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
Graf von Hoyos, 1st Lt., 11th Panzer Division
16 – 18 Sept 1944
When the 11th Panzer Division broke contact in South France and sped north to smash the Nancy salient (map NS) my tank company was the flank guard toward the Americans. I had six new Panthers and moved up on the night of September 16, through Rambervillers (map IV)(map NS) and Baccarat (map 25)(map NS) to Ogeviller (map 25). We gunned our motors all along the route so the Americans would think there were panzers all along their front.
The next day and night our Division started closing in the sector before Luneville (map IV)(map 25)(map NS) and we built up a Panzer mass. Right with us was part of the 2d Panzer Division, the 130th Panzer Lehr Division and the rest of the 16th Panzer Division. In addition there had come down from the north the brand new 111th Panzer Brigade. Incidentally, it had 80 new tanks when it attacked at Luneville and not one fit to fight when we were forced to withdraw.
To our south was the 21st Panzer Division and the 102d Panzer Brigade. To the north the 15th Panzergrenadier Division in the Foret de Parroy (map 25) and beyond them the 106th, 112th and 113th Panzer Brigades, all under control of the 5th Panzer Army directed by General von Manteufel. That represented the greatest concentration of German Panzers since the mass that stopped the breakout attempt of Field Marshall Montgomery’s British Army Group at Caen. It was the Panzer Schwerpunkt (main armored effort) of German Heeresarmie (Army Group) “G”. We were going to smash the American’s Nancy salient and stabilize the line along the forts of Belfort (map IV), Epinal (map IV)(map NS), Nancy (map IV)(map NS) and Metz (map IV)(map NS).
But for my Company: At dawn on 18 September the first objective was Marainviller (map 25). We attacked astride the road and the American’s couldn’t stop us. Those Panthers were wonderful tanks, the best in the world – Tigers are too heavy. We were held up outside Marainviller until late afternoon, and that is where the 111th Panzer Brigade got hit hard. American artillery was coming in like drumfire, great 220mm shells. 40 Panzers were knocked out. Towards dusk the fire and resistance slackened and we got around the town and sped toward Luneville against no resistance until we hit the border of the city. There very heavy fighting developed; street fighting and Panzer vs Panzer (Cunningham’s Troop, A of the 2d, with CCR’s tanks and TD’s was holding the town). Twelve American tanks charged my six Panthers and destroyed two. I don’t know how many I got as I was ordered to withdraw the next day, because the American’s were fighting through the Foret de Mondon (map 25) in my rear. We learned that the 21st Panzer Division, south of us, drove past Luneville almost cutting the city free, when they were hit in the flank by the attack of an entire American Corps and largely destroyed.
(Note: The XV Corps, with the 79th Division and the 2d French Armored Division had planned an attack for the morning of 18 September. This attack, fortunately for us, hit the German drive on the exposed flank. Lt. Graf von Hoyos, who made the above report, was a nephew of the Division Commander, Major General von Wietersheim, and as such had the honor! of being permitted to command the leading tank Company in most of the Division’s engagements.)