The eightieth Anniversary of Operation Dragoon – The Provence D-Day | EUROtoday

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2024 marks the 80th anniversary of one of the vital essential, however typically ignored, campaigns of World War II. Sometimes known as 'the opposite D-Day in France' and regarded to be one of the vital profitable amphibious assaults in historical past, the occasion befell within the Var, Provence, 70 days after the Normandy seashore landings.

Overshadowed by Normandy, Operation Dragoon has been largely forgotten although by no means by these within the south of France the place the occasion befell. This yr, in honor of the 80 years which have handed, a raft of memorial occasions will happen within the Var and particularly within the Gulf of Saint-Tropez – alongside the coast, within the picturesque villages and in historic cities.

History of Operation Dragoon

Launched on August 15, 1944, Operation Dragoon was an important Franco-American army operation with the first touchdown websites have been positioned within the Var, and noticed allied forces workforce up with French Army Group B to liberate the south of France. It was a big army success and massively symbolic for the French, an occasion that’s remembered yearly. Thousands of French troopers, together with the remnants of France's free forces, returned residence for the primary occasions in years to play a direct position within the struggle to free Europe.

Some 450,000 Allied troopers and greater than 2,000 ships took half in Operation Dragoon, together with 250,000 French fighters, with a lot of the relaxation from the USA. Following a sequence of coded messages from Radio London utilizing seeming innocuous phrases resembling “Nancy has a stiff neck” and “Gaby is going to lie down in the grass”, the assault was launched shortly after midnight on August 15. Resistance fighters within the south performed a key position in harassing German forces as they fell again, serving to the Allied troopers to advance rapidly. In lower than two weeks, Provence was liberated.

Allied forces then superior up the Rhone Valley in a coordinated pinch motion to chop off and have interaction retreating German troops. This strategic maneuver culminated in a historic assembly with D-Day veterans from Normandy in Dijon on September 12, 1944

Remembrance within the Gulf of Saint-Tropez

Every yr on 15 August, wreaths are laid and a minute's silence noticed within the cities and villages of the Gulf of Saint-Tropez. Some spectacular wrecks of warships sunk and planes shot down near the seashores throughout these army operations have turn out to be essential websites for scuba divers. Sometimes tank turrets reappear on the seashores after notably tough seas and robust winds in winter, all bearing witness to the Allied Landings. Several cities alongside the coast noticed actions and lots of of them have commemorative memorials and monuments.

La Croix Valmer

In the early hours of 15 August 1944, Allied troops arrived on the seashore at La Croix-Valmer, now named “La plage du Débarquement” of their honor. Strategically positioned, the seashore served as a touchdown stage for the troops who later headed for the cities of Toulon and Marseille.


In the southern a part of the well-known Pampelonne seashore, the vines and reed hedges have been destroyed to create an airstrip for a hyperlink to the island of Corsica and to North Africa. It would take a few years to redevelop the positioning. The third American Infantry Division landed at Pampelonne, whereas parts of the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion liberated Saint-Tropez. In Saint-Tropez there are a number of monuments commemorating the landings and part of the coastal Promenade is known as the Promenades des Marines Alliés in tribute to the naval forces who liberated the city.


A gaggle of African commandos arrived on Canadel seashore on the night time of 14 to fifteen August. Their mission was to destroy the batteries threatening the seashores the place the Allied troops deliberate to land. A monument commemorates this occasion on the seashore. You may also go to the 220m² nationwide necropolis, the smallest of the French nationwide cemeteries, which accommodates the graves of 13 French troopers who died alongside their chief climbing the cliffs of Cap Nègre.


Troops of the American third DI landed on the seashore at Cavalaire. A monument is devoted to them on the Promenade de la Mer. 'It was the darkest day of my life', Hitler mentioned within the face of Allied breakthrough.


The seashore at La Nartelle in Sainte-Maxime was the touchdown level for the forty fifth American DI Delta Force. The French 1st DV group, commanded by General Sudre, landed the next night time. There are a number of memorials within the city which pay homage to Allied and French forces.

Key memorial websites within the Var

There are a number of memorial websites within the Var together with the Draguignan American Cemetery, the ultimate resting place of 861 American troopers killed in Provence. Mont Faron Memorial, Toulon residence to one of many largest and most essential naval ports of France. The National Necropolis of Boulourisin Saint-Raphaël, final remaining place 464 troopers of the first French Army commanded by General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny. The Mitan memorial in La Motte commemorates the parachute drop of 9000 American and British troops on August 15, 1944. 350 fight gliders carrying males and gear have been towed by C47 Dakota plane from bases in Italy. Their actions led to La Motte being the primary village liberated in Provence.

80th occasions anniversary to commemorate Operation Dragoon

A lot of occasions will happen to pay homage to Operation Dragoon within the Gulf of Saint-Tropez and wider Var space, together with a commemorative ceremony in vigorous Cavalaire-sur-Mer on 15th August, adopted by a night jazz live performance and fireworks. On the identical day commemorations will probably be held within the village of Grimaud and at Port Grimaud with remembrance ceremonies, concert events, and road meals stalls. While in Saint-Tropez there will probably be all day occasions and ceremonies on 14 August to honor the liberation of the city

Multiple ceremonies, movie screenings, exhibitions, dances, guided excursions of key websites, concert events, conferences and commemorations will probably be held all through the division from late spring by way of the top of summer season.

Find all the occasions by visiting native vacationer places of work or on-line at

The 80th Anniversary of Operation Dragoon – The Provence D-Day