Operation Anvil: The Invasion of Southern France
For the sixth time of World War Two the U.S. 30th Infantry would be making an amphibious landing on a hostile shore. This time the target area was the French Riviera region of Southern France. With the allied landings in Normandy, the American and British forces to the north were quickly blazing a path through the north and central regions of France. The Southern France invasion would be a completion of the invasion process clearing out the enemy forces guarding the approaches into France from the South. Once the invasion had succeeded they were to push northward linking up with the allied froces coming from Normandy and become one combined front pushing the German forces back toward the German border.
On August 14th the invasion force consisting of the VI Corps. with the US 3rd, 36th, and 45th Infantry Divisions were assembled and embarked from Naples harbor. A vast column of transports and support ships steamed toward the coast of Southern France. The invasion force had an unsuspecting visitor to see them off and wishing them luck, riding by holding up his hand displaying a "V" for victory it was none other than the Prime Minister of England himself Winston S. Churchill. On August 15th, the invasion force arrived off the coast of Southern France and they disembarked for the beach. The US 3rd Infantry Division would land with the 7th and 15th Infantry's in the region of St. Tropez and La Croix, with the 30th Infantry behind the 7th to push through their lines and to capture and hold a key bridge across the La Mole River. The US 36th Infantry Division would be attacking on the left flank of the 3rd and the US 45th Infantry Division would secure Marseille and attack on the right flank of the 3rd. As the division moved inland the casualties and resistance of the enemy was light. A fiercer resistance was expected from the enemy. However, as the hundreds of prisoners came back to the rear it was found that the forces opposing the beachhead area had been a conglimerate of different nationalitied soldiers most of them captured and put into service by the Germans. Most of the soldiers came from their earlier campaigns during the war. On the divisions move inland once again the 30th Infantry became the lead element of the division. On August 18th, the 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry coordinated an attack on the city of Brignoles, the 2nd Battalion, attacked straight into the city with the 3rd Battalion, 30th Infantry attacking to the north of the town with the 3rd Battalion of the 15th to the south of Brignoles. By the 19th, the city of Brignoles was secured and in 30th Infantry hands.
As the 30th Infantry moved northward the next obstacle would come at Aix. On August 20th, the 30th Infantry moved into position to attack Aix. However, with such a small force opposing them they decided to envelop the force. They did so by the 21st of August and the force within the city of Aix capitulated there were stiff counterattacks by bicycle troops aswell as German armored elements but, the 30th Infantry held. A few days later on August 27th, with the 15th Infantry moving up from the south the 7th and 30th Infantry's moved toward Montelimar. From the east they pushed what little resistance was there in their strongholds out. The large majority of the attack moving toward Montelimar was on the 15th Infantry's southerly route. Earlier the 36th Infantry Division had cut the road north of Montelimar and the retreat of the enemy had been effectively cut off. A great deal of carnage was done to these forces as they attempted to retreat. The fight into Montelimar would fall onto the 30th Infantry. The small pockets of resistance were cleared out by the 36th Division, however, pockets still remained in Montelimar. The 30th infantry attacked straight into the city and began the process of clearing out the enemy. On August 29th, the town was declared secured, and the move north continued. The advance after Montelimar moved quickly, the 30th Infantry moving northward captured the city of Chambery and with its capitulation the 30th Infantry moved through the town of Lons-Le-Saunier on their advance northward. The next objective that stood in the 30th Infantry's way was the city of Besancon.
On September 5th, the 30 Infantry came upon the city of Besancon. Its strategic value was important in the drive northward as it was a vital railroad and communication hub for the enemy in the region. The 30th Infantry along with 7th Infantry were advancing abreast of each other and commenced the attack the same day. The 1st and 3rd Battalion, 30th Infantry attacked into the city from the east and southeast, while the 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry held a key road junction to the east of the city. The 15th Infantry's objective was two key hills on the southeastern side of the city, they were to capture and hold those two hills. The 7th Infantry would make the main assault. 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry moved across the Doubs River and flanked around the city to the north, by doing this they cut the main axis of retreat for the enemy in the city. The 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry moved across the Doubs River likewise and captured two key hills just to the south of the city on the north side of the Doub River. From there they attacked down hill through the southern part of the city and set up a defensive area just beyond. The 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry attacked into the center of the city "E" Co. of the 2nd Battalion, 7th and "C" Co. of the 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry's were detailed to clear out all remaining pockets of resistance within the city and by the 8th of September Besancon was declared captured and secured.
As the drive continued, on September 10th, the 7th Infantry commenced the attack on the city of Vesoul from south of the city. The objectives were the road nets to the north of the town which were being stubbornly defended. As the 7th Infantry attacked to clean out the defenders north of Vesoul the 3rd Battalion, 30th Infantry attacked toward Presle. The defenders put up such resistance that the 3rd Battalion, 30th called in both the 1st and 2nd Battalions to cut off and surround the city to capture it. In the main attack into the city of Vesoul the 15th Infanty took the lead of the advance and commenced the fight into the city of Vesoul. It was eventually, captured on September 12th, by elements of the 15th and two battalions of the 36th Division.
The casualties sustained by the U.S. 30th Infantry Regiment during Operation Anvil: The Invasion of Southern France are as follows:
Killed: 90 Enlisted, 5 Officers
Wounded: 332 Enlisted, 13 Officers
Missing In Action: 17 Enlisted
source : http://www.ww2f.com/topic/10384-history ... -regiment/
«La guerre pour moi, c'était les plus belles années de ma vie, simplement parce que j'en suis sorti vivant»
~ Bob Maloubier ~