Operation Alice

'Alice' was a US special forces operation to parachute a 15-man Office of Strategic Services Operational group into the Vabre area of German-occupied France to aid the local resistance forces and undertake a reconnaissance (7/28 August 1944).

Undertaken by the French Operational Group, Algiers to France Section, 'Alice' had two commissioned officers, in the form of 1st Lieutenants R. N. Barnard and D. J. Meeks, three staff sergeants and 10 other ranks, and its mission was to organise and strengthen the resistance forces in the Drôme area and to aid them in attacks wherever and whenever possible, and also to reconnoitre Route Nationale No. 7 (the 'Route Napoleon'), destroy German lines of communication, and use radio to report any troop movements, possible bomb targets and general intelligence.

On 6 August the section departed Blida airfield at 21.30 in a converted Handley Page Halifax four-engined bomber, and at 01.30 on 7 August parachuted onto the 'Framboise; drop zone some 17.5 miles (28 km) to the east of Montelimar and 1.85 miles (3 km) to the south-west of Bordeaux. The flight crew was reassuring, and the drop was completed without any serious injuries, and the reception was of typical French hospitality.

On 2 August the section moved through the Drone area, joining a 16-man maquis unit led by Lieutenant Kirsch, with which the section was to operate. At 00.00 on 12 August two 70-ft (21-m) high-tension pylons, 900 ft (275 m) apart, were brought down with explosive charges, thereby cutting the line between Upie and Montmeyran.

On 15 August the section moved to its next target, a stone bridge on RN.538. Security was posted, demolition charges were placed, security withdrew, and a perfect demolition job was completed.

On the journey back to base, the section saw US warplanes bombing Valence and German anti-aircraft fire bringing down three Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bombers. One day later, maquis fighters brought to the section two of a crew that had bailed out.

On 18 August, the section and its maquis allies attacked the Germans in the town of Montmeyran and killed 50 of them. Several of the Americans and Drench were hit by fragments, bit there were no serious wounds.

Through the night of 20/21 August, long, heavily guarded and well camouflaged convoys were observed moving to the north on RN.7. Early on 21 August a single truck full of German soldiers was ambushed, and 30 German were killed. Later on 21 August, the section was reached by advance elements of the US 36th Division, and between 22 and 28 August the men of the section moved north to Grenoble with no major involvements.