Action at Les Ormes

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

WWIIAugust 24-25 1944

On August 24, Lt. Fiedler, 3rd Platoon C Troop, with one of his armored cars and a bantam started from the Troop CP to take supplies and gasoline back to his platoon. In an effort to get there sooner the Lieutenant took a short cut which led through the town of Les Ormes (map 18). Before he left he was warned that there was probably a German garrison in the town, but time is money so away he went. As they zipped around a corner leading into Les Ormes the two American vehicles came face to face with a Nazi column consisting mostly of horse-drawn wagons and caissons. After futilely trying to get the Germans to surrender, the armored car gunner, Pvt. Chatterton, started firing his 37mm gun.

“I saw all those horses and wagons down there,” Chatterton recalls, “So when they started firing at us, I just opened up, trying to get as many of them as possible. The driver was trying to get the car turned around while I was firing, but he couldn’t manage it somehow. I saw a bunch of Heinies in a yard about 50 yards away so I loaded up with cannister and was about to fire when something hit the armored car, AT I guess, and knocked me cold. I don’t remember anything else except that when I came to, the car was afire and burning the raincoat I was wearing. I had trouble getting out of the turret so I finally solved it all by diving out head first. I ran around the side of the building where the bantam was, climbed in and we took off.”

Chatterton was credited with destroying ten wagons, killing 30 men and 6 horses and knocking out a mortar.


About 1500 that same afternoon, a Platoon of C Troop, one team from B Troop, two of F Company’s tanks and an assault gun returned to les Ormes, surrounded it and began firing. After four and a half hours of continual blasting, most of it by our own vehicles, a large group of prisoners was taken and it was decided to withdraw due to the approaching darkness. The next morning we entered the town without opposition and made a complete tally of the damage we had done. We counted 153 prisoners, 49 killed and 18 vehicles and guns destroyed. These were in addition to those credited to Chatterton for the job he had performed in the morning.

At Brienon (map III) and Seignelay (map III) on the 25th, B Troop 2d Squadron, made contact with strong German forces retreating to the east, and the whole Cavalry screen pushed southeast to gain the line Gien (map III)Auxerre (map III)Tonnerre (map III)map (20)Bar sur Siene (map III)(map 21).

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