Invasion of Southern France: August-September 1944
Following Operation Neptune, the major French port, Marseille, was needed to place more pressure on German forces. On August 15, 1944, commanded by Vice Admiral H. Kent Hewitt, USN, the Western Naval Task Force landed the Allies on a thirty-mile front between Toulon and Cannes. Leading the American, British, Canadian, French, and Greek troops was Lieutenant General Alexander M. Patch. The forces departed from numerous different points in North Africa, Italy, Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica, and were divided into four groups: Alpha, Camel, Delta, and Sitka. Following heavy naval gunfire support and aerial bombings, the landings met with light resistance due to the low morale of the conscripted German forces, except for the Camel area where defenses were strong. Toulon and Marseille fell to the Free French forces on August 28. On September 12, the Allied columns from Normandy to Provence met near Dijon. From this point on, it would only be a matter of time until the liberation of Paris and France as a whole.
Image: 80-G-59475: Southern France Invasion, August 15, 1944. Baie de Cavalaire invasion beach. German prisoners beyond the LCVPs. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.