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 Second Cavalry Group (Reinforced), still designated Task Force Reed, continued to hold the snow covered banks of the Moselle, with no major changes in mission or composition. Ice in the river made patrolling, as far as the enemy side of the bank is concerned, extremely impractical, and for a few days the exchange of courtesies between the enemy and ourselves was limited to artillery and mortar shells and an occasional burst of machine gun fire. On the 28th a patrol under S/Sgt. Pajdzch, C Troop, 2d Squadron, attempted nine times to cross the river but was repulsed each time by the ice.
Although German patrolling was not as active or as vigorous as ours, they did indulge to some extent in this unpleasant pastime. A week before, a two man patrol dressed in snow suits crossed in a rubber boat, situated themselves near our OP in the vicinity of Ahn (map 33), and remained 48 hours. They reported the OP as a company CP, due to the vehicular activity and the frequent passing of officers, so Jerry fixed up a little surprise party for us.
The night of the 29th, a 15 man patrol, armed with machine pistols, 4 bazookas, 2 grenade launchers, 30 potato mashers, knives, wool caps and 4 ladders, crossed the Moselle by placing the ladders on the ice and walking along them, and raided our OP at Ahn. One German deserted and was picked up at Machtum (map 33) before the raid, but due to a misunderstanding of what he was attempting to say, the warning was not received in time to prevent the attack and the enemy mission was successful. Five men, Pvt. William W. Rhodes, Pfc. Leo F. Cycon, Pfc. Hastings, T/5 Albert M. Shousky and Pvt. Bob E. Alcorn were captured and Sgt. James B. Dunn was wounded.
The next night a 15 man patrol under Lt. Chrisman attempted a retaliation raid on the enemy position at Kollig (map 33), engaged in a brisk fire fight and returned, mission unaccomplished.
So ended the month of January, a month of miserable weather, of watchful waiting, of long monotonous outposting and observing, of many alerts, and of almost daily and nightly patrol clashes. These were indeed the times that try mens souls.
During the first few days of February TF Reed was extended farther to the north, the left flank stretching as far as the high ground north of Born (map 34) on the Sauer river. During the period of Troop shifting to encompass this enlarged zone, no patrols were sent out. The extension brought into our boundaries the enemy bridgeheads at Wasserbillig (map 34) and Born. A patrol into either of these places was good for a thrill a minute, we were soon to discover.
On the 6th of February the 94th Division made another limited objective attack in the Triangle, and we staged our usual demonstration, as well as assisting them by directing fire on an enemy activity to their front.
The enemy reacted with a mild attempt at a patrol over the Sauer on the 7th. We broke it up with artillery fire. They were content to remain inactive for a few days as far as offensive missions were concerned, but reacted vigorously at any attempt of our patrols to enter Born or Wasserbillig. In fact our patrols reported them as being “unusually alert”.
A fifteen man patrol under Lt. Mitchel, the night of the 11th, attempted a raid on Kollig. Unfortunately it ran into a German patrol before reaching the objective, and during the ensuing firefight we had six men slightly wounded. The Germans lost three dead and one known seriously wounded. The fight, of course, alerted everybody in the area and it was necessary for the patrol to withdraw.