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Operation 'Dragoon' and Beyond (ePub)

Then and Now

Military > After the Battle > After the Battle: Then & Now Military > After the Battle > After the Battle: WWII P&S History > By Century > 20th Century WWII

By Jean Paul Pallud
Imprint: After the Battle
Series: Then and Now
File Size: 97.5 MB (.epub)
Pages: 224
ISBN: 9781399046138
Published: 10th November 2023


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From the Riviera, to the Rhine and on to the Colmar pocket, all three operations are covered in this volume by Jean Paul Pallud, and each show the action and locations in our unique ‘then and now’ style.

The project of a landing operation in southern France was debated between American and British Allies from mid-1943, the Americans favouring the idea, the British expressing doubts on the value of such an operation. The Russians intervened in November when, at the ‘Eureka’ conference at Teheran Joseph Stalin, the leader of the Soviet state, declared he was much interested in an operation in southern France. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill agreed to launch Operation ‘Anvil’ in southern France at the same time as Operation 'Overlord', the Normandy landings.

Convinced that the Allied forces in the Mediterranean would better be used in the Italian campaign, Churchill appealed directly to Roosevelt in June to cancel 'Anvil' but Roosevelt answered that he was definitely for 'Anvil'. On July 2, the Combined Chiefs-of-Staff directed General Sir Henry Maitland Wilson, the C-in-C Mediterranean Theatre, to launch Operation 'Dragoon', a three-division assault against the coast of southern France by August 14.

Under the shield of a large naval task force the US VI Corps and French forces landed on the beaches of the Riviera on August 15. Opposition from scattered German forces was weak. As the swiftly defeated German forces withdrew to the north through the Rhône valley, pressed by the leaders of VI Corps, the French captured the ports of Marseille and Toulon, soon bringing them into operation. Troops from Operation 'Dragoon' met with the Allied units from Operation 'Overlord' on September 15. At the same time Headquarters of the US 6th Army Group, under Lieutenant General Jacob L. Devers, became operational taking command of the US Seventh Army and the French 1ère Armée.

The swift campaign soon came to a stop at the Vosges mountains, where Armeegruppe G was able to establish a stable defence line.

The leaders of the 6th Army Group reached the Rhine in mid-November but there would be no crossing. Eisenhower ordered Devers to use whatever force necessary to clear the area between the Vosges and the Rhine and to turn the Seventh Army north as quickly as possible, attacking west and east of the Low Vosges.

In spite of its uncertain antecedents, the well-planned Operation 'Dragoon' and the forces involved — along with German unpreparedness and disarray — contributed to a surprisingly rapid success that liberated most of southern France in just four weeks.

"...the real value of this book is in the photo images themselves which provide an extremely rich record of the important invasion of France up through Loraine region into Germany."

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“The prose does a fine job of explaining the planning, invasion of Southern France, and advance to the Rhine River. The idea is to use the photos to often compare the same spot: once with a WWII-era photo and once with a modern photo. The text offers the historical context that found combat at the locations.”

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Historical Miniatures Gaming Society, April 2024

“This book will be of great interest to modelers and military historians alike…Very highly recommended.”

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AMPS Indianapolis

"The photographs from the invasion, contrasted with modern pictures of the same locations provide a fascinating interpretation of the battlefields. The text and accompanying maps complement the photos, making the overall volume an outstanding introduction to the campaign."

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Recommended without any hesitation.

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