The imposing heights of the Vercors Massif form a very impressive natural defensive position in the southeastern corner of France. It was here that the French Resistance had its largest set piece battle against German occupation forces, in the summer of 1944.
Plan Montagnards originally called for several thousand Allied paratroops to be dropped into Vercors when the landings in Normandy and Provence took place. The Provence landings were pushed back many weeks, however, and the Resistance forces streaming onto the plateau were left almost entirely on their own. One large airdrop of supplies and a single American OSS combat team were all the reinforcement they received.
French Maquisards repelled German probing attacks for about 6 weeks until in late July the final German offensive against the plateau came. It would see nearly 20,000 troops, units of tanks, glider-borne paratroops, and reserve mountain troops in a well coordinated assault that soundly defeated the lightly-armed resistance fighters.
Today we are on the plateau itself, and we will follow the battle across several specific sites, including the glider landings at Vassieux, the last stand of Section Chavant, the destroyed village of Valchevrière, and the hospital at Le Grotte de la Luire.
Want to see some original footage of these fighters taken in the weeks before the battle? It actually exists, and you can see it here: