Accession Number:



Operation Dragoon: Unified Land Operations and Elements of Operational Art in Southern France

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Technical Report,01 Jun 2016,31 May 2017

Corporate Author:

US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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Operation Dragoon, the invasion of Southern France on August 15, 1944, is one of the least celebrated, yet highly successful operations conducted by the Allies on the Western front during World War II. Allied planners initially proposed an amphibious invasion of Southern France in support of the cross-channel invasion during the Trident Conference in Washington, DC in May 1943. Allied planners revisited Operation Dragoon several times over the next twelve months, as it remained a divisive issue between the Americans and the British. Their divergent strategic goals and the limited resources to meet these goals resulted in frequent changes and cancellations, but ultimately the operation went forward. Operation Dragoon was a supporting operation to the Allies main effort in Normandy. The operation had two primary purposes to force the German forces in France to fight in two directions and to give Allied forces access to the vital port facilities at Marseilles and Toulon. Operation Dragoon achieved far more success than anticipated. The Germans failed to anticipate the landings and form a viable defense, leaving them with only the option to withdraw. As the Germans began to retreat, American and French forces began an aggressive pursuit. In less than four weeks they caused the Germans to sustain a loss of over 150,000 casualties while liberating a large portion of Southern France. This monograph seeks to provide insight into various elements of todays concept of operational art and the US Armys operational doctrine expressed in Army Doctrine Publication ADP 3-0, Unified Land Operations ULO. By identifying and analyzing similar methods employed in making Operation Dragoon a success, this monograph identifies ways in which the success of the operation can inform future operational planners.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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