Northern France

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

billwaldnerBill Waldner, Headquarters & Supply Troop, 2nd Squadron, with the HQ-35 jeep.

1-3 August 1944

On August 1, 1944, the Second Cavalry Group, attached to the Third U.S. Army, was waiting in an assembly area north of Avranches (map OC) for orders committing it to action in the breakthrough area.

At 1100 orders were received from Brigadier General Earnest, commanding Task Force “A” of VIII Corps. The message directed us to move at once to the vicinity of Beauchamp (map OC) and await further orders. The Group moved at 1300 and closed in the new concentration area at 2000, with the 2d Squadron at La Haye Pesnel (map OC), and the 42d three miles south at Gavray (map OC).

In the meantime VIII Corps learned that the 4th Armored Division had reached the vicinity of Rennes (map I) and was still tearing off to the southwest, leaving 50 miles of their left flank exposed. Orders reached the Group about midnight, attaching the Second Cavalry to the 4th Armored for the purpose of protecting that long, wide-open flank.

On the morning of August 2, we plunged southward through the gap at Avranches (map I) on our final lap of the road to war. The impact of combat first reached us in the weird sight of the dead, bloated horses and crushed bodies strewn among the material destroyed by the Third Army spearhead.

By evening the Second Cavalry had reached Romazy (map 15) and Col. Reed received our first combat mission from General Wood. “Reconnoiter to the southeast in the zone St. Aubin du Comier (map I)(map 15)Fougeres (map I)(map 15)“. This mission was handed to the 2d Squadron, the 42d being held in reserve.

Lt. Col. Easton committed Troop C in the north part of the zone and Troop A in the south, both units moving out around 2300. At daylight Troop C encountered heavy resistance in the vicinity of Fougeres.

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