Panzers Strike

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

WWII18 September 1944

The morning of 18 September started as any other typical Cavalry day. Group had received orders to be prepared to swing to the north that day or the next on the flank of the XII Corps attack. In spite of the contemplated move there was the usual amount of patrolling as well as a great fluttering and studying of maps around the various headquarters of the Group in anticipation of the next long jump to the north. Then the 11th Panzers hit!

Troop A, 42d Squadron, was screening along the north, east and southwest of Foret de Mondon (map 25). The first contact with enemy tanks came from the vicinity of Chenevieres (map 25) where Sgt. Seth Taylor with his section of the 2d Platoon of A Troop was outposted. Early in the morning Sgt. Taylor flashed an urgent message that his position had been overrun by seven Tiger tanks and approximately 100 doughs. We were not too alarmed as this first encounter had all the earmarks of being the usual small local counter-attack. However another call from Sgt. Taylor raised the number of tanks passing his position to 17. Taylor stuck on his mike as long as possible and every few minutes called Troop Headquarters adding a few more tanks and doughs to the size of the attacking force.

Over on the other side of the woods at Benamenil (map 25) the 1st Platoon under Lt. Mike Bayer flashed a report that they were having the time of their lives watching their 37mm shells bounce off the enemy tanks that had run into their position. They reported 40 lined up on a hill firing down at the 1st Platoon.

Back on Sgt. Taylor’s side of the woods our forces hastily prepared an ambush with assault guns placed in the edge of the woods just south of Moncel (map 25). The enemy continued his advance and, seemingly, blindly entered the ambush. However this became a case of the trapper trapped, as the enemy evidently saw us go into position and was ready to swap shot for shot. Our light guns did not seem to damage the enemy tanks while the return fire from his heavier guns rapidly liquidated and dispersed the ambushing force. It soon became obvious that this was no local action but instead was a large scale and determined counter-attack. The 42d Squadron was given the assignment of delaying the enemy advance to permit the Second Cavalry Group and the 2d Squadron, then way out on a limb to the northeast beyond the Foret de Parroy (map 25) near Embermenil (map 25)(map NS), to withdraw through Luneville (map IV)(map 25)(map NS).

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