After driving the Japanese out of Guadalcanal in 1943, General Patch commanded US Seventh Army from the landings of Operation Dragoon in August 1944 to the surrender of German 19th Army on May 5, 1945. He liberated the Alsace region with French general De Lattre and the Dachau concentration camp near Munich.
Little is known about lieutenant-general Alexander Patch. One of his subordinates, general Lucian Truscott, praised Patch as ”a man of outstanding integrity, a courageous and competent leader, and an unselfish comrade-in-arms”. Patch avoided rough language and cared for his men.
In March 1944 Patch was given command of the US 7th Army for the invasion of Southern-France codenamed: Operation Dragoon. 7th army also contained a large number of French units which Patch praised for their heroism.
The invasion was a success and 7tharmy quickly began advancing up the Rhone valley, chasing the retreating German forces. Within one month the Army covered over 400 miles and liberated many places including Marseille, Lyon and Toulon.
During the winter of 1944-1945 Patch and his army fought German forces in the Vosges mountains and bore the brunt of Operation Nordwind: one of the last German offensives in the West. After halting the German advance Patch and the 7th Army again went on the offensive recapturing the ground lost during Nordwind and eventually crossed the Rhine into Germany. Forces under Patches command liberated Dachau concentration camp on 29 April 1945.
Liberation of Alsace
The liberation of the Alsace happened in stages. Logistical difficulties, broken terrain, stubborn German resistance, and differences among Allied commanders meant that fighting to liberate the region took many weeks.
Jean de Lattre de Tassigny
Jean de Lattre de Tassigny commanded the French ‘Army B’, later the 1st Army, which took part in the liberation of France as the largest French formation. On May 8th 1945 he represented France during the signing of the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany in Berlin-Karlshorst.