Item:
ONSV22SOS216

Original U.S. WWII Paratrooper Operation Dragoon Invasion American Flag Oilcloth Armband - With Handwriting

Item Description

Original Item: One-Of-A-Kind. Now this is an amazing piece of history! Normally these are associated with the D-Day invasion but the Paratrooper who wore this was kind enough to write on the inside of it when and where he wore it! We assume he did the writing on the inside before sending it back stateside for loved ones so they knew what exactly he was sending home and almost 78 years it is still somewhat legible!

This is the third type of Arm flag, which was printed as an armband on a kind of sturdy paper stock resembling wallpaper, called oilcloth. This is a semi-waterproof material also called "lacquered cloth" and "American Cloth". It has punch holes and was issued with two safety pins, one of which are present. It measures approximately 17 ½” x 4", the standard length for these items.

Most of the examples we see are in unissued condition, usually folded into thirds, much like this example. This type of wear and patina simply cannot be duplicated!

This type was issued for the Southern France, Holland and Rhine jumps and was worn as an armband or cut or folded and pinned to the sleeve. 509th PIR troopers during Operation Dragoon wore their flags on the left sleeve. There are two variations of this type of armflag, and you will mostly find both described as printed on oilcloth. This is true for the second type, which has a hemmed edge all around, but which is otherwise identical in pattern and size.

The inside handwriting is as follows:

“Lynn
THIS ARMBAND
WAS WORN [by] US
IN THE INVASION
OF SOUTHERN
FRANCE AUGUST
15 1944”

The invasion this trooper is referencing was the invasion of Provence in Southern France during Operation Dragoon. Operation Dragoon (initially Operation Anvil) was the codename 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.

This is truly a wonderful piece of history with solid provenance! Comes more than ready to display.

Operation Dragoon
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, soon putting them into operation.

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 just 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 quickly.

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