"Pilots, Man Your Planes!"   
                                         WWII U.S. Naval Aviation Collector's Guide                                                                              
 Hellcats  over  PROVENCE 
            VF-74 & VOF-1 IN OPERATION DRAGOON

 

Top:  LCIs, dockside in Naples, await the loading of Army assault troops before setting sail for the shores of France.

Below:  Aboard Tulagi, members of the flight deck crew recieve an open-air briefing for the upcoming operation using large scale maps.
Above:  Tulagi (left) and Kasaan Bay, at anchor in Grand Harbour, Valletta, Island of Malta on 8/5/44, during the period of operational training before D-Day. 

Below:  While at anchor, members of VOF-1 pose for a formal portrait on the carrier's flight deck.
Above:  RADM Durgin (4th from right) and Captain Bradford E. Grow, skipper of Tulagi (far right), pose on the after elevator with their guests, two Royal Navy officers and, presumably, two Maltese dignitaries. Among the planes behind them, we see VOF-1's Hellcat number 6, which was destroyed a few days later in the deck accident documented here.

Below:  From the Admiral's after action report, a map showing the area of operations for the two US and two British CVEs of his task force. Point Option was to be maintained between 20 and 40 miles from the coast.
Above:  On the morning of D-Day, at 809 hours, the 551st PIB is dropped behind the beaches. The other elements of the 1st Airborne Task Force preceded them in the predawn hours of 8/15/44.

Below:  The 45th ID of the US Seventh Army, lands at Sainte-Maxime.

Bottom: The U.S. Navy Beach Master CP on Alpha Red beach.

Background photo:  Troops from the 3rd ID debark from their LCI.