Original Rare Allied WWII Invasion Map of Cavalaire Bay in Southern France for Operation Dragoon

Item Description

Original Items: Only One Available. These are extremely rare, and this is the first time we have had any of these excellent maps available! Everyone knows about the famous "Operation Overlord" in June 1944, aka D-DAY, when Allied forces launched an amphibious and air landing on Normandy, France. There was also however "Operation Dragoon", which was basically the same thing, but against the ports and beaches of Southern France. Originally they were supposed to occur concurrently, but there were logistical issues, so the operation was pushed back to August 1944.

This is a detailed British printed Allied Invasion map, specifically for the area of CAVALAIRE BAY on the Southern French Coast. The map is listed as TOP SECRET - BIGOT, meaning it was at the highest level of secrecy, and only those on the "BIGOT LIST" had access. There is a lot of mystery surrounding the term "BIGOT", with some saying it stands for "British Invasion of German Occupied Territory", while others saying it was a reverse of TO GIB, for "To Gibraltar."  Whatever the reason, this map and the information on it was considered TOP SECRET until Operation Dragoon took place.

The map measures 22 inches wide and 29 inches tall, and shows beaches 259 and 260, along with information regarding minefields, defenses, and so forth. The map legend indicates that the defense information is current as of 20 July 1944, while the overlay has information provided by the Commander of the U.S. 8th Fleet, current to 31 July 1944, two weeks before the invasion. The reverse of the sheet has a lovely panoramic beach sketch for Beach 259, as well as multiple views of the invasion area. 

The map is in very good condition, with the expected age toning and fold lines from being stored for some time. There are a few small tears on the edge and at the creases, but it still has great color, and presents very well.

A fantastic piece of WWII History, ready to display!

Operation Dragoon was the code name for the landing operation of the Allied invasion of Provence (Southern France) on 15 August 1944. The operation was initially planned to be executed in conjunction with Operation Overlord, the Allied landing in Normandy, but the lack of available resources led to a cancellation of the second landing. By July 1944 the landing was reconsidered, as the clogged-up ports in Normandy did not have the capacity to adequately supply the Allied forces. Concurrently, the French High Command pushed for a revival of the operation that would include large numbers of French troops. As a result, the operation was finally approved in July to be executed in August.

The goal of the invasion was to secure the vital ports on the French Mediterranean coast and increase pressure on the German forces by opening another front. After some preliminary commando operations, the US VI Corps landed on the beaches of the Côte d'Azur under the shield of a large naval task force, followed by several divisions of the French Army B. They were opposed by the scattered forces of the German Army Group G, which had been weakened by the relocation of its divisions to other fronts and the replacement of its soldiers with third-rate Ostlegionen outfitted with obsolete equipment.

Hindered by Allied air supremacy and a large-scale uprising by the French Resistance, the weak German forces were swiftly defeated. The Germans withdrew to the north through the Rhône valley, to establish a stable defense line at Dijon. Allied mobile units were able to overtake the Germans and partially block their route at the town of Montélimar. The ensuing battle led to a stalemate, with neither side able to achieve a decisive breakthrough, until the Germans were finally able to complete their withdrawal and retreat from the town. While the Germans were retreating, the French managed to capture the important ports of Marseille and Toulon, putting them into operation soon after.

The Germans were not able to hold Dijon and ordered a complete withdrawal from Southern France. Army Group G retreated further north, pursued by Allied forces. The fighting ultimately came to a stop at the Vosges mountains, where Army Group G was finally able to establish a stable defense line. After meeting with the Allied units from Operation Overlord, the Allied forces were in need of reorganizing, and facing stiffened German resistance, the offensive was halted on 14 September. Operation Dragoon was considered a success by the Allies. It enabled them to liberate most of Southern France in a time span of only four weeks while inflicting heavy casualties on the German forces, although a substantial part of the best German units were able to escape. The captured French ports were put into operation, allowing the Allies to solve their supply problems soon after.

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