This wall bears the scars of the fighting during the liberation of Marseille
The capture of Marseille was anticipated by the speed with which the Toulon operations unfolded. The operation began on the morning of August 20, 1944 with the capture of the Carrefour du Camp by the 2nd Cuirassiers Regiment (2nd RC) (CC1 of the 1st DB), opening the way for the 7th Algerian Tirailleurs Regiment (7th RTA) and the three Moroccan Tabor Groups (GTM).
After heavy fighting, on August 21 and 22, the 2nd RC and 3rd Zouave porté battalion (CC3 of the 1st DB), reinforced by the 2nd GTM, took Aubagne.
On August 22, the town of Peypin was taken by the CC1 (partial), CC2 and 1st GTM. That same day, going beyond orders, Colonel Chapuis with the 1st battalion of the 7th RTA and a squadron of the 2nd RC break into Marseille. As for the 2nd and 3rd battalions of the 7th RTA, they came under heavy attack to the north and northeast of the city respectively.
Despite the FFI uprising and the penetration of the 7th RTA and 2nd RC into the city center, the Germans resisted and their defenses remained intact, particularly on the outskirts.
After an unsuccessful attempt at an amicable settlement on August 23, fighting resumed on the 24th. De Lattre enlisted the 3rd Algerian Rifle Regiment (3rd RTA) from Toulon.
The next few days saw violent and deadly fighting, particularly in the capture of Notre-Dame-de-La-Garde hill on August 25 and 26 (II/3rd RTA, I/7th RTA, 7th RCA, 2nd RC and FFI) and the Gare Saint-Charles (III/7th RTA).
But it was to the north, at the Gavotte crossroads, that the defenses were most serious, with the Fouresta "Feste" concrete work (1st GTM and II/7th RTA)3.
On the 26th, André Diethelm and General de Lattre were in Marseille. General Goislard de Monsabert told General de Lattre de Tassigny: "Ils sont beaux, mon général!"
In the south, despite a few skirmishes (6th Moroccan Tabor of the 2nd GTM at Saint-Loup), progress was easier for the 2nd and 3rd GTM. The latter, after a final battle at Fort Napoléon on Cap Croisette, controlled the entire southern coastline on August 28. As for the 2nd GTM, it moved up to the city center, reinforcing the Algerian riflemen.
On August 27, most of the city was liberated, with the enemy holding only the port facilities and a few points north of the city. They finally surrendered on August 28 to the 1st GTM, which had just been reinforced by armored elements of the 1st DB's CC1
Photo credit Gene & David Haubecq