The invasion of southern France under Operation Dragoon aimed to relieve the overwhelming pressure on the Allied logistical systems in the north by securing additional south coast ports and also creating another front to further divert German resources. Following preliminary commando operations and naval bombardment to weaken defences along the coast, the landings began on 15 August and quickly established three different beachheads. The initial attacks caught the Germans off guard; they were unable to form a sizeable counterattack until 16 August, partly due to sabotage of communications by the French Resistance and also a lack of fighting forces. The counterattacks were ineffective against the superior numbers of the Allied invasion force and the official order was given to retreat north by 16 August. Among the invading army were units of the French army who moved to assault the garrisoned forces who had established themselves in the ports of Marseilles and Toulon.
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