Operation Cadillac

This was an Allied major air-drop delivery of weapons, ammunition and other supplies to the French resistance forces in the Vercors massif area German-occupied France (14 July 1944).

The drop was made by some 144 Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombers of the Lieutenant General James H. Doolittle’s US 8th AAF supplied by Major General Earle E. Partridge’s 3rd Bombardment Division, using Brigadier General Frederick W. Castle’s 4th Combat Bombardment Wing (94th, 385th and 447th Bombardment Groups), Colonel Edgar M. Wittan’s 13th Combat Bombardment Wing (95th, 100th and 390th Bombardment Groups) and Brigadier General Archie J. Old’s 45th Combat Bombardment Wing (96th, 388th and 452nd Bombardment Groups), each loaded with 400 lb (181 kg) parachute-retarded supply containers, and escorted by about 200 Supermarine Spitfire fighters of the Royal Air Force. The Liberator bomber made their drop runs in groups of 12 at an altitude of only 350 ft (105 m) above the marked drop zones, and the accuracy of the delivery was therefore notably high.

The 3rd Bombardment Wing flew four such 'carpetbagger' missions ('Zebra' on 25 June, 'Cadillac, 'Buick' on 1 August and 'Grassy' on 9 September), in the process flying 792 sorties of which 465 successfully delivered 115 agents, 5,439 weapons containers, 2,707 other packages, several thousands of leaflets and 17 hampers of live messenger pigeons.