Mission Dove

The Dove mission is the fourth and final assault of the First Airborne Task Force in Provence. It intervenes chronologically after the Canary mission which is the release of the 551st Parachute Infantry Battalion. The landing of these airborne reinforcements is scheduled for 15 August, late afternoon on the Landing Zone A (Domaine de Valbourgès) and O (Le Mitan). 332 Waco CG-4A gliders are engaged in the operation for the same number of C-47 aircraft.

The 442nd TCG, composing the first series of the Dove mission, took off from Follonica at 15:35 in a cloud of dust. In the extreme south, the 64th TCG, closing the series, takes off from 3:10 pm to be at the rendezvous, an hour later, at the assembly point above the island of Elba. The last group to leave is the 440th TCG which, due to a cloud of dust, takes more than 36 minutes to take off the gliders. For this series, a glider is forced to make an emergency landing at Ombrone aifield due to a technical problem. The load is immediately transferred to an emergency glider. This glider reaches the LZ with a delay of almost two hours. Only the 437th Troop Carrier Group of Lt. Col. Donald J. French, having parachuted the 460th PFAB does not participate in the operation.

In the air

On the way to France, the first problems appeared as soon as the Italian coast crossed the 442nd TCG. This one is slowed down by the 437th TCG aircraft carrying the paratroopers of the 551st PIB, priority for the Canary mission, precedents of 9 minutes. At the time of the crossing of the Cap Corse, the leading glider of the 442nd informs the C-47 which tracts it of the vibrations at the level of the glider. The C-47 then turns back to Corsica where a rescue airport is provided in case of a problem. The Waco can not reach Corsica and land. For a fuzzy reason, it is the entire group that follows the C-47 leader. After understanding the mistake, the C-47 and Wacos column made another turn to resume the advance towards the goal. The resulting delay causes the 441st TCG to pass before the 442nd. In addition, several gliders of the 441st also experience difficulties and are dropped prematurely. Four gliders are landing near the French coast. Only twelve occupants were found by the Allied ships.

The coast crossed, the first four groups (all of the 50th Wing) of the mission receive weak signals from the Eureka beacons set up by the pathfinders. The 440th and 441st TCG easily find the LZ thanks to T-shaped fluorescent panels and smoke detectors. The red signs and the green smoke are the path markers on the LZ O. On the LZ A the pilots find yellow boards and blue smoke. The last three groups successfully pick up signals from Eureka beacons and easily spot fluorescent signs. Between 18:27 and 19:05, it is three to four groups that are simultaneously above the LZ. The 442nd TCG and the 441st TCG arrive simultaneously at 18:27 on the spot, with 17 minutes delay. The 441st TCG simultaneously drops its own between the LZ O and the LZ A.

The 440th TCG arrives in the area at 18:40. 14 gliders of the 440th and 441st, carrying the 602nd Glider Field Artillery Battalion, land on the LZ A.

The 439th TCG arrives at 18:48 and drops 21 gliders on the LZ O and 26 on the LZ A.

The 438th TG arrived at 18:49 to drop its gliders on the LZ O.

The 62nd TCG arrives on the LZ O between 18h54 and 19h and the 64th TCG on the LZ A at 19h05.

SerialTroop Carrier UnitTroop Carrier Serial COPlanesGlider TroopsGlider Troops COGlidersAirfieldLZ
17442nd TCGLt. Col. Charles M. Smith48550th IABLt. Col. Edward I. Saches48Follonica
18441st TCGLt. Col. Theodore G. Kershaw48550th IAB
602nd GFAB
Maj. James M. Wilson
Maj. George M. Hunt
19440th TCGLt. Col. Frank G. Krebs48602nd GFAB
442nd AT Co.
Maj. William E. Dressler
Capt. Louis A. Ferris
20439th TCGLt. Col. Charles H. Young47442nd AT Co.
512th Abn. Sig. Co.
A. 2nd Chem. Bn.
1st Lt. John M. Scotland Jr.
Lt. Ingui
1st Lt. David Goodell
21438th TCGLt. Col. John M. Donalson47A. 2nd Chem. Bn.
512th Abn. Sig. Co.
676th Med. Coll. Co
1st Lt. Walter W. Perrott
Capt. Charles L. Howard
Maj. Smith
2262nd TCGLt. Col. Gordon L. Edris47887th Abn. Eng. Co.
Capt. Robert Shamin
Lt. Col. William J. Blythe
2364th TCGCol. John Cerny47887th Abn. Eng. Co.
D. 83rd Chem. Bn.
3rd. Ord. Co.
1st Lt. George Parnell
Capt. Raymond J. Larkey
1st Lt. Max E. Clark