Montélimar: Anvil of Fate, On August 15, 1944, the Allies invaded the South of France in Operation Dragoon. Major General Truscott's U.S. VI Corps landed along a 45 mile stretch of French Coast with the objective of isolating the major German forces defending the western part of France and linking up with the Normandy forces breaking out of their beachhead. The southern beachhead would be secured in only 2 days and the Americans were well established inland. With scattered and only occasionally strong resistance, the Americans and now landed French advanced north up the Rhone valley along highway N-7 — heading quickly toward the key rail and road junction at Aix-en-Provence. This was captured on August 19th. At this point, General Truscott activated a provisional force called Task Force Butler. This roughly regimentally sized unit raced ahead of the main force with the objective of capturing the main route of escape for the German Army. The Task Force set up a defensive position in the high ground to the north of Montélimar. They were to hold until relieved. The Germans would throw everything they could at Task Force Butler in a race to return to Germany before the larger Allied Formations coming up from the south and east would join Task Force Butler.
In the end, both sides could claim victory — the Allies mauled the enemy forces with the Germans suffering 2100 casualties with several thousand soldiers and large amounts of heavy equipment unable to escape. The Allies suffered only 1200 casualties but much of the German Army did get away and a great opportunity was lost.