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During World War 2, Operation Dragoon (Allies, 1944) was the invasion of southern France between Toulon and Cannes executed on 15 August, 1944. Originally called Anvil, the name was changed by Winston Churchill, who claimed to having been "dragooned" into accepting it.
The American 6th Army Group also known as the Southern Group of Armies, commanded by Lieutenant General Jacob L. Devers was created in Corsica, Italy and activated on August 1, 1944 to consolidate the combined French and American forces that were planning to invade southern France in Operation Dragoon. At first it was subordinate to the Mediterranean theatre of operations, but it was eventually handed off to SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Forces) under U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Three American divisions formed the assault troops. 3rd Infantry Division landed on the left at Alpha Beach (Cavalaire-sur-Mer ), 45th Infantry Division in the centre at Delta Beach (Saint-Tropez), and 36th Infantry Division on the right at Camel Beach (Saint-RaphaŽl). They were supported by French commando groups landing on both flanks, a parachute assault by the British 2nd Independent Parachute Brigade , the 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team and an American glider regimental combat team; collectively known as 1st Airborne Task Force and US 1st Special Service Force which took two offshore islands to protect the beachhead.
Over ninety-four thousand troops and eleven thousand vehicles were landed on the first day. They met little resistance from German forces as they moved inland, since many enemy troops had been diverted to fight the Allied forces in Northern France after Operation Overlord. The quick success of this invasion, with a twenty-mile penetration in twenty-four hours, sparked a major uprising by resistance fighters in Paris.
The rapid retreat of the German Nineteenth Army gave the resulting battle the flavor of a race up the Rhone Valley. Allied forces from Dragoon moving northward met up with southern thrusts from Normandy (Operation Overlord) near Dijon in mid-September.
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