Enemy Aircraft!

From:
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

WWIIApril 1 – 2, 1945

Lt. Bob McCaleb, Troop C, 42d Squadron

The Luftwaffe was not yet kaput. Just after C Troop jumped off from Salmunster (map VI)(map 39) on the Bad Orb (map VI)(map 39) deal, four German fighters came in out of the sun for a strafing run at the south edge of town. Our AAA half track was back in town and couldn’t fire. I remember quite plainly what a quiet sunny day it was as I stood in the road with Bancroft, watching Arno’s jeep approach with a message. There was an old man walking past us with a tiny girl of about four.

Suddenly there was a roar of motors overhead and Bancroft dove for one ditch while I hit the other, as steel slugs slashed the buildings and tore into the road.

I looked up, felt myself, and noticed Arno’s jeep standing empty in the road. I ran to it and jumped on the AA machine gun as the Krauts pulled up for another pass; it never came. They ran into the fighter escort of an American bomber formation and were all shot down.

Just then Bancroft, sensing an all-clear, came crawling out of a filthy culvert under the road, and tightly wrapped around his neck were two tiny arms belonging to a very frightened little girl.

On the 2nd of April our practically uninterrupted drive continued vigorously, for a time. A and B of the 2d Squadron drove into Bad Orb by 0810, effecting the release of 6533 Allied prisoners, including 3328 Americans. Troop F received a counter-attack at Haussen (map 39) at the same time that a large enemy column of elements of the 6th SS Mountain Division passed through Waldensberg (map 39), where the 2d Squadron trains were assembled, and ran into the rear outpost of the 2d Squadron Headquarters at Wittgenborn (map 39). This started a day of mad, confused and bitter fighting, from which the Germans finally came off second best, though for a time it looked like anybody’s battle.

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