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Street panel for the 1st Free French Division in the Provence landing

Historic site and monument, Memorial in La Londe-les-Maures

  • On August 12th, 1944, the elements of this unit, invested with their victory at Bir Hakeim, waited in Taranto harbour on several ships and continued to train for a landing that everyone knew was close.

  • On August 15th the maps of the Provence coast are distributed;
    On the morning of August 16th, the ship's radio announced the landing. The commandos have established themselves on the soil of Provence and an American airborne division occupies the Argens Valley.
    At 5pm, the French coasts appear. Men have been waiting for this moment for 4 years. Cavalaire Bay is identified.
    It is in the hands of Franco-American paratroopers since the day before, who cleaned the coast like the African...
    On August 15th the maps of the Provence coast are distributed;
    On the morning of August 16th, the ship's radio announced the landing. The commandos have established themselves on the soil of Provence and an American airborne division occupies the Argens Valley.
    At 5pm, the French coasts appear. Men have been waiting for this moment for 4 years. Cavalaire Bay is identified.
    It is in the hands of Franco-American paratroopers since the day before, who cleaned the coast like the African commandos between Le Canadel and Le Lavandou. A Divisional surgical team (Spears) has been detached in the forward guard and is accompanying the commandos.
    General Brosset commanding the Division landed with the 2nd Brigade.

    On August 17th, the entire Division landed and gathered at the Valmer Cross.

    On August 18th, it took the direction of Hyères, placed under the command of General de Larminat who also headed the 9th Colonial Infantry Division and a group of commandos and shock battalions.
    On August 19th, it crosses La Londe. The marine riflemen of the Savarysquadron branch off towards Les Borrels and Le Pas du Cerf to regroup at Domaine de la Clapière.
    From there they took the road to Pierrefeu to ensure the link between the other elements of the 1st DFL and the 9th D.I.C. which had liberated Collobrières.
    Pierrefeu was liberated, the marine riflemen joined the Domaine de la Clapière while waiting for news about Mont Redon before liberating La Crau.
    The other units headed for Hyères to relay the African commandos chosen to seize Mount Coudon after the capture of the Mauvanne blockhouses.

    The German defence zones are the main goals.

    The Golf Hotel, Costebelle, Mont Fenouillet in Hyères, Mont Redon in La Crau, Le Pradet and the Thouar hill in La Garde are the bastions where heavy fighting will cause enormous losses to the Division (298 men lost their lives there, more than 300 were wounded) before entering Toulon.

    N/B: the names of 117 of them are inscribed in front of the French Remembrance Stele in the Saint Honoré district (D.559) towards Le Lavandou.
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