Patrol to Igney

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

WWIIBercaw, Mustard, Frey and Beeman

1st Platoon, B Troop, 2d Squadron

17 September 1944

The 1st Platoon left the B Troop bivouac area at Veho, France (map 25) at 1530 on a regular reconnaissance mission. Binocular observation, questioning of civilians, and the drawing of fire indicated beyond a doubt the presence of enemy forces in several small towns, which were by-passed as directed by SOP.

As we approached the village of Igney (map 25)(map NS), six French paratroopers were encountered. Since they volunteered to accompany us, we moved toward our objective with our new found French delegation. Careful observation revealed no enemy activity so we road into town, as we had done so many times in the past, like a crack express train into it’s terminus. The joy of the residents was indicated by the myriad offerings of food and drinking material. It was one of those gay, abandoned street scenes you would expect could only be staged by Metro-Goldwyn Mayer. After the usual brief pause we reluctantly continued to the outskirts of the village and proceeded to outpost the approaches.

The machine gun bantam was no sooner in position on a curve of the road than a German Volkswagen with two occupants made a sudden appearance. Pfc. Beeman brought the vehicle to a screeching halt with an accurate burst of fire from his machine gun. One German officer was killed and the other occupant, who was wounded, escaped. The armored car was hastily pulled into position near the bantam to provide any necessary supporting fire. A hasty but thorough search of the dead officer uncovered papers revealing local enemy positions as well as the details on an approaching convoy.

Things had barely quieted down from this first encounter when we saw enemy moving toward our position from the road and fields. We opened up with machine gun and canister fire killing many, wounding several and dispersing the rest. In the meantime, another section of the platoon was in contact with other elements of the enemy unit, which turned out to be the 11th Panzer Division. In their brush with the enemy they destroyed four motorcycles with sidecars and one scout car.

Our platoon, while on this short mission, destroyed six enemy vehicles and killed or wounded 35 German soldiers.

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