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
5-10 August 1944
While pushing forward on a reconnaissance the night of August 5, Lt. Lindoerfer’s platoon of B Troop, 42d Squadron, entered the enemy held town of Segre (map I)(map 16) to determine the German strength and dispositions there and also to obtain identifications. The enemy let the patrol penetrate as far as the center of town and then suddenly and heavily attacked it from three different directions at once.
Lt. Lindoerfer and Corporal Pirone immediately assumed the position of the soldier at the front, and began crawling along a gutter under intense small arms fire in an attempt to reach and eliminate the most dangerous machine gun.
As they were painfully inching their way past a house, an over-enthusiastic Frenchman thrust forth from his doorway a glass and a bottle of wine to cheer his brave Allies on their way. Official reports fail to record the reaction of the American soldiers to this bit of bubbling “on the spot” French hospitality. They merely tell that Lt. Lindoerfer personally overthrew four enemy machine guns, and that by skillful use of their weapons and expedient action the patrol was able to withdraw from the town without casualties and with four German prisoners.
The vigorous action of these men must have convinced the enemy that we were arriving in strength, for they evacuated the town as B Troop was preparing to make a determined assault.
Our line now ran from Ancenis (map I)(map 16) on the Loire, forward to Varades (map I)(map 16) then north through Cande (map I)(map 16), Segre and outside Craon (map I). Troop C driving through Cande reached the Loire at Ingrandes (map 16) a few hours after Troop A. Vern (map I)(map 16), Le Louroux (map 16) and Chamtoce (map I)(map 16) were cleared on the same day.
During this action the 2d Squadron was directed to the southwest covering the south flank of the 4th Armored as it captured Vannes (map I). Troop B reached Guer (map I) that night, with the bulk of the Squadron in the vicinity of Derval (map I), southwest of Chateaubriant (map I)(map 16). The Second Cavalry was screening on a front, Craon, Ancenis, and Guer, of over 90 miles.
On August 7, the 2d Squadron, now protecting the 4th Armored’s supply line through Rennes (map I), Ploermel (map I), and Vannes pushed west to St. Martin sur Oust (map I) with Troops A and B on line between Ploermel and Redon (map I). Capt. Potts’ Troop probing south to La Roche-Bernard (map I) on the Villaine river found the bridge blown and the crossing strongly held by the enemy.
With the screen now stretched to a hundred miles, who can forget the thrill we felt when our “rear area” patrol reported a combat team from the 5th Infantry Division rolling through St. Mars la Jaille (map I)(map 16)? It proved to be the 11th Infantry Regiment, strongly supported with tanks and artillery en route to capture Angers (map I)(map II)(map 16). Boy, they sure looked good for it had been mighty lonesome down on the Loire. We escorted them to the road junction three miles west of Angers, where the column made contact, pointed out the enemy dispositions that we knew, and watched them push their way down to the city.
On the following day a reinforced Infantry Battalion from the 5th Division moved south to contain Nantes (map I) and the 42d joined the 2d in protecting crossings of the Villaine river, extending the screen from Redon east to Nozay (map I) and Chateaubriant.
Late on August 9, CCA of the 4th Armored was given the mission of attacking Nantes and the Second Cavalry was attached to them for the operation. We were ordered to reconnoiter south in the zone Redon–Riaille (map I)(map 16), and the 42d Squadron was given the mission. The Squadron moved from Bain de Bretagne (map I)(map 17) to Nozay and prepared to jump off in the morning with A and B Troops abreast. Group Headquarters and 2d Squadron, concentrated three miles southwest of Chateaubriant, prepared for movement to the southeast.
That evening Troop B deployed west of the Nozay–Nantes road, and Troop A deployed on the east of the road, with Capt. Tom Embleton planning to make his main effort on the axis of the Nozay road where the Squadron tank and assault gun reserves would be following him.
The Squadron jumped off at dawn and made good progress against light resistance during the morning hours. B Troop advanced to Blain-Heric (map I)(map 17) and A Troop reached Treilliere-Suce–Carquefouy (map I). By 1400, however, A Troop ran into stiff resistance at Ragon, outside of Nantes.