The Ardennes

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

old-computer-ii-27223 – 25 December 1944

The Group moved to Luxembourg (map IV)(map V) according to the plan given by the Group Commander, and by the evening of the 23rd, the CP was established in Moutfort (map 33) in a building which was occupied by General Blucher, the Prussian Commander, immediately before the battle of Waterloo. The 2d Squadron CP was in Costingen (map 33), while the 42d was located in Dalheim (map 33). The Troops of each Squadron were disposed in the towns around their respective CP’s. No attempt was made to relieve the elements of the 4th Infantry Division until the following morning.

As the Bulge was still bulging, in the wrong direction as far as the Americans were concerned, and likely to break out anew in any direction, the Second Cavalry was heavily reinforced for it’s mission of screening and holding the east side of Luxembourg. At the time of it’s arrival, there were attached to the Group the 808th TD Battalion, minus one Company, the 372nd Engineer GS Regiment, the 398th Engineer GS Regiment, and the 276th Armored Field Artillery Battalion; all of which comprised Task Force Reed. Additional artillery, the 255th and 775th FA Bn’s, each commanded by a Lt. Col. Shepherd, were in direct support. It was not an extremely large force, considering that just to the left of the TF from Echternach (map V)(map 34) to Ettelbruck (map V) on the Sure river, very heavy fighting was even then in progress, and the issue was still very much in doubt. In fact, several large headquarters were keeping themselves well gathered, and it was rumored that USO girls in Luxembourg City were keeping their powder puffs packed.

(note: As a matter of interest to all Cavalrymen, the front, from the Saar river to west of Ettelbruck, was largely held by Cavalry at this time. The Third Cavalry Group was holding the Switch Line from Dreisbach on the Saar to where it tied in with the Second Cavalry on the Moselle. The Second Cavalry strung north along the Moselle to the top of the Triangle. To the northwest the 90th Cavalry Squadron, less two Troops, was attacking the Sure river line on a six mile front between Mostroff and Ettelbruck, and strung out to the west of them the remnants of the 89th Cavalry Squadron were hanging on tooth and toenail, with all personnel, including the cooks, KP’s, clerks, mechanics and the ever present eightball manning the front line.)

On the 24th TF Reed was divided into three groupings, Combat Team Hargis, Combat Team Costello and Group Reserve. CT Costello took over the northern half of the front and CT Hargis the southern half. The day was passed in comparative quiet except for one incident reported by E Troop, 2d Squadron. “Relayed guns and registered battery. During the night, Christmas Eve, were strafed and shelled. Direct hit damaged CP and kitchen.”

Christmas Day TF Reed began an extensive program of preparation of positions for defense in depth. A very active patrolling policy into enemy held territory across the Moselle was immediately initiated. Guns were registered on additional points just to add to the German’s Christmas cheer. E Troop remarked, “Fired at new registration target. Had Christmas dinner. Morale very high despite the fact that chow was partially ruined from previous shelling. Troop clerk brought several packs of mail and Yule packages.”

Group CP at Moutfort was bombed and strafed on Christmas day. The only casualty was a bomb fragment through the operations map. The 457th AAA men attached to the Second gave a good account of themselves.

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