While the Battle of Normandy raged, Allied commanders launched the invasion of the “soft underbelly” of Europe: “Operation Dragon”. The Germans had been stripping the French Mediterranean of its defensive divisions to throw into the cauldron of the Normandy invasion. Inserting O.S.S. Special Forces prior to the invasion, the Allies activated the French Maquis to begin operating behind the German lines, disrupting German communications and the movement of German forces throughout the hilly and mountainous terrain that made up the physical contours of the Cote d’ Azur.
The Germans, weakened by the constant transfer of divisions to the north, were hard-pressed to counter the operations of the Maquis. With most major divisions sent north, the Germans tried to convert small naval and Luftwaffe units into cohesive land forces to confront the Allied landings. But finally the collapsing Germans fled north in an attempt to join the Normandy battle. What few units that eventually did link up with the German Army fighting for its life in the Falaise Pocket succeeded only in leaving one disaster to join another.