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American Signal Intelligence in Northwest Africa and Western Europe

American Signal Intelligence in Northwest Africa and Western Europe

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Published by: shakes21778 on Sep 17, 2012
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The invasion of southern France, Operation
DRAGOON, succeeded so well during the first two
days of landings that the enemy appeared to be
pulling back. From special intelligence, the Allies
learned that German ground troops were abandon-
ing southern and southwestern France and were
returning to defend the Fatherland. The Ninth Air
Force’s Signal Intelligence Service soon detected so
much radio traffic at airdromes near Bordeaux,
Dijon, and Bourges that they concluded the Ger-
mans were evacuating their upper-grade officers by
air from those places. In three days’ time, succes-
sive Allied air sweeps found it possible to destroy
thirty German transport aircraft.3

General Patch had to decide whether to push
steadily after the enemy’s rear units or to attempt
to outflank his main body and try to cut off the re-
treat. If he tried the latter maneuver, he risked an
attack on his own right flank from enemy forces in
the Maritime Alps. His own line of communica-
tions to the beaches might thus be cut.

From SIGINT there was no indication of any-
thing but a defensive attitude on his flank. The
Seventh Army’s unloading plans were modified to
rush vehicles and fuel ashore in order to reinforce
the pursuing “Task Force Butler” by sending the
36th Division deep in the enemy’s rear.

Knowing from SIGINT that the enemy was un-
aware of the character of the U.S. forces there, and
that he believed that only guerrilla forces were
gnawing at German lines of communication, Sev-
enth Army withheld from the war correspondents
any information about “Task Force Butler” – its ex-
istence or its operation.4

At Montelimar Seventh Army established a
strong road block across the German XIX Army’s
route of escape. Only by abandoning their heavy

equipment could the Germans extricate personnel
from the trap after a hard and costly battle.

The U.S. Seventh Army moved into the front
south of Third Army, sealing off the area east of Be-
sancon as far as the Franco-Swiss border. Under
6th Army Group (Devers), both U. S. Seventh Army
and French First Army prepared to push into
Alsace and southern Germany. Effective 29 Sep-
tember 1944, XV Corps was transferred from Third
to Seventh Army, from 12th to 6th Army Group. In
part, that action was based on the fact that Seventh
Army was being well supplied through Marseilles
instead of being short of men and ammunition like
Third Army, which was supplied from Normandy.
The transfer of XV Corps seemed to make a re-
newed offensive by Third Army less likely to succeed
in seizing Sarreguemines.

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