Operation Independence (ii)

This was the French overall plan for formations Général d’Armée Jean de Lattre de Tassigny’s 1st Army to reduce the German ‘fortress’ garrisons on the French Atlantic coast at Lorient, St Nazaire, La Rochelle and Royan and Le Verdon round the Gironde estuary (December 1944).

The plan was first postponed but later revived as ‘Vénérable’. Lorient and St Nazaire (held by Generalleutnant Hans Junck’s 265th Division of General Wilhelm Fahrmbacher’s XXV Corps) and La Rochelle (held by forces under the command of Vizeadmiral Ernst Schirlitz) surrendered only on 8 May 1945, the two garrisons at the mouth of the Gironde, with their headquarters at Royan, having surrendered during the previous month.