Landing

“Gaby is going to lie down in the grass” – “Nancy has a stiff neck” – “The hunter is hungry”.

14 august : the D-Days landings in Provence

 

At 7.15pm on 14 August 1944, Radio London sent out a coded warning to start the offensive: the D-Day landings in Provence had begun.

 

The French Forces of the Interior received three messages from London, the last of which, “the hunter is hungry”, signified the launch of operations . Just after midnight, as the American Rangers were gaining a foothold in the îles du Levant, the first French commandos seized Cap Nègre. At dawn, an air and naval bombardment destroyed the German artillery. At 8am, the 3rd, 36th and 45th American Infantry Divisions moved onto the coastal beaches between Cavalaire and Saint-Raphael General Patch’s 7th American Army, which included the French forces of Army B commanded by General de Lattre de Tassigny, landed in Provence and the battle began! It was called Operation Dragoon. The objectives were to pin down enemy troops and then protect the right flank of the American army coming from Normandy.

For strategic reasons, the ships of the Allied fleet gathered off Corsica. They first headed for Genoa to deceive the enemy before finally setting course for the coast of Provence on the evening of the 14th.

Massive military resources

In Cavalaire, the D-Day landings in Provence required the deployment of colossal military resources: tanks, dukws, anti-submarine nets, etc. In the spring of 1944, the German troops occupying the area feared the arrival of enemy forces by sea. To prepare for a possible attack, they turned the Cavalaire beach into an entrenched camp Large concrete pyramids called “tetrahedrons” were built to prevent tanks landing from the sea from advancing inland.

Among the soldiers who landed at Cavalaire was Lieutenant Hubert Germain. He died in October 2021 at the age of 101 and was the last Companion de la Libération (an order created by General de Gaulle in 1940). He enlisted in the Free French Forces in June 1940, joined the 13th Demi-Brigade of the Foreign Legion, and was awarded the Order of Liberation by General de Gaulle in June 1944.

The Cavalaire D-Day Monuments

The sculpture was created by G. Nadal as a tribute to the Allied troops It represents a woman surrounded by 2 columns, symbolising freedom.

  • The dukws, these amphibious vehicles brought ammunition, weapons and men from the cargo ships. Waves or too heavy a load took their toll on 2 of them, which can be found off the D-Day beach at a depth of around 15 metres.

80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Provence

Find out about the events taking place to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings and download the flyer.

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