Bridge Guard

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

WWII21-22 December 1944

T/5 Wells, Pfc. Allison, Pfc. Murphy, Pvt. Fulara

We relieved the guard at 0440, and only we four Cavalrymen were left on the bridge. About 20 minutes later Wells and Murphy walked across to the other end of the bridge, while Fulara and Allison were watching over the side for any signs of boats or men floating down the river. About five minutes later Wells and Murphy returned and took up a position guarding our rear. Just at that time I heard a man run across the street, and remarked that it sounded like German footsteps.

An unarmed man stepped out of the dark and came across the street with his arms up, saying something in French. Wells stepped out and challenged him, and he suddenly lunged at Well’s throat. The other three of us opened up on him. Two more came into sight, one of whom moved to the side of a building, evidently to try to cover the others when they left. We fired on all three, and are sure to have hit two of them. We heard others running down the street and fired at them as they ran away.

Wells began to say he would have to have a doctor, but we could not leave the bridge. We fired three shots and called for help. After about five minutes the MP’s showed up and we could leave the bridge and take Wells to the medics. We returned to the bridge a little later, with 17 men.

(note: Solely through the alertness of these four men, the enemy demolition detachment failed to destroy the Sarreguemines bridge (map V)(map 31). PW statements disclosed that the demolition group was a ten man special SS engineer unit brought from the enemy’s rear lines and landed about 300 yards from the bridge in a boat. Coming onto the bridge the guard halted the first man, who immediately jumped on him and cut his throat. The remainder of the guard opened fire and drove the rest of the patrol off with their mission incomplete. The patrol had been told by their higher headquarters that their mission was one of great importance and they had made lengthy preparation for it. However, they were surprised to find so many guards on the bridge, as a few days before the guard ordinarily consisted of one MP.)

The Third Army was now directed to the north where the German offensive had reached major proportions, so on the 22nd of December the Group was relieved in position by the 114th Infantry. The Group Commander had gone to the city of Luxembourg (map IV)(map V) to receive new orders from the advance CP that XII Corps had established there.

The Group was completely closed in bivouac in Vatimont by nightfall. Orders were received to start the Group at 0700 the next morning to the battle of the Ardennes.

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