The Campaign in Southern France

In mid-August as General Eisenhower's forces closed in on the enemy in the Falaise Pocket and prepared to cross the Seine, a second Allied force landed in southern France with the objects of aiding the battle in Normandy and of opening major ports through which troops could be landed for the impending battle for Germany. This operation, ANVIL, envisaged by the Combined Chiefs of Staff early in 1943 and agreed upon at Tehran in December of that year, had been laid aside temporarily in the spring of 1944. At that time OVERLORD's demands for landing craft required the shifting of resources earmarked for southern France. Some of the British appear to have hoped that they had heard the last of ANVIL, but the U.S. Chiefs of Staff and General Eisenhower continued to insist that it be launched as soon as possible. Because of his confirmed belief that the operation was important to OVERLORD's success, the Supreme Commander became deeply involved in the ANVIL controversy during the late spring and early summer of 1944.

The Second Phase of the ANVIL Controversy

The U.S. Chiefs of Staff and General Eisenhower never relinquished their view that ANVIL was essential to OVERLORD both to divert enemy forces from the lodgment area in the north and to gain additional ports in the south. While the second factor became the more important as the time approached for the operation, it was the need for diversion which General Eisenhower stressed in June 1944. The British, however, preferred to use available resources in the Mediterranean for a thrust into northern Italy and an advance through the Trieste area and the Ljubljana Gap into central Europe to join forces with Russian troops, who had resumed their advance westward in June. Mr. Churchill made no effort to conceal his pronounced distaste for the landings in southern France and brought pressure on the Supreme Commander and the U.S. Chiefs of Staff to shake the ANVIL concept. On this issue, Mr. Churchill and General Eisenhower differed fundamentally, and the latter was deeply disturbed at the strong feeling evinced by the Prime Minister on the subject.

The Joint. Chiefs of Staff before the OVERLORD D Day pressed their British colleagues to name a date for the ANVIL operation. The British Chiefs for their part asked General Wilson, Supreme Allied Commander in the Mediterranean, to suggest alternative plans for operations in his area during the summer and fall of


1944. In mid-May he suggested that the largest amphibious operation likely to be practicable was one launched against southern France in the area of Toulon or Sète, more than one hundred miles due west of Toulon. This would open the way for an advance up the Rhône valley or westward through the Toulouse Gap. Wilson warned, however, that such an operation would leave only limited offensive power for a campaign in Italy.1

The entry of the Allies into Rome two days before the Normandy invasion enabled General Wilson on 7 June to declare his readiness to launch an amphibious operation about 15 August on the largest scale permitted by his available resources. The statement found ready listeners at SHAEF where planners were at work on the best means of using strategic reserves to support OVERLORD. To them, an assault in the south of France would help OVERLORD either by diverting enemy forces from the bridgehead or by bringing more Allied troops into France for an all-out attack. In the case of a stalemate, an assault from the Mediterranean seemed essential as a means of drawing enemy forces from Normandy. If, on the other hand, the battle went according to plan, there were more divisions available for the European theater than could be maintained, according to current estimates, through the ports of the lodgment area up to D plus 180. Therefore, the best chance for use of maximum Allied resources against the enemy seemed to lie in ANVIL or some similar operation from the Mediterranean.2

Future operations in the Mediterranean theater were discussed by the Combined Chiefs of Staff in London on 11 June. While they expressed a willingness to explore various possibilities, the basic differences which had existed in the early spring between U.S. and British points of view again came to light. Field Marshal Brooke was interested in the possibilities of further advances in Italy in view of General Alexander's belief that he could reach the Pisa-Rimini line by 15 July; Air Chief Marshal Portal noted opportunities for a move northeast by way of Istria if Russian advances from the east made the project feasible. The U.S. Chiefs of Staff, though willing to discuss other plans of action, held firmly to an operation in the western Mediterranean. As a means of initiating planning, the Combined Chiefs of Staff agreed that a three-division assault should be mounted from the Mediterranean about 25 July. General Wilson was made responsible for submitting plans for operations at Sète and Istria, and General Eisenhower for the Bay of Biscay. At the moment the British Chiefs of Staff believed that landings at Sète or on the west coast of France would be the ones most likely to aid the OVERLORD operation.3 They did not favor a landing in the Marseille area.

General Eisenhower, charged with planning an operation in southwestern France, described Bordeaux as the only worthwhile objective in that area but believed that it was impractical to attack it. In southeastern France, he preferred a landing at Sète to one at Marseille, since the former would make it easier to open


Bordeaux. As to a choice between the Adriatic and southern France, he favored the latter since a landing there would keep more Germans away from the lodgment area in the north. In addition, it would "reap the benefit of French resistance," which he said was yielding results beyond his expectations and was particularly strong in the south of France.4

The Mediterranean Supreme Commander on 17 June discussed the problem with his commanders in chief and with Generals Marshall and Arnold. While preferring an operation which would give complete support to a thrust from the Po valley into central Europe, he was impressed by General Marshall's argument which

brought out clearly for the first time a point which seems to be of paramount importance . . . namely that there are between 40 and 50 divisions in the United States which cannot be introduced into France as rapidly as desired or maintained there through the ports of Northwest France or by staging through the United Kingdom; and, therefore, if the weight of these divisions Is to be brought to bear upon the enemy in France, we must seize another major port at an early date.5

General Wilson next turned to the British thesis that OVERLORD could be aided elsewhere than in the south of France. Since by 19 June there no longer seemed to be any fear about the security of the beachhead, he emphasized a strategy that would divert German units from France and face the enemy with prospects of defeat in 1944. He conceded that, if the main consideration was seizure of another major port, the ANVIL operation should be carried out as planned. In this case, he preferred an assault against Toulon rather than the Sere area inasmuch as the former would make the most effective use of French Resistance forces, make available the huge port capacity of Marseille, and virtually end the submarine menace in the Mediterranean.

Set over against these advantages, which seemed to be sufficient to prove the case of the U.S. Chiefs of Staff, was the fact that ANVIL could not be launched until 15 August at the earliest without danger of prejudicing the fight in Italy south of the Pisa-Rimini line. Stopping the Allied forces in front of the Pisa-Rimini line, he said, meant breaking up a first-class fighting force after months of co-operation, and switching forces from Italy to southern France would impose a six-week pause on the Mediterranean operation which would permit the enemy to rest and regroup his forces. General Wilson proposed, instead, that the Allies exploit "the present success in Italy through the Pisa-Rimini line across the Po and then . . . advance toward southern Hungary through the Ljubljana Gap," the latter advance being taken in conjunction with amphibious and airborne attacks against the enemy to divert at least ten divisions from the Balkans and France into northern Italy.

General Eisenhower presented a different view of the ANVIL operation to the Combined Chiefs of Staff four days later. He stressed the fact that OVERLORD was the decisive campaign of 1944 and that a stalemate would be regarded by the world as a defeat, with possible far-reaching effects on the war effort of the Russians. With the Bordeaux expedition precluded, he found that the ANVIL operation provided


the most direct route to northern France, "where the battles for the Ruhr will be fought." Such an operation would not only divert enemy divisions from the OVERLORD area, but also provide a port through which reinforcements from the United States could be deployed and a route over which they could advance for battle in northern France. While agreeing that the port of Marseille was less desirable than Bordeaux from the standpoint of distance from the United States and of proximity to the OVERLORD area, the time factor was so important that he thought the Bordeaux operation could be rejected in favor of the ANVIL operation. "France," he insisted, "is the decisive theater. This decision was taken long ago by the Combined Chiefs of Staff. In my view, the resources of Great Britain and the U.S. will not permit us to maintain two major theaters in the European War, each with decisive missions." He recommended, therefore, that the Mediterranean resources be used to launch the ANVIL operation not later than 30 August and preferably fifteen days earlier. Anticipating a renewed proposal for an advance in the Adriatic area, he asked that if ANVIL was not launched by 30 August all French divisions and one or two U.S. divisions allocated for ANVIL be made available for OVERLORD operations as soon as they could be brought into the latter area.6

The U.S. Chiefs of Staff immediately gave their blessing to General Eisenhower's arguments, suggesting only that 1 August was a better date for the operation and ruling unacceptable any proposals to commit Mediterranean resources in large-scale operations in either northern Italy or the Balkans. To General Eisenhower's reasons for preferring the ANVIL operation, they added that it would put French troops into the fight for their homeland, employ a number of battle-trained U.S. troops from the Mediterranean, make the best possible use of the air build-up in Corsica, and concentrate the Allied forces and put them into battle in the decisive theater.7

Prime Minister Churchill, whether he was disturbed by the tone of this communication, which he described as "arbitrary," or whether he saw in the American stand an end to any hope of further major advances in the Mediterranean, now opened a strong campaign with the President and the Supreme Commander to break the "deadlock" which he found existing between the British and U.S. Chiefs of Staff. On receipt of the U.S. note, he cabled Mr. Roosevelt asking that the latter "consent to hear both sides" before making up his mind. He expressed his willingness to help General Eisenhower, but not at the expense of the complete ruin "of our great affairs in the Mediterranean and we take it hard that this should be demanded of us." In a lengthy survey of the question, he held that a landing place must be chosen in relation to both the main effort of Eisenhower and the strain on Germany. Political considerations such as revolts or surrender of satellites he also believed to be valid and important factors. He found the taking of Le Havre and St. Nazaire to have a far closer relation to the battle than the seizure of ports in the Mediterranean, and believed that an action from Bayonne or some smaller port on the Bay of Biscay to take Bordeaux was to be preferred to a "heavy footed" approach


from Sète. Pointing to the 400 miles from Marseille to Paris, and the additional 200 miles to Cherbourg, he called an attack in the Marseille area "bleak and sterile" and found it difficult to believe that an operation there or at Toulon or Sète could have any influence on OVERLORD in the coming summer and fall. He agreed that the proposed operation for the Adriatic was equally unrelated to OVERLORD but cited General Wilson's belief that he could have Trieste by September. In the light of these arguments, he declared:

Whether we should ruin all hopes of a major victory in Italy and all its fronts and condemn ourselves to a passive role in that theatre, after having broken up the fine Allied army which is advancing so rapidly through that Peninsula, for the sake of ANVIL with all its limitations, is indeed a grave question for His Majesty's Government and the President, with the Combined Chiefs of Staff, to decide.8

Before he received the last cables of the Prime Minister, President Roosevelt had concurred completely with the stand of the U.S. Chiefs of Staff and had declared unacceptable General Wilson's proposal to use nearly all Mediterranean resources for an advance into northern Italy and thence to the northeast. He agreed that nothing could be worse than a deadlock of the Combined Chiefs of Staff as to a future course, adding: "You and I must prevent this and I think we should support the views of the Supreme Allied Commander. He is definitely for ANVIL and wants action in the field by August 30th preferably earlier."9

This answer did not deter the British Chiefs of Staff and the Prime Minister from making other attempts to change the U.S. stand. General Eisenhower encouraged the Washington Chiefs to hold their ground with a statement on 29 June that while he believed the British were honestly convinced that a drive toward Trieste would aid OVERLORD more than an assault in southern France, and would make one more attempt to persuade the U.S. Chiefs of Staff of the value of the Trieste move, they would not permit "an impasse to arrive" and would "consequently agree to ANVIL." He thought that in such an event they would propose to strengthen that operation, with General Alexander taking over responsibility for ANVIL as the principal offensive in the Mediterranean theater. "I would personally be glad to see him in charge. . . . Since in the long run France is to be more the business of Britain than of ours, I would be delighted to see more British divisions in that country."10

General Eisenhower's prediction as to the approaching British decision on ANVIL proved correct. The Prime Minister on 1 July in the course of a telephone conversation with the Supreme Commander, during which the latter stressed the need of an additional port through which to pour U.S. divisions waiting in the United States, indicated that he would approve the operation. On the following day the Combined Chiefs of Staff issued a directive to General Wilson along the lines of the earlier U.S. proposals. The Mediterranean


commander was instructed to make every possible effort to launch ANVIL on a basis of a three-division assault by 14 August. The SHAEF commander was directed to release as early as possible the additional resources required for ANVIL--in accordance with agreements already concluded with the Mediterranean commander.11

During late June, while the broader strategy in the Mediterranean was being discussed, representatives of SHAEF and AFHQ had worked out details on the release of naval support and landing craft as well as air strength needed from northwest Europe for the ANVIL operation. SHAEF, hard pressed in matters of supply, won a postponement until 15 July of the shifting of landing craft requested by AFHQ and indicated a desire not to release any aircraft unless General Wilson considered it absolutely necessary. Similar delays were requested on the release of warships required for ANVIL but permitted to be kept by SHAEF until after the taking of Cherbourg. Agreements relative to the shift of resources for an airborne operation were arranged in early July.12

As the commander in whose interest the landings in the Mediterranean were to be launched and as the future chief of the forces participating in ANVIL, General Eisenhower on 6 July outlined the objectives of the ANVIL operation for General Wilson. He described these as (1) containing and destroying forces that might otherwise oppose OVERLORD, (2) securing a major port in southern France for the entry of additional forces, (3) advancing northward to threaten enemy flanks and communications, and (4) developing lines of communications to support ANVIL forces and later reinforcements. These aims could be achieved by securing the Marseille area and marching up the Rhône to Lyon. General Wilson was to retain the ANVIL command until SHAEF assumed the responsibility. The Mediterranean commander was also to have administrative charge of the ANVIL forces, including civil affairs in the area south and east of the departments of Doubs, Côte-d'Or, Nièvre, Allier, Puy-de-Dôme, Cantal, Aveyron, Tarn, and Haute-Garonne, and be prepared to maintain ANVIL forces beyond that area if SHAEF was unable to do so. In order to insure uniformity in civil affairs policy, General Wilson was asked to administer these matters in accordance with SHAEF's interim directive of 14 May 1944, which had been issued to the Mediterranean commander as a guide in civil affairs planning for southern France. Control of Resistance forces in the southern area of France was passed to General Wilson, but SHAEF retained responsibility for co-ordinating Resistance policy throughout France. SHAEF was to supply the Resistance forces in the south of France in order to develop maximum French aid for ANVIL. General Eisenhower's headquarters also undertook the task of co-ordinating publicity and psychological warfare in the ANVIL area.13


General Wilson accepted most of the suggestions outlined by the Supreme Commander, but emphasized that his supply services were prepared only to support an advance 225 miles from the invasion area and would have to have additional outside aid if further demands were made on them. Besides preparing the ANVIL operation, General Wilson intended to press the attack in Italy to seize the line of the Po and then advance north of that river to secure the line Venice-Padua-Verona-Brescia."14

Meanwhile, the British Chiefs of Staff continued their opposition to ANVIL. Lest there be any doubt as to their attitude, they cabled Washington on 12 July that neither His Majesty's Government nor the British Chiefs of Staff considered Operation ANVIL the "correct strategy" for the Allies, and that they had given way only to dispel the view that the British were using delaying tactics to gain their point. They assured the U.S. Chiefs of Staff, however, that having accepted the decision they would do their utmost to make it work. Mr. Churchill wrote along a similar line to Mr. Hopkins on 19 July, saying: "We have submitted under protest to the decision of the United States Chiefs of Staff even in a theatre where we have been accorded the right to nominate the Supreme Commander. You can be sure we shall try our best to make the operation a success. I only hope it will not ruin greater projects."15

Mr. Churchill apparently by early July had given up hope of shifting the Allied effort from southern France. However, after the breakout in Normandy he cabled the President that, since the course of events in Normandy and Brittany had given good prospects that the whole of the Brittany peninsula would soon be in Allied hands, they should consider switching ANVIL "into the main and vital theatre where it can immediately play the part at close quarters in the great and victorious battles in which we are now engaged."16 He threw out the suggestion that they might find some point from St. Nazaire northward along the Brittany peninsula already liberated by U.S. troops where a landing could be made. The divisions assigned to ANVIL/DRAGOON could thus be brought in rapidly and sent into battle by the shortest route across France. The President, who had been absent since mid-July on a trip which took him to Pearl Harbor, apparently made no immediate reply, and Mr. Churchill next expressed his fears to Mr. Hopkins. The latter felt that supply problems involved in shifting the landings to the Brittany peninsula were insurmountable, and that the President would not agree to a change. Hopkins believed that the attack from the south would go much more quickly than expected and that "a tremendous victory" was in store for the Allies. The President shortly afterward sent a similar message, giving as his considered opinion: "ANVIL should be launched as planned at the earliest practicable date and I have full confidence that it will be successful and of


great assistance to Eisenhower in driving the Hun from France."17

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister made a final effort to change the views of the Supreme Commander. On 5 August, Mr. Churchill, meeting with General Eisenhower and Admirals Cunningham, Ramsay, and William G. Tennant, had warned of the great opportunity which would be missed if the ANVIL/DRAGOON forces were not moved from the Toulon area to Brest, Lorient, St. Nazaire, or perhaps even the Channel ports. Admiral Cunningham supported the Prime Minister against General Eisenhower, who was backed by Admirals Ramsay and Tennant. Holding the view that sound strategy required the Allies to force the Germans to fight on the maximum number of fronts, General Eisenhower adhered to the original plan. To make certain that no doubt existed as to his position, the Supreme Commander cabled Washington that he would not "under any conditions agree at this moment to a cancellation of DRAGOON." General Wilson also struck a blow at the Prime Minister's arguments at this point when he reported that, even though the French forces could be diverted to the Brittany ports without difficulty, the U.S. forces had started loading and any change would lead to delay.18

Despite these statements, the Prime Minister took up the question again with General Eisenhower in several interviews which proved unusually trying for the Supreme Commander. On 9 August, in a meeting at 10 Downing Street described by General Eisenhower as one of the most difficult sessions in which he engaged during the war, the Prime Minister pressed his point. Intimating that the United States was taking the role of "a big strong and dominating partner" rather than attempting to understand the British position, the Prime Minister expressed his concern at the apparent indifference of the United States toward the Italian campaign.19 Obviously "stirred, upset and even despondent," Mr. Churchill seemed to feel that the success of his whole administration would be involved in the failure to push General Alexander's drive to the north. General Eisenhower suggested that if Mr. Churchill had political reasons for backing a campaign into the Balkans he should take up the matter with President Roosevelt. The Supreme Commander was willing to change his plan of campaign if political considerations were to be paramount; on military grounds alone he felt he could not yield. Mr. Churchill continued to press his case. These arguments, however painful to General Eisenhower, did not change his views, and he again assured the War Department of his strong opposition to "a cancellation or a major modification of DRAGOON."20

With this new evidence that the United States would not yield, the British Chiefs of Staff on 10 August notified General Wilson that he was to proceed with



ANVIL/DRAGOON as planned, a directive which was confirmed by the Combined Chiefs of Staff on the following day--only four days before the landing.21

Deeply distressed by the interview of 9 August, General Eisenhower attempted to reassure the Prime Minister of the good faith and good will of the U.S. Chiefs of Staff. He denied that there was any intent on the part of anyone in the U.S. war machine to disregard British views or "cold-bloodedly to leave Britain holding an empty bag in any of our joint undertakings." In his concluding paragraphs, he stressed the degree of co-operation which had been achieved in the Allied staffs:

In two years I think we have developed such a fine spirit and machinery in our field direction that no consideration of British versus American interests ever occurs to any of the individuals comprising my staff or serving as one of my principal commanders. I would feel that much of my hard work over the past months had been irretrievably lost if we now should lose faith in the organisms that have given higher direction to our war effort, because such lack of faith would quickly be reflected in discord in our field command.

During all these months I have leaned on you often, and have always looked to you with complete confidence when I felt the need of additional support. This adds a sentimental to my very practical reasons for hoping, most earnestly, that in spite of disappointment, we will all adhere tenaciously to the concepts of control brought forth by the President and yourself two and one half years ago.22

Mr. Churchill quickly set the matter right on 15 August with this message:

Thank you for your kind letter of August 11. Many congratulations on brilliant operations


in Anjou and Normandy. There must have been a magnificent fight and logistic penetration of American turning movement will long excite wonder. Every good wish.23

The Landings and the Advance

General Wilson launched the long-awaited attack on the southern coast of France on 15 August. (Map 2) British, French, and U.S. forces under Lt. Gen. Alexander M. Patch, commander of the Seventh U.S. Army, began landing that morning against light opposition in the area east of Toulon. French forces under Gen. Jean de Lattre de Tassigny, commander of French Army B, landed over the U.S. beaches on the second day and started their drive for Toulon and Marseille. General de Lattre commanded the II French Corps in the assault and was subordinated to General Patch. It was understood that later he would revert to command of the French Army.24


At the time of the landings, Army Group G had eleven divisions with which to hold France south of the Loire. OKW had considered withdrawing General Blaskowitz' forces to a line nearer to the German border,


but had taken no action when the attack came. In the face of a major Allied offensive, OKW on 17-18 August ordered Army Group G to evacuate both the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts except for the fortresses and ports. The LXIV Corps, which had been in charge of troops in southwestern France since First Army was withdrawn a few weeks before to build up a Seine defense line southeast of Paris, formed three march groups and withdrew eastward, south of the Loire, toward Dijon. Nineteenth Army, meanwhile, retreated northward through the Rhône valley toward the Plateau de Langres.25

The first two weeks of the Allied attack exceeded all expectations as to the speed with which the initial objectives were seized. The period saw two major ports, Toulon and Marseille, opened and more than 57,000 prisoners taken at the cost of 4,000 French and 2,700 American casualties. The only direct effect of the landings on the fortunes of OVERLORD seems to have been the cancellation of movement orders for the 338th Division, which was already on its way to Normandy.26 Indirectly, however, the scattering of enemy forces south of the Loire and the approach of Allied forces to the 12th Army Group's right flank meant the strengthening of General Eisenhower's position. More important to later operations in the north was the promise that the opening of Marseille would provide a new port through which men and supplies could be brought for a sustained drive into Germany. General Eisenhower, greatly pleased at the success of ANVIL/DRAGOON, was gratified still further when the Prime Minister, who had observed the landings, wired:

I watched this landing yesterday from afar. All I have seen there makes me admire the perfect precision with which the landing was arranged and intimate collaboration of British-American forces.

Mindful of the difficulties which had preceded the operation, the Supreme Commander replied:

I am delighted to note in your latest telegram to me that you have personally and legally adopted the DRAGOON. I am sure that he will grow fat and prosperous under your watchfulness. If you can guarantee that your presence at all such operations will have the same effect that it did in this wonderful show I will make sure that in my future operations in this theater you are given a fleet of your own. I hope you will hurry back to us as I have many things to talk over with you. With warm and respectful regard. IKE.27

In early September the U.S. and French forces pushed northward toward Lyon and Dijon to prevent a junction between enemy forces from the south and southwest and to bar their escape routes to Germany. The enemy evacuated Lyon before the French and U.S. forces arrived there on 3 September, and Dijon fell to the French without a fight on the 11th. On the following day, French forces that had pushed beyond Dijon in the direction of the Third U.S. Army made a junction with OVERLORD units near Châtillon-sur-Seine.28

The junction of Allied forces spelled defeat for those enemy forces from southwestern


France still west of Dijon. Two of the three march groups which had started from the Atlantic area and other miscellaneous units passed Dijon before that city was captured, but the third unit, Group Elster, some 20,000 strong, including elements of the 159th Division and a large number of noncombatant personnel (administrative personnel, Wehrmacht civilian personnel, auxiliary workers), proceeded more slowly and was cut off by the junction at Châtillon-sur-Seine. Continually harassed by the French Forces of the Interior and the XIX Tactical Air Command and cut off from Germany by the Third Army's advance, this group began negotiations for capitulation on 10 September and formally surrendered on the 16th. The final honor of accepting the surrender went to the Ninth U.S. Army, which had recently been assigned the Third Army's sector along the Loire. In recognition of the role played by the air forces in protecting the Allied right flank and in forcing the enemy surrender, the Ninth Army commander invited the commanding general of the XIX Tactical Air Command to take part in the ceremonies.29

Upon the link-up of General Eisenhower's forces with those advancing from the south, the direction of the French attack was changed to conform to the Supreme Commander's original views. The II French Corps suspended its advance northward and regrouped its forces between VI U.S. Corps (Lt. Gen. Lucian K. Truscott) and the I French Corps. The U.S. forces seized Vesoul on 13 September, thus blocking the last escape route to Belfort in the U.S. zone. On 16 September General Truscott's corps occupied Lure and Luxeuil-les-Bains, which controlled two other important corridors to Germany, but was not in time to catch the main body of enemy forces. The U.S. divisions, as a result of supply shortages and stiffening enemy resistance, now came almost to a halt some fifteen miles short of the Moselle while awaiting relief by the II French Corps and the general regrouping of Allied forces.

On 15 September a major change in command had been made. By agreement between General Eisenhower and General Wilson, the forces from the Mediterranean passed to SHAEF control and were placed under the 6th Army Group (Lt. Gen. Jacob L. Devers) which became operational on that date. Control of French Army B, soon to be named First French Army, was given to 6th Army Group.

In the month which had passed since Allied forces stormed ashore in southern France, the forces of General Patch and General de Lattre had swept westward from the assault beaches to Avignon and northward up the Rhône valley for a distance of more than 400 air-line miles. Their rapid advance had forced the enemy to evacuate France south of the Loire, except for a few ports, and had inflicted heavy losses on Army Group G. Some consolation for the Germans remained in the fact that General Blaskowitz' skillful handling of the retreat had saved more than half of his forces. Despite this action, he


was replaced on 21 September by General der Panzertruppen Hermann Balck, then commander of the Fourth Panzer Army on the Eastern Front. Army Group G, to which the Fifth Panzer Army had been transferred in the hope that it could deliver a counterattack against the Third Army from the Plateau de Langres, by mid-September took up the protection of the left wing of the German line north of the Swiss border. The Fifth Panzer Army and part of the First Army were committed against the Third U.S. Army, and the battered Nineteenth Army was given the task of opposing the French and U.S. forces under General Devers.30


Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (11) * Next Chapter (13)


1. AFHQ to JSM and JCS. MEDCOS 110, 17 May 44; AFHQ to Br COS, MEDCOS 111, 18 May 44; AMSSO to SACEA, COSSEA 105, 24 May 44. All in SHAEF FGS 370.2/2 Operation from the Mediterranean in Support of OVERLORD, II.

2. Wilson to Br COS, MEDCOS 125, 7 Jun 44; SHAEF G-3 Plng Sec Study, Use of the Mediterranean Strategic Reserves, 10 Jan 44. SHAEF SGS 370.2/2 Operation from the Mediterranean in Support of OVERLORD, II.

3. CCS Conf. 163d Mtg, London, 11 Jun 44; CCS to Wilson, OZ-3116, 14 Jun 44. Both in SHAEF SGS 370.2/2 Operation from the Mediterranean in Support of Overlord, II.

4. Eisenhower to Wilson, S-53967, 16 Jun 44, SHAEF SGS 370.2/2 Operation from the Mediterranean in Support of OVERLORD, II.

5. This and the two succeeding paragraphs are based on General Wilsonís letter to General Eisenhower, 19 June 1944, SHAEF SGS 370.2/2 Operation from the Mediterranean in Support of OVERLORD, II.

6. Eisenhower to CCS, SCAF 53, 23 Jun 44, SHAEF SGS 370.2/2 Operation from the Mediterranean in Support of OVERLORD, II.

7. JSM to AMSSO,JSM 112, 24 Jun 44, SHAEF SGS 370.2/2 Operation from the Mediterranean in Support of OVERLORD, II.

8. Churchill to Roosevelt, 714, 25 Jun 44; Prime Minister to President, 718, 28 Jun 44; Prime Minister to President, 717, 28 Jun 44. All in OPD Exec 10, 63c.

9. President to Prime Minister, 575, 28 Jun 44, OPD Exec 10, 63b. A note on the message indicated that this was in answer to 714. It would appear to have been sent before messages 717 and 718 were received. The entire correspondence is summarized in the following messages from Marshall to Eisenhower: W-58039, W-58040, W-58041, 29 Jun 44, Eisenhower personal file.

10. Eisenhower to Marshall, S-54760, 29 Jun 44, Eisenhower personal file.

11. Diary Offce CinC, 1 Jul 44; CCS to AFHQ, COSMED 139, 2 Jul 44, SHAEF SGS 370.2/2 Operation from the Mediterranean in Support of OVERLORD, II.

12. SHAEF to CCS, SCAF 54, 26 Jun 44; Memo, G-4 SHAEF for CAO, 26 Jun 44; Wilson to Br COS, MEDCOS 131, 24 Jun 44; Mtg, SHAEF, 26 Jun 44, relative to release of forces from OVERLORD for Mediterranean; ANCXF to VCWTF, 27 Jun 44; COMNAVEU to SHAEF, 19 Jun 44: ANCXF to SHAEF, 20 Jun 44; outgoing msg, COMNAVEU, 22 Jun 44; Memo for CofS, sgd Moore, 22 Jun 44. All in SHAEF SGS 370.2/2 Operation from the Mediterranean in Support of OVERLORD, II.

13. SHAEF to AFHQ, S-55130, 6 Jul 44, SHAEF SGS 370.2/2 Operation from the Mediterranean in Support of OVERLORD, II.

14. Wilson to Eisenhower, F-69283, 6 Jul 44; Wilson to Eisenhower, FX 69883, 8 Jul 44; Wilson to Br COS, FX 69815, 8 Jul 44. All in SHAEF SGS 370.2/2 Operation from the Mediterranean in Support of Overlord, II.

15. Br COS to JSM, 12 Jul 44, Eisenhower personal file; Prime Minister to Hopkins, 19 Jul 44, OPD Exec 10, 63b.

16. Mr. Churchill actually used the new code name DRAGOON which had been chosen for ANVIL a few days before. Such changes were frequently made in the name of an operation in the fear that the original had become known to the enemy. In order to avoid confusion for the reader, the term ANVIL/DRAGOON will hereafter be used except in the case of direct quotations.

17. Br COS to JSM, 5 Aug 44, Eisenhower personal file. Prime Minister to President, 742, 4 Aug 44; Hopkins to Prime Minister (given in Memo for SGS, 7 Aug 44); President to Prime Minister, 596, 7 Aug 44; Prime Minister to President, 7 Aug 44. All in OPD Exec 10, 63b. Summaries of three messages given in Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. 810, 812-13.

18. Butcher, My Three Years With Eisenhower, p. 635; Eisenhower to Marshall, FWD - 12612, 5 Aug 44, Eisenhower personal file; Wilson to CCS, FX 79468, 5 Aug 44, AFHQ file; Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe, pp. 281-84.

19. The quoted words are General Eisenhowerís paraphrase.

20. Eisenhower to Marshall, 9 and 11 Aug 44, Eisenhower personal file. Butcher, My Three Years With Eisenhower, p. 639, and Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe, pp. 281-84, reconstruct parts of the conversation.

21. Br COS to AFHQ, 10 Aug 44; CCS to AFHQ, 11 Aug 44. Both in SHAEF cbl log.

22. Eisenhower to Prime Minister, 11 Aug 44, Eisenhower personal file.

23. Prime Minister to Eisenhower, 15 Aug 44, Eisenhower personal file.

24. The author has drawn some operational details of this chapter from the official history of the campaign in southern France prepared in the OCMH by Maj. James David T. Hamilton. See also Report by the Supreme Allied Commander Mediterranean to the Combined Chiefs of Station the Operation in Southern France, August 1944 (Washington, 1946); Seventh Army Rpt of Opns, I; and Gen. Jean de Lattre de Tassigny, Histoire de la Premiere Armee Francaise (Paris, 1949). Two important German sources are Der Westen (Schramm) and MS # T-121 (Zimmermann et al.).

25. Armeegruppe G (referred to hereafter as Army Group G) KTB Nr. 2 and Anlagen 1.VII-30.IX.44; OB WEST, KTB 1.-31.VIII.44; Der Westen (Schramm); OB WEST, A Study in Command (Zimmermann et al.), written under the auspices of the Department of the Army Historical Division in 1946.

26. OB WEST, KTB 1.-31.VIII.44, 15 Aug 44.

27. Prime Minister to Eisenhower, 18 Aug 44; Eisenhower to Wilson for Prime Minister, 24 Aug 44. Both in Eisenhower personal file.

28. The time and place of the first meeting like that of so many other junctions during the war is a subject of some controversy. Individual jeeploads of soldiers and at least one courier plane had sought out elements of the other of the approaching forces before 12 September, and reconnaissance elements of the OVERLORD and ANVIL/DRAGOON forces had met at Sombernon on the evening of 10-11 September. Seventh Army Rpt of Opns, I, 271-72; TUSA AAR, I, 69. Report by the Supreme Allied Commander Mediterranean prefers 11 September as the date of meeting; de Lattre, Histoire de la Premiere Armee Francaise, pp. 161-62, accepts the 12 September date.

29. OB WEST, A Study in Command (Zimmermann et al.), OB WEST KTB 1.-30.IX.44, 5 and 9 Sep 44: Conquer: The Story of Ninth Army, 1944-45 (Washington, 1947), pp. 47-50; TUSA AAR, I. 50.

30. Fifth Panzer Army was taken out of the line on 6 September 1944 and attached directly to OB WEST; on 11 September 1944 it was assigned to Army Group G. First Army was transferred from Army Group B to Army Group G on 8 September 1944.

Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Charles Hardinger for the HyperWar Foundation