Operation Dragoon - Invasion Of Southern France
15 to 17 August 1944
|Preliminary - 5 July to 11 August 1944|
|Returning to Belfast, Northern Ireland, after the battle for Cherbourg, TEXAS prepared for her third invasion and final combat role in Europe/Africa, the invasion of Southern France. While in Belfast she took on stores and fuel. The catapult and airplanes were placed back aboard with the catapult lashed to the deck. Departed Belfast for Oran, Algeria, on 15 July.|
|Lt Commander Derickson medal for
He was the gunnery officer and stationed in the fire control booth (in the back section of the Conning Tower).
He was injured during the battle for Cherbourg when the Conning Tower was struck by the shell that detonated upwards to the Pilot House.
|The stay in Oran was brief (23 - 27 July)
during which the catapult was installed atop Turret 3. On 27 July, headed
for Taranto, Italy.
In Oran with airplane catapult still on its side on main deck
|Arriving in Taranto, on 31 July, the next 11 days were in preparation
for the invasion. During the preparation, time was allowed for an USO show
In the show was Jack Haley, the Tin Man from the movie "Wizard of Oz".
|The Invasion: 15 to 17 August 1944|
|Flagship - Bombardment Force Task Force 85 (Area Delta)|
|Gunfire fire supported the 45th Infantry Division.
(Area Camel to the right was the 36th Infantry Division, the "T Patch" division from
Red highlighted ship names are French ships.
|On 11 August, BB35 sails from Taranto for Southern France accompanied by
many of the same ships from Normandy and Cherbourg.
|15th: Arriving at the invasion in the early morning of the 15th, TEXAS
entered her fire support area at 0415. At 0440 the BB35 war diary reports the
first sounds of the air support bombs exploding. At 0653 she starting shelling
her assigned target P-39, a group of 5 220mm coastal defense guns in rock
emplacement. Spotting for the firing was provided by airplane but the target was
hard to locate due to haze and smoke. At 0815 all bombardment was ceased so the
infantry could go ashore. In the 1.25 hours of firing, TEXAS hurled 172 14"
shells the Germans.
Unlike the problems at Omaha, the Delta landing was made without enemy opposition. The seven waves all got ashore by the planned completion time of 0910. Over 100 landing craft had placed 33,000 men and 3,300 vehicles ashore in about an hour without losing a single craft or casualty. (Inspection of the beach defenses on D plus one revealed the defenders were dead at their guns from the aerial and naval gunfire or driven away by the intensity). The 45th pushed quickly inland and by 2400 had accomplished the invasion objectives and suffered only 109 casualties
(In Area Alpha, a similar situation occurred and total casualties were 264 at the end of the day. Area Camel though faced some strong opposition)
Later firings are listed in the BB35 War Diary but no type of gun, quantity or time. At 2031, TEXAS left the Fire Support Area for "Delta Night Retirement Area". At 2058 a formations of German planes enters her vicinity and BB35 fired at the planes with 3" and 40mm guns.
16th: TEXAS returns to her fire support area at 0330 but no calls for gunfire support are received. At 1900 she moved to the "Delta Night Retirement Area".
17th: At 0200, TEXAS is ordered to depart for Palermo, Sicily, concluding her part in the invasion and her last combat in Europe/Africa
|Return to America - 18 August to 14 September 1944|
|Arriving in Palermo on the 18th, her planes and aviation personnel were brought back aboard. She departed on the 19th, with ARKANSAS for ORAN. ARKANSAS developed engineering problems and the ships diverted to Algiers, Algeria, arriving on the 21st. The NEVADA joined them on the 26th. The three ships departed on the 30th and arrived in Oran on the 31st. The group departed on 4 September with TEXAS going into the New York Navy Yard on the 14th.|
|The return to America was the 20th crossing of the Atlantic since January 1942 and the last for BB35.|
|Started 11 May 1999 by Chuck Moore, FTV (1st Texas Volunteers) a Battleship Texas volunteer group - Donate Your Time And Support The Battleship Texas|