SECOND UNITED STATES CAVALRY – A HISTORY
Compiled, edited and published by Historical Section, Second Cavalry Association
Maj. A. L. Lambert and Cpt. G. B. Layton, 2d Cavalry
The mighty American armies that conquered Germany crowded the Second Cavalry Group into the tiny area of Landkreis Kotzting when the allocation of initial occupation areas was handed down by XII Corps. In the ensuing six months we saw those powerful forces dwindle as the combat veterans returned to their well-earned opportunities in civilian life.
As the men were siphoned out of the theater the Second Cavalry was given more ground to cover and extended its control over Landkreis Regan and Grafenau in September. However, that was not all that occurred since the Second Cavalry cleared Czech territory on 18 May 1945.
Group C.P. was now located at Brennes between Lam and Zwiesel (VII)(44) at the southern edge of Kreis Kotzting. Here one of the most immediate apparent results of the cessation of hostilities was seen in the great accumulation of pets of all varieties and descriptions. Dogs, cows, horses, peacocks, pigs, goats, and black Hungarian sheep were but the start of a veritable menagerie to satisfy the troopers love for the mascots that were so strictly forbidden during combat.
Another innovation was introduced at this time at the beautiful little lake near Brennes – the Grosser Arbersee. A delightful little recreation center was established and operated by the Group special service officer where enlisted men from the Second could spend three days in relaxation, swimming, boating, going on horseback rides or picnics, or dancing in the evenings at the lodge with the non-German girls from near by Zwiesel.
The troops were kept tactically occupied with the operation of road blocks throughout the area, and dismounted patrolling along the heavily wooded mountain trace of the Czech border. (Eds. note: the Second Cavalry would continue this mission for the next 43 years, until the collapse of the Iron Curtain in 1989.) This was the famous Bohmer Wald bastion of which von Hindenburg said, “who controls this dominates Germany“.
On 1 July 45 Group Headquarters was moved to Kotzting, Germany where B Troop of the 2nd Sq. was guarding the German 11th Panzer Division, our old adversaries of Luneville. The move was accomplished in order to exert closer supervision over the operation of the PW discharge center run by Capt. Ferdinand Sperl, the IPW officer attached to the Second Cavalry, and so that the existing German Government agencies of the Landkreis could be kept under supervision.
Here, too, the troops first actively participated in the Military Government of Germany. Gradually, however, as the new M.G. detachments learned their jobs and organized their courts and administrative agencies, the tactical units relinquished control of German affairs.
Athletic activities were stressed that summer and each troop built its own ball diamond. During the ensuing season Troop A cleaned up in the 42nd Sq. League, while the F Troop tankers of the Second Sq. were winners in their loop. At the playoff in Neukirchen the 42nd Sq. leaders were crowned Group softball champions in a series that sparkled with brilliant play by Capt. Carter N. Cattlet and Sgt. Rocco C. Bonelli of A Troop as well as Sgt. Sigmund J. Kogutkiewicz of F Troop.
The Second got their revenge a few weeks later by sweeping the baseball series against the 42nd Squadron hard ball team after a short season in which both Squadrons teams were quite successful against outside teams representing the nearby Regiments and Divisions.
Perhaps the dances held at Neukirchen and Lam for the enlisted men of the two Squadrons were too limited for any enthusiastic reception. It was a fact that the Czech girls had to be transported all the way from the Klatovy (VII)(45)area back for these affairs. At any rate, there was much rejoicing when the Non-Fraternization Ban was lifted allowing the men to invite local frauleins to their parties and dances. (As well as to save a few troopers several dollars of hard-earned cash for saying a few words with one of the local belles.)
When the first expansion of the Group zone actually took place on Sept. 23, 1945, the Second Squadron assumed responsibility for Kreis Cham, and Provisional Squadron, now with Troop C 42nd Squadron attached, took over occupation duties in Landkreis Viechtach.
Although the 42nd Sq. remained in Landkreis Kotzting it was prepared to move to Kreis Regan and Grafenau on order.
More and more of the Second Cavalry combat veterans left for the States during this period including Lt. Col. Thomas B. Hargis Jr., Commander of the 42nd Squadron.
With Major A.L. Lambert in temporary command the Squadron began to relieve units of the 83rd Division in Landkreis Regan and Grafenau on Oct. 20, shortly after Capt. “Buckshot” Harris, Capt. S. Zecher, and Capt. R.C. McCaleb left for one each stateside rest cure, temporary.
Troop D remained at Lam, passing to the control of Major Charles T. Krampitz’s Provisional Squadron, when the 42nd Squadron moved to Zwiesel in Landkreis Regan. The following dispositions went into effect: A Troop took over the border control at Eisenstein Pass (VII)(44); Troop B occupied Grafenau and patrolled that Landkreis, while Troop E set up at Regan; Troop C remained at Viechtach where they had taken over earlier after leaving Miltach; F Troop was comfortably entrenched with Sq. Hq. in Zwiesel.