Report on The Operations in Southern France, August 1944

BACKGROUND OF THE PLAN THE decision to launch an amphibious operation against the shores of Southern France in conjunction with a major invasion effort in Northern France in 1944, and the early planning for such an operation in the Mediterranean Theatre, ante-date my assumption of command in that Theatre. The Combined Chiefs of Staff had decided on a diversionary attack on Southern France as early as the QUADRANT Conference in Quebec the preceding August, but the decision for a major assault was taken by the Combined Chiefs of Staff at the SEXTANT Conference held in Cairo late in November, 1943, which I attended in my capacity as Commander-in-Chief, Middle East. The decision was subsequently embodied in agreements with Soviet Russia reached at the Teheran Conference, where Mr. Churchill and President Roosevelt conferred with Marshal Stalin. These agreements were concluded at the highest level, and subsequently Mr. Churchill quoted President Roosevelt assaying “in view of the Soviet-British-American agreement reached in Teheran, I cannot agree without Stalin’s approval to any use of force or equipment elsewhere that might delay or hazard the success ”of either of these two complementary operations which were to create the “Second Front ”in Europe. In fact, the Combined Chiefs of Staff decided to postpone amphibious operations tentatively scheduled for 1944 in the Bay of Bengal until 1945, in order to divert the necessary landing-craft to support the European operations. In their final report, they described the two assaults on France as the “Supreme Operations ”of 1944. On 6th December, 1943, the Combined Chiefs of Staff advised General Eisenhower as Commander-in-Chief, Allied Force, that the operation in his Theatre was to be launched in conjunction with the assault on Northern France mounted from the United Kingdom, and that the object was to bethe establishment of a bridgehead on the South Coast of France, with subsequent exploitation northward in support of the northern invasion. The exact target date for the latter had not yet been determined, but was tentatively set for the “most suitable date during May, 1944 The Mediterranean operation was to be timed approximately to coincide with the Northern assault, and its exact date was to beset in consultation with the planning staff in the United Kingdom who were charged with planning the main invasion. General Eisenhower was informed that he would be given assault shipping and craft for a lift of at least two divisions, and he was directed to inform the Combined Chiefs of his requirements which could not be met from resources already available in the Mediterranean. In assessing these resources he was to assume that the forces already committed to the Italian campaign had advanced as far as the Pisa-Rimini line, where they were to maintain the strongest pressure possible without detracting from the new operation, and that no forces were committed to any other offensive operation in the Theatre. During the next two weeks the Joint Planning Staff proceeded vigorously with the draft of an appreciation and outline plan. In the words of General Eisenhower, the projected operation, “instead of a diversionary threat
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