet counter-offensive operations (08/08)
Map of Operation Zitadelle
First Riga Offensive (20/07 - 31/07)
Operation Molot / Bessarabia (25/07 - 12/08)
Fall of Chisinau (06/08)
Fall of Iaşi (10/08)
Operation Suvorov / Belarus (20/08 - 24/09)
Battle of Merkulovichi (22/08)
Battle of Kiraŭskaja (29/08)
Liberation of Vitebsk (31/08)
Liberation of Orsha (05/09)
Liberation of Gomel (05/09)
Liberation of Mogilev (06/09)
Operation Kutuzov / Northern Ukraine (30/08 - 03/10)
Liberation of Korosten (08/09)
Battle of Kam'yanka (22/09)
Operation Rumyantsev / Southern Ukraine (12/09 - 19/10)
Battle of Velyka Borovytsya (06/10)
Closing of the Bar pocket (15/10)
Liberation of Ternopol (16/10)
Vatra Dornei-Gheorgheni Offensive / Romanian Carpathians (14/10 - 26/10)
Operation Malen'kaya Zemlya / Danube Delta (25/10 - 06/11)
Battle of the Danube Delta (26/10)
Ploesti-Bucharest Offensive / Romania (05/12 - 21/12)
Romania switches sides (12/12)
Romania joins the Allies (13/12)
The Allies save Bucharest (Battle of Băneasa Bridge) (15/12)
Fall of Ploesti (16/12)
Soviets enter Bucharest (17/12)

Pacific Campaign (1943)
Operation Cleanslate (22/01)
Aleutian Campaign (01/02 - 16/04)

Battle of Massacre Bay (27/02)
Second Battle of Massacre Bay (18/03)
Liberation of Attu (21/03)
Liberation of Kiska, End (16/04)
Operation Postern / Buna-Gona (16/02 - 04/04)
Liberation of Goodenough Island (23/02)
Battle of the Bismarck Sea (28/05 - 31/05)
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Operation Toenails (26/06 - 07/08)
Battle of Kula Gulf (06/07)
Battle of Kolombangara (13/07)
Operation Crocodile / Raid on Truk (12/09 - 13/09)
Operation Transom / West Timor (26/10 - 03/11)
Operation Exporter / East Timor (01/11 - 03/11)
Operation Galvanic / Gilbert Islands (09/11 - 17/11)
Start, Air Battle of the Gilbert Islands
Fall of Makin (11/11)
Fall of Tarawa (14/11)
Liberation of Lae (15/11)
Operation Jaywick / Christmas Island (16/11 - 17/11)
Battle of Haumaefa (18/11)
Naval Battle of Vella Lavella (19/11 - 20/11)
Day 1
Day 2
Battle of Otong Java (23/11)
End of the Salamaua-Lae Campaign (10/12)

Burma Campaign (1943)
Operation U-Go (20/01 - 14/02)

Battle of Cape Negrais (20/01)
Battle of the Andaman Sea (13/04 - 19/04)
Operation Tiger (06/10 - 22/10)
Liberation of Moulmein (17/10)
Battle of the Mergui (20/12 - 25/12)

Chinese Campaign (1943)
Peng Dehuai escapes (27/01)
Operation Ni-Go-Zero-Ichi (19/02 - 27/03)
End, Fall of Yan’an
Imphal Agreement (17/03)
Death of Mao Zedong (08/06)
Operation Zhulin (06/10 - 17/11)
Liberation of Nanchang (21/10)

Indochina Campaign (1943)
Independence of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos (03/01)
Second Battle of Dien-Bien-Phu (18/06 - 02/07)
Second Battle of Tuan Giao (13/07 - 15/07)
Battle of Xépôn (15/09)
Hanoi Uprising (02/10 - 27/11)
Battle of the Hà-Giang Road (16/11 - 23/11)
Liberation of Vientiane (30/11)
Liberation of Luang-Prabang & Laos (02/12)
End of the Franco-Thai war, Thailand exits the war (02/12)
Map on 31/12/43

Second Greek Campaign (20/06 - 27/10)
Operation Manna / Attica (20/06 - 30/06)

Battle of Kafireos (29/06)
Operation Breastplate (24/06 - 25/06)
Operation Pugilist / Athens (30/06 - 20/07)
Liberation of Athens (11/07)
Operation Buttress / Theban Locks (26/07 - 28/07)
Operation Whirlwind / Central Greece (28/07 - 13/08)
Liberation of Delphi (29/07)
Liberation of Volos (05/08)
Amphilochia Incident (08/08)
Liberation of Larissa (11/08)
First Athens Conference (12/08)
Liberation of Ioannina, End
Operation Tower / Northern Greece (17/08 - 06/09)
Liberation of Euboea (19/08)
Battle of Korinos (24/08)
Siege of Thessaloniki (01/09 - 19/09)
Bulgarian coup (06/09)
Operation Presage / Albania (08/09 - 22/09)
Liberation of Vlöre (14/09)
"Liberation" of Tirana (17/09)
Liberation of Durrës (18/09)
Fall of Bulgaria, failure of Kyril's switch (16/09)
Map of the Greek Campaign
Liberation of Kavala (13/10)

Second Yugoslav Campaign (1943)
Operation Bardeau / Liberation of Brac, Korcula, Mljet, Hvar & Peljesa (26/06)
Operation Market / Macedonia (08/11 - 20/11)
Battle of Kavadartsi (15/11)
Liberation of Skopje (16/11)
Belgrade Uprising (10/12 - 21/12)
Operation Garden / Serbia (12/12 - 31/12)
Battle of Leskovac (15/12)
Liberation of Nis (19/12)
Soviet-Allied troop meeting (22/12)
Liberation of Pristina (22/12)
Liberation of Belgrade (27/12)
Capitulation of Bulgaria (20/12)
Soviets enter Sofia (21/12)
Map on December 31st, 1943

Second French Campaign (1943)
Operation Dragon / Provence (06/09 - 22/09)

Liberation of Marseille & Toulon (07/09)
Map as of September 7th
Liberation of Gap (13/09)
Liberation of Nice (21/09)
Operation Steamer Duck / Gard (20/09 - 29/09)
Liberation of Nîmes (24/09)
Liberation of Montpellier (28/09)
Map of Steamer Duck
Operation Mandragore / Montelimar Locks (01/10 - 12/10)
Operation Span / Languedoc (27/10 - 10/11)
Liberation of Perpignan (09/11)
Operation Chambord / Alpes-Maritimes & Monaco (31/10 - 09/11)
Liberation of Monaco (08/11)
Vercors Uprising (10/11 - 06/12)
Operation Lavoisier / Rhone Valley (07/12 - 16/12)
End, Liberation of Valence
Operation Nordwind / German counter-attack (17/12 - 23/12)

Other Fronts (1943)
French and British ruin Laval’s parade (01/01)
Rescuing a Prince (07/01)
Oran customs attack (07/01)
Lebrun resigns (31/01)
Malta Conference (16/02)
Escape of the HDMS Niels Juel (07/03)
Operation Hydra (21/03)
Sextant Conference (21/03 - 25/03)
Tehran Conference (26/03 - 30/03)
French Empire Elections (28/03)
Sextant II Conference (31/03 - 05/04)
Eysses Escape (20/04 - 21/04)
Latécoère 611 Achernar (16/05)
Laval sacked, Doriot sworn in (28/06)
Operation Nemo / Bastille (14/07)
Independence of Lebanon (01/09)
Independence of Syria (06/09)
Operation Zitronella (09/09)
Map of Europe on November 1st
Second Athens Conference (10/11 - 15/11)
Operation Source (22/11)
Battle of Convoy PQ-17 (17/12 - 25/12)
Battle of the North Cape (24/12)
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Recap 1944/45
Eastern Front
Operation Bagration / Belarus (17/01 - 10/02)

Liberation of Minsk (28/01)
Liberation of Vilnius (02/02)
Siaulai Offensive / Baltics (29/01 - 10/02)
Liberation of Riga (02/02)
Lvov-Kovel Offensive / Western Ukraine (07/01 - 27/02)
Liberation of Rovne (11/02)
Liberation of Lviv (24/02)
Vistula-Warsaw Offensive / Poland (18/02 - 13/03)
Liberation of Lublin (23/02)
Liberation of Rzeszów (01/03)
Liberation of Białystok (03/03)
Liberation of Brest (03/03)
Liberation of Grodno (04/03)
Operation Neptun / German counter-attack in Belarus (19/02 - 26/02)
Warsaw Uprising (23/02 - 30/03)
Operation Comet (02/03)
Operation Volodino / Lithuania (23/02 - 05/03)
Liberation of Kaunas (26/02)
Operation Fredericus II / German counter-offensive in Poland (12/03 - 25/03)
Ides of March / Operation Valkyrie (15/03)
Germans reach the Bug (19/03)
Battle of Chrząchówek (21/03)
Map on March 31st, 1944
Battle of Memel (23/04)
Dukla-Carpathians Offensive / Eastern Slovakia (01/05 - ??)
Cluj-Debrecen Offensive / Transylvania (09/05 - ??)
Oder Offensive / Poland (?? - ??)

Second French Campaign
Operation Dague / Aude Valley (05/01 - 20/01)

Operation Pike & Operation Pincers / Ariege Valley (05/02 - 22/02)
Operation Woodwork / Haut-Languedoc (14/02 - 21/02)
Operation Charleroi & Operation Waffle / Monts d'Ardeche (26/02 - 03/03)
Operation Cobra / Southern France (20/04 - 01/05)
Allied and Axis Organization during Operation Cobra
Liberation of Mende (23/04)
Liberation of Castres (24/04)
Liberation of Grenoble (25/04)
Liberation of Albi & Rodez (26/04)
Liberation of Saint-Etienne & Le Puy-en-Velay (27/04)
Liberation of Toulouse & Annecy (28/04)
Liberation of Lyon & Mont-de-Marsan (29/04)
Liberation of Bordeaux (04/05)
Operation Bodenplatte (05/05)
Operation Lüttich / German counter-attack in Southern France (06/05 - 10/05)
Map of Pre-Overlord France
Operation Overlord / Normandy (08/05 - ??)
Battle of Sept-Iles (09/05)
Map on May 10th

Italian Campaign
Operation Craftsman / Adriatic Coast (15/04 - 25/04)

Operation Olive / Ligurian Gulf (11/05 - 19/05)
Map on May 31st

Second Balkan Campaign
Great Titist Offensive / Bosnia & Herzegovina (18/03 - 31/03)

Peter II and Alexandra of Greece's wedding (20/03)
Map on March 31st, 1944
Operation Morgenstern / SS counter-offensive in Bosnia (02/04 - 08/04)
Operation Veritable / Montenegro & Bosnia (13/04 - ??)
Liberation of Podgorica (29/04)
Liberation of Dubrovnik (07/05)
Operation Grenade / Voivodina (13/04 - 21/04)
Operation Plunder / Danube Valley & Southern Hungary (13/04 - ??)
Liberation of Novi Sad (17/04)
Liberation of Osijek (21/04)
Fall of Pécs (26/04)
Operation Damocles & Glaive of Justice (07/05)

Chinese Campaign
Operation Bailu / Pearl River Delta (25/02- 27/04)

Liberation of Canton (15/04)
Operation Ichi-Go / China (21/05 - ??)

Indochina Campaign
Operation Year of Victory / Tet Offensive (25/01 - 11/03)

Liberation of Hue (26/01)
Liberation of Tourane/Da Nang (03/02)
Second Battle of Saigon (02/03 - 11/03)
End (Liberation)
Liberation of Siem Reap (16/02)
Liberation of Phnom Penh (22/02)
Operation Granite / Battle of the RC4 (19/05 - 30/05)

Burma & Malaya Campaign
Operation Black Prince / Southern Burma (25/02 - 10/04)

Liberation of Tavoy (17/03)
Liberation of Mergui (21/03)

Pacific Campaign
Operation Flintlock / Marshall Islands (30/01 - 09/02)

Battle of the Marshall Islands (01/02 - 02/02)
Day 1
Day 2
Fall of Kwajalein (03/02)
Operation Hailstone (17/03)

Other Fronts
Battle of Noirmoutier (13/01)
French Army Generals (15/01)
Churchill-Stalin meeting (17/02)
Bretton Woods Conference (22/03)
Greco-Turkish Incident / Cyprus Crisis (27/03)
Map of Europe (31/03)
Map of Asia (31/03)
Operation Margarethe-Panzerfaust / Hungary bleeds (13/04)
Map of Asia (31/05)
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I only know this timeline because I've noticed it takes up a majority of New threadmarks. I wonder how different the war is ITTL?
I only know this timeline because I've noticed it takes up a majority of New threadmarks. I wonder how different the war is ITTL?
As of September 1943:
- Barb happened in 1942, Germans never took Tallinn or Kiev, they're getting pushed back to Latvia, Belarus and Western Ukraine. Bessarabia has already fallen. Finland stayed out of the war.
- Invasion of Italy happened in late 1942, right now the Allies are approaching the Gothic Line.
- Almost all of Greece has been liberated and the Allies are looking at Albania and Macedonia. Bulgaria is trying to find a way out of the Axis already. Romania is tipping.
- Operation Dragon will start with a Franco-American landing in Provence, aimed to liberate as much of metropolitan France as possible and ease Overlord's job when it comes.
- In Asia, the Japanese never managed to cross the Salween or really threaten New Guinea. The Japanese got beaten so badly on the Salween and Dien-Bien-Phu that they have lost the strategic initiative in the SEA campaign. The Vietminh are essentially doing what they did in OTL Indochina and Vietnam Wars to the Japanese in a lot worse.

I'm also trying to concentrate more of the threadmarks, so it should be easier to read going forward, but it will also mean a lot more words stuffed into each update.
Good to see this being continued.

I also find myself agreeing with your note regarding the Bulgarian coup and Kyril's actions; with the Germans still having a strong military presence in the vicinity, and with the bloodshed in Italy as precedent for how the Germans react to "allies" who try to make a runner, I find the actions of Kyril and the Bulgarian government to be remarkably suicidal...

Now, were it a case of mixed messages, with the Germans becoming convinced that Bulgaria was planning on doing a runner and deciding on a pre-emptive strike, only to find out after the fact that no such thing was being in the works...
Good to see this being continued.

I also find myself agreeing with your note regarding the Bulgarian coup and Kyril's actions; with the Germans still having a strong military presence in the vicinity, and with the bloodshed in Italy as precedent for how the Germans react to "allies" who try to make a runner, I find the actions of Kyril and the Bulgarian government to be remarkably suicidal...

Now, were it a case of mixed messages, with the Germans becoming convinced that Bulgaria was planning on doing a runner and deciding on a pre-emptive strike, only to find out after the fact that no such thing was being in the works...
Especially basing themselves on the word of the ambassador to the USSR.
No attempt to communicate with the British, or even the French, nothing. We're totally going to believe that Soviet ambassador who only vaguely promised us support and totally doesn't have ulterior motives. I found their decision baffling when I first read it and I still find it baffling now.
Especially basing themselves on the word of the ambassador to the USSR.
No attempt to communicate with the British, or even the French, nothing. We're totally going to believe that Soviet ambassador who only vaguely promised us support and totally doesn't have ulterior motives. I found their decision baffling when I first read it and I still find it baffling now.
Especially with Romania being between Bulgaria and the nearest Soviet units, and it's not as if the Black Sea Fleet could quickly send in reinforcements before the inevitable German response...
06/09/43 - France, Start of Operation Dragon
September 6th, 1943

Operation Tiamat
Provence, 00:00
- To say that the flak was dense would be a sweet euphemism, the pilots of the C-47s and DC-3s - and their mechanics, in front of the state of many machines, will approve with horror!
- Despite the flak, three regiments of the 82nd Airborne Division are dropped south of the Alpilles, guided by the Pathfinders in charge of marking the drop zones foreseen by the plans.
The 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment jumps on the "Alabama" sector, immediately east of Arles. Its mission is to march on the town and to the banks of the Rhone River in order to prevent any crossing. In addition, it has to secure the Pionier abteilung of the 338. ID and neutralize one of the artillery battalions of the division, located a little further north.
The gliders of the 325th Glider Infantry Rgt land for the most part in the "Maryland" sector - a triangle Mouries-Eyguières-Salon. Their landing took place with less losses than initially as the Resistance had succeeded in informing Algiers early enough of the location of the mined and unmined areas, including two that they managed to clear of mines*. The local Resistance fighters who knew perfectly well the location of the real minefields (false Achtung Minen signs are numerous) recommended that airborne personnel with doubts should rely on the behavior of animals, especially bulls and cows, to recognize real minefields. The 325th GIR had to radiate towards Miramas and Salon and to take control of the roads in this sector until the crossing of the National 7.
Finally, the "Tennessee" sector, between Sénas and Mallemort, is the parachuting zone of the 507th PIR. The paratroopers have to hold the banks of the Durance river and above all prevent any incursion from the north. For that, the regiment received an additional supply of anti-tank weapons.
- Among the French, the drop zones are also given code names.
The 1st RCP and 6th RALP land at "Bordeaux", north of Berre l'Etang. Their mission: to fix the III/934 Infantry Rgt of the 244. ID and, if possible, to neutralize Marignane and its hydrobase.
The 2nd RCP of the 1st French DP land at "Vendredi", south of Venelles. The regiment has to lock the northern accesses to Aix-en-Provence and stand guard at the Durance.
In addition, it will try to fix as many troops as possible of the 244. ID stationed further south.
The "Girelle" parachute drop zone, around Gardanne, is for the 3rd RCP. The aim is to break through towards Septèmes les Vallons, at the limit of the northern districts of Marseille, by fixing the elements of the 932nd Rgt of the 244. ID.
Finally, the easternmost objective, named "Cathédrale", around Saint-Maximin, is entrusted to the ad-hoc Franco-Belgian regiment (as it was about airborne troops, it was difficult to speak of a "marching" regiment). This one will have the double mission to keep the French device flanked and to ensure access to Aubagne, while neutralizing if possible the artillery battalion stationed in the neighboring plain, in Trets.


Armee de l'Air Airspeed As-51 Horsa, Operation Dragon, September 1943

Operation PARTNER
The U.S.-Canadian commando brigade, known as 1st Special Service Force (1st SSF), was assigned four special operations, grouped under the name Operation Partner. It earned the nickname "Devil's Brigade".
- With the few glider tugs still available (often old or decommissioned aircraft), the 1st SSF sends gliders to drop off the six companies of the 1st Rgt of thebrigade on two objectives.
The first three companies have to land east of Gignac-la-Nerthe to neutralize the 698 artillery battery, whose two 380mm guns were nothing less than replacements for the Bismarck - this is Operation Pumpkin. The inhabitants of Gignac, who, like some others, claimed the title of first liberated village, thought they were dealing with Frenchmen "with a northern accent". In fact, they were Canadians, some of whom were Quebecers.
The other three companies were American and commanded by Colonel Marshall, head of the 1st SSF Rgt. Their objective was the road bridge over the canal from Arles to Port-de-Bouc, at Fos-sur-Mer - Operation Preacher. The head of the 1st SSF, Colonel Frederick, told Marshall: "You'll hold on until you're relieved". Taking advantage of the surprise, two teams that fell a little beyond the objective neutralized the barracks of position 87, located about 1,500 m to the west; the German garrison, completely caught off guard, suffers heavy losses while the PaK-38 under casemate taking the beach in enfilade was carefully sabotaged before the commandos reached the main objective. There, the fighting does not stop at the bridge deck, since the small bunkers of position 88 were eliminated. The Rangers only have to clear the ground to land.
The bridge still exists: it has been classified as a historical monument under the name of Spearhead Bridge (after the badge of the 1st SSF). In 1968, the movie The Devil's Brigade will tell the story of Operations and Preacher and the brigade's Provence campaign. The dead during these actions are buried in the Arles cemetery, with their paratroopers comrades of the 82nd Airborne.
- But the 2nd Rgt of the 1st SSF was charged with another mission, of a very different kind! Its men silently disembark small rowing boats in the Bonnieux area, between Laveron and Les Arnettes - it is Operation Buccaneer. They are to neutralize the Germans covering this sector, who will not be able to report on what is happening right under their noses, in the Bay of Fos and along the Côte Bleue.
- Finally, elements of the 3rd Rgt of the 1st SSF neutralize the Planier lighthouse, off the coast of Marseille: this is the beginning of Operation Flapper.
During this time, underwater, demining divers from Underwater Demolition Team 1 and 2, launched by the APD USS Tattnall, are discreetly carrying out their demining mission. Before dawn, they are followed by several small minesweepers (YMS) from the US Navy, in charge of widening the breaches of the minefield covering the area.
At the same time, a similar operation took place between the islands of Porquerolles and Port-Cros. There, Franco-British clearance divers are launched by the APD MN Goumier and the ex-minesweeper HMS Saltburn. They are followed by the 630-tons Commandant Bory, Commandant Delage, La Capricieuse and La Gracieuse. At dawn, the minesweepers are fired upon from the islands - but without consequence, as the gunners based there had not yet recovered from the air raids of the past month.
The passages in the minefields are marked by four small X-crafts, mini-submarines of the Royal Navy**. Two of them, lent to the French Navy, have French crews. The elements involved in the Franco-British submarine operation (divers and submarines) are commanded by Commander Jacques-Yves Cousteau.

Operation Tiamat
Provence, 01:00
- Even if most of the paratroopers and gliders have arrived safely, the night caused a certain dispersion. This disorganized the allied airlift but also sews chaos amongst the Germans, especially as the Resistance had done its work by systematically sabotaging the telephone network.
Thus, in the Alabama sector (Arles), several sticks fall west of the Rhône and south of Beaucaire, but they are to wage a war of ambushes which further increases the confusion in the German leadership, with some reports of parachute drops as far as Nîmes or Lunel. To the east of the river, the men of the 504th PIR gradually regroup and the first teams begin to reach the banks of the Rhône south of Arles and the suburbs of the city, not without catching some patrols.
A little further east, some stray gliders of the 325th GIR, in charge of the Maryland sector, land as far as Saint-Martin de Crau, at the limit of the 504th PIR zone. The village is taken in the process, taking advantage of the surprise of the weak garrison that occupied it. Other stray troops land south of Eyguières, where the men eventually come across paratroopers from the 507th, who also fell far from their area. A reconnaissance jeep even arrives in sight of Salon de Provence. Unfortunately, the 325th GIR suffered significant losses, some gliders being damaged during landing and some landing in mined areas.
The 507th PIR (Tennessee sector) is also somewhat scattered. Some paratroopers fell east ofMallemort and others directly on the massif dominating Sénas, a few hundred meters from Notre-Dame de Beauregard, the abbey which faces the Luberon and dominates the whole valley. They were thus, without wanting it, ideally placed to seize the position that the Germans had set up there.
The scourge of dispersion also strikes the teams of the 1st Parachute Division. Thus, the 1st RCP sees teams from "Bordeaux" land as far as Saint Chamas or fall into the Etang de Berre - the loss of the equipment is then the least of the consequences. Berre l'Etang is reached quickly, although the Kriegsmarine personnel who are lodged there furiously defend the perimeter of the small port. Better trained for this kind of fight, the French end up taking the advantage, just like in the fighting that takes place for the control of Rognac.
The men of the III/934. IR of the 244. ID, stationed in this sector, do not know where to turn due to the surprise effect, the impossibility to contact the command, the landings to the south of Marignane and rumors of an uprising in Marseille.
The "Vendredi" mission (Venelles) also suffers from dispersion, since some teams fell as far away as Eguilles and Saint-Cannat. This dispersion favors the mission since, at the cost of various clashes, the roads north of Aix-en-Provence are cut off: the sub-prefecture of the Bouches-du-Rhône is only accessible from the south or, to the east, by the road to Vauvenargues which goes up towards the Basses-Alpes.
The parachuting of "Girelle" takes place in a satisfactory way near Gardanne, although some teams drift towards Gréasque and into the Etoile massif, beyond the Pilon du Roi. The latter are temporarily out of the picture, but have a splendid view on the Phocaean city; later, they will be the first to penetrate there by going down by Plan de Cuques and la Valentine. In the meantime, the bulk of the 3rd RCP vigorously engages the I/932 IR of the 244. ID for the possession of Bouc Bel-Air and Simiane.


US Air Force Waco CG-4A, Operation Dragon, September 1943
On the side of the commandos of the 1st SSF, the iron is beaten while it is hot.
The Canadians of the Pumpkin mission come across a vacuum: the 380s on rails are absent (the information about their evacuation in the Drôme was not passed on to the allied headquarters). Failing that, they fall back a little further on the 152 mm battery, which they neutralize before moving into the German fortifications. From there, they control the crossroads between Vitrolles, Les Pennes-Mirabeau and Martigues.
In the Fos sector, the Americans hold the road bridge firmly. They repel a first German counter-attack, led by less than one company and coming from Fos.
- Finally, the Flapper mission continues: the bulk of the 3rd Rgt of the 1st SSF lands discreetly on the island of Frioul.
The French also launch several commando raids.
In the Cassis sector, the 1st Groupement de Choc (General Gambiez***) has to block any reinforcement coming from Marseille and fix the defenses of the small town (mission Bouchon). Gambiez sends three companies to land in gliders on the Carpiagne plateau to block La Gineste and the descent to Cassis, while the rest of the regiment, in an attack that the Americans, who are in the front row, still call it an "incredible attack", land in the Essaidon, Oule, En Vau and Port Pin creeks. The two battalions neutralize the defenders of the beaches and march on Cassis to join up with theairborne troops.
Operation Montaigne, led by the 3rd Shock (Colonel Malraux), aims at the island of Les Embiez and Cap Sicié, in order to neutralize the defenses, notably the Peyras battery, and to fix the battalion of the 918. IR of the 242. ID stationed further north. This grouping has only two battalions, but it has the experience of Operation Aiglon - the recapture of the island of Elba, with the Italians as co-belligerents.
Finally, Operation Violette is entrusted to the two available battalions of the 113th RI (the third was sent with the Belgians to Saint-Maximin). The aim is to neutralize the defenses and especially the heavy artillery positioned in the sectors of Cap Bénat, Lavandou and Bormes-les-Mimosas.

Provence, 02:00 - Street fighting continues in Arles between the men of the 338. Pionier Abt and the paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne (Alabama). Outside the city, the ambush warfare continues, but the advantage remains with the Americans because the commander of the area refuses to hunt down the paratroopers - he could not afford to weaken the defense of the city, which is a key crossing point.
In the Maryland sector, the men of 325. GIR are beginning to be firmly established, as the rallies take place, on the various crossroads to be controlled. The Salon garrison tries to send out patrols, but they are regularly ambushed. Its leader knows he is surrounded on three sides, and only the patrols sent to Aix have not yet reported any enemy. Moreover, an American mortar team from Grans succeeds in setting fire to several aircraft on the runway of the former air force school.
Further north, the Tennessee position begins to be well established along the Durance river. The contact is re-established with the lost soldiers, some of whom managed to seize the observatory of Notre-Dame de Beauregard, which overlooks the roads to Cavaillon.
In the Bordeaux sector, despite the night and the disorganization of the regiment, the perimeter of the 1st RCP expands. The fighting and skirmishes have now passed Rognac and are moving towards Vitrolles. In this tight compartment of land, the confrontation now resembles a foil duel; on each side, patrols multiply the ambushes to locate the enemy or to surround him - the Germans try to turn the French through the Arbois massif.
The Vendredi sector, between Aix and Venelles, is relatively quiet, apart from the probes that the 2nd Btn of the 934. IR launches in order to recognize the 2nd RCP's position. This relative tranquility allows the parachute hunters to set up their anti-tank device towards the north, along the Durance river; they reach Meyrargues and Le Puy Sainte-Réparade.
Contacts with the local Resistance leader, Maurice Plantier, are established; Plantier offers to provide guides to locate and turn the enemy's position. On the German side, the chief of the 934. IR, although cut off from his superiors, interprets the reports he received as a major airborne operation, which could only mean one thing: a landing is more than likely. He therefore takes the decision, instead of pursuing paratroopers who would eventually run out of ammunition anyway, to regroup his forces in Aix and prepare to move south.
The commander of the 3rd RCP sets up his headquarters in a school in Gardanne where, despite the night, he is joined by members of the Resistance covering the Marseille area. The instructions are to advance westward, the Girelle device begins to collide with the 1st Battalion of the 932. IR in the sectors of Simiane and Bouc Bel-Air.
In Saint-Maximin, the Cathedral sector is now firmly held by the Belgians and the men of the 113th.
Towards Fos, everything is calm, a calm preceding the storm, in the Preacher sector. The Germans must be regrouping, which does not bode well. The Canadians of Pumpkin, south of Marignane, repel the reconnaissance of the 2nd Btn of the 934. IR. The easy part of the job is over, they think, the next part is likely to be more complicated.
The Buccaneer mission, joined by new elements of the 2nd SSF Rgt, moves towards La Couronne and the Anse du Verdon to the east and Château-Ponteau to the north.
At sea, the fighting becomes more intense on the island of Frioul. The 3rd SSF Rgt (Flapper) has to reduce one by one the numerous small German pillboxes.
Things are moving quickly for Operation Bouchon: the radar installed on La Gineste is neutralized and a company is immediately sent to hold the pass on the border of the southern edge of Marseille. The Carpiagne camp, recently set up and where the Germans had planned to station a battalion, has not been a threat for several months now because of the treatment by the heavy bombers of the 15th Air Force during Operation Dragon Eggs; the III/933. IR has to return to its lodgings in Marseille itself.
The companies that had landed in the calanques of l'Oule and l'Essaidon progress on the stony paths towards the plateau to make the connection with the airborne, catching a patrol and neutralizing some weakly defended positions on the way. The rest of the 1st Shock finishes the cleaning around En-Vau; it reaches the quarries from which the famous Cassis and Port-Miou stones are extracted.
For its part, the 3rd Choc fulfills its mission by neutralizing the artillery at Cap Sicié and set up as a hedgehog, waiting for the German reaction.
Finally, at the end of the French position, after furious fighting, the 113th Rgt neutralizes the three 120 pieces of the Marine Artillery Abteilung 682 and the 100 mm battery of Bormes les Mimosas. A company is to act as a flank guard by occupying the crossroads of the roads from the east, including the D98, while another company has to extend its perimeter.

Provence, 03:00 - Street fighting continues in Arles, where the Americans are progressing. The engineers and young recruits of the 338. ID are now holding only a few blocks around the pier area. Alabama paratroopers even managed to cross the river in a canoe and join their unit with a very American opportunism. A little to the north, a team comes across a 105 mm battery of the 1st Abteilung of Artillerie-Rgt 338 and worked a spell on it. More importantly, the divisional HQ of the 338. ID, at the castle of Barbegal, is attacked.
In the Maryland sector, clashes are now taking place at the northern entrance to Miramas and at the western entrance to Salon. A Jeep reconnaissance even reaches the Nationale 7. Along the Durance, Colonel Millet, of the 507th PIR (Tennessee), thought he had gathered enough people to launch an operation to seize the Orgon constriction. The defenders are perfectly awake and are able to stand up to the Americans: it is clear that they could not rely on the surprise effect any longer, we will have to maneuver.
Near the coast, the men of the 1st SSF are not idle. Indeed, the road bridge of Fos is attacked on two axes by the 2nd Btn of the 338. ID, from the north and from the west along the canal. It takes more than half an hour of bitter fighting for the Germans to give up nearly a hundred of their own on the field.
The Canadians (Pumpkin) are not at their best: they are attacked by the battalion of the 934. IR coming from Les Pennes-Mirabeau, but they hold on thanks to a 20 mm AA captured on the position and turn against its former owners. There too, the Germans are forced to return to their starting positions.
Things also get lively west of the Côte Bleue (Buccaneer), with numerous skirmishes within the perimeter of the 2nd SSF Rgt take place. However, the latter keep the initiative for the moment, by eliminating numerous small bunkers taken from the rear on the route de la Couronne and especially by neutralizing the strongpoint of Château-Ponteau before withdrawing, without forgetting to sabotage the four 105s located there.
On the island of Frioul (Flapper), the fighting gradually dies down. The artillery pieces - those remaining operational after the last air raids - will no longer be a threat.
In the Bordeaux sector, the situation does not evolve much: fighting is still going on around Vitrolles and on the Arbois plateau; the mission to fix the 1st RCP continues. The airfield of Marignane is shelled by the guns of the 6th RALP, which had positioned several of its 75s on the other side of the pond and, from there, shelled the runways and the hydrobase.
In the Friday sector, reconnaissance reaches the northern districts of Aix-en-Provence, but report numerous clashes on the German perimeter. The defenders, shocked, take refuge in their shelters along the crossing points, using their MG-42s on anything that seems suspicious.
The news is better for the 3rd RCP (Girelle). Guided by the Resistance, it manages to overrun the enemy positions at Bouc Bel-Air and Simiane, which are now isolated.
With this action, the 932. IR is cut in two. The first teams report to have broken through to the Plan de Campagne plateau, south of Cabriès, but especially to the gates of Septèmes, which is bordering with Marseille, and in the back of the II/934. IR positioned at Pennes-Mirabeau (and also very busy with the Canadian commandos).
On the pass of Gineste (Bouchon), we are surprised not to have undergone any German reactio. Down below, in Marseille, the situation is chaotic: in addition to the agitation of a beginning of an insurrection (Operation Vipère), reports of fighting all around the city and, above all, the absence of the commander-in-chief of the garrison, General Gilbert, who had left for the Kriegspiel organized in the Vaucluse with his chief of staff. The reserves, consisting of the Sich. Rgt 5 and two other battalions, are therefore in a state of uncertainty.
On the plateau, the position of the airborne troops of the 1st Shock is strengthened, since they received reinforcements from the calanques. On the other side, the French commandos engage the fight in the city center of Cassis against the company of Panzerjägers that occupies it.
In the Montaigne sector (Cap Sicié), clashes increase between the 3rd Shock and the patrols sent by the 918. IR of the 242. ID.
At the end of the French position, the 113th Infantry Regiment completes its cleaning operations and its repositioning. Its first missions accomplished, the temptation is strong to push towards downtown and the port of Le Lavandou.
In Saint Maximin, when the Resistance learns of the existence of the 242. ID headquarters in the neighbouring village, Colonel Charlier, who commands the Belgian-French units, decides to launch a raid to neutralize it.

Provence, 04:00 - The 504th PIR (Alabama) just struck two very hard blows against the 338. ID in the past hour. First, by holding most of Arles and especially, now, the piers, he cut the division in half: one half is stuck on the other side of the river. Moreover, the attack and capture of the castle of Barbegal has decapitated the unit.
Further east (Maryland), the fighting is now in Miramas and Salon. But it is especially around Orgon (Tennessee) that the hardest fighting takes place. The Germans resist a new attack by American paratroopers. For them, surrender is out of the question, although the small town is now completely surrounded, the abbey of Notre-Dame de Beauregard having been taken by parachutists.
On the coast, the Canadian commandos (Pumpkin) feverishly scan their perimeter, waiting for a new attack which does not come. Indeed, the news of enemy troops on their rear, in Plan de Campagne and Septèmes, decided the chief of the II/934. IR to gather his men and to reorient his position.
At the level of the road bridge of Fos, the men of operation Preacher undergo a new counter-attack of II/758. Grenadier Rgt of the 338. ID. The attack is again successfully repulsed. We are worried, on the American side, about the diminishing ammunition reserves and the increasing losses but on the other side, the German battalion is also out of breath: its commander decides to wait until daylight before trying again.
On the other side of the Gulf of Fos (Buccaneer), the I/758. Grenadier puts pressure on the 2nd regiment of the 1st SSF. The commandos are unable to cross the railroad, and even retreat near La Couronne. The Germans lock down the sector and reach to 500 meters of the Verdon cove.
In the French sector, near the pond of Berre (Bordeaux), the situation has stabilized. Everyone gauges and observed each other: the men of the 1st RCP have the advantage of dominating the plain from the Arbois plateau - but, due to a lack of manpower, they can neither exploit nor attempt to overrun.
Nothing to report north of Aix-en-Provence (Friday). The men of the 2nd RCP hold the area and stand guard at the Durance river, but the commander of the Aix square had formed the hedgehog and refuses to let himself be fixed by sending his men on a ghost hunt.
In the Girelle sector, the II/934. redeploys in the direction of Plan de Campagne, where the first clashes with the 3rd RCP are already taking place. With the help of the Resistance, the place of Simiane falls. One good news follows the other: contact is resumed with the stray soldiers who fell on the other side of the massif, towards Gréasque. The latter had liberated the village by eliminating the few feldgendarmes who were there and locked the D46 between Saint Savournin and Mimet.
In Cassis, the Panzerjägers of the 244. ID hold on with the energy of despair against the 1st Shock. The descent and the plateau of Gineste are controlled by the French and the roads linking the coastal town to the farms of Carnoux and Roquefort-la-Bedoule are now cut off.
In the Montaigne sector, Colonel Malraux's men resist in the Janas forest in front of the I/918. IR of the 242. ID. The night and the pine forest allows the 3rd Shock to launch attacks infiltrating the Germans' rear, which had the merit of making the latter very cautious! For the time being, the Var Corniche is solidly held.
Around Le Lavandou (Violette), the 2nd Battalion of the 113th Infantry Regiment makes progress and catches the enemy from behind, because the majority of the defenses of this village are turned towards the sea.
Finally, everything goes well for the Belgian-French ad-hoc regiment (Cathédrale). It is true that the sector of Saint-Maximin is considered rather quiet. As soon as the men will be returned from the coup de main against the HQ of the 242. ID, it will be necessary to send the jeeps to Saint-Zacharie and Auriol to close the northern access to Aubagne.

At sea - While airborne troops and commandos were briefed shortly before take-off or the start of their mission, it was not until the first light of dawn that the loudspeakers of all the ships of the invasion fleet finally announced the Great Return.
For the Americans, it was the famous Eisenhower text.
Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!
You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months.
The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.
Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened. He will fight savagely.
But this is the year 1943! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground.
Our Home Fronts have given us a superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!
I have full confidence in your devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!
Good Luck! And let us all beseech blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

For the French, a simple translation of Eisenhower's agenda, initially envisaged, was quickly discarded. The text was adapted by General Frère:
Soldats, Marins et Aviateurs français de la Force Expéditionnaire alliée !
Vous êtes sur le point d’entamer l’étape décisive de la Grande Croisade de Libération de la Patrie, pour laquelle nous luttons depuis plus de trois ans. Les yeux du monde sont sur vous. Les espoirs et les prières des peuples épris de Liberté du monde entier vous soutiennent. Avec nos braves Alliés et nos frères d’armes sur tous les fronts, vous détruirez la machine de guerre allemande et la tyrannie nazie qui opprime les peuples d’Europe, afin de construire un monde libre et sûr pour nos enfants.
Votre tâche ne sera pas facile. Notre ennemi est bien entraîné, bien équipé et aguerri par les combats. Il luttera avec férocité.
Mais nous sommes en 1943 ! Bien des choses se sont passées depuis les victoires nazies de 1940, quand la France, subissant une guerre qu’elle n’avait pas voulue, n’a dû sa survie qu’à l’énergie du désespoir, alors que tout semblait perdu. Depuis, les Nations Unies, et les armées françaises elles-mêmes, ont infligé de grandes défaites aux Allemands, sur terre, sur mer et dans les airs.
Notre Empire et nos Alliés nous ont dotés d’armes puissantes et ont engagé dans la lutte un grand nombre de combattants entraînés. Aujourd’hui, la chance a tourné ! Les hommes libres du monde entier marchent tous ensemble vers la Victoire !
Je sais que chacun de vous s’engagera corps et âme dans le grand combat pour la Libération de la Patrie, un combat qui ne peut s’achever que par le triomphe de la Liberté.
Vive la France !

Western Mediterranean - Dawn comes, and revives the questions. Where the hell were we going? We were in the middle of nowhere, even though a quick look around shows that we were are even less alone than the day before. There were even people. Lots of people. And planes. The "night landing maneuver" was obviously not the right option. So what happened? Some- more and more - wonder, without really saying it, "What if... ? " It is that by the unusual nervousness of the oilmen at the boarding, the size of the convoy, from what we could see, the comings and goings of the planes above them and the small ships around them for the duration of the cruise, which meant that some were nothing more than rags, the little still in a state of mind are beginning to have doubts. Even some big smart guys. And while we were unfolding - damn, how badly do you sleep on these things, how did you do it? - the leaders asked us to pull over! Before eating? The orders cause a stir. Oh, and then, we are preparing the colors. Good. Sunrise, color rise. That explained it.
The most attentive of those who are crowded in front of us listened carefully: somewhere down there, one heard rolling like a dull rumble. The morning mist reveals little by little the silhouettes of many vessels heading for obscure destinations. Four aircraft pass low and roaring and suddenly cast their shadows over the mass of soldiers, where there is now much whispering. To those who follow them with their eyes, silver streaks reveal the presence of other planes, much higher up.
The loudspeakers suddenly sputter. "There were loudspeakers? Did you notice them? Well yes, they didn't grow in the night, you idiot! Silence in the ranks! Shh!" Someone tapped on the microphone, probably, and it made a strange noise that was lost in the waves.
"Officers, non-commissioned officers, soldiers, rest! General Herman is speaking to you. I am going to read you the message of General Frère dated this morning, September 6th, five o'clock." Electromechanical sputtering. Coughing, throat clearing. Not very happy at the microphone, that.
"French soldiers, sailors and airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! You are about to begin the decisive stage of the Great Crusade for the Liberation of the Fatherland, for which we have been fighting for more than three years. ..."
This was it...
" ... I know that each one of you will commit himself, body and soul, to the great fight for the Liberation of the Fatherland, a fight that can only end with the triumph of Freedom."
New cough, perhaps a little more moved - yes, yes, a cough can be moved.
Then: "Allow me to add a few words on a personal basis..."
"Officers, non-commissioned officers, soldiers of the 3rd DIM, you will soon be treading the soil of a country that has been crushed for too long under the yoke of the occupying power and its serviles. A Homeland where compatriots, friends, and for many of us, a father, a mother, a brother, a sister, a wife, children... The task that we have before us is immense. The hours to come are crucial for the success of this enterprise: to drive out the German, so that finally our parents, our friends, our compatriots, our children born or to come can live free and without fear of the Future. At this time, the first of your comrades are already in the grips of the Enemy, not without success. From this night on, airborne troops and shock troops, from our army but also from our American allies, and even from our Belgian comrades, who have sworn to wash away the affront to their country, have gone into action and are already making progress on French soil. Three years ago, some of us crossed this sea with the hope of returning one day. That day has come. I know that everyone will do their duty. Good luck to all."
No coughing this time, just silence. Emotional, too. Then: "But before we go, one last thing... Officers, non-commissioned officers, soldiers... attention!"
The slight hubbub that had begun to rise died down. Discipline tamed the excitement and effervescence
and effervescence of the moment.
"Allons enfants de la Patri... i... eu... ."
The chorus of troops quickly covers the song dispensed by the loudspeakers, while the transport sends out the colors and its bearer waves the general's pennant. The siren of the vessel sounds, others in the distance echo it.
"...nos sillons..." is followed by a short moment of silence. And then, feverishly, the whole mass of men begins to move, respecting more or less correctly the planned scenario. The darker line of the coast is now visible. Du Fresnay elbows Roumilly in the ribs before he disappears in the whirlwind: "You remember?"
- When we embarked? It must have been somewhere over there, across there, right?
- Across there, who knows! Three years. Damn it! I'll tell you, I was scared to death...
- Yeah. Me too, if that helps.
- Well, now, here we are. Here we go!
- Yes, today we're here! Are you scared?
- I don't think so. Not yet. Watch yourself, you bastard!
- You too!

Operation Tiamat
Provence, 05:00
- Engines are heard again in the sky of Alpilles. The German flak is this time much less strong than a few hours before, especially since on the ground, chaos is spreading - it was not the pilots of the DC-3s of the French Air Force (who were on their second mission of the night) or their passengers, the paratroopers of the 505th PIR, who will complain about it.
The American paratroopers have to land near Saint Martin de Crau, it is the Wyoming mission. Their main task is to block the Nationale 113, and their secondary objectives to fix the battalion of the 338. ID spotted in the south and to neutralize the airfield of Istres.
In Arles, Alabama's men are subjected to a violent artillery bombardment by the I/338. Artillery Rgt. The Germans had left the city and, unable to retake it immediately, decided to shell it. The Arena is hit many times; the civilians, already frightened by the fighting, hide in the cellars. For its part, the 325. GIR (Maryland) continues to fight in the streets of Salon and Miramas. Finally, a little to the north (Tennessee), the strongpoint of Orgon finally falls.
A few kilometers away, at Les Taillades, near Cavaillon, General Kneiss, head of the LXXXV. ArmeeKorps, has just arrived with Generals Gilbert (244. ID), Foltmann (338. ID), and Baessler (242. ID). Their priorities are to contact their respective HQs by radio, to assemble one (or more) Kampfgruppe to counter-attack and especially to join their posts further south.
On the French side, a certain calm has fallen in the Bordeaux and Vendredi sectors, but not around Septèmes and Plan-de-Campagne, where elements of the 3rd RCP and the II/934. IR are trying to infiltrate each other's defenses. The teams that fell in the massif de l'Etoile finally reach Plan-de-Cuques; quickly taken over by the inhabitants of the village and then by Resistance fighters, they end up celebrating in the town with the rioters.
Further east, the Belgians succeed in their raid on the 242. ID headquarters. They now have the reinforcement of a hundred resistance fighters equipped with weapons parachuted or hidden since 1940 in the ruins of an old bread oven. The civilian vehicles used (and some captured German trucks) are a godsend for the next phase of the operation: controlling the crossing of the roads around Auriol.
A certain tranquillity also falls in the sector of the Canadians and around the Saint-Gervais bridge, where there are only a few exchanges of fire. Most of the fighting are skirmishes around the Couronne - the grenadiers of the 338. ID have obviously decided to wait until daybreak to move.
The fighting dies down in downtown Cassis (Bouchon). The 1st Shock takes advantage of this to send elements to infiltrate towards the east, along the D559, to seize the pass on the side of the cliffs that the locals nickname the Crown of Charlemagne.
Finally, if the calm has fallen on the Cap Sicié, each of the opponents waiting for daybreak, this is not the case for the men of the 113th Infantry Regiment, who are engaged in fierce urban fighting in Lavandou.

Aerial preparation
- No sooner had the hum of Wyoming's DC-3 engines faded than other aircraft, flying much higher, are seen in the early dawn. These are the B-17s of the 2nd and 99th BGs, escorted by the 1st and 14th FGs, which fly up the Rhone valley to bomb the bridges and the Avignon airfield. During this time, the Fortresses of the 390th BG, accompanied by Mustangs of the 79th FG, attack the runways of Montpellier-Fréjorgues. For this operation, another problem has to be solved: there are fewer fighter groups available than bomber groups. The solution came from a 30-minute interval of some raids: the Liberators of the 392nd BG recovered the escort of the B-17s on their way back, the time to hit their own targets between the Saintes-Maries de la Mer (fortifications and artillery positions) and Saint-Gilles (artillery and passage on the river).
The 15th Air Force sends the rest of its four-engine planes to Fos, Port Saint-Louis, the Salins de Giraud and Port de Bouc, but also against the passages on the Rhône on the west bank of the Rhône around Arles (where the 504th PIR was unfortunately hit by some "friendly" bombs) and around Tarascon and Beaucaire. The Marauders of the 17th, 319th and 320th BG, escorted by the 31st, 33rd, 52nd and 362nd FG, which take turns, systematically attack the bridges over the Durance river in Cavaillon, Mallemort, Cadenet, Pertuis, Manosque and, at the entrance to the Basses-Alpes, the bridge of Mirabeau. They go up to Cavaillon. The number of allied fighters in the air is such that the P-51 ground support aircraft of the 27th and 86th FG could operate freely for the benefit of the 82nd Airborne, that the 7th EC could devote itself to the support of the 1st DP in the Aix area and that the P-39s of the 363rd FG had free reign over the beaches.
The medium bombers of the 8th Air Force and the French Air Force, which had brought in units from the Italian front, attack the fortifications and artillery positions on the landing beaches and their rear. Some fortified nodes or locks in the rear, such as Ensuès-la-Redonne, Ollioules, la Cadière-Cuges, Carnoules or Roquefort la Bedoule, are also targeted.
These last missions are carried out without any specific escort and without any damage other than those due to the flak, thanks to a system of relays that allowed the Allies to align all morning no less than nineteen GCs of the French Air Force and FS of the 8th and 15th AF. All these units operate in a gigantic "Circus" on a strip of about thirty kilometers inland, allowing the bombers to act with virtual impunity. To operate in this way, airfields in Corsica, as well as the island of Elba, Grosseto, Alghero, Olbia and Porto Torres (in Sardinia), have all been provided with the maximum amount of fuel, spare parts and mechanics.
The RAF, or more precisely the RCAF, is also involved. Bombers have indeed crossed France at night for a series of round trip raids. Thus, Sqn 408, flying on Lancaster since July, went to Algiers to replace Sqn 619, after having doubled the raid on Saint Mandrier. Sqn 419, on Halifax, attack the artillery positions of Cap Cépet before landing in Malta. Finally, Sqn 434 (which arrived in England only in August), bombs the batteries located on Plaines Marines around La Ciotat (Charlie sector) before continuing on Taranto, where, with Sqn 148, its planes temporarily jam the runways.
The naval aviations (the French of the Force de Raid, the escort carriers and the flotillas based on land, the air groups of the US Navy carriers and those of the Royal Navy aircraft carriers, to show British solidarity) operate along the coast and cover their respective squadrons.
Finally, for good measure, the French Air Force sends its only heavy bombing group, the GB 60, accompanied by the P-38s of the 13th EC. All come from Crete, where they were deployed to deceive the enemy. They had to refuel on their return to Rome on one of the 15th Air Force bases.
In the air, the result is a monumental defeat of the Luftwaffe, whose numbers had already been slimmed down by operation Dragon Eggs: the JG 2, submerged, loses in the space of a few hours not less than 25 aircraft, not to mention those which will be irreparable or destroyed on the ground. Before the end of the day, in front of the allied superiority, orders are given to move all the remaining Jagdgeschwader to the north.
On the Allied side, only 15 fighters and a dozen bombers are lost (most of them shot down by the Flak).

Operation Tiamat
On the ground, some areas are nevertheless spared by the bombardments, in order not to risk to hit the paratroopers and commandos who landed during the night several hours ahead of the main troops, to remove certain critical positions or installations by force.

Provence, 06:45 - While the noise of the last raids fades away, new engines are heard over La Ciotat, Saint-Cyr les Lecques, Bandol, Sanary and Hyères. They are the Corsairs of GAN 1 and 2, which make a low altitude passage along the beaches, strafing everything they can see in spite of the indecisive light of dawn and especially the flak positions that have the misfortune to reveal themselves. This attack is intended to cover the low-level passage of the B-24s of the 480th Anti-Submarine Group and the Catalinas, which drop depth charges at less than 50 meters from the beaches to detonate the mines that the Germans had planted in the shallows. Despite the passage of the Corsairs and the brevity of the "bombardment", several aircraft are riddled with shrapnel by the flak; some of them come back with wounded and two Catalinas even come back with one engine.
However, most of them are back in the vicinity of the fleet two hours later to track down the enemy submarines.
At the same time and a little further from the coast, some curious aircraft appear over the water. They are outdated aircraft, PBY-5s and Wellingtons, all of them carrying a magnetic field to detonate the magnetic mines. This mission is not without danger: a PBY of 28F capsizes in the waves because of an explosion that is too close and a Wellington is damaged.
A little later, several minesweepers are fired upon from the coast and plough the sea along the shore, under the shells of the ships of the line that passed by snoring over them, in order to eradicate in the sectors cleared during the night the mines which would have escaped the naval engineers and the minesweepers.


Royal Navy Aircraft Carrier HMS Indomitable, Operation Dragon, September 1943

Côtes de Provence, 07:00 - Sie Kommen!
In spite of the understandable panic of the defenders of the Südwall, the German officers, as soon as calm came back after this unusual air attack, turned their binoculars towards the sea. Many exclaim, "Achtung! Sie Kommen!" - They are coming.
Indeed, dark shapes, many dark shapes, begin to emerge in the early morning, preceded by a moustache of foam that shows that they are heading for land. Further out to sea, other forms are outlined, even more threatening, which suddenly light up: the naval bombardment has just begun. Very quickly, the ground trembles under the feet of the observers - those, at least, who have not yet dived into a shelter.
From Hyères to the Camargue, enormous sprays of earth and sand rise all along the coast...
The battleships and cruisers that began to fire are grouped into squadrons according to the landing beaches. We have thus :
- in the Hyères sector, TF 84 (MN): BB Richelieu, CA Algérie and Colbert, CLAA Marseillaise, CL La Galissonnière and their escort;
- in the Bandol-Sanary sector, TF 85.1 (MN): BB Provence and Lorraine, CA Duquesne, CLAA Duguay-Trouin, CL Gloire and their escort;
- in the La Ciotat-Saint-Cyr les Lecques sector, TF 85.2 (RN): BB Queen Elizabeth and Warspite, CA Exeter, CLAA Caledon, CL Newcastle and their escorts;
- in the Côte Bleue sector, TF 86.2 (USN): BB New York and Texas, CA Tuscaloosa, CL Savannah and Omaha and their escorts;
- in the Gulf of Fos area, TF 86.1 (USN): BB Nevada and Pennsylvania****, CA Augusta, CL Brooklyn and Philadelphia and their escort;
- in the sector of the Petit Rhône and the Camargue, TF 83 (RN): BB Ramillies and Valiant, monitors Abercrombie and Roberts, CLAA Colombo, CL Liverpool and their escorts (this task force was disbanded after the bombing, the ships joining TF 86.1).
- finally, in reserve (USN), the old battleship Arkansas, the CL Cincinatti and Milwaukee and their escort.


US Navy Battleship USS Arkansas, Operation Dragon, September 1943

The Corsairs of Task Force 80, the Illustrious and the Victorious, returned from Scapa Flow, are in charge of the close air cover of the fleet. These carriers are protected by the CLAA Royalist and Spartan.
TF 81.1 (MN) - CV Jean-Bart, covered by CLAA Primauguet, and TF 82.1 (USN) - CVE Block Island, Bogue and Croatan, covered by the Arkansas group, are responsible for air support in the coastal sector with the help of the Barracudas and Avengers of TF 80.
Finally, TF 81.2 (MN) - CVE Dixmude, Lafayette and Quentin-Roosevelt and TF 82.2 (RN) - CVE Hunter and Tracker, covered by CLAA Carlisle, provide mixed anti-air and anti-submarine coverage.
François Darlan put his mark on the Provence (he preferred this ship to the Duquesne, where the strings of the operation were actually pulled - bad tongues said that the cruiser was too small for his ego). The Admiral of the Fleet, who prepared and led the organization of the 1942 (Greece and Sicily) and 1943 (Provence) landings, was appointed in July as the French representative to General Eisenhower and first deputy of SACEUR. As such, he commands the naval part of Dragon. In practice, the staff of the operation planned without him, but it was up to him to pronounce a resounding proclamation that was broadcast live on the French ships, while the others were entitled to a slightly adapted communiqué read by the commanders.
- Sailors of the French Fleet! This is a sailor, like you, speaking to you. Alone, you have never been defeated by the brutal enemy who invaded our Motherland. Your courage has allowed the victories that finally made the fate of arms turn in our favor. And today, it is up to you, it is up to us to open fire against our own shores so that it is possible to drive out the hated Occupier! As always, the French Navy will carry out its mission and this time, the Victory that is reaching out to us will crown our efforts. Long live the French Navy! Long live France!
In the official text that will be broadcast, a careful hand will have added between the last two exclamations of this little speech a useful "Long live the Republic!"


US Navy Light Cruiser USS Philadelphia, Operation Dragon, September 1943

Operation Tiamat
- Along the coast, the commandos are relieved to see the cavalry arrive, because their opponents will have to reconsider their priorities.
But inland, the fighting continues. Thus, the 504th PIR digs in in Arles and decides to send sections including Forward Air Controllers northwards to track down the enemy artillery batteries that are shelling the town. The 505th PIR engages elements of II/758 Grenadier Rgt south of their position - This means that the latter could hardly attack the commandos on the Fos road bridge.
In the other sectors of the 82nd Airborne, the situation does not change: the 507th PIR is now settled in Orgon and street fighting continues in Miramas and Salon.
The situation is also stabilized in the sector of the 1st Parachute Division, where the only fighting is in the area between Septèmes-les-Vallons and Cabriès.
The elements of the 1st Shock that remained in the vicinity of Cassis succeed, despite some skirmishes, in sending a a company on the D559 to the rear of the Crown of Charlemagne, but they are subjected to a heavy bombardment from the artillery positioned at Cap Canaille. The German artillerymen begin to suspect that their comfortable stay in Provence is coming to an end and they started a demonstration for honour, their battery was in any case poorly oriented to fire on a ship.
Finally, if the 3rd Choc and the 1st SSF note that their German adversaries are becoming much less aggressive, the 113th RI continues to fight to reach the port of Le Lavandou.

Coasts of Provence, 07:30 - From Fos to Hyères
The German dispositions
- Among the generals of von Rundstedt's staff, opinions were very divided on the location of a possible landing. It was finally decided to heavily mine certain sectors and to position the troops a little behind the beaches concerned in order to delay the enemy until the armoured units could descend. The mechanized units were to be deployed in the Bouches du Rhône or the Var in the event of a landing east of the Rhône, and in the Aude and Hérault in the event of a landing west of the Rhône.
The Führer had personally promised von Rundstedt, at the time of the creation of the 14. SS Panzergrenadier Division, the permanent presence in the south of France of several resting Panzer Divisions. The 11. Panzer, which arrived in Toulouse very much tested by its stay on the eastern front, is almost reconstituted; the 1. Panzer SS, which followed it to Lyon in mid-August, was at 80% of its normal strength; the 2. Panzer SS, based in Nîmes and which arrived at the end of August, was only two-thirds of its strength. These last two units had just been informed that a landing appeared imminent. The state of alert of the last few days, which had been raised to a reinforced level during the night, was gradually transformed into regrouping orders to prepare the German reaction.
However, if an Allied landing in the Midi was envisaged, the fact that it could take place in 1943 was much debated. And von Rundstedt himself seems to have been surprised by the avalanche of confused messages arriving at his headquarters on the morning of September 6th, due to the extent of the "front" that was opening up - from Fos to Hyères, really?
However, the reality of the situation gradually dawned on him. In Darryl Zanuck's film "The Great Return", to his aide-de-camp who says "They are coming, Herr Feldmarschall", he answers: "No... They are coming back!" The authenticity of this line is doubtful... But the legend is sometimes truer than the truth.

Allied plans - Thanks to ULTRA and the Resistance, the Allied staff was well aware of the German organization, the available forces and their deployment, and even the exact location of defenses and minefields.
During the elaboration of the plan, the solution of landing on both sides of the river was first rejected: each allied battle corps, separated from the other by the Rhône, was at that time too easily defeated during the map exercises. A landing on one bank of the Rhône was chosen, the river protecting the left flank, preferring the most heavily mined sectors, but also the least defended and less of a hindrance, in reality, to the rapid progression of the troops. The marine minefields having to be neutralized in force, it is expected that the minesweepers will suffer some losses, but it was nevertheless considered that a quick line up was more than necessary in this race against the clock against the German reaction.
Then, two camps opposed each other. For some, putting ashore close to well-defended ports did not take into account the lessons of Dieppe. But for others, these lessons, once well learned, were to make it easier to seize the ports. The presence of German armored divisions in the vicinity of the major ports finally won the day: since these ports were absolutely necessary for a long-term effort, one could not take the risk of being blocked far from them, in the east of the Var.
It was therefore decided to land directly around Marseille and Toulon, enclosing the two cities by an airborne action which would have as a secondary mission, besides throwing chaos on the opponent's rear, to act as an anti-tank brake on the Blue Line (the course of the Durance river), while the armoured divisions landed. We also counted on the Resistance to neutralize at best the movements and the communications of the enemy (operation Vipère and other actions).
Afterwards, a quick crossing of the Rhône was planned, in order to take Sète and to lengthen the front line in order to capture the maximum number of opponents.
On the coast, the landing extends from Fos to Hyères. In order to direct the operations, each sector was equipped with a command ship. By the end of 1940, after operations Ravenna, Marignano, Cordite and Accolade, the French and the British had understood the importance of having a staff based as close as possible to the area of operations and with important means of communication. These men were to be in charge of regulating the traffic in and out of their sector, to maintain the link with the troops already landed, to guide those who were to be landed, to facilitate the evacuation of the wounded and finally to coordinate naval bombardment and air support.
While the British quickly opted for the conversion of merchant ships, the French preferred to use warships, starting with the old Courbet, then the Provence, the Jeanne d'Arc and the Duquesne. In the spring of 1943, three units converted from Liberty Ships entered into service with the French Navy, allowing to return the warships to their more traditional missions.
For Operation Dragon, the British loaned one of their ships to the Americans, who had only one unit of this type in Europe at the time. The Allies therefore lined up five command ships, one for each landing sector: MN Morvan (Hyères sector), MN Maurienne (Bandol-Sanary sector), MN Médoc (La Ciotat-Saint-Cyr-les-Lecques), USS Ancon (Côte Bleue sector) and HMS Bulolo (Gulf of Fos sector).
The Americans land in the Gulf of Fos, west of the beach of Saint-Gervais, facing the pond of Galéjon (Alpha Red sector); on the beach of Saint-Gervais, just south of Fos, leading directly to the road bridge (Alpha Blue sector); on Port-de-Bouc, north of the Etang de Berre canal (Alpha Green sector); and south of the structure, between Auguette and Laveron (Camel sector). They also land on the Côte Bleue, in the creeks around La Couronne (Bravo Blue sector) and Carry-le-Rouet (Bravo Red sector).
As for the French, they land between La Ciotat (Charlie sector) and Hyères (Hubert sector). If the beaches of Hyères are sufficient for the whole III French Corps (whose infantry has to seize Toulon), the I Corps has to split up between the sectors Charlie, Léon (Saint-Cyr les Lecques), Bernard (Bandol) and Stéphane (Sanary) sectors, and on the other hand between the triple mission of taking Marseille, moving quickly up the Durance river and fixing the position west of Toulon. In order to be able to land, this corps has to neutralize the islands of Porquerolles, Port Cros and Levant ; this task is entrusted to the 14th DBLE (Pierrette, Claudine and Lætitia sectors).

Côtes de Provence, 07:30 - The Americans...
Alpha Red sector (St Gervais-Galéjon)
- The 3rd Rangers Bn having to land in a swampy area, the US Army planners deemed it necessary to equip Able, Baker and Charlie companies with new LVT-2 Buffalo. They are accompanied by LCVPs that carry, in addition to the Dog Company of the Rangers, the Able Company of the 1st Engineer Btn of the 1st US-ID and two mortar sections of the 16th US-IR. Finally, each boat carries some members of two sections of the Special Engineer Task Force (SETF). The SETF is an amphibious assault engineer brigade combining several battalions of the Army's assault engineers and the US Navy's naval demolition specialists: the Naval Combat Demolition Unit. Their role is to open breaches in the minefields and fortifications of the Germans.
The Americans, in addition to the minesweepers, planned to have their barges preceded by LCVP-APEX to neutralize the most troublesome defenses. These are "couples" of radio-controlled LCVP containing an explosive charge of one ton ("male") or four tons ("female"). In theory, the male barge should explode on the beach defenses, opening the way for the female barge towards the structure to be neutralized. However, only two APEX will reach their objectives out of the twelve engaged in this sector: two will jump on mines and the other eight will behave erratically (four were recovered by the APD USS Barry, Dickerson, Greene and Roper). It is believed today that by bad luck some of the radio frequencies used by the Germans overlapped with those used for the guidance of these barges.
The opposition in this sector is nevertheless very weak: a good part of the supports and positions of Schwerpunkt 87 were neutralized by naval artillery, aviation or, during the night, by the commandos of the 1st SSF.
Alpha Blue sector (Fos) - Charlie to Fox companies of the 1st Rangers Btn land in this sector, equipped with many Dinghies and other assault boats to cross the canal on both sides of the road bridge, in case the bridge was blown up. They are accompanied by Baker Company of the 1st Engineer Btn, reinforced by two SETF sections and already the first armored vehicles: in this case a Sherman Dozer and an armored bulldozer model D8.
But things are not as simple as in the Red sector. For example, if, on the shore around the bridge, the German defenders were cleanly eliminated, it is not the same two kilometers to the east, at the bend of the canal. There, an 88 and a 20 mm survived the naval barrage, as they are protected by a casemate camouflaged in a restaurant; they take the dike in enfilade. The engineer tank is eliminated shortly after crossing the bridge, while it was supporting the progression on the road along the salt marshes. In the center of the device, the radios of Fox Coy already call for support against this unwelcome resistance.
Alpha Green sector (Port-de-Bouc north) - The success of the naval and air bombardment in this sector was mediocre: the Germans still have several 88 under casemate and 20 mm anti-aircraft tubes. These tubes open fire on the line of minesweepers operating in front of the barges (YMS 192, hit several times, eventually sank, victim of a fire, YMS 271 and 300 were damaged), before attacking the Ram DD (Duplex Drive) of the Able Company of the 741st Tank Btn which approach the shore. The 4th Rangers Btn (Able, Baker, Charlie and Fox Co), assisted by Charlie Co of the 1st Engineer Btn and the SETF sections, have a lot to do. The D8 bulldozer and the accompanying Sherman Dozer are put out of action as soon as they land.
Casualties begin to mount for this first assault wave, including on the LCA and LCVP, to the point that sailors begin to speak of "SNAFU Beach." It is finally at the place where the exit should be the easiest, given the presence of three bridges, that the operations start the worst. And it is at this place that we find a witness who would really have preferred to be elsewhere!
"First there was this pungent smell, a mixture of vomit and urine. Then the release into the dying night when we went up on the deck to descend by rope ladder to the barges.
There were the swirls, the spray, and the smell of cordite which became more and more prevalent as we approached.
The explosions, some accompanied by screams. "Better them than us...", but I was immediately ashamed of this thought.
Finally, the shock. The rush in the tracers. Water above the thighs, which slows you down, which slows you down... For pity's sake, I have to move forward or the next one will be for me! For a moment, the war correspondent takes over the atavism and I take a picture, the only one of the morning, and still, I am sure that it will be blurred.
The first corpses... taking cover... more shots, more explosions, and a sergeant who pulls me out of my hole yelling at me to collapse, decapitated...
We ended up advancing off the beach between ruined houses. The fighting has stopped. There are very few wounded or prisoners in the camp opposite, only dead [macabre outlet for these young men who have become old men in an instant, unless they were monsters - passage redacted by the censor]. The day will end with a return to normalcy andcalm, but nothing will ever be the same again on SNAFU Beach [two words crossed out by the censor and replaced by 'this beach']." - Robert Capa, The Notebooks of Provence.
Robert Capa made the only known photograph of the first moments of the landing on " SNAFU Beach ". (Alpha Green). It is indeed a blurred photo, probably taken just after leaving his LCVP, in which we see GIs ahead of him in knee-deep water, facing the buildings and bunkers of Port-de-Bouc, on the coast of Provence. Two other war correspondents died on SNAFU Beach.
Camel sector (North Laveron) - As much as the landing north of the canal of the Etang de Berre canal, the landing south of the same canal starts under good auspices. Indeed, the 14-inch shells of the New York completed the destruction of the Château-Ponteau position and eliminated part of the artillery positions up to the Laurons, equipped with 88, 75 or 105, while the others were neutralized by the 1st SSF. The positions of the Schwerpunkt 98 only have machine guns and a few mortars, which is insufficient to resist the arrival of the arrival of the Able Company of the 743rd Tank Btn and the 17th Regimental Combat Team. The latter includes the 1st Btn of the 17th IR of the 7th US-ID, as well as the Able Company of the 13th Engineer Btn and, in the first wave, two SETF sections accompanied by a Sherman Dozer and a D8 bulldozer.
Bravo Blue sector (La Couronne) - The naval and 310th BG bombardment was fairly effective in this sector, as the only position not destroyed or disrupted was the Panzer II casemate turret covering the harbor entrance. It will take a full-scale assault by the men of the 1st Battalion of the 32nd US-IR to neutralize it.
As soon as they disembark, the men of the SETF and the Baker Co of the 13th Engineer Btn, accompanied by a Sherman Dozer and a D8 bulldozer, attack the anti-tank wall and the obstacles blocking the ascent of the beaches. The objective is to reach the commandos of the 1st SSF.
Bravo Red sector (Carry-le-Rouet) - In this sector, the PaK-38 entrenched on the Pointe Tassé is destroyed, but the one covering the beaches remains operational, as well as most of the machine gun nests. The D8 bulldozer is quickly destroyed and the German gun engages with the Sherman Dozer in a duel that lasts several minutes before the armored vehicle finds a way to take cover.
But this does not prevent the first wave of the 53rd RCT from landing. This one includes the 1st Btn of the 53rd RI of the 7th US-ID, two SETF sections and the Charlie Co of the 13th Engineer Btn. The first wave starts to advance, neutralizing enemy positions one by one and blowing up the obstacles.


US Navy Battleship USS Texas, Operation Dragon, September 1943

Coasts of Provence, 07:30 - The French...
Charlie sector (La Ciotat)
- The landing in the westernmost French sector is a great success. Indeed, the artillery positions of Plaines Marines and Ile Verte were far from being completed, the naval bombardment was very precise and above all the air preparation was very complete: the Halifaxes of Sqn 434 of the RCAF are followed by the A-20s of the 25th BG and the B-25 of the 23rd EB, then the aircraft of the French Navy. Moreover, it is in this area that the APEX barges obtain their only real success: the "male" barge clears the beach up to the Belgian Gate, which was still covered by two MGs, and the four tons of explosives from the "female" barge blew the whole thing up. Pieces of concrete even fall down in the middle of the first landing wave, at about 50 meters. Two other APEX barges explode when they hit land, clearing the beach, and two others are blown up by mines or sunk by gunfire.
Sea mines inflict casualties on the LCVPs, a few dozen meters from shore, but when the first landing craft lands, only a few machine-gun and mortar positions can still oppose the French surge.
The first wave is composed of elements of the 6th Infantry Regiment of the 14e DI, veteran of Italy, of the 1st Cie of the 65th Engineer Btn and two sections of Bélier DD of the I/502nd RCC (ten tanks). Even if some areas were brutally demined by the naval bombardment, which also destroyed some parts of the anti-tank wall, five tanks blow up on mines. Two of them, simply unhitched, remain nevertheless active, covering with their weapons the men of the engineers who explode the obstacles with Bangalore torpedoes and other explosives.
The other five amphibious Aries support the infantry's progression through the breaches.
Léon sector (St-Cyr les Lecques) - If the Liouquet battery, equipped with 90 mm Italian guns, was neutralized by the naval artillery, the men of the 52nd Infantry Regiment and of the 2nd Coy of the 65th Engineers are welcomed by machine-guns and mortars. At the entrance of the harbor, the fortified Panzer II turret does not digest a shell, probably from the Queen Elizabeth (considering the size of the crater), but the PaK-38 of La Madrague and PaK-36 of La Moute, both in casemate, attack the Bélier DD of the I/502nd RCC. Several of them are put out of action, but not without having eliminated two positions where 20 mm AAs were taking a heavy toll on the first infantrymen.
On the other side of the bay, a fortified R-35 turret makes some nice holes in the boats approaching the shore. It is eventually neutralized by an intervention of of the SBD-5 Cormoran of the Jean-Bart*****.
Bernard sector (Bandol) - In Bandol, the beach is surrounded by hills which will be until the last moment the target of an intense naval bombardment. As a result, the Bélier DD of the I/502nd RCC are already less than 50 meters from the beach while the latter is still under the fire of the Provence and its group. Only the PaK-38 under casemate of La Farandole which takes the beach in enfilade remains operational - it will destroy five tanks and immobilize another one before being neutralized by an assault of the men of the 21st Rgt of Zouaves of the 3rd DIM and the 1st Cie of the 3rd Btn of Engineers. The French then enter the village and immediately attack the hills.


Royal Navy Battleship HMS Queen Elizabeth, Operation Dragon, September 1943

On the field
- Here it is. This was France. Strange and familiar. Strangely familiar, even, for many soldiers who were certainly expecting a more exotic image. It would come.
For now, the Mediterranean was still licking at their heels. It was France, but it was also war. And that, yes, was new. A plume of smoke was spreading over Provence, but there is no time to admire the collection of vessels of all kinds that clutter the horizon. What attracts the eye is the heights that dominate the area, and the spray of explosions on the ridge line.
And shit! Here too! A column of water falls close to the shore, capsizing a boat carrying Neptune knew who. Vlaoum! This time, it was a hut that had been entitled to it! All kinds of debris. Wounded, or worse, no doubt - ambulances were already making their way in that direction. An unpleasant reminder that the Krauts would not let themselves be beaten. Where could it have come from? From up there? Here, we hoped to be safe. Anyway, we were going to move. Not a moment too soon. And to think that not so long ago, we thought it was better than the maneuvers...
- Well, sir? What are the orders?
- Well, Sergeant, this time we're not kidding around. You see that ridge there? That's our objective.
The Zouaves can't do everything. We go up there, look ..
. [He unfolds a map.]
That little valley. Pincer attack, the other company goes through there. We'll meet them on the ridge, if everything goes well. There's a fort up there. If Lorraine, Provence and the air force have left any. We have to take care of a battery that must be... here. The Cormorants seasoned it, but we have to finish the job.
- The battery will be fine, if there are no forgotten casemates around. But a fort... and to go up there... With all that crap, they can hide anywhere!
- Not too many opportunities for digging in, Sergeant. And then, what hides them also hides us, right? But you're right, we'll have to keep an eye out. It's up to us to do our best. Is everybody ready?
- All set, sir. Even Laurel and Hardy. They've finished spilling their guts. But I think if they're offered a cruise again, they'll desert...
- Hey, Sarge!
- In a manner of speaking, sir. El Mardi and Abisbor are up and running. We can...We can count on them.

Once we had disentangled ourselves from the imbroglio of tanks, half-tracks, tractors, a whole collection of military things, construction machines and, of course, pedestrians, in the middle of a din of shouts, explosions - another salvo! - commands and roars of engines, we could progress more freely. On the lookout. Hands clenched on the weapons. We thus began the circumvention, for some, or the ascent, for others, of a small hill that the Zouaves had very kindly neglected. So, in theory, there was nothing to fear. In theory.
The "battery" is there, just a few meters away. Not a dozen pieces, no, just one, probably taken out of its place, or surprised before its deployment at the edge of a small field, a square as big as a napkin. The blast of a bomb, or a large-caliber shell had knocked it on its side. The projectile had caused carnage among the carriage. No trace of the servants, except for a corpse, a feldwebel almost cut in two, in a hollow. The skirmishers are discovering how the limestone fragments, sharp as razors, could rival those of metal. In the tangle of harnesses, and chains, a horse is dying, its forelegs shattered, its flanks lacerated, near its already stiffened body. There are guts and blood everywhere, on the grass, the stones, the bodies, the branches. Lieutenant Maubec could no longer bear the gaze of the eyes filled with terror, pain and incomprehension of the beast. He finishes it off. It is his first "war shot", and it is on this poor innocent beast. And not even a Kraut, if that was the case.
A careful examination of the place and its surroundings eventually yields various effects abandoned in a retreat, and allow the men to discover their first Germans. Lurking against a stunted tree, their uniforms in disarray, dusty, haggard, unable to keep up with the pace of their comrades, there were three of them, finally relieved to be caught. The two able-bodied men are holding up a gunner in a sad state, who is nodding his head and stammering. They are taken to the rear, escorted by a soldier, and set off again, climbing through the almost white stone banks and the vegetation bitterly anchored in the slightest rock fault.
We are thus climbing the slopes of the "Brain" - the "Big Brain" even! Enough to wonder on the sense of humor of the natives, no? - when we are shot at. The lieutenant slumps like that, bang! without warning or anything else, even before the detonation sounded. Everybody take cover! Where did it come from? The slopes areflat, with here and there hedges of various species, suitable for hiding. Between the branches and the leaves, one could not see anything. Sergeant Jacob, closest to the lieutenant, crawls up to him. There is no need to get out the bandages, he is rectified. Sardines don't protect from prunes. New shots, more nourished, which peel the stones and debarked the pines. This time, we had seen them! There, behind this small rocky bar! At least two. And for the FM, macache! And another one, next to this trunk, betrayed by his helmet ! Here, you bastard! Catch this! Missed!
Ah! Here too, missed! Holy cow, that was close! We won't complain!
While we entertain them - without having too much fun in return, it's not the foire du Trone! - some buddies shift furtively. El Mardi passes to have a good shot. And maybe not too many moods. Crac! The shoulder seen in the middle of the vegetation is starred of red and the Landser yells. And as he yells, he uncovers himself. At least two more shots hit him.
He disappears. We will find him later, tilted on his back on a large cade. We continue shooting in the same direction, but it doesn't respond anymore. Only thorns and leaves benefit from these gifts. Cease fire ! We go, and this time, we are careful. Really careful. Away, Albertini's group scans the slope. The sergeant suddenly shoulders, and like a hunter, drops, releases two shots. Not fifty meters away, the bushes shake and let escape a body. The last dead body before we reach the summit.
At the top, the goal is unmistakable: after one or two shots of adjustment, the big tubes of the sailors are conscientiously bludgeoning the fort. A fort built by and for Frenchmen, held by Prussians, bombed by Englishmen and attacked by "Africans"! What a shame! Only Russians and Ottomans are missing... What a pity!
The poor Séré de Rivières has to turn in his grave.
The group led by the captain is arriving, best protected by the shoulder that separates two depressions. Martinez and his guys are taking a small talweg on the right. Albertini and his men, well dispersed, are holding the slopes on the left. More to the west, normally, the other company is doing the same, in the direction of the "Pointe du Cerveau". No need to say, someone in the area had missed the distribution. Progress was quite difficult, since we had to park some probable things, but we had not trained so much to fight on a pool table! We thus reached the access road to the fort, which we found partially cluttered with new howitzers, shattered into pieces, with their share of dead bodies, horses scattered in the trees, equipment scattered to the four winds, mixing military effects, wicker baskets of ammunition and disemboweled crates. It was a nice job, but we do not linger to attribute it to the Air Force or the Navy. And since, anyway, they areRoyal aircraft...
A small salvo of colored rockets to signal that "Stop, guys! We don't want to take your pots on our faces!" and we approach the fortification with caution. Or at least, what is left of it. The tilers of the sector are not going to lack work, but in the meantime the walls would have to be rebuilt and, above all, cleared. As the bombardment has ceased, we saw a few figures emerge from the rubble, covered in plaster, variously crippled, not angry, when they had their ideas in place, to be done with all that. Captain Roumilly's boys join in, and we sort out the situation.
Some men come forward to look at the landscape. They didn't care that they were perched at the top of a syncline! What interested them was that, on one side, they could see the impressive armada extending well beyond the cordon of sand that they had just left ("And over there, you see, it's Marseille!" "You're kidding!" "I swear!"). On the abandoned beach, shellfish - who would have believed it! - deplore the intrusion of impressive lines of vehicles. On the other side, one contemplates the no less impressive extend of the hinterland. France. Quite a piece.
More down to earth, other soldiers were "examining" what the small line of still able-bodied prisoners are leaving behind. The collectionnite is making its first victims. Well of course not with the "Karabins" that were found to be cumbersome, but two handguns and several blades in their scabbards disappeared momentarily from circulation. And let's not forget the caps, the shoulder straps, and things like that. The "it can still be used" crowd opts for the famous "potato masher", thinking of fruitful returns to sender. Santini got his hands on a Schmeisser, a toy that combined the valuable ability to be turned against its previous owners with the not inconsiderable possibility of a future juicy barter.
De Fresnay inherits "by chance" a pair of very well-made binoculars, which, miraculously, had not suffered from the vicissitudes of the day. He found that... normal. The owner had not been robbed, the thing had been abandoned. He was not going to spend his precious time tracking down the owner, especially if he was lying somewhere. After all, in many thatched cottages, Teutonic helmets, Prussian caps and caps, pistols, bayonets and other such souvenirs sit alongside the wedding photo, the framed decoration in its frame and the crucifix. We are perpetuating the tradition, right? Although in these times, one could doubt the persistence of such a mantelpiece.
That said, we do not linger: everywhere, cannons continue to fire, rifles, skirmishers, engines, fires, wounded and dying, and those with foresight to have a drink or to eat a little... And that's it!
No way to be quiet! We were going back! Turn around ! Evidently, smart guy, by continuing straight ahead, we fall on a hell of a step (or rather we risked to fall) !
Walk that we bypassed by the west, in order to join a road that goes in the right direction. One takes advantage of it to recover the vehicles finally unloaded - or to be recovered by them - and go ahead, roll! Mouflon in head, one spun towards the following stop, Le Castellet, to bypass the retreating Fritzes. Of course, we have to stop before, to track down individuals scattered in the green countryside, to be shot at several times, to retaliate, and this is not done without casualties...

French Army SAV-42 "Belier DD / Duplex Drive", Operation Dragon, September 1943
Côtes de Provence - The French... (continued)
Stéphane sector (Sanary)
- This area suffered a lot from the naval bombardment - there again, only the PaK-38 under casemate covering the beach resist. From the mouth of the Reppe, it aligns one after the other the ten Bélier DD of the 1st BICM which land. Three of them are destroyed and three put out of action. Two others, immobilized, continue to support the infantrymen with their fire. Legionnaires of the 15th DBLE have to adjust the pillbox with a bazooka to eliminate it.
The 3rd Coy of the 3rd Engineer Battalion then quickly blows up the anti-tank wall with explosive charges, but the legionnaires find it difficult to advance, slowed down by the numerous machine gun and mortar positions.
Hubert sector (Hyères) - The line of barges is preceded by a hundred meters by a curtain of minesweepers and ten APEX barges (four of which reached the beach).
Like at Fos, the shallow depths allowed the Germans to lay a large number of mines, but the combat swimmers of CF Cousteau prepared the ground well.
However, one 155 mm and three 122 mm of the Marine Artillerie Abteilung 682 (the 122 mm are Soviet captures) survived the bombardment. These pieces of the Badine batteries, at the end of the peninsula, start to fire on the beautiful targets made by the minesweepers.
The 630 ton minesweeper Commandant-Bory, hit several times, is forced to throw itself on the coast. Offshore, the fleet reacts very quickly - the Richelieu and the Algérie compete to silence the battery. Its firing ceases, and resumes a little later, leading to a new punishment of the allied ships, and then it is finally silenced. As for the Commandant-Bory, it supports the landing with his double 90 mm gun until its ammunition runs out.
Two small minesweepers are sunk by smaller guns, but without any consequence on the rest of the operations.
The great width of the beach allows the 10th ID to land two regiments in front of each other : the 50th and 21st Infantry Regiments, each accompanied by a company of the 4th Engineers and two sections of Bélier DD of the 1st BICM. On the beach itself, the Bangalore and other explosives complete the work of the naval artillery and open large gaps in the anti-tank wall. At the southern end of the beaches where the 50th IR had landed, the DD tanks that have survived the mines are attacked by a 75 mm PaK-41 under casemate, located in the back and preventing any exit.
To the north, in the area of the 21st RI, only four amphibious tanks are able to reach land without difficulty.
Pierrette sector (Porquerolles) - The landing in the islands of Hyères is entrusted to the 14th DBLE. On the island of Porquerolles, the legionnaires encounter little opposition: they capture haggard Germans, who described the crushing effect of the aerial bombardments which had hit the islands a month earlier. In any case, the last operational artillery piece was put out of action the day before.
Claudine sector (Port-Cros) - On the island of Port-Cros too, the bombardments have wreaked havoc which allows the legionnaires to seize it without difficulty. Some obstinate German infantrymen try to hide but end up surrendering a few days later.
Lætitia sector (Levant) - This is the third of the Hyères islands, the most remote and the one to which the French staff devotes the least resources. The two companies of legionnaires disembarked there suffer severe losses while trying to take a position where two 77s of the Other War are trying to fight back.


French Navy Light Cruiser MN Montcalm, Operation Dragon, September 1943

Operation Tiamat
- In the Tennessee sector, the Orgon position, held by the paratroopers of the 507th PIR, is targeted by two counter-attacks by elements of Grenadier Rgt 15 of the 189. Reserve Division.
The first one, coming from Cavaillon (to the north), is repulsed thanks to a rain of mortar shells (some of which were fired by a captured piece !). The second one took place more to the east. The Germans try to cross the Durance river by force, but this is without the crossfire of some machine guns judiciously placed, and without the timely arrival, of two fighter-bombers of the 86th FG, with whom the radio operators of the 507th, posted in the abbey Notre-Dame de Beauregard on the hill dominating Sénas and Cavaillon, had been in contact for a few minutes.

Côtes de Provence, 07:45 - The Americans...
Alpha Red sector (St-Gervais Galéjon) - While the Baker Co of the 3rd Rangers Btn crosses the Galéjon pond in the direction of Port Saint-Louis with its Buffalo, the Able and Charlie Co run into the strongpoints of Schwerpunkt 86 to the north, including machine gun nests, mortar positions and even a PaK-36. Meanwhile, Dog Co is advancing along the pier or crossing by canoe to link up with the elements of the 1st Rangers Btn and the 1st SSF.
On the beach, the first elements of the I/16th IR from the Big Red One begin to land along with two mortar sections of the 3rd Rangers, a SETF section and Charlie Co of the 1st Engineer Btn.
Alpha Blue sector (Fos) - Barracudas from Victorious take on Schwerpunkt 89-1, at the end of the pier. While the 20 mm is neutralized, not without damaging a bomber, the 88 escapes the bombs. Despite this partial failure, the raid allows Charlie Co of the 1st Rangers to progress, not without difficulty, through the salt marshes. A little to the north, the Rangers and commandos of the 1st SSF enter Fos, where the Germans of the 758. IR had decided to hold on without retreating.
Meanwhile, the Able and Baker Co of the 1st Rangers Btn, accompanied by a new section of the SETF and the first elements of the 18th IR, arrive on the beach.
Alpha Green sector (Port-de-Bouc north) - The Ram DD of the Baker Co of the 741st Tank Btn land on the beach in their turn, along with Dog and Easy Co of the 4th Rangers, Dog Co of the 1st Engineer, reinforced by a SETF section with a D8 bulldozer, and elements of the 26th IR of the 1st US-ID.
Although the anti-tank wall is destroyed at several points, the landing in this area stalls. The amphibious tanks are all destroyed or severely damaged: the most advanced one was hit by an 88 less than 200 m from Schwerpunkt 89-2 (Vella Point), which was covering the railway bridge of La Baumasse. If the strongpoint 89-3 is taken by storm, the 89-4, which takes the beach in enfilade, 89-5, which blocks the access to the port and, further back, 89-6, which covered the King's Bridge, are still holding out. Losses accumulate and to top it all off the four 170 mm of battery 11 of the II/HKAR (Heeres Küsten Artillerie Rgt, Army Coastal Artillery Rgt) starts to fire on the beaches, their fire regulated by the support points 89-2, 4, 5 and 6.
Camel sector (North Laveron) - While Baker Co of the 743rd Tank Btn lands with a SETF section and its D8 bulldozer to open the road, the 2nd Btn of the 17th IR touches down. In this sector, the perimeter is rapidly enlarged and the men of the first wave take many prisoners, still stunned by the fire of the New York. The positions of Château-Ponteau and Laveron, which had been shattered by shells, are quickly reached.
Bravo Blue sector (La Couronne) - After causing casualties among the American infantrymen, the Pz-II turret covering the harbor is eventually neutralized by bazooka fire.
The fighting spreads in and around Sausset, where the Germans are supported by the four 152 mm Russian shots from battery 692, in Châteauneuf-les-Martigues.
Meanwhile, on the beaches, the men of the 32nd IR of the Bayonet Division, reinforced by a SETF section equipped with a D8 bulldozer and by the first heavy mortars of the 3rd Chemical Mortar Btn, are treading the ground of Provence.
Bravo Red sector (Carry-le-Rouet) - The progression to reach the beaches comes up against many obstacles that have to be overcome. To achieve this, at the cost of significant losses, the men of the SETF and the 13th Engineer Battalion use the Bangalore relay technique.
Further down the beach, the rest of the 1st Battalion of the 53rd Infantry Regiment disembark with a section of SETF, a D8 bulldozer and pieces of the 3rd Chemical Mortar Btn.


US Navy Heavy Cruiser USS Tuscaloosa, Operation Dragon, September 1943

Côtes de Provence, 07:45 - The French (and the Belgians)...
Charlie sector (La Ciotat) - The 6e RI finishes landing, accompanied by a section of SAV-41 Pétard of the I/502nd RCC and a mixed section of SAV-41 Dozer and Fléau of the 21st Btn of the Engineers.
Meanwhile, the infantrymen of the first wave advances. Some bunkers resist, but are quickly destroyed. The armoured bulldozers open safe channels by pushing back the exploding mines. One of them is destroyed and another immobilized, but the Germans lack anti-tank weapons to face the enemy, while the 6th Infantry Regiment still has, in addition to constant naval and air support, a dozen armoured vehicles including four Bélier DD, three Pétard, two Dozers and two Fléau.
Léon sector (St-Cyr les Lecques) - The arrival of the Pétard of the I/502nd RCC wins the decision by neutralizing the two anti-tank positions while the men of the 65th Engineers, helped by the SAV-41 Dozer and Fléau of the 21st Engineer Btn, opened numerous breaches in the anti-tank wall and the minefields. The port is reached, but the progression towards the station is difficult, despite the naval support.
On the beach, the last men of the 52nd RI land.
Bernard sector (Bandol) - While the 21st Zouaves complete its landing in the company of the Fléau and the Dozer of the 21st Engineers, the section of SAV-41 Pétard of the I/502nd gives a boost to the infantrymen of the first wave. These armored vehicles allow to force the lock of the road to Le Beausset. Clearing operations start around the village.
Stéphane sector (Sanary) - The last legionnaires of the 15th DBLE touch down in the company of a section of Pétard and another of Bélier DD of the 1st BICM, which disembark directly from two BDICs.
With the welcome help of the SAV-41 Dozer and Fléau of the 2nd Engineer Btn, which plug the ditches and open breaches in the minefields, the men of the first wave progress towards the port and the Six-Fours fort. The latter is still being hammered by the naval artillery.
Hubert sector (Hyères) - In the south, in the sector of the 50th RI, the arrival of the Pétard of the 1st Battalion of Infantry and Marine Tanks (BICM) is decisive in the neutralization of the Schwerpunkt located on the other side of the airfield. But it is especially the arrival of the 2nd Engineers, with its Flails and Dozers (some of which carry fascines to fill in the anti-tank ditches), which allows the infantrymen of the first wave to get close enough to the German position to assault, with the support of the last Bélier DD.
However, the progression is difficult. The III/917. IR of the 242. ID only give up ground under the pressure of the F4U Corsairs and SBD-5 Cormorans of GAN 2 or of the naval artillery.
Lætitia sector (Levant) - If the first reports from Porquerolles (Pierrette) and Port-Cros (Claudine) are very positive, the same cannot be said for the island of Levant where the first assault of the legionnaires of the 14th DBLE is repulsed.


French Army SAV-41 "Dozer" Tank, Operation Dragon, September 1943

Operation Tiamat
- West of Marseille, the men of the 505th PIR (Wyoming) begin the attack on the Istres airstrip, with the help of stray troops from the 504th PIR who have rallied.
On its side, the Canadian commando of the 1st SSF (Pumpkin), guided by the sound of the start of the shots, decides to try to neutralize the four 152 mm of the 692 battery at Châteauneuf-les-Martigues.

Côtes de Provence, 08:00 - The Americans...
Alpha Red sector (St-Gervais Galéjon)
- The least we can say is that the LVT are a marvel in the swamps and salt marshes of the sector. Thanks to this asset, little by little, the fortifications of Schwerpunkt 86 are bypassed, taken in reverse and neutralized. The amphibious units also make it possible to seize several crossing points on the Port Saint-Louis canals, where Baker Co is joined by the Easy Co to take the port.
On the beaches, the landing of the 1st Btn of the 16th RI of the 1st US-ID is completed, as well as that of the first elements of the 7th Field Artillery Btn.
However, the news are not all good. Directed from the Saint-Louis tower, the artillery of the Mazet battery begins to fire towards the beaches and the noria of ships in the Gulf. Two French 100 mm guns and a single Russian 122 survived the naval artillery shelling. But the work on the Südwall was not advanced enough, far from it, for all the pieces to be safe from the counter-measures of the Allied navy and air force.
Alpha Blue sector (Fos) - Charlie Co of the 1st Rangers Btn, pinned down by the defensive mole 89-1, just before the bend of the Port-de-Bouc canal, is in a difficult situation.
The radio operators ask for a new naval artillery fire to neutralize the enemy position and to be able to advance.
While in Fos, street fighting continues, the last strongpoint of Schwerpunkt 87 falls, allowing the junction of the 1st and 3rd Rangers Btn.
On the beach of St-Gervais, the first battalion of the 18th Infantry Regiment starts to land with a support from the 1st Cavalry Co of the division. Here too, the artillery begins to roll out of the ships - in this case the first elements of the 32nd Field Artillery Btn and the heavy mortars of the 81st Chemical Mortar Btn.
Alpha Green sector (Port-de-Bouc North) - It's still chaos - the city center bridge and the La Baumasse railroad bridge were blown up as the helpless GIs watched. In spite of the progression, the 89-2 strongpoint still resists, as well as those covering the Pont du Roi bridge and the port. Further naval or air support is requested by the 4th Rangers Btn.
Meanwhile, all types of transports continue to deliver their cargoes. Thus the Ram Dozer of the 741st Tank Btn and the infantrymen of the 1st Btn of the 26th IR land directly.
They are accompanied by several pieces of the 81st Chemical Mortar Btn, on which we count a lot to unblock the situation. The German artillery wakes up then, with the four 170 mm of the 11th Battery of the II/HK Artillery Rgt. Their shots lack precision, because the pointing is not ensured any more either by the Fort de Bouc, or by Château-Ponteau.
Camel sector (North Laveron) - The 17th RCT continues to increase its strength with the contribution of Dozers of the Charlie Co of the 743rd Tank Btn, elements of the 3rd Btn of the 17th IR and the 48th Field Artillery Btn.
Inland, contact is made with the men of the 1st Btn of the 2nd SSF Rgt. Despite sporadic clashes, the progression continues towards the canal of the Etang de Berre, notably along the road to the port of Lavera.
Bravo Blue sector (La Couronne) - An Avenger raid on battery 692 leads to a temporary halt to firing. Further south, the fighting around Sausset gradually dies down. The elements of the 32nd IR reach the D9, where the 1st Btn of the 758. Grenadier Rgt of the 338. ID holds on, taking advantage of the terrain and some bunkers.
In the harbor, the first LCI unload directly the first companies of the 2nd Btn of the 32nd Rgt. In the cove of Verdon, elements of the 13th Engineer Btn and the 3rd Chemical Mortar Btn arrive on site.
Bravo Red sector (Carry le Rouet) - Even if the fighting is not over in Carry, the 53rd IR progresses. It secures the path to the Vallon de l'Aigle and takes the ridge which overhangs it. Moreover, the D9 is also reached there, which means that the first Shermans of the 191st Tank Btn (Dog and Charlie Co) who have just landed can quickly reach the plateau.
At the same time, in the various coastal sectors, the men of the 2nd Btn of the 53rd IR, accompanied by elements of the 3rd Chemical Mortar Btn, are landing.


US Navy Escort Carrier USS Bogue, Operation Dragon, September 1943
Last edited:
06/09/43 - France, Start of Operation Dragon (2/2)
September 6th, 1943

Côtes de Provence, 08:00 - The French (and the Belgians)...
Charlie sector (La Ciotat)
- The first elements of the 6th Infantry Regiment reach the city center and meet only a rather weak resistance from the men of the Sicherung Rgt 95. The latter took refuge on the heights and around the Kommandantur.
During this time, the 7th Regiment of Chasseurs Ardennais lands with SAV-41 Crocodile of the 2nd Engineer Btn and an additional mixed section of Dozer and Fléau. The group starts to advance eastward towards the Grand Jas. Some coastal bunkers pretend to oppose their progress, but quickly surrendered after having seen the destructive power of the Crocodiles.
Léon sector (St-Cyr les Lecques) - In this sector, the breakthrough is made, but the infantrymen of the 52nd Infantry Regiment are blocked near the railway station where the Germans haveinstalled a Schwerpunkt with a bunker, Pz-II turret and two PaK-38 under casemate. To the west and along the coast, the progression continues towards the Liouquet position.
On the beaches, the 3rd Demi-Brigade de Chasseurs goes ashore with a section of Crocodile flamethrower tanks and another of SAV-41 Dozer and Fléau.
Bernard sector (Bandol) - On the heights overlooking the town, the shell-shocked Germans surrender. In the south, the French infantrymen have secured openings to the north and north-east on the D559, accompanied by the four surviving armoured vehicles of the first (two Bélier DD, one SAV Pétard and one Dozer). The Zouaves arrive at the location of the La Cride battery, where no German guns are still in working order.
However, the situation is not easy. The city and its surroundings are subjected to several artillery bombardments from the 3. Abteilung of the 244. ID and the 149 pieces (Italian captures) of the 6th Company of the I Bod. Abt. The French radio operators call on the navy and the air force to solve the problem.
Stéphane sector (Sanary) - The 1st Rgt de Chasseur Ardennais begins to land with a section of Crocodile tanks. To make up for the lack of "Clowns", as Colonel Conus wanted to call them, two sections of D8 armored bulldozers are unloaded in order to level the accesses, push back the mines, plug the anti-tank ditches, dismantle the various obstacles - dragon's teeth, Czech pyramids... - installed by the Germans.
In the south, the progression is blocked by a particularly combative Schwerpunkt in the sector of La Coudouliere, while the fighting in the city continues. This support point, even if its 150 mm were destroyed by the naval bombardment, was not neutralized and prevents the legionnaires of the 15th DBLE from advancing.
Hubert sector (Hyères) - We are still fighting in the sector of the airfield, along the Gapeau and to the south, along the road to Giens, to neutralize the last German guns. These artillery pieces survived because they were among the few to have received a complete concrete shelter - the task of the Allies would have been much more difficult if the landing happened six months later, giving the Todt Organization time to better protect more artillery pieces But now, the defenders have only one operational 122 mm gun; it would take several salvos from the Richelieu to silence it, with a direct hit in the embrasure.
On the beaches, the 5th RI of the 10th ID and the 20th RIC of the 9th DIC begin to arrive, as well as two sections of SAV-41 Crocodile of the 2nd Engineers, the Dozer and Fléau machines of the 4th Engineers and the D8 bulldozers from the 25th Engineers. Mouths agape and joyful, the French sappers are reinforced by particularly impressive armoured vehicles disembarking from ships bearing the White Ensign. This is the first British contribution to Dragon: the 2nd Squadron of the 1st Assault Brigade of the Royal Engineers deploys here for the first time Churchill AVRE SGB and ARK bridge-laying tanks, as well as the British equivalent of the SAV-41 Fleau, "cobbled together" from Matilda tanks: the Scorpion II. These tanks were obtained thanks to the friendship between Colonel Conus and General Hobart, who saw this as an excellent opportunity to test them: they are to support the progression towards Toulon.
Lætitia sector (Ile du Levant) - The torpedo boats Ouragan and Simoun approach the island to fire at point blank range, guided by the legionnaires of the 14th DBLE, on the German position which continues to resist.


French Army SAV-41 "Crocodile" Flamethrower tank, Operation Dragon, September 1943

Côtes de Provence, 08:15 - The Americans...
Alpha Red sector (St Gervais-Galéjon) - The 16th Infantry Regiment of the 1st US-ID, whose 2nd Battalion is in the process of disembarking, starts to relieve the 3rd Rangers, which is reoriented towards the banks of the Rhone river. On the beaches, while the naval engineers are already at work to build up the shoreline and points of passage on the canal, the 7th Field Art. Btn continues its deployment.
Alpha Blue sector (Fos) - The destroyer USS Emmons has engaged in the Gulf of Fos.
With energetic support from its guns, Schwerpunkt 89-1 eventually falls. The 1st Rangers Btn is only a few hundred meters away from Alpha Green's troops. Further north, the 1st Cavalry Co is blocked by a particularly aggressive PaK-38 at the constriction between the pond of the Stomac and salt marshes, at the exit of Fos, where the fighting continues.
On the beach, the II/18th of the Big Red One finished landing, while the 32nd Field Art. Btn and the 81st Chem. Mortar Btn continue to bring their elements ashore.
Alpha Green sector (Port-de-Bouc North) - Following the Emmons, the USS McCook, Carmick and Satterlee engage in the Gulf of Fos to bludgeon the last nests of resistance of Schwerpunkt 89, at Port-de-Bouc.
On the rear, a little north of Martigues, the heavy artillery of the HKAR undergoes a double correction, first by US Navy Avengers, then by the Nevada guns. The fire of the battleship is regulated by the leader of the Avengers, who remained on the spot. Indeed, the small L5 planned for this job, in addition to being already in the oven and in the mill, are too fragile for a sector where the flak is so dense: several, damaged, have already landed on the beaches.
Camel sector (North Laveron) - The progression which continues in this sector brings the troops of the 17th RCT in the sector of the St-Pierre oppidum. Lavera is taken and the banks of the Etang de Berre are reached at the level of the Caronte railway bridge, destroyed since August. Further south, the 3rd Btn of the 17th Infantry Regiment completes the landing, accompanied by the 48th Field Art. Btn and the first tanks of the 645th Tank Destroyer Btn.
Bravo Blue sector (La Couronne) - In addition to the cove of Verdon, where the naval engineers are already active, the cove of Sainte-Croix is declared open, which allows the 32nd IR to finish landing, in company of batteries of the 49th Field Art. Btn and the Able and Baker Co of the 191st Tank Btn.
Towards the east, the link is made quite easily with the men of the 53rd RCT coming from Carry.
Indeed, the Germans had built most of their strong points very close to the coast, and they are easily turned inland. Most of the fighting is now taking place inland, along the D9, on the plateau where the infantrymen of the 338. ID have installed their second line of defense.
Bravo Red sector (Carry-le-Rouet) - The fighting continues east of the calanque des Eaux Salées and its viaduct, for the control of the railway tunnels in the direction of Ensuès-la-Redonne. The 2nd Battalion of the 53rd Infantry Regiment begins a turning movement through the forest massif, part of which had been burnt following the air raids of the previous month.
During this time, the 53rd RCT continues to reinforce itself, with the last elements of the 2nd Btn of the 53rd IR, additional pieces of the 3rd Chem. Mortar Btn and the Charlie and Dog Co of the 191st Tank Bn.
At Rove, where it was understood that a major amphibious operation is underway, the I/934. of the 244. ID set out towards Gignac, where paratroopers were reported, and towards Ensuès-la-Redonne.

Côtes de Provence, 08:15 - The French (and the Belgians)...
Charlie sector (La Ciotat) - While the fighting continues in the city center and around the Kommandantur, contact is made with the first elements of the Léon sector, just south of Plaines Marines.
On the beaches, the 7th Rgt de Chasseurs Ardennais finishes landing, with elements of the 208th RA and 160 mm mortars of the 11th BACA. A section of Bélier PP (bridge-layers) of the 25th Engineers also disembarks and immediately follows in the wake of the Belgians.
Léon sector (Saint-Cyr les Lecques) - The defenders of the railway station sector destroy several tanks of the first waves, but once again, the Crocodile tanks have a devastating effect. Their anti-tank positions destroyed by the French reptiles, the defenders surrender. The 3rd DBC completes the landing with the PP rams of the 25th Engineer Battalion.
The Chasseurs begin to advance, while elements of the 35th AR and 160 mm mortars of the Corps are also put down.
Bernard sector (Bandol) - As soon as they arrive, the first elements of the 3rd RTM mount an attack in the direction of the enemy artillery positions which had been revealed a few minutes earlier. They are assisted in their advance by Crocodile tanks and 160 mm mortars, some of which had just been landed. The latter often proves decisive, helping to clear positions towards St-Cyr, La Cadière, the Portissol cove and Sanary, as well as along the road to Toulon, where the Germans resist.
On the beach, the 3rd Moroccan Rifle Regiment finishes landing. It is followed by the Bélier PP of the 25th Engineers to prepare the routes for the imminent arrival of the armoured divisions.
Stéphane sector (Sanary) - The legionnaires of the 15th DBLE arrive at the foot of the fort of Six-Fours. The 160 mm mortars, just disembarked, quickly go into action against the fort, their fire regulated by aerial observers.
"The Miles Cigalon artillery observation and adjustment aircraft, whose baptism of fire it was, were badly beaten by the Flak, like their American colleagues on L5. Two of them have already been lost and several have been pierced with holes by frantic German gunners. The Army called on the Navy, and it was one of our Avengers that helped out - it is less risky than the little Miles. But Gerald Mesny asked for a fighter cover, and I chose to go for it: as the boss of the hunt, I am in the spotlight, so I must also be in the pain, as Joan of Arc would have said. And here I am, circling around the Sanary sector with a wingman while the Avenger directs, and very well, the heavy mortar fire against the fort.
Of course, the Boche fighters, completely overwhelmed, did not show the tip of a propeller, but this episode allows me to admire the panorama. Damn it! We should send a photo to von Rundstedt, who commands the defenders, it seems. He would throw in the towel right away.
Under the Provencal sun of this beautiful morning, and especially under a huge aerial umbrella, the Allied fleets poured a torrent of men and equipment onto the coast. On the French coast, this time! I must not be the only pilot in France at the moment to tell myself that it is better not to give in too much to emotion: a tear in the eye is bad for shooting." (Yvon Lagadec, op. cit.)

Armee de l'Air AIA Cigale artillery adjustment aircraft, Operation Dragon, September 1943

The beaches are still under fire from the 2nd Btn of the divisional artillery of the 242. ID, covered by the I/918. Suddenly, the cannonade stops abruptly - the commandos of the 3rd Shock of Colonel Malraux have launched an attack towards the positions of the I/918.
The latter has to reorient itself to face the multidirectional threat and the artillery battalion is forced to withdraw.
Meanwhile, the Chasseurs Ardennais of the 1st Rgt, supported by the last Bélier DD and SAV Pétard, overrun the La Coudoulière position in the direction of Six-Fours.
Hubert sector (Hyères) - While the last regiment of the 10e DI, the 5th RI, finishes landing, the first one of the 9th DIC (the 20th RIC) does the same. The 9th DIC has to head due north, Toulon being reserved for the 10e DI. The 20th RIC thus relieves the infantrymen of the 10th DI along
along the Gapeau river.
In the south, the 50th RI finally forces the road to Giens in spite of the fire of the second battery of the Bod. Abt. of Carqueiranne, along the Pesquiers pond, and advances towards the last enemy positions in the peninsula. To the north, the fighting around the airfield gradually calms down, and the leading elements reach the south of Hyères.
On the beaches, the atmosphere was more studious than cheerful, but the last "clowns" of the 6th Engineer Brigade (the SAV-41 Dozer and Fléau of the 4th Engineer Brigade) are followed by the "Funnies" of the 3rd Squadron of the 5th Assault Rgt of the 1st Assault Brigade, Royal Engineer : Churchill AVRE SGB, ARK and Matilda Scorpion II.
Lætitia sector (Levant Island) - As the Ouragan and Simoun move away, the two 77 of the island resume firing, raising a few plumes not far from the destroyers. The men of the 14th DBLE immediately launch a new assault, which is again repulsed!


French Army SAV-41 Petard tank, Operation Dragon, September 1943

Côtes de Provence, 08:30 - The Americans...
Alpha Red sector (Saint-Gervais Galéjon) - While the Rangers reach Port-Saint-Louis, neutralising the last 122 of the Mazet battery, the 16th IR, whose 2nd Btn had finished landing, lands west of Fos beyond the salt marsh area.
The regimental staff is also disembarking, together with elements of the 7th Field Art. Btn.
Alpha Blue sector (Fos) - While the last fighting is going on in town, rangers and commandos are stopped by an improvised line of defense, held by the last soldiers of the 2nd Btn of the 758. IR. The Airacobra of the 363rd FG come to support the assault.
A few kilometers to the north, the Istres airstrip is now under the continuous fire of the paratroopers of the 505th PIR (Wyoming mission).
On the beaches, the 2nd Btn of the 18th IR land, as well as new batteries of the 32nd Field Art. Btn. This unit is already at work since the first batteries, as soon as they land, are deployed to muzzle the 11th battery of the II/HKAR and its 170 mm.
Alpha Green sector (Port-de-Bouc north) - The Schwerpunkt 89-2 having ceased firing, the men of the 4th Rangers Bn move north to join those of the 1st Btn.
To the south, fighting continues in the vicinity of the harbor. The strongpoint protecting the Pont du Roi still holds, preventing any passage, while the troops accumulate a few hundred meters behind, on the beaches, where the 2nd Btn of the 26th IR continues to arrive.
Camel sector (Laveron north) - The men of the 17th Infantry Regiment progress towards Martigues. In the sector of St-Pierre, the first M-10s, which had landed a few minutes earlier, bring a precious help to take the junction of the D49 and D9, in spite of the entrenchments built by the grenadiers of the 1st Btn of the 758. IR, 338. ID. Under the pressure of the commandos of the 2nd SSF Btn, which joins the effort, and threatened to be turned by the 32nd RCT, the I/758. is forced to retreat.
Further south, if the last tank-destroyers of the 645th roll out of the barges, it is mostly artillery that lands, in this case other pieces of the 48th Field Art. Btn, but also the first elements of the 69th Armored Artillery Btn.
Bravo Blue sector (La Couronne) - While the 3rd Btn of the 32nd IR land, with elements of the 49th Field Art. Btn and the 191st Tank Btn, the leading troops manage to cross the D9. Contacts are established on the left with the 17th RCT, south of the hamlet of Saint-Pierre.
Bravo Red sector (Carry-le-Rouet) - While the fighting is gradually dying out in Carry-le-Rouet, others take place in the massifs west of the Escayolle valley which leads to Ensuès la Redonne. The fighting also continues along the D9 where the Germans of the 1st Btn of the 934. IR of the 244. ID hold on to the ground, in spite of a heavy shelling by the American naval aviation.
Further south, the 53rd IR continues to land, accompanied by the batteries of the 57th Field Art. Btn.

Côtes de Provence, 08:30 - The French (and the Belgians)...
Charlie sector (La Ciotat) - On the beaches, the first elements of the Belgian Tancrémont Armoured Brigade land, along with the guns of the 208th RA and 11th BACA. The arrival of these guns allows the divisional artillery and the 160 mm mortars to carry out their first supporting fire, which puts an end to the fighting for the Kommandantur. The Sich. Rgt 95 retreats into the hills.
Further north, the second battalion of the 6th RI advances towards Ceyreste.
Meanwhile, the 7th Chasseurs Ardennais is blocked by a Schwerpunkt comprising several bunkers and an anti-tank wall of almost three meters. While waiting for the arrival of the bridge-builders, the Belgian soldiers maneuver around the grand Jas.
Léon sector (Saint-Cyr les Lecques) - At the Plaines Marines, the German resistance is weak and completely disjointed. At dawn, the bombs of the British four-engined planes and then the shells of the battleships made a carnage. The French progression is all the faster as the bridge-laying tanks are at work and the 35th RA goes into action.
The artillery continues to land, but it is mainly the tanks of the 2nd Regiment of African Chasseurs and the 4th Regiment of Moroccan Spahis who benefit from the attention of the beach leaders.
Bernard sector (Bandol) - While the 21st Zouave advances towards the Plan du Castellet, the 3rd RTM arrives at the foot of the Gros-Cerveau, which dominates the beach by 300 meters. The progress is made under the umbrella of the GAE 1, which attacks the German artillery every time a gun is spotted.
On the beach, the first skirmishers of the 6th RTS disembark amidst the guns, mortars and vehicles of the 63rd RA and the 11th BACA.
Stéphane sector (Sanary) - The first armoured vehicles of the I/7 RCA land, as well as a new company of heavy mortars of the 11th BACA.
The fort of Six-Fours repels a first assault of the legionnaires of the 15th DBLE and continues to direct the fire of the German artillery in the sector.
The Chasseurs du 1er Ardennais, after having suffered losses in men and armor because of several minefields, begin a more cautious progression.
Hubert sector (Hyères) - At the initiative of a captain on board an LCM, barges of the 4th RTS land on the other bank of the Gapeau, the coastal river near Hyères, a few hundred meters inland. A bridge of boats could be launched near the mouth of the river.
To the south, the 50th RI attacks the slopes of the Pic des Fées (232 m), where some of the Germans of the I/917. IR have regrouped. Other elements of the 50th RI attack the defenders of the Fenouillet, which dominates Hyères. Along the peninsula, the 4th RTS and the 4th BMLE land with new artillery pieces from the 61st RA and 160 mm mortars from the 12th BACA.
The Carqueiranne battery is raided by the GAN 2, falls silent, and then speaks again.
Lætitia sector (Ile du Levant) - GAN 2 pounds the island without mercy, temporarily silencing the two pieces there.


SAV-41 Fleau tank, Operation Dragon, september 1943

Côtes de Provence, 08:45 - The Americans...
Alpha Red sector (Saint-Gervais Galéjon)
- The fighting gradually stops near the beaches, allowing the 16th IR and the 7th Field Art. Btn to continue to land and the engineers to start building additional crossing points on the canal, which is not a luxury - fortunately, so far, the road bridge has been lucky enough to escape German artillery fire. In Port Saint-Louis, resistance fighters help the Americans by pointing out German hideouts and possible ambush sites.
Alpha Blue sector (Fos) - It is the end of the fighting in Fos. The next objective is Istres, a few kilometers away. We will also try to make contact, five or six km further, with the elements of the 82nd Airborne, the bulk of which is fighting around Arles, Salon and Miramas. While the 18th Infantry Regiment continues to put its men ashore and the 32nd Artillery finishes disembarking, contact is established on the dike north of Port-de-Bouc with the men of the 4th Rangers.
Alpha Green sector (Port-de-Bouc north) - The situation finally breaks down when the harbor strongpoint gives way, but especially when a bayonet assault reaches the Pont du Roi.
The Landsers are forced to retreat to the other side, but while they try to blow up the bridge, nothing happens: luckily, a stray bullet has cut the firing cables, preventing the explosion.
On the beach, the 2nd Btn of the 26th Infantry Regiment completes the landing, along with elements of the 33rd Field Art. Btn.
Camel sector (North Laveron) - The German position collapses. We are now fighting in the southern suburbs of Martigues and the Camel and Bravo Blue sectors now form one. Meanwhile, the 69th Armored Art. Btn continues to land.
Bravo Blue sector (La Couronne) - Progress is clear in this area, as American soldiers are about to cross the rocky bar of the Collet Redon, from where they have a splendid view of the Etang de Berre and beyond. In the harbor and the various creeks now open, the 32nd RCT continues to disembark; now, new armored vehicles of the 191st Tank Btn.
Bravo Red sector (Carry-le-Rouet) - The firing of battery 692 resumes, but less intensely. Indeed, after the various counter-battery fire from the naval artillery and the air raids, only two pieces are still operational. They nevertheless try to cover the retreat by the D9 of the 758. Grenadier Rgt, of which only the equivalent of two companies remain.
Indeed, the Americans have passed through the scrubland to the west of the area and are about to turn the defenders. The German infantrymen thus retreat to Ensuès in the middle of a lunar landscape: everything had been ravaged in the early morning by the raid of the 322nd BG, followed by the firing of the Pennsylvania.
The American progression also continues in the Escayolle valley. There, some Sherman take risks by passing through the viaduct of the Eaux Salées cove, damaged by a bombardment. The risk pays off: these tanks prove to be very useful to neutralize the small bunkers. This progression is also supported by the artillery of the 57th Field Art. Btn, which has just finished landing, together with the infantrymen of the 3rd Btn of the 53rd IR.

Côtes de Provence, 08:45 - The French (and the Belgians)...
Charlie sector (La Ciotat) - In the north, the first elements of the Tancrémont brigade mount an assault to cover the bridge builders, slower than the fast Belgian Ram, in order to pass the huge anti-tank wall blocking the advance.
After the capture of the last enemy positions, the village of La Ciotat and what remains of its shipyards are completely liberated. The naval engineers and the beach commanders are at work to accelerate the landing of the Belgian armored brigade and new batteries of the 208th RA, but also of the first SAV-AU of the II/5 RCA, which accompany the 14th DI.
Léon sector (Saint-Cyr les Lecques) - The 52nd Infantry Regiment supports on the left, in the hills to the north. The progression is more cautious since it was noticed that the Germans had transformed some of the old cade ovens by equipping them with an automatic flame thrower, just like on the Italian front.
On the plain, the 4th RSM sends its first EBR-38s with the 3rd DBC towards La Cadière d'Azur. On the beaches, the 4th RSM and the 35th RA continue to land, while the 2nd RCA moves towards La Ciotat.
Bernard sector (Bandol) - Fighting begins on the slopes of the Gros-Cerveau for the possession of the fort. The calls for help from the defenders fall on deaf ears, because the German artillery of the III/244. was forced to retreat under the pressure of the 3rd RTM, losing half of its equipment in the process. Indeed, when the pieces are not destroyed by the enemy, it was the horses that are lacking to move them.
Meanwhile, Plan du Castelet is reached by the 21st RZ. A little to the south, the 6th RTS and the 63rd RA continue to arrive.
Stéphane sector (Sanary) - The rest of the I/7 RCA lands, as well as parts of the 380th RA. In the north of the sector, the first elements put on land meet the troops of the 3rd
DIM coming from Bandol.
Under the pressure of the legionnaires and the few surviving special armoured vehicles that accompany them, the Six-Fours fort finally surrenders. But the officer in charge of the garrison insisted so much that his men be sheltered inside that it seems suspicious. The French lieutenant quickly understands that it is a ruse: the German must have asked for a shot on his own position in order to get rid of the invaders. The lieutenant therefore has his own men take cover while the prisoners remain in the courtyard until the
the officer has cancelled the shooting by radio.
During this time, the 1st Chasseur Ardennais establishes contact with the 3rd Choc, coming from the Janas. A company of the 1st Btn of the 918. IR is thus surrounded in the Pointe du Gaou.
Hubert sector (Hyères) - For fear of being turned, the III/917. IR retreats little by little towards La Londe des Maures. This retreat is more marked in some places, because the arrival of the riflemen of the 4th RTS causes a panic among the young German recruits, some of whom had heard - and believed! - all sorts of stories about "black man-eating French soldiers". At other points, the Crocodile tanks that accompany the Senegalese roasting the fortifications one by one, inspire a more well-founded fear.
At Mauvannes, the men of the 20th RIC discover a real chaos of entangled artillery pieces. The heavy men of the 60th EB have done their job well... unless it was the 380 of the Richelieu.
To the west, the 10th DI fights in Hyères and on the slopes of the two hills that dominate the city to the north and to the south: the Pic des Fées and the Pic du Fenouillet. The Italian 105 pieces of the 2/I Bod Abt. prevent any overflow into the plain, despite the shelling of the naval artillery and naval aviation.
Along the beaches, the 4th RTS continues to land, together with the 4th BMLE, while the artillery is reinforced by new batteries of the 61st RA or the 12th BACA.
Lætitia sector (Ile du Levant) - A strange silence reigns on the island: is it the calm before the storm?


French Army SAV-42 Belier "Poseur de Pont" (Bridge Builder), Operation Dragon, September 1943

Côtes de Provence, 09:00 - The Americans...
Alpha Red sector (Saint-Gervais Galéjon)
- While the 16th IR continues to land and the 7th Field Art. Btn finishes its landing, the 3rd Rangers Btn is engaged against a strong point at the intersection of the N562 and the railroad. Further south, it reaches the pier of Barcarin, where the ferry has been sunk for a long time. It is met very little resistance and takes many prisoners, still very shocked by the bombing.
Alpha Blue sector (Fos) - The German artillery fire is rarefied. The 3rd Btn of the 18th IR is able to finish the landing without difficulty, while the leading elements of the regiment make contact with paratroopers of the 504th PIR.
If the German artillery calmed down, it is because the Canadians of the Pumpkin mission had succeeded in neutralizing its positions.
Unfortunately, the American 49th Artillery Battalion is not aware of the situation and shells the battery site, killing and wounding many Canadians.
Alpha Green sector (Port-de-Bouc North) - Now that the canal is crossed, the elements push towards Martigues and Saint-Mitre les Remparts, accompanied by the few armored vehicles that survived the first shock. In fact, only 9 armored vehicles out of the 45 in the 741st are still in working order.
On the beach, the 26th IR and the 33rd Field Art. Btn continue to put down their elements.
Camel and Bravo Blue sectors (La Couronne) - The progression of the 32nd Infantry Regiment continues towards Ensuès and Châteauneuf les Martigues. Further south, the last elements of the regiment disembark, while the first 155 of the 33rd Field Art. Btn touch the ground in Provence.
Bravo Red sector (Carry-le-Rouet) - The first elements of the 53rd RCT converge with those of the 32nd towards Châteauneuf and Ensuès. On the beach, the III/53rd IR and the 57th Field Art. Btn continue to land.

Côtes de Provence, 09:00 - The French (and the Belgians)...
Charlie sector (La Ciotat)
- The Chasseurs Ardennais and the Tancrémont armored brigade cover the progression of the SAV bridge-layers, who manage to do their job. The Aries engage in a mobile duel with the PaK-36 and 38 of the position, while a n SAV-PP advances, covered by the smoke of the mortar section of the Chasseurs, in a sector where the wall, damaged, is less high.
In the hills, along the coastal road, the resistance weakens. The 6th Infantry Regiment takes many prisoners, generally inexperienced and still stunned after having been subjected to the bludgeoning of the battleships.
In Ceyreste and at the exit of the town, the French have to work hard. Here again, the Dozer and the two surviving Crocodiles do a marvellous job of filling in an anti-tank ditch and setting fire to a bunker, obtaining the surrender of the German section defending the sector.
At La Ciotat, the 208th RA lands its last elements, including 155mm guns.
Léon sector (Saint-Cyr les Lecques) - The 52nd Infantry Regiment progresses more easily in the hills despite some clashes, while the 3rd DBC and the first elements of the 4th
RSM reach the Luquettes wood. South of La Cadière d'Azur, on the hill, the Chasseurs encounter little opposition, as everything had been ravaged by the air raids of the previous month.
During this time, the ships continue to vomit onto the beach all kinds of vehicles belonging to the 2nd RCA, the 4th RSM and the 35th RA.
Bernard sector (Bandol) - Fighting continues for the possession of the fort of Gros-Cerveau, duly shaken by salvos from the Warspite artillery. The fleet also supports the progression towards Ollioules, already severely bombarded in the morning. On the beaches, the 6th RTS and the 63rd RA continue to land.
Stéphane sector (Sanary) - While the 380th RA puts its first 155 mm batteries on land, the progression towards La Seyne and Ollioules begins, despite the density of the enemy troops.
The commandos of the 3rd Shock and elements of the 1st Regiment of Chasseurs Ardennais take care of the German company encircled at the Pointe du Gaou.
But not far away is a bigger problem: the Germans line up what remains of two infantry battalions of the 918. IR of the 242. ID, supported by a few light armored vehicles and above all covered by about three artillery groups deployed on prepared positions. On the other side, the 15th DBLE and the 1st Ardennais are supported by the armoured units of the Ardennais and by an armoured battalion, the I/7 RCA, itself reinforced by the surviving "Clowns" and the skirted Aries of the 1st BICM.
Hubert sector (Hyères) - In the plain to the west, the situation is unblocked thanks to the combined action of the naval artillery and the air force, which neutralizes the artillery position of Carqueiranne. This allows the British engineer Funnies to operate to help the first elements of the 4th BMLE to quickly cross the anti-tank obstacles.
To the north, the 20th RIC advances beyond the Borrels road towards Pierrefeu.
The Senegalese riflemen approach La Londe des Maures and what remains of the III/917. IR is more and more uncomfortable, being aware of the presence of a commando force at their back (the bulk of the 113th RI).
The landing continues on the beaches where the 4th RTS, the 4th BMLE and the 61st RA deploy quickly, taking advantage of the work of the naval engineers and the efficiency of the beach commanders.
Laetitia sector (Ile du Levant) - The legionnaires are waiting for reinforcements, but faced with the resumption of fire from the two 77s, they have no choice but to attack the position which, for the moment, is still holding out,


Royal Navy Battleship HMS Rodney, Operation Dragon, September 1943

Coasts of Provence, 09:15 - The Americans...
Alpha Blue sector (Fos) - While the 16th Infantry Regiment finishes to land on the beaches of Saint-Gervais, the 1st Ranger advances towards the Merindole wood to widen its position. At Port-de-Bouc, the 3rd Btn of the 26th Infantry Regiment continue to land in company of the artillerymen of the 33rd Field Art. Btn.
Camel sector (Laveron north) - The 17th RCT is now fighting in Martigues. The crossing of the canal will be impossible for the time being (the lift bridge is destroyed), but the mission is only to secure the southern banks of the Etang de Berre canal; the city itself will be the business of the Big Red One.
Bravo Blue sector (La Couronne) and Red sector (Carry-le-Rouet) - As the 31st Field Art. Btn lands its last pieces on Bravo Blue, the 53rd RCT takes Ridge 160, after a solid artillery preparation, and advances towards Châteauneuf-les-Martigues.
The RCT also comes into contact in the Ensuès la Redonne sector. There, the 1st Btn of the 934. IR, supported by a PaK-38 under casemate, gives it a hard time.

Côtes de Provence, 09:15 - The French...
Charlie sector (La Ciotat) - The contact with the 1st Shock is established in the sector of Charlemagne's Crown; the next objectives are Roquefort and of course La Gineste, which opens the southern gateway to Marseille.
The 6th Infantry Regiment has now completely liberated La Ciotat and is only four kilometers away from Cap Canaille, on the road to the crests. Meanwhile, further north, the 2nd Battalion of this regiment is engaged on the D3 and the forest paths going down to Cuges les Pins.
Léon sector (St-Cyr les Lecques) - The 52nd RI also marches towards Cuges les Pins without encountering too much resistance. In addition, the 14th DI is able to recover its 3rd DBC, which is relieved by the 21st Zouaves Rgt of the 3rd DIM. Near the beaches, the 2nd RCA finishes regrouping and receives the order to move towards Aubagne.
Bernard sector (Bandol) - The French reorganize. The Moroccan riflemen press on the left to relieve the 14th DI. During this time, the 6th RTS, now regrouped, moves towards Le Beausset and Le Castellet with the support of the 63rd RA, whose last pieces continue to land. Finally, the Gros-Cerveau fort surrenders after being heavily shelled by the 160 mm mortars of the 11th BACA.
Stéphane sector (Sanary) - On the beaches, the 380th RA lands its last pieces.
Around Sanary, the advance is slow and the fighting often consists of duels between the fleet and the German guns. The SS Polizei Regiment Todt, based in Toulon, sends some light armoured vehicles as reinforcements, which allows the defenders to hold on. It is true that in this sector, the mission of the French was to fix the enemy, the attack of the city must come from the other side.
La Seyne - In the harbor, amidst the chaos, the Oberleutnant z. See Merkel, who is commanding the S-157 (loosened there by the command of the 7th S-boat Flotilla, in Toulon) has finally managed to gather his entire crew. His duty to the Vaterland is clear: to go and confront the Allied squadrons and try to cause them some damage. To do this, he would have preferred to go out at nightfall to attack the first enemy ship that came along, then escape to Nice. Alas, the fighting is clearly approaching the improvised and well camouflaged boathouse, thanks to which his ship was able to survive, while most of his flotilla had been destroyed by the air raids of the previous two months on Toulon. Merkel therefore tries the impossible.
His plan issimple: to sail along the quays to the pass without even removing the canvas covered with branches that camouflage the boat, staying at a very low speed so that no wake would betray it... Then head for the open sea, where there will surely be plenty of targets! With a little luck, it could pass.
But it is precisely luck that abandons her, after having allowed the S-157 to survive until now. As soon as she picks up speed, the speedboat is spotted by two Corsairs of the GAN 2 in marauding. Delighted to have a naval target in their sights, they strafe it mercilessly. Despite desperate zig-zags, the S-boot is set on fire. Two MTB of the Royal Navy, warned by radio, soon arrive on the scene; they fish out four survivors, including the wounded Lieutenant Merkel, who ends the war in a prison camp in Algeria.
Hubert sector (Hyères) - Carqueirane is taken. In the plain, the last defenders of Hyères surrender and a French flag is raised at the top of the 290 meters of Fenouillet.
On the ground, what remains of the I/917. IR retreats towards Toulon, passing behind the positions of II/917, which defend around La Garde, Cuers and Pierrefeu du Var.
During this time, the 20th RIC reaches the crossing of the D29 and the D58. On the other side, the III/917. IR, under artillery fire, harassed by the air force and threatened by the "schwartze Truppen", retreat into the hills and abandon La Londe des Maures, where only a few delaying elements remain.
Laetitia sector (Ile du Levant) - The legionnaires make only slight progress. The GAN 2 carries out a new raid.


Royal Navy Anti-Aircraft Cruiser HMS Charybdis, Operation Dragon, September 1943

Côtes de Provence, 09:30 - The Americans, the French... and Marseille
American sectors - In the sectors of Fos and Port-de-Bouc, the Big Red One finishes landing the last infantrymen of the 26th Infantry Regiment, the last pieces of the 33rd Field Art. Btn and the 70th Tank Btn (Sherman) which is attached to it. Finally, the division starts to land its HQ and its services.
In the east, the battles for Martigues and Ensuès la Redonne are raging.

Léon sector (St-Cyr les Lecques) - The link was made between the 6th and 52nd RI at Cuges les Pins. The atmosphere is festive, but there is little time to linger: the next objective of the 6th Infantry Regiment is Gémenos, east of Aubagne, while the 52nd Infantry Regiment has to patrol the Sainte-Baume in order to track down possible Germans.
Hubert sector (Hyères) - The 4th BMLE overruns the defenders and reaches Le Pradet, La Valette and La Farlède, near Toulon. Thus turned, the II/917. IR can no longer take refuge in Toulon, especially as it is flanked by the 20th RIC : it is forced to retreat towards the north in the hills. More to the west, what remains of the I/917, almost annihilated, is in full retreat towards Toulon. What is left of the regiment is forced to try to entrench itself in hedgehog, especially since the French are getting stronger by the minute; indeed, additional elements of the 4th RTS and the 204th RA have just arrived on the beaches, but above all the first SAV-AU of the 6th RCA are here.
Laetitia sector (Ile du Levant) - The legionnaires try once again to attack and gain some ground. The defenders have only one 77 left intact, whose shots are more and more spaced out.


French Army SAV-AU-42 tank hunter, Operation Dragon, September 1943

Marseille - The whole city is now in a state of insurrection. There is not a district where there is no firing.
In Septèmes-les-Vallons, the noise of the fighting in Plan-de-Campagne emboldens the Resistance, who take out of a cellar a 25 mm anti-tank from 1940 with a few shells and set fire to a Sdkfz 232. Even before the end of the war, all the inhabitants will testify, hand on heart, that it was "a big Panzer, a Tiger as they used to say! - in the great tradition of the sardine of the port of Marseille. In any case, the road to Gardanne, defended by the I/932, is cut off.
In the eastern districts, the III/932 is fixed. The men of the battalion cannot go one meter without being shot at, whatever the direction: towards the city center and the north or towards the Huveaune valley and Aubagne.
In the center of Marseille, the Resistance fighters take over the prefecture and the town hall. But it is in the offices of the collaborationist newspaper Le Petit Marseillais, stormed at dawn, that they set up their headquarters. The Festung Pionier Btn 54, in charge of the fortifications, and the Sicherung Rgt 5, made up of recruits with little experience, are overwhelmed. The III/933, deployed in the southern districts and in front of the Gineste, where it is engaged, must send troops to help them.
In the large port, the situation is even more confused. The maquisards manage to seize the different firing points of the demolition charges or neutralize them.
All in all, the German command, which had taken refuge on the heights of Notre-Dame de la Garde, is in total confusion. Moreover, in addition to the interruption of normal telephone communications, was added the reception of a message coming from the "terrorists" (but where did they find a working telephone?). With a very Marseillaise sense of emphasis, the message in question proclaims: "Surrender! If you don't, we'll slaughter you all!" The German commander takes this message all the more seriously because, although he had heard a lot about the "horrors" that had taken place in Marseille since the massacre of the Demoiselles de la Garde, in 1941, and if he knows that these "horrors" have increased in recent days, he is not very familiar with the subtleties of the local vernacular...

Côtes de Provence, 10:00
American sectors - Since 09:00, although we are still fighting around Istres, the front has gradually moved up to Miramas, which has allowed us to make contact with the paratroopers of the 505th, north of this small town. Meanwhile, the 1st US-ID, which has finished landing its artillery, receives a new armored battalion : the 636th TD Btn.
To the west, the 3rd Rangers Btn is now completely reoriented facing the Rhone. It is progressively joined by the 1st Rangers and elements of the 1st SSF.

Hubert sector (Hyères) - As the 9th DIC finishes landing with the 6th RCA, the fighting continues on a line between Le Pradet - La Garde - La Farlède.
To the east, while the clean-up operations are underway at La Londe des Maures, a reconnaissance group of the 4th RTS, accompanied by the last Bélier DD (nicknamed Brebis by its crews because of the skirts), makes contact with the commandos of the 113th Rgt. They gradually take over from them in the Lavandou and Bormes-les-Mimosas sectors.
Laetitia sector (Ile du Levant) - The fighters are exhausted and are content to exchange a few shots.


Royal Navy Anti-aircraft cruiser HMS Colombo, Operation Dragon, September 1943

Côtes de Provence, 10:30
American Sectors - In the Alpha sectors, the 5th Field Art. Btn lands its last 155. At the same time, the 117th Cavalry Rgt rolls out of its LSTs and moves immediately north. Its mission is to reach the Blue Line and the areas held by the 82nd Airborne as quickly as possible.
Meanwhile, the infantrymen of the Big Red One reach the shores of the Etang de Berre at Saint-Mitres and Martigues. If we are still fighting in Martigues, the banks of the canal are now controlled: the code word Needle is sent to the fleet, triggering the arrival of additional pontoon and engineering units.
In the Bravo sectors, the D5 is cut off at Saint-Julien les Martigues and the GIs are pressing towards Châteauneuf. Not far from there, the battle for Ensuès la Redonne has started; if the 12th battery (two 203 pieces coming from the Prinz Eugen fire's spare parts) is not to be feared anymore, theircasemates having received direct hits from the battleships, the two RCT of the 7th ID are confronted to the I/934 of the 244. ID, which defends now the sector.
It is at this moment that occurs the principal organized reaction of the Luftwaffe in the day: twenty He 177 of KG 100 armed with gliding bombs and escorted by twenty-four Focke-Wulf 190s head towards the fleet deployed in front of the American beaches. The radars of the fleet detect the large He 177s from afar and the fighter command starts by sending in their direction thirty Corsairs from the three British squadron carriers, then sixteen Wildcats and Martlets from the escort carriers. In the melee, only twelve missiles are launched in fairly good conditions; eight end up being lost, one is shot down by a very dense light flak, one explodes at less than ten meters on the rear of the battleship Texas, finally one sinks an LST and the last one sends an escort, the USS Evarts, to the bottom.
First in action of the cover fighters and ideally placed by the direction of the fighters, the British ace Danny Potter starts by flying through the Fw 190 curtain, reaches the bombers and strafed the nose of one of them, which goes into a spin and crashes into the sea. Then Potter deigns to deal with an Fw 190 that had the bad idea to follow him and get there - soon after, he becomes the first Englishman to shoot down a Focke-Wulf 190 on Corsair.
As the Germans withdraw in some disarray, they encounter the 99th and 526th Fighter Squadrons of the USAAF, whose Mustangs were alerted by fighter control on their return from patrolling in cover and support of the 82nd Airborne. The 86th FG, of which the 526th FS is a part of, is specialized in ground support with its P-51B-A "Workhorse", which does not prevent the pilots of the 526th from rushing the Germans; Lt Porter B. Forst is credited with a Grief (his third victory). The 99th FS, part of the 27th FG, is made up of black pilots; it too charges into the fray.
Lieutenant Charles Hall of the 99th FS said, "We were returning from our mission, escorting the Workhorse over the front. We were flying due south along the Rhone River to avoid the fleet, when we heard the guys from the 526th yell over the radio:
"Enemy bombers low, eleven!" and rush into the fray. Colonel Davis, who was in command, had no choice but to order us to follow, to fulfill our escort mission under any circumstances. It must be said that as colored people, we were in the hot seat all the time and we would have had to justify any hole in the aircraft of these excited young people! And then, to speak frankly, we were quite happy to face the Krauts.
As we were going in one direction and they in the other, the fight was short, less than two minutes, and thank God we didn't suffer any casualties. I found myself at one point on the right rear of a bomber, so close that I could read its registration! I peppered it with my .50's and had the satisfaction of seeing its right engine start to belch smoke, but he kept flying, I could only claim one damaged. We were short on petrol, so we didn't insist, Grosseto was still not next door...
The He 177 Greif 6N+EK damaged by Lt Hall will land in Montpellier-Fréjorgues with a doublet of engines on fire; it will be considered as irreparable.
In the end, the Allies lose six fighters in exchange for five Fw 190 and six He 177 (plus two Grief that managed to return but were irreparable).


Royal Navy Escort Carrier HMS Dasher, Operation Dragon, September 1943

French sectors - East of Marseille, the progression continues.
In Cassis, the Cap Canaille battery surrenders after a last stand and in one go after the pieces are duly sabotaged. However, the Kriegsmarine officer commanding the battery refused to execute the order to bomb the city center that he received from the Kommandantur of Notre-Dame de la Garde (!), arguing that he did not have to obey an order from the Heer for the sole purpose of massacring non-combatants. After the war, this officer returned to settle in the city, where he ended up marrying a Cassidian woman. He will die of natural causes in 2006, naturalized, city councilor and honored for his gesture...
The 14th DI, which links up with the 1st Shock, cleans the sector around the road of Gineste and is preparing to dive on Marseille. A little to the north, the division has sent elements to flank the progress of the Belgians through Carnoux, who have some difficulty in clearing the Pas de l'Ouillier, which overlooks Roquefort la Bedoule. On the other side, Gémenos is reached: the battle of Aubagne, gateway to the eastern districts of the Provencal capital, is about to begin.
In the Bernard and Stéphane sectors, to the west, the 3rd DIM reaches Le Castellet and pushes towards Signes to bypass the Sainte-Baume. To the east, Ollioules is taken, the bay of La Seyne is in direct sight and the bay of Sablettes is reached. Finally, east of Toulon, if La Farlède and Solliès-Pont are reached, the 20th RIC has some problems in front of Pierrefeu.
North of Marseille, the II/932. Rgt, deployed in Aix, sends elements southwards to try to reinforce the I/932, stuck with the French paratroopers. The latter, helped by the Resistance, hang on between Gardanne and Plan-de-Campagne, preventing the Germans from reaching the city of Marseille, where the rebellion is growing.

At Hitler's, in the morning
Rastenburg - The news of the landing reaches Hitler's HQ at about 09:00 (German time, i.e. 08:00 Provence time******). While waiting for the Führer to get up, who for once, the day before, went to bed in a good mood and relatively early, the OKW gathers the elements it has on the situation in the Western Mediterranean.
As soon as he gets out of bed, Hitler is able to preside over a staff conference. On the big picture, the bulk of the French fleet is south of Sardinia, heading east-northeast, and the British fleet at the entrance to the Adriatic. As Admiral Dönitz has not yet arrived, nobody seems to notice that the observation reports of the Allied fleets are already 48 hours old! The feeling is therefore that the information coming from the south of France tell the account of a diversionary operation, which von Rundstedt will undoubtedly be able to deal with and with the only troops deployed in the attacked sectors.
It is decided to urgently contact Generals Kesselring and von Weichs in Italy and the Balkans to take stock of the operations on these fronts before making a final decision on the orders to be given to the SS Panzer divisions stationed in the Rhone Valley.
At 11:30, a new meeting concludes that things are more serious than they appeared - and Dönitz, on his arrival, sets the record straight on the location of the Allied fleets.
It is 12.30 (11.30 Provence time) when Keitel is asked to give the green light to the generals of the SS Panzer divisions. On the ground, however, these officers showed initiative by putting their troops on high alert - they will be able to set off around noon (local time).

On the air...
The General at the microphone
- It is D-day! The President of the Council attends, from a distance but with a heart beating with enthusiasm, the unprecedented outpouring of power surrounding the landing.
According to the account of witnesses - such as his aide-de-camp, Geoffroy de Courcel - he was nonetheless angry of not being able to go and see how things were going (and probably, inwardly, not to command the operations on the ground himself...). Alas, it is no longer time for the man who has become a politician to expose himself without thinking about the danger. The progress on the ground, if it is more or less in accordance with the forecasts, does not allow an allied head of government to land, however combative and determined he may be, as long as the conquered ground cannot be considered sufficiently secure.
11:30 - All Allied radio stations broadcast the official statement of General Eisenhower, allied commander-in-chief in Western Europe. An extremely sober text: "Today September 6th, 1943, the Allied armies under the command of General Frère have taken several points along the French Mediterranean coast. The progress of the operations are proceeding according to plan and our forces are now firmly established."
11:40 - De Gaulle reads on Radio Alger a text with biblical overtones written during the night:
"Frenchmen! The supreme battle is engaged. Of course, it is the battle of France, of the Armies of France, with the help of the Allies of France! And it is on French soil that the Enemy, who had believed for a moment to seize his triumph, will see inscribed the decree of his inevitable defeat.
On the other hand, for France, for its armies and for all the French, the Victory will be all the more great as it will have been more dearly paid for. dearly paid by our soldiers, our sailors and our airmen, exiled from Metropolitan France or raised throughout the Empire and whose sacrifice is today pulling the country out of the abyss in which it had rolled. Dearly paid by our people, who knew how to endure privations, vexations and brutalities without ever losing hope. And dearly paid by our fighters of the shade, whose obscure and tireless action in the middle of the worst dangers will have embodied the moral resurrection of the country even before its Liberation. (...)
Long live the Republic! Long live France!

In the evening, it is a quivering but frustrated General who, having returned to his room very late, will try rather vainly to compensate a little the lack of sleep accumulated during these last days of feverish preparation and ill-contained impatience.

A prince on the radio
Alger, 11:50
- After the speech of the President of the Council, the interventions of the representatives of the other allied nations involved in Operation Dragon. In view of the important role that the Belgian armed forces have been playing for a year in the Mediterranean theater, it is Prince Charles of Belgium, Lieutenant-General of the Kingdom of Belgium*******, who has the formidable honor of speaking just after General de Gaulle on the airwaves of Radio-Alger. The text of the prince's speech was written by Paul-Henri Spaak, who used the best of hisart.
"My dearest compatriots,
Today, Belgium honors the blood debt it contracted with France when, in that fateful month of May 1940, the armies of the Republic came to her aid. On this day when the destiny of Europe is being fulfilled, Belgium, aware of the role that it has played for more than a century in the civilization of the world
[Spaak paraphrases here the answer of Charles' father, King Albert, to the German ultimatum of August 1914], had to assert its presence, weapon in hand.
Thousands of our soldiers and airmen took part in the landing on the coast of Provence, alongside our powerful French, American and British allies. The importance of the objectives assigned to our troops - all of which I understand have been achieved by now - testifies to the esteem in which they are held by our brothers in arms, and once again confirms the magnificent work accomplished for more than three years to forge the sword of our revenge.
It is on the blade of this same sword that is reflected the hope of the entire Nation aspiring to its forthcoming liberation. The bloody roads of France will soon bring back your exiled but glorious sons back to their homes; in a few months, you will finally be able to clasp them to your heart. In communion with the King, my beloved brother held in captivity we exalt their heroism, and we pray that God will safeguard them in the trials they are enduring to give us back our freedom and prosperity.
Long live Belgium, long live the Allies, long live the King
The Prince then repeats his speech in a confident Dutch********
The jokers - at least as numerous in times of war as in times of peace - will not fail to play on the first names and to comment that Prince Charles of Belgium had, quite normally, spoken after King Charles of France.
In the wake of Prince Charles' speech, Radio-Alger reads a statement from Buckingham Palace (broadcasted a little earlier by the BBC): King George VI expresses his satisfaction and his encouragement to all the allied combatants. The jokers, again, will not miss the opportunity to note that it is fortunate that the King of England is not called Charles, because distracted listeners might have found Charles to be quite talkative.
Immediately afterwards, a press release from the President of the United States is issued. Franklin Roosevelt encourages the American and allied troops with words very similar to Eisenhower's message to the allied forces the night before.
The order of the speeches is not random - Charles of Belgium coming before George VI was due to the limited nature of British participation, and the last place went to Roosevelt because it was finally an American, Eisenhower, who spoke first.

Côtes de Provence, 13:00 to 18:00
American sectors - In the west, the 3rd Rangers Btn deploys towards the mouth of the Rhone river. There, it captures the last survivors of the Mazet battery. In this same sector, the 1st Rangers completes its deployment along the banks of the river in the company of commandos from the 1st SSF. They regularly come under fire from the other side of the river, particularly at the Salins de Giraud. Reinforcements are on their way: the 4th Rangers and the 2nd Rgt of the 1st SSF, freed from their respective sectors after the last fighting in Istres.
A little to the north, the 16th IR of the Big Red One, supported by the tanks of the 70th Tank Btn, is now south of Arles and comes into contact with the paratroopers of the 504th PIR a little north of the Aulnes pond. On the wing, the 18th IR, joined by the 1st Cavalry Co, is now fighting in and around Miramas. Finally, the 26th Infantry Regiment completes the cleaning operations of the Martigues sector, where the naval engineers are already at work to clear the canal, which is blocked by the debris of bridges. To do so, they use aviation bombs placed in the right place with the help of a hoist.
A little to the north, the 117th Cavalry Rgt very quickly joins the 325th GIR, which opens the road between Eyguières and Salon.
In the 7th ID area, the 17th RCT, accompanied by the 645th Tank Destroyer Btn, breaks through along the banks of the pond of Berre to reach Marignane. The men of the III/934. IR retreat by the only possible route, the D9, in direction of Aix les Milles.
We hear a little to the north the sounds of numerous clashes : the paratroopers of the 1st RCP are not far away. For them, the time of the relief is near!
It has already arrived for the Canadians of Operation Pumpkin, relieved of a great weight.
After finding the heavy battery that was their missing objective and being counter-attack, they decided to conduct a mobile guerrilla war against targets of opportunity, but it was not easy: the men were exhausted and the wounded numerous.
The battle of Ensuès-la-Redonne is more or less over. The 53rd RCT remained for a long time blocked in front of this town that the Germans had fortified, but, shelled by naval artillery and air force and especially threatened to be turned by the 32nd RCT and the 191st Tank Btn, the garrison finally surrenders. In any case, the village is destroyed. While the men of the 32nd Infantry Regiment take charge of the cleaning operations around the town, the 53rd Infantry Regiment, accompanied by the Shermans of the armoured battalion, advance towards the Rove, where elements of the I/934. IR of the 244. ID are entrenched.

French sectors - The 6th Infantry Regiment has now joined the 1st Shock and crossed the Carpiagne plateau. From the Gineste pass, Marseille is in sight, but the Germans of the III/933. IR have regrouped around the hill of Redon to control the accesses.
Meanwhile, the 3rd Demi-Brigade of Chasseurs of the 14th DI, supported with energy by the divisional armor of the II/5 RCA and the 2nd RCA, rout the defenders of Aubagne.
General Noiret, settling down with his staff in the town hall, is surprised to hear a telephone ringing in the mayor's office. He picks it up and finds himself on the line with the headquarters of the 244. ID in Marseille. An excellent German speaker, Noiret answers in impeccable German, introduces himself in the proper manner and kindly tells the man on the other side of the line: "Don't worry, we're on our way"*********.
Meanwhile, the Tancrémont Brigade crosses Aubagne in the direction of the Blue Line, towards the north, while the 7th Ardennes secured its eastern flank on the foothills of the Sainte-Baume, the "reclining giant" dear to Pagnol.
Further east, the 52nd RI of the 14th DI and the 6th RTS of the 3rd DIM begin the climb of the Sainte-Baume. Beyond Signes, the 4th Spahis joins the 21st Zouaves Rgt, while the 3rd RTM cleans up the slopes of Mount Caumes, north-east of Bandol.
Stéphane sector (Sanary) - The 15th DBLE and the 2nd Choc have taken La Seyne and are fighting for control of the Saint-Mandrier peninsula, defended by the Festung Pionier Btn 56.
Meanwhile, the 1st Rgt de Chasseurs Ardennais, supported by the tanks of the I/7 RCA, is now fighting in the eastern suburbs of Toulon.
Hubert sector (Hyères) - On the east wing of Dragon, the 50th Infantry Regiment advances slowly but it is only four kilometers from the arsenal, while the 21st Infantry Regiment, with the help of the I/5 RCA, fights in and around La Valette du Var. The valley further north sees the 5th Infantry Regiment fighting for the possession of Sollies-Pont while the 20th RI, of the 9th Colonial Infantry Division finishes clearing Pierrefeu.
In the plain, the 5th RTS, last to land, joins the 4th BLME and the I/8 RCA. Together, they break through and passed the Cuers airfield in the direction of Puget Ville, while the 3rd Spahis push on the wing until Collobrières and settle in a plug.
Along the coast, the riflemen of the 4th RTS extend their position beyond the dolmens of Gaoutabry, in the Maures forest. Supported by the 6th RCA, they advance towards the Cavalière cove. In this same sector, thanks to the prompt action of the 71st Engineer Battalion of the 9th DIC, the beaches of Le Lavandou have just been declared open for landings.
On the beaches, strange tanks with a huge roller on top of them started to disembark: they are the "carpet layers" of the 23rd Engineers. Their function is to avoid getting stuck, so that the armored divisions can begin to land - it is true that for the time being, the absence of tides and the narrowness of the beaches limits their usefulness. This battalion also has two companies specialized in mine clearance; they are equipped with D7 bulldozers.
Lætitia sector (Hyères) - At the end of the afternoon, the Germans who had been resisting since the morning to the legionnaires of the 14th DBLE surrender after having fired all their shells and sabotaged their cannons. The island of Levant is no longer a danger.


French Army SAV-41 "Bobine" or "Carpet-layer", Operation Dragon, September 1943

Côtes de Provence, end of D-day
On the German side - In the hinterland of the Var, the 148. ID takes under its wing the 765. Rgt of the 242. ID, cut off from its command. It has to fight in the Estérel, in front of Cogolin, while the three regiments of the 148. will defend the areas in front of the Aups plan, Draguignan, as well as the ridges of the Maures massif.
Further north, the first elements of the 1. SS Panzer LAH, coming from Lyon, arrive at the end of the day in the Drôme. They are to form Kampfgruppen with the forces of the 14. SS Panzergrenadier to give more punch to the counter-attack. Sepp Dietrich does not forget that the 14. SS PzGr is not seasoned and that his own division is still far from its theoretical strength. With the agreement of von Rundstedt, he decides not to wait the arrival of the 2. SS Panzer Das Reich to counter-attack, which had to go up from Nîmes to Valence to cross the Rhone, due to a lack of passable bridges. The latter will be able to exploit the success of the two others to push the Allies back to the sea... or to cover their retreat in case of failure, but Dietrich prefers not to consider this possibility.
Meanwhile, in the west and north of France, the 11. Panzer, the 60. Panzergrenadier and several infantry divisions receive their marching orders, who to head south, who to relieve the divisions on the departure in a gigantic game of musical chairs.

American sectors - The last fighting stopped in Arles, devastated by the artillery firefrom the 338. ID. The old city center is only a memory in Van Gogh's paintings and the arena is very damaged. However, this does not prevent the 504th and 505th PIR, as well as the 1st, 3rd and 4th Rangers Btn, reinforced by elements of the 1st SSF, from crossing the Rhône.
A little to the north, the men of the 325th Glider Rgt have now crossed the Alpilles massif and liberated Saint-Rémy de Provence. On their left wing, they are joined and overtaken by the 16th IR of the 1st US-ID, accompanied by tanks of the 70th Tank Btn and armored vehicles of the 636th TD Btn that rallied. In their ascent towards the Blue Line, they are confronted all afternoon by the reservists of Grenadier Regiment 15 of the 189. ID.
The latter take advantage of the night to withdraw to the other bank of the Durance, on the other side of the 26th US-IR, which received the order to go back north after the end of the fighting in Martigues, with the divisional cavalry company and especially the 117th Cavalry Rgt. The 26th IR relieves the 507th PIR, which had held the Sénas-Orgon sector since the previous night.
The third regiment of the Big Red One, the 18th, is engaged in the direction of Salon in cleaning operations. Its goal is to finish the operation before nightfall so that the 1st and 7th US-ID could link up as well as possible. Indeed, rallied by the 645th TD Btn, the 17th RCT reaches the southern suburbs of the city, establishing its HQ in the premises of the Ecole de l'Air.
The 32nd RCT presses on towards Pennes-Mirabeau. There, the II/932. and II/934. of the 244. ID are stuck between the paratroopers of the French 3rd RCP and the American regiment. The two German battalions are thus slowly but surely pushed back towards Aix.
Along the coast, the 53rd RCT, assisted by the 191st Tank Btn, fights its way through the Rove and arrives on the road at the last bend before Marseille: the Chemin du Resquiadou. The city of Marseille is not yet reached, however, as many small infantry bunkers hinder the progression.
On the beaches, not one but two Combat Commands of the 2nd Armored Division are in the process of landing. In fact, in addition to the areas of the Gulf of Fos, there are now the banks of the Etang de Berre. The engineers secure the Martigues canal and in the afternoon, the first LSTs are using it to get to Istres, but also to Berre l'Etang.

French sectors - Supported by the air force, the 1st Shock and the 6th RI break through before descending from the Carpiagne plateau. They have now penetrated the city up to Mazargues and at the level of the Rouvière cliff.
Meanwhile, the 3rd Demi-Brigade of Chasseurs, strongly supported by the II/5 and the 2nd RCA, enter the Huveaune valley in the direction of Marseille and reach the village of La Valentine. The capture of Marseille is thus well under way. In the city itself, the night promises to be short for both the Germans and the Resistance fighters.
A little to the north, the 52nd RI spends the night in the Sainte-Beaume. To the north-west, the armoured vehicles of the Tancremont brigade come into contact shortly after 20:00 with paratroopers of the 3rd RCP at the level of La Barque, east of Gardanne.
Further east, the Chasseurs of the 7th Ardennes join the airborne troops of operation Cathedral.
Shortly afterwards, the Belgian paratroopers and the commandos of the 113th RI make contact in the south with the riflemen of the 6th RTS of the 3rd DIM, and a little later with elements of the 4th RSM, the discovery regiment that cut the road to Brignoles.
In the south, the 21st Zouave joins forces with the Colonials of the 5th RTS in the Rocbaron-Forcalqueiret area. The junction is also made to the south since the 5th RI, in a cleaning operation around Sollies-Pont, is joined by the 3rd RTM, passing along the D554.
Heading north in the valley, the 20th RIC and I/8 RCA continue to advance towards Carnoules while completing the cleaning operations around Puget-Ville. On the foothills of the Esterel, the 4th RTS, reinforced by the 6th RCA and elements of the engineers (divisional and armoured), secures its positions and pursues the last soldiers of III/917. IR. The Senegalese riflemen have now fully taken over from the commandos of the 113th RI, who have redeployed to conquer Mount Faron the next day.
In Toulon, the troops coming from the Stéphane sector, among which the 1st Ardennes and the I/7 RCA, have now made contact in town with the 21st and 50th RI of the 10th ID, which arrived from the west with the support of the Bélier of the I/5 RCA. Even if the fighting will last until the next day, the city is almost liberated !
On the beaches, the 1st armoured division lands between La Ciotat and Bandol, while the 3rd armoured division, arriving directly from Italy, beginsto be put ashore in the sector of Hyères and Le Lavandou.

Côtes de Provence, evening of D-Day
Marseille - The S-boats of the 7th Flotilla based in Marseille are better off than those based in Toulon. Indeed, during the last two months, the Rove tunnel provided a solid shelter for the ships; only the S-154 was lost by blowing up on a mine. Kapitän z.S. Babbel, on S-155, and Oberleutnant z.S. Rautenberg, on the S-153, however, had great difficulty in deciding on a strategy, and especially to assemble their crews during the day of September 6th. In the evening, some men are still missing, but they are replaced at short notice by sailors from the Räumboot R-186 who found themselves isolated in the Estaque district by the insurrection that had spread to the entire port. Good for them: the R-186 has just been captured by the Resistance, which was very numerous among the dockers and ex-dockers.
The two officers, not inclined to a suicide mission, decide to attempt an sortie at nightfall to reach Sète, where the S-151 and S-152 are based. Around 15:00, a short-lived radio contact warns them that these two patrol boats were going to attack the enemy squadron in the evening: they decide to coordinate their sortie with this attack.
Since 22:30, in the Niolon cove, the engines are hot and the ears are on the lookout, waiting for the beginning of the festivities. Suddenly, around midnight, a cannonade starts in the direction of the opean sea no doubt, it is the expected signal, the launches of Sète had gone on the attack. In fact, the two small ships escaped the vigilance of the submarine that was monitoring the port and passed the first curtains of protection of the Allied fleet by slipping through the heavy naval traffic.
On the S-153 and S-155, the men are at battle stations and the engines are running at full power. To the south, the horizon lights up under the effect of a huge explosion, a torpedo must have hit... Indeed, the Liberty ship Robert Rowan has just been torpedoed by the S-151 and S-152 - it was carrying ammunition, hence the importance of the explosion.
The two patrol boats race westwards, skimming the coast to deceive the enemy radar.
Suddenly, in front of them, a little to starboard, a shape appears against the night sky - a destroyer perhaps? The opportunity is too good, after a small change of course, the two officers release their fish in the direction of the allied ship. A little later, as the speedboats resume their course due west, a quadruple explosion sounds, but the target is unharmed. It is in fact the LST 114, on which were embarked elements of the 2nd Armored Division. The LST was much slower than a destroyer: the two German officers had overestimated its speed and their torpedoes passed over its bow and exploded on the coast.
And here are the characteristic foamy wakes of the enemy patrol boats - the lookouts count at least four of them. At full speed, a crazy saraband begins, in which the small ships fire all their weapons. After long minutes of machine-gunning, calm returns - but only the S-155, with two light casualties, reaches the port of Sète, where it meets up with the S-151 and S-152.

* The first minefield was patiently cleared for several weeks, the mines being discreetly removed one by one. The second was cleared in force at the beginning of the night, by blowing up the asparagus.
** This mission and the preparatory operations were, after long discussions, considered as priority over the attack on the large Kriegsmarine ships in Norway.
*** Fernand Gambiez, who has just received his stars, only accepted them on the condition that he remain at the head of his commandos until the end of Dragon! He will then take over the command of all the Groupements de Choc.
**** The Nevada and Pennsylvania will soon depart for Pearl Harbor, arriving in early October. They will be accompanied by the cruiser Mobile and the assault transport AKA-16 Aquarius, who is on its first voyage.
***** "Cormoran" is the name chosen by the ad-hoc services (a little late, but in time for Dragon) to designate the French Dauntless.
****** This is the usual French time, not the Berlin time imposed by the Occupier.
******* For constitutional reasons, he could not be appointed Regent due to the impossibility of gathering the Chambers in Congress with the necessary quorum.
******** « Mijn lieve landgenoten,
Vandaag eert België het bloedschuld dat zij tegenover Frankrijk gecontracteerd heeft, toen de legers van de Republiek op die noodlottige mei 1940 ter harer hulp zijn gekomen. In deze dag wanneer Europa aan haar lot voldoet, moest België, bewust van de rol die zij al meer dan een eeuw in de wereldbeschaving speelt, haar aanwezigheid met geweer in de hand doen gelden.
Duizenden en duizenden van onze soldaten en vliegers nemen aan de lopende landingen deel, naast onze machtige Franse, Amerikaanse en Britse bondgenoten. Het belang van de aan onze troepen toegewezen doelstellingen – waarover ik hoor dat ze op dit uur allemaal bereikt zijn – getuigt van de achting die onze wapenbroeders hen brengen. Het beloont nog eens het prachtige werk dat al drie jaar gevoerd is om het zwaard van onze wraak te smeden.
Op het blad van dit zwaard weerspiegelt zich de hoop van de ganse Natie als zij naar haar komende bevrijding verlangt. De bloedige wegen van Frankrijk zullen weldra jullie verbande maar glorieuze zonen naar hun haarden terugbrengen; binnen een paar maanden kunnen jullie hen eindelijk tegen jullie harten drukken. In gemeenschap met de Koning, mijn geliefde gevangen broeder, verheffen we hun heldendom, en we bidden dat God hen bewaart in de beproevingen die ze verduren om onze vrijheden en welvaart terug te geven.
Leve België, leve de Bondgenoten, leve de Koning ! »
********* In fact the exchange went like this:
Marseille: Aubagne? This is Marseille, I thought about it, withdraw immediately to Marseille and the heights of Notre-Dame de la Garde, we signal Allied troops in your area, you risk to be stuck there till the end of the war. Go along the Calanques forest, you can hide there in case you encounter any problems. I know it well, you can even get lost there. Understood?
Noiret: Understood. Time to take a little schnaps and we'll be on our way.
Marseille: Schnaps? But, it's Aubagne I have on the phone? Answer me.
Noiret: No, this is not Aubagne, this is General Noiret, of the French Army, but do not worry, we're on our way!
This should be the new "update format", more sunk into larger updates front by front to avoid overcharging the reader and (hopefully) have more reactions (the FTL people were a bit disappointed with the lack of discussion around the updates).
If you preferred smaller updates as opposed to "front by front" like these, let me know.
Good evening Ladies and Gentlemens,
Let me introduce myself : I am, with many others, one of the FTL writers. One may say that, if your mark a line from Venise to Berlin and look east, i wrote basically everything from june 43 to nowadays ,except the beginning of Zitadelle and only in Europe (except Toenails, my true beginning).
The tremendous and awesome work of Wings (may He be praised) deeply impressed all of us. So, in order to facilitate communications and to not make him some messenger of his work, i decided to make an account there in order to facilitate exchanges and answers questions, if needed.
Of course, I beg you to forget all possible mistakes - my english stays 'perfectible'
Sooooooooo the Bulgarian affair. This subject made heavy debates among us. We talked about it again today. The main answers are those below :

You're talking like this because you know Salonika is going to be a mess and you expect London to care about Bulgaria, even if it is implies disgrunding the Reds.
It's does not. Moscow is a traditionnal Bulgaria allies, Sofia has no way to contact France/Uk and especially no need to do so because they re allready supposed to have done this through soviet canal (which would have been logical, TBF ...).
In short, Preslav tought he had coordinated with allies. He did not. Pity. Sure an italian disaster would have suited him. But 'Italians had the good sense to coordinate with the Allies' ? Really ?


The Brits know perfectly Bulgaria is seen by Stalin as a part of HIS share of Europe.
And Monty knows his main objective is not Sofia, but Vienna.
Of course, Churchill would like both, but he'll understand quickly Monty is right – Sofia isn't worth all the problems it would create with the Soviets.
So they leave Kyrill believe Moscow and London are both nice and friendly to Sofia, and acting together to protect his little country's interest.
Well - amateurism, just like Demo Dan wrote.

That it. The UK has no plans for Bulgaria (too far, a Russian friend). What interest it is Vienna, and Belgrade/Budapest. Sofia had doubts indeed about that but what choice did it have ? Basically, do not try the turning implies DOW by Russia, engagement against British in Greece (do be avoided at all cost) and probable end of country as constitued nation. If you read, let say, about the italian and the hungarian flipping, you may be amazed by the degree af "amateurisme" displayed OTL there. Why would it be different FTL ? Basically, prince forgot that Moscow would rather prefer a governement it Own rather that a governement owned by something.

And of course, rest assured that there is no bias of any kind in my work. I'am franco-polish (that's may be guessable, in the next months when we will talk about Warsaw ...) but the main course, especially in Balkans ,stays 'No good guys, no bad guys'. Or, to be clearer, 'Very bad guys, less bad guys and some allied dudes trying to make wars to Germany and stabilize situation for the future'.
my reason for "lack of discussion" was not due to be not having nothing to discuss; it is so awesome and some of my questions were answered shortly after - and most of time i'm read, i've to read really fast due to leaving to work or i've just arrived and i'm really tired