Neufchateau to Mirecourt

Compiled, edited and published by Historical Section, Second Cavalry Association
Maj. A. L. Lambert and Cpt. G. B. Layton, 2d Cavalry

WWIITwo young SS troopers were captured near the CP and were getting a working over by the 1st Sergeant as our platoon left to head south toward Maxey (map IV) on 2 September. We heard a lot of heavy gun fire going on in the Foret de Vau (4th Armored fighting for Gondre Court), so Lt. Kellogg ordered us to proceed more cautiously. Outside of Maxey we halted. Although the rain was coming down heavily enough to keep fish indoors, Sgt. Paschal was disturbed by the quiet. We began to advance slowly. Suddenly we came upon a German vehicle parked in front of the church. It was empty, so a man checked at a nearby house. The French were happy to see us, said stay for dinner, the Krauts left last night, the car was out of gas. Good news for once!

By way of Cerissey we entered Neufchateau (map IV) and underwent the habitual reception. Here again the Germans had already evacuated.

An old woman came up to the armored car Spadafino, the radio operator, was in. “My dear Americans, you must let all the women in the city kiss you one after the other”. There must have been 2000 of them so Lt. Kellogg beat a hasty retreat. (The sap!). We passed a Tiger tank that was burned – same story – no gas.
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We continued to tour on to the east. We went through Rouvres la Chetive, Chatenois (map IV), and Houecourt (map IV). At Gironcourt we picked up a Kraut, unarmed, at about 1000 and outposted the town.

We had scarcely got settled when an FFI man came to the Lieutenant and told him of three enemy columns converging on Neufchateau to our rear. One was coming from Chaumont (map IV) to re-occupy Neufchateau, another from Langres (map IV) was halted at Bourmont (map IV), the third from Montigny (map 25) had the mission of occupying Vittel (map IV). We refused to become excited, but waited for the 1st team of the 2d Platoon to join us. Then we returned to Neufchateau post haste.

As we entered the town from the east, we learned that the Germans, a column of about 2000 with 20mm AA guns and 4 AT guns, were in the south section. We sent the Maire down to their Colonel demanding their surrender.

Lieutenant Kellogg called Capt. Andrews on the radio and he arrived about 1400 with two assault guns, which raced their motors from time to time in different positions in order to sound like a whole Troop. Toward 1500 our emissary returned and said the Germans had received reinforcements and decided to make a fight of it.

Capt. Andrews was ordered by Col. Reed to make plans for the assault. Just then tremendous explosions were heard as the 5 bridges were blown by the Germans. However, before the attack A Troop was given a new mission and only a team left in observation. Our big bluff to gain the surrender of 2000 Germans by our 20 men had failed.

Patrols of Troop B of the 42d entered Toul (map IV) on 2 September and found it to be evacuated. The rapid advance made possible the capture of an enemy supply dump in the vicinity of Vezelize (map IV)(24). The same day 2d Squadron pushed it’s patrols to the Moselle river.

From 3 – 12 September the Group continued screening and patrolling along the Moselle river while waiting for the establishment of a bridgehead. It was not a quiet period as action flared up here and there all over the area. Contact was made with the enemy at Bainville (map 24) where approximately 150 paratroopers, elements of the 3rd Paratroop Division, were routed and the town captured by part of C Troop and a platoon of F Troop.

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