To harass or destroy remnants of enemy escaping from Southwest France
north and east to the Belfort Gap into Germany.
3-4 September. Ten Liberators took Group "Christopher" plus
Jedburgh team "Desmond" totalling 57 officers and men and
dropped them between 2315 and 0130 in Poitiers area. Good Maquis reception.
Food and sleeping quarters were provided in Avot. An ankle injury and
a knee injury necessitated care in a Maquis hospital.
c. 6 September. After several days of searching for enemy to attack,
Group moved toward Chatillon and at Maissy joined Maquis under fire
from several hundred Germans. Group was recalled and continued into
Chatillon which had just been evacuated. Group moved 5 miles to a village
and fired mortar shells into the area where Germans, who had been threatening
the village were supposed to be. Moving forward near Villotte and Maissy,
with Lt. Fletcher and his squad on the left and Lt. Larson on the right,
Capt. Hjeltness set up machine gun fire on Germans seen in the woods.
Maquis were firing a Bren gun. When firing diminished the group continued
forward but ran into German fire and Lt. Larson was fatally shot. The
group retired to Maissy.
c. 8 Sept. Maquis on the
right had pulled out through the night and Group moved back to Avot.
c. 10 Sept. From a hill west
of Langres, at Geosmes, where Germans were seen the Group dropped dozens
of mortar shells in woods around the village and pulled out. The next
day seven Germans were reported killed.
c. 11 Sept. The group moved
to Langres and found advance elements of the French Army approaching
from the South.
c. 12 Sept. Group worked
with a French cavalry unit in blowing a gate leading to a large citadel
where enemy was entrenched. After an hour of artillery and mortar fire
French tanks moved forward followed by part of the Group. At the first
gate the first tank met intense fire and withdrew. The OGs set up a
defense nearby in case of counter attack. Firing ceased and word came
that the Germans had surrendered in Langres and in the citadel. They
numbered between 1200 and 1300 troops. T/Sgt. Langeland was shot in
the leg and a Jedburgh officer was wounded. The Captain in charge of
tanks had been killed.
13 Sept. Group returned to
Langres and stayed with Maquis in a seminary earlier occupied by Germans,
with a picture if Hitler on the wall.
14 Sept. Group moved to Auberive
15 Sept. A French Army lieutenant
arrived, sent by Gen. Patton to contact the French Army. Capt. Hjeltness
informed him they were in Langres.
Now overrun by Allied Armies, Group contacted London, received instructions
to return, and reached London 22 September.
Lt. Coulehan had been left on the 10th to recover the body of Lt. Larson.
On reconnoitering the area he encountered firing in the German-held
area. He then went to Chatillon where he learned of a telephone line
over which communication could be established between the 3rd and 7th
Armies. This and the defenseless state of Chatillon were reported to
an American photo reconnaissance officer to relay to 3rd Army. On returning
to Chatillon where Germans were surrendering, woods were searched and
Lt. Larson's body was recovered. Burial arrangements were made for burial
of Lt. Larson and Capt. Joseph J. Kielbowicz who had been killed on
the jump of "ADRIAN" a few nights earlier. Lt. Coulehan eventually
found the OGs at Auberive 14 September.
compiled by John Hamblet.