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"B" Troop, 32nd Cavalry Squadron, 14th Cavalry Group

"B" Troop, 32nd Cavalry Squadron

14th Cavalry Group

German Counterattack
16 December 1944 - 1 January 1945
Interviewer: Lieutenant Jack SHEA, First Army

Interview with:

Captain Franklin F. Lindsey Jr, Commanding Officer

1st Lt Ralph A. Bendinelli, Executive

2nd Lt William Reilly, 1st Platoon Leader

2nd Lt Robert A. Blodgett, 2nd Platoon Leader

1st Lt Marshall Alexander, 3rd Platoon Leader

Cpl John Unger, Demolition agent.

Place: Hognoul, Belgium. 7 January 1945. 1600 – 1900 hours.
 
This troop, like the others in the 32nd Squadron, was engaged in refitting, training, resting and receiving reinforcements after having played its part in sustaining Von Rundstedt’s Counterattack of 16 December 1944.
 
Member of the reconnaissance troop were billeted in private homes in the above named Belgian village and were charged with the anti-paratroop defense of the vulnerable, open ground that lies immediately north of Liege.   At the time of these interviews, First U.S. Army thought that enemy airborne troops might be dropped in that vicinity to facilitate the securing of a bridgehead across the Meuse at Liege.  Only enemy fire in the area was the constant stream of V-1 robot bombs that bumbled over on their way towards Brussels, or else landed after having over-shot Liege.
 
When the 32nd Cavalry Squadron responded to the 14th Cavalry Group’s movement order at 0600 16 December 1944, “B” Troop of the squadron, commanded by Captain Franklin F. Lindsey was ordered to move to the vicinity of Auw, Germany, by Lieutenant Colonel Paul Ridge, the squadron commander, and to await further orders there.
 
The squadron, alerted at 0600 hours, moved out at 0932 hours and started toward Manderfeld, Belgium. There, the command posts of the 14th Group and the 18th Squadron were located.
 
It was from this point that the cavalry group wished to commit the 32nd Squadron in order to implement the support of the 18th Squadron’s Troops who were battling attacking forces of about reinforced brigade strength.
 
At approximately 1000 hours, “B” Troop passed by “A” Troop in the vicinity of Andler, and turned down the Andler – Wischeid – Auw road.  Two-thirds of the way towards Wischeid, “B” Troop was ordered to halt and remain in present position.  Squadron requested the troop’s location, but no further orders were issued until about 1600 hours when the troop was advised to organize a defense around Andler, Belgium. (See Marked map)  At about that time, Captain Lindsey saw elements of Group Headquarters moving west through Andler, Belgium.
 
After darkness more specific orders came to the troop CP.  These orders specified that at least two reconnaissance teams be posted on the Andler – Auw road, and requested overlays of the troop’s positions. (A reconnaissance team consists of 10 men - - four in an armored car, three in a mortar jeep, and three in a machine gun jeep.  There are three such teams to each reconnaissance platoon, and three platoons in each troop.)  The supply train for the troop was sent to Schonberg with instructions to withdraw to Vielsalm if Schonberg was not suitable.  The sergeant in charge found Schonberg undesirable, went to Vielsalm, a move that drew commendation from Captain Lindsey later.
 
With the reconnaissance-team outposts established, Lindsey ordered the platoon leaders to set their schedules of watches and have “every man awake at 0500 hours.”   Soon the troop’s operational pattern had settled down to quiet watchfulness and listening.  Night visibility was exceptionally poor, and many of the group interviewed mentioned that they had never recalled a darker night.
 
At 0630 hours on 17 December, Captain Lindsey received orders from squadron headquarters directing him to send combat patrols toward Manderfeld, Belgium, and Auw, Germany, for the purpose of establishing contact with the enemy.  He planned to send one patrol from each platoon, each probably of about one reconnaissance team in strength.  Having made his plans, he summoned his platoon leaders shortly before 0700 hours.  The three lieutenants reported having come down to the Command Post in their armored cars.  Lindsey was about to explain to them that the patrols should be sent out in three directions - - one over the road from Andler, Belgium to Auw, Germany, and two over the roads that led from Andler to Manderfeld, Germany.  Before he could issue his orders, Sergeant Earl L. Turner, radio operator for the third team of the 2nd Platoon, transmitted a hurried message, “Enemy has us surrounded.”  He immediately went off the air.  The group at the troop command post knew that this team was the one positioned furthest to the east on the Andler – Auw road.  It was commanded by Sergeant Earl R. Ellingsen.
 
The news was immediately relayed to squadron headquarters, and a ‘roger’ reply secured by 0720 hours.  Minutes later the next armored car in the nearer team on the Andler – Auw road flashed a similar message, but in this case gave added warnings of tanks being used by the enemy.
 
“Enemy surrounding us – tank trained on armored car,” came the message from the vehicle which was less than 500 yards from the troop command post.  A more detailed account of the second attack was later learned by Lindsey.  This report came from four members of the Team Cpl Royon, T/5 Whiteside, Pfc Battiori and Pvt G. Henderson.  These four had been standing near the armored car when the attack suddenly burst in upon them.  They were able to make their way back to the troop command post and tell of the tank and the enemy infantry, dressed in snow camouflage suits that had suddenly swept in upon them.
 
It was 0730 hours by this time, and Lindsey sought permission from squadron to begin a withdrawal movement towards Schonberg.  The static position deprived his troops of the organizational mobility that was one of their strongest weapons.  He did not want his troop to be overpowered in the darkness, when they could fight a more telling battle in daylight – as was later proven. (See “Action at Heuem” below)
 
However, all vehicles and men had assigned fields of fire and they started to blaze back at any sign of enemy movement that they saw.  It was only a few minutes before an enemy tank reached the intersection where the road from Auw joins the Eimerscheid – Schonberg road at Andler.  The attacking enemy seemed to have the outpost positions well plotted and mortar and flat-trajectory fire struck near the troop command post.  Pvt Henderson, one of the four men who had escaped being surrounded at the second reconnaissance team to be struck by the enemy, was wounded by shell fragments as he fought near the command post.
 
At the time of the break of the enemy attack the platoon leaders from all platoons had been present at the CP.  They had had their armored cars with them, and under cover of the weapons in these vehicles the troop slowly withdrew from the Andler position.  Finally, the direct fire of the enemy tank at the intersection described above forced the troop southwards toward Schonberg.  By 0745 hours Lindsey had lost about 19 of his troop, decided that he must find another delay position, and one that would afford the cavalrymen an opportunity to use their fire power against an enemy that could be spotted in the light of day.
 
Not the entire troop was able to withdraw to the south.  Reconnaissance teams from one of the platoons had been in position on the secondary road that connects Andler with Herresbach, these personnel and vehicles, as well as two that were stationed to Squadron’s Headquarters group at Herresbach, and withdrew with them towards Meyrode.
 
By 0800 hours the “B” troopers had reached Schonberg.  It was daylight, but as they prepared to organize a defensive position there, nearby friendly troops warned that tanks were advancing on Schonberg from the southeast. T his news came at 0815 hours, according to Captain Lindsey, shortly after contact had been regained with the troops that were pressing down from the direction of Andler.  The delay position was not suitable for meeting enemy forces from both southeast and northeast directions.  So again, contact was broken as the troopers withdrew towards the west on the Schonberg – St Vith road, searching for a section in the natural corridor down which the road ran, in which they could effectively delay the enemy armor and foot troops.
 
It was finally in the vicinity of Heuem that Captain Lindsey and his troop finally found a location that suited delay possibilities.  As the cavalrymen hurriedly prepared trees alongside the road for demolition to form roadblocks, other American troops streamed up the road from the east.  Some of the vehicles that passed were identified by Lindsey and the group interviewed as being from the “333rd Field Artillery Group”.
 
The six armored cars and about ten machine gun and mortar jeeps that the depleted troop had with it at the time were deployed as shown in the accompanying sketch (appended to the interview).
The troopers were reluctant to form a roadblock by blowing the charges that had been fastened to the trees, for fear of trapping additional American vehicles that might be coming down the road.  It was this reluctance that eventually caught the troopers unaware as the first enemy tank – a MK IV – poked its nose around the corner of a bend in the road, and started to traverse its guns to bear on the lightly armed armored cars.
 
The first enemy tank that came around the turn in the road had its turret open. The troopers could clearly see the enemy tank commander perched in the open turret.  He was wearing a black beret, characteristic headdress of the enemy tankers.  Two of the armored cars, the westernmost two in position, immediately opened up with AP rounds.  Direct hits were scored, but they bounced off the tanks armor.  In this excitement, T/5 Russell made a fortunate mistake, slipped a HE round in just after having fired an AP shell.  The lighter HE shot struck a few feet above the usual impact point of the heavier AP shot; in fact it burst near the rim of the open turret.  The German tank commander slumped over and the tank withdrew.  It did not show again as the cavalrymen began their delaying action in earnest.
 
They weren’t frightened now, nor were they confused as they had been during the night attack that had first struck them at Andler.  For four hours the light machine guns and mortars shattered every attempt of the enemy foot troops to maneuver in against the delay position.  With LMG cross-fires, and carnival-like sharpshooting the troopers seemed to enjoy nipping at the enemy. (All members of the group seemed to recall the details of this fight with particular humor – for instance, the way in which Cpl Joseph Unger (the man who had, in his nervousness, neglected to blow the roadblock) took to shooting Germans.  His frequent cries of triumph to Lindsey, I think I got another one.  “Captain’! Paying for myself today – Been costing the gout money until today.”  Every weapon that the troopers had was fired in this phase of fighting.  Several good-natured joshing’s were still directed against Lieutenant Bendinelli, concerning the way he “hosed” .50 cal fire close overhead of the men on the left flank as he attempted to stop the German infantry from infiltrating through the wooded high ground to the north and northeast of the position that the troopers held.
 
Until1200 hours the enemy infantry seemed to try blind attempts at infiltrating towards the cavalrymen’s positions.  None of the group could sense any particular maneuver that the enemy had tried until around 1230 or 1300 hours when a definite plan seemed to have put into action, and, in fact, seemed to be meeting with some success.  Roughly, the enemy managed to infiltrate a few men forward to the southeast of the cavalry positions.  This section of troops provided a base of fire for a flanking force that was sent up through the woods on the high ground that commanded the northern approaches to the cavalry positions.
 
However, the success of failure of this maneuver was never determined, for, at 1300 hours, the 32nd Squadron ordered the “B” troopers to continue their withdrawal towards Meyrode, Belgium.  At Heuem, “B” Troop had successfully held the enemy for at least four hours.
 
At Meyrode, which the troop reached by traveling through St Vith, Captain Lindsey reported on his four-hour fight that had cost him no casualties.  He was instructed to take up positions in Wallerode, southwest of Meyrode.  The troop was in position by 1400 hours, and settled down to watching the wooded terrain to its east.
 
It was at Wallerode that several of the troop’s reconnaissance teams that had been cut-off from the main body of the troop by the enemy’s sudden advance at Andler, rejoined the troop.  Sergeant Donald E. “Bones” Thompson, in charge of the teams that were strung along the Andler – Herresbach road, extricated his people by joining with the forces of “C” Troop and finally withdrawing from Herresbach over the cross-country trail that was blazed to Meyrode.  Sergeant Howard L. Hall, whose single reconnaissance team had been positioned north of the Andler – Auw road junction and was cut off by the appearance of a German tank at that intersection, took his team to the “North, and then we went southwest.”  He did not recall the exact route nor the names of the villages through which he passed.  The amazing part of his statement concerning the escape is that he passed through territory that had been over-run by the enemy two or three hours earlier but did not run into any enemy elements.
 
The “B” Trooper’s stay at Wallerode was uneventful save for the P-47’s that strafed the woods to the east of their positions at about 1600 hours.  Evidently, the Germans had brought light flak guns well forward with them in their rapid advance, for a heavy blanket of light flak rose to meet the passes of the American fighter-bombers.  When asked about other units in the area, Lindsey remarked that “F” Company of the 32nd was known to be in the vicinity of Wallerode, and that some of his men there had met the 1st Sergeant of “D” Troop, 87th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron,, attached to the 7th Armored Division.
 
Shortly after 1600 hours, “B” Troop was told to move towards Vielsalm.  Traveling via Sart lez St Vith – Poteau – (there at 1900 hours where they saw enemy flares to the north) – they inched through traffic jammed roads in the darkness and arrived at Vielsalm at 0530 hours, 18 December 1944.
 
In Vielsalm, on the morning of the 18th of December, Lindsey described a “reorganization of the 14th Group by Lieutenant Colonel Damon,” who formerly commanded the 18th Squadron.
 
The elements at Vielsalm stood by, listened to the radio transmissions describing the fight that was then taking place at Poteau.  The road that led towards the east to Poteau from Vielsalm was still cluttered with traffic when, at 1000 hours, “B” Troop was ordered to secure the ground north and east of Vielsalm.  For this operation, one platoon of “C” Troop – 18th Squadron, was attached to “B” Troop.  The “C” Platoon had filtered into Vielsalm after having become separated from the rest of its parent organization on the way back from Born – Medell.
 
Purpose of this employment of “B” Troop was to create some sort of a screen through which the elements withdrawing from Poteau could pass.  Lindsey chose to organize the Poteau – Vielsalm road at Ville du Bois, where he took advantage of a deep-cut railroad horseshoe to use as an anti-tank trap.  He placed the weapons of his armored cars and reconnaissance teams in an all-around defense at this point, and found that the continuously over-lapping bands of defensive fire had very good ranges at which to operate.
 
However, this defensive position was never used. The withdrawing troops from Poteau passed through a roadblock that had been prepared by Task Force Navaho (See 7th Armored Material) and at 1600 hours Captain Lindsey joined the remnants of the whole group in the vicinity of Rencheux, Belgium.  There, the remnants were reorganized into a single cavalry reconnaissance squadron which was immediately attached to the 7th Armored Division.
 
19 December 1944
Under the reorganization plan implemented by Lieutenant Colonel Damon, Captain Lindsey and the remnants of his “B” Troop received 27 men from 14th Cavalry Group Headquarters Troop who were accompanied by that troop commander Captain North. In addition, Captain Lindsey received two M-20 armored personnel carriers to replace the two M-8 armored cars that he had lost.  A three-quarter-ton truck and a bantam were also added to the troop’s depleted vehicle complement, and the unit was reorganized and “fit for combat” at 1300 hours on 19 December.  Total strength of the troop at this time was about 125 – 130 officers and men.
 
At 1500 hours Lindsey was ordered to proceed south on the Salmchateau – Bovigny highway, and take up positions in the town of Gruflange, Thommen and Espeler.  His troop’s normal strength (reorganized) was augmented by three platoons of 75mm propelled howitzers from reorganized “E” Troop, and eleven light tanks (five from the 32nd Squadron, balance from 18th). For the purposes of simplification of control and message-writing, Lindsey’s force was known as “Task Force Lindsey”, and operated in the sector of Task Force Jones, part of the 7th Armored Division’s troops in the area.  General purpose of the armored and cavalry units in this area was to organize a defensive screen around the southern mouth of the Bovigny – Salmchateau corridor.  It was down this corridor that the supplies for the fighting elements of the 7th Armored Division came, and up this same corridor that different ordnance, QM and general service and supply elements were withdrawing in the face of Von Rundstedt’s attack.
 
Lindsey moved his task force to the Beho crossroads.  He had been told that neither friendly nor enemy troops were in the three towns that he had been instructed to occupy and hold, with the specifications that he secure the towns by darkness on 19 December.
 
Captain Lindsey split his reorganized reconnaissance troop into its component three platoons, sent the first platoon to Espeler, the second to Thommen and the third to Gruflange.  With each of these three reconnaissance platoons went one platoon of assault gun from the reorganized “E” Troop.  The 11 light tanks were initially held near Beho in the position of a mobile reserve for the Task Force.
 
The sub-task forces held their assigned towns from darkness 19 December until 23 December 1944, when they joined in the general withdrawal of all elements from this sector of the huge “Fortified Goose Egg” that was being held by 7th Armored elements and attachments.
 
(The following breakdown of stories at the various garrisons was secured from the platoon leaders who were present in the three towns. – JTS)
 
Lieutenant Marshall Alexander’s sub-task force had an uneventful two days at Gruflange during the 20th and 21st of December.  Spasmodic artillery fire of medium caliber struck the town several times, but it did not hinder the emplacements or mined roadblocks that the cavalrymen and assault gunners had established there.
 
On 22 December 1944 a request from 7th Armored Division specified that mopping-up patrols be sent through the Hohenbusch woods and through the wooded terrain that surrounds CR 515 at (847816).
 
The patrolling mission took about four hours, and while the reconnaissance teams were engaged in the mopping-up (no contact with the enemy), some medium tanks from the 7th Armored tank complement passed through the town to the south.  The medium tankers said that they were to assist elements of the 14th Armored Infantry in an effort to withdraw.  The cavalrymen were not sure of the position of the 14th Armored Infantry, nor were they exactly sure that the 424th Infantry Regiment of the 106th Infantry Division was in the vicinity of CR 515.  Most of them had “heard” that the infantry troops were there, but were uncertain as to the exact dispositions of any friendly troops in the area.
 
At 1200 hours on 22 December 1944, the Gruflange garrison was ordered to move north to Crombach, where the Command Post of the Combat Command “B” 7th Armored Division was located.  There, Alexander reported to General Clark, and received a mission to provide foot patrols to go northwest towards Hinderhausen.
 
The foot patrols were completed, but in doing so the members of the patrols found that their activity drew enemy artillery fire from the east and southeast whenever they moved across open terrain.
 
The patrols returned and the cavalry elements were billeted in the houses of Crombach as darkness fell on the night of the 22nd December.  In the building that he had chosen for a Command Post, Lieutenant Alexander and some of his non-coms listened to the radio traffic that was going on between the tank and tanks destroyer elements of the 7th Armored Division in the Crombach area.
 
It was around midnight when the intercom blurted out the news that “one or four or six” Tiger Tanks were headed for Crombach from a northeasterly direction.  The enemy tanks were reportedly coming along the rail line that passes near Crombach as it run from St Vith, south towards Gouvy.
 
Lieutenant Alexander reported the gradual development of the morale of the tankers and TD men as they spoke over the intercom.  At first, there was a studied coolness to the voices that reported the tanks.  Frequent assentation’s that “We’re ready.  Let the bastards come” crackled back and forth over the wireless.  However, each successive message held less confidence, and soon it was realized by the personnel in the Command Post that the mediums and TD’s were not breaking up the tank threat, but rather were abandoning their tanks and withdrawing.  They seemed to have little desire to match the armor and fire power of their vehicles against the vaunted Tiger.
 
An unidentified colonel grasped the situation quickly and set out on foot to rally the men who were breaking.  He collared the crews of two M-10 TD’s and three medium tanks, made them place their armored vehicles in positions for the close-in defense of the town.
 
Meanwhile there was a hurried scuffling to get the remnants of the infantry troops in the towns together for a defense of the town.  In the confusion few of the squad leaders or platoon leaders knew exactly where their men had gone to sleep.  Names were being called by many different voices, and there were altercations amongst the junior commanders as to who was responsible for what sector.  Lieutenant Alexander deployed the cavalrymen in a firing line, give them sectors of responsibility, but could get no cooperation from other junior leaders as a means to protect his flanks and rear.  Finally, though from what source no one seemed to know, a rumor-order passed through the group in the town, announcing that the place was “untenable.”  Troops and vehicles on all sides began to pack up shop and leave.  Alexander’s troops held for half an hour, but as small arms fire and what were thought to be bazookas started blazing at the other end of town, the cavalrymen, too, mounted vehicles, picked up the infantrymen that wanted to ride with them, and started back for Gruflange.
 
On the way out of Crombach, just prior to the first light of day, small arms fire sputtered against the cavalry column at 805843.  Everyone immediately dismounted and returned the fire.  Several long bursts of .50 cal fire in the direction of the enemy fire seemed to suffice in quieting it, and when it was not returned, the cavalrymen again mounted and continued towards the southwest.  Arriving at the high ground that overlooks Gruflange, the troops found that Gruflange, in their absence, had been taken over by the enemy.  There was still a good deal of confusion around the road intersection at Maldange, Belgium, but the superior ground there, and the necessity for keeping that intersection open, resolved a defense of that area.  Under the directions of Captain Lindsey, Lieutenant Alexander’s troops were stationed there.  The fire of the cavalry reconnaissance vehicles and assault guns was augmented by the arrival of the light tanks that had been in mobile reserve.
 
The defensive position at Maldange, Belgium, was established at 0900 hours on 23 December 1944.  In addition to the troops of Task Force Lindsey, there were about 200 infantry troops that had been straggling past.  They were pressed into service to man this defense line.
 
At that time, the elements of Task Forces Jones, Lindsey and other 7th Armored elements within the “Fortified Goose Egg” had started their withdrawal from the perimeter’s shell.  H-hour, designated by 7th Armored Command had been 0600 hours, and at that time elements started to systematically withdraw out through the Bovigny – Salmchateau escape corridor.  Task Force Lindsey had been instructed to figt a delaying action in the area near Maldange – Beho, Belgium.  More specifically they had been instructed to hold at Beho until 1300 hours at all costs, then, at H + seven hours they were to withdraw through the corridor.  The cavalrymen automatically assumed the responsibility for the safe withdrawal that had attached themselves to the vehicles.
 
Hardly had the defensive line been established than the enemy started to attack.  Initial estimate of the attackers was somewhere in the vicinity of 500 foot troops, supported by artillery, mortars and self-propelled assault guns.
 
With a generally stubborn defensive stand, the elements of Task Force Lindsey stood their ground and smashed the infiltration attack of the enemy. There seemed to be little effort made on the part of the enemy to coordinate the use of its supporting fires to complement the advance of the foot troops.  It was just a case of all the enemy spasmodically working forward, while the cavalry weapons sought remunerative targets for automatic weapons, light cannon and mortars.
 
The defensive barrier eventually began to disintegrate at 1245 hours when the 1st Platoon of the task force, accompanied by its assault guns, broke contact and withdrew to Beho.  In turn, the second and then the third Platoon climbed onto their vehicles, followed the first and passed through it at the Beho crossroads. (753808)  Self-propelled TD’s from the 7th Armored were at the crossroads when the elements of Task Force Lindsey passed through there at 1315 hours.
 
Experiencing none of the difficulty that later caught elements of Task Force Jones in the Bovigny – Salmchateau’ cul de sac!
 
With no other opposition from enemy sources, the “B” troopers went to Cierreux, where they were released from the Task Force Lindsey assignment by Major Dill, executive for Lieutenant Colonel Damon in the reorganized cavalry squadron.  At Rahier the cavalrymen tacked onto the group column that was headed for Aywaille, where they spent the night 23 – 24 December.  Their task in the operations of Task Force Lindsey had come to a conclusion, a conclusion that prompted  “General Clark of the 7th Armored to say of them.. One damn good job of delaying action ... a job well done.” (Quotes obtained from Captain Lindsey and the group.)
_____________________
 
From Aywaille the “B” troopers moved to Xhignesse where they arrived at 1200 hours on 24 December 1944.  They had only managed to get about four or five hours of sleep the night before.  By 1515 hours, the original “B” troopers had been separated from the attachments with which they had been working in Task Force Lindsey.  At 1700 hours Major Dill instructed Captain Lindsey to form a T/O troop for immediate attachment to the 87th Reconnaissance Squadron of the 7th Armored Division.  To do this it was necessary for Lindsey to draw about 24 men from the Group’s Headquarters Troop, and requisition about 14 vehicles from the newly-organized Headquarters Troop of the 14th Provisional Cavalry Squadron.  Finally, Captain Lindsey found that he had about 120 men, the necessary vehicles, and was more or less ready for combat.  All of the men were very tired from the eight days of fighting that they had done, and this fatigued state was reflected in their sleep-sluggish eyes and wearied reactions.  It was with no Christmas spirit that they set out on a new mission on Christmas Eve.
 
It was with difficulty that the “B” Troop of Captain Lindsey located the command post of Lieutenant Colonel Boylan’s 87th Reconnaissance Squadron.  Having first gone to Grand Bru, he finally made contact with Boylan at 1150 hours on Christmas Day.  Boylan sent the troop to be billeted at Deux Rys, where they had a Christmas dinner of hotdogs.  “That, we will never forget,” said Lindsey.
 
At 0200 hours on 26 December 1944, Lieutenant Colonel Jones, the commander of “Task Force Jones” that had fought and then been trapped in the Bovigny – Salmchateau corridor, arrived at the Command Post of Lieutenant Colonel Boylan’s reconnaissance Squadron.  Jones was in an excited state.  He reported that as his jeep passed through the central road net in the vicinity of Grandmenil – Manhay, 6000 meters to the south; he had been fired upon by German tanks.
 
This road net nerve center was regarded as a critical communications point, and steps were immediately taken to retake it, and/or prevent the German armor from using it.
 
Lindsey’s troop was immediately alerted, and the men rolled out of their blankets and prepared to move.  In the hodge-podge planning that was necessitated by the enemy’s unexpected appearance in this sector, the command had difficulty in marshaling forces from the many units that were scattered through the area.  Few units were cognizant of just who or where their neighboring units were.
 
Captain Lindsey visited the Command Post of General Clark, Commander of CCB 7th Armored Division, where he was instructed to reform his reconnaissance troop into two infantry platoons.  He hurried back to the billets of his troop, split the troop into two parts – designating these separate platoons as the first and third – the men from the second Platoon were interspersed amongst the personnel of the other two platoons.  Finally, the organization resolved itself into two platoons composed of 12-man squads in each platoon.  In addition to the M-1, carbine and TSMG’s that the individuals were equipped with, Captain Lindsey distributed two light machine guns to each platoon.
 
Lieutenant Colonel William Fuller of the 38th Armored Infantry Battalion gave Lindsey his first movement orders indicating that the troop should be formed on an LD at (505919).  Leaving the radio operators behind, Lindsey moved his bastard platoons out mounted on eight jeeps.  These jeeps were left on the main road that led to Grandmenil, where the drivers stayed to care for them.
 
The second of a series of contradictory and confusing orders came about 0500 hours on the 26th of December. Lieutenant Colonel Fuller returned to tell Lindsey to move his troop to (513920), a few hundred yards south of a rustic crucifix, where they prepared to attack towards the south.  The situation was continually confused by orders and counter orders during which the troopers did little but dig in to escape the spasmodic shelling that the enemy infrequently threw into the area.  Greatest danger was the possibility of tree bursts, for the area was heavily wooded.
 
Finally, at 0730 hours Fuller informed Captain Lindsey that the troopers would move south from their positions at 0915 hours for the purpose of securing Grandmenil.  At the start of the attack “B” Company of the 38th Armored Infantry was on the right of the “B” troopers, and “A” Company of the same battalion was on their left.
 
 
Communications were poor because of the unorthodox system of assigning sectors to the remnants of all units that happened to be in the area.  As the attack developed, the cavalrymen were to find that their flank units kept continually changing, and finally, in the last phase of the attack, completely new units would be situated on their left and right.
 
Little enemy opposition was experienced as the troops left the LD and started sweeping towards the south.  The same control that made the flow of information insufficient hindered the control of the attacking units, and the attack moved more slowly than it should have.
 
Shortly before noon, as the troops reached a section of the terrain where the woods thinned out into semi-open fields, the “B” troopers received the single heaviest casualty blow that they had taken in the counterattack.  A single round of flat – trajectory fire slammed into a group of troopers who were working towards a suspected enemy machine gun position in a straw stack near a house.  Seven were wounded, two of them mortally, by the burst.
 
Shortly after this occurrence, the “B” troopers found that the narrowing of their sector of the advance had caused them to be “squeezed out” of the attack.
 

Note: Personnel of "C" Troop who supervised the drawing of this overlay were not definitely sure of the dates indicated.  Discrepencies may be noted in comparing these dates with data found in 32nd Squadron Journal. Squadron Source appears more authentic.

J.T.S.

 
They were instructed to move to the west and were committed in a second sector that faced toward Grandmenil. Little advancing was done from this new commitment, when they were again shifted back to their old sector.  There they worked forward to the line along the secondary road at (524903), where their advance eventually ended.  There they dug in, shivered in their foxholes during the 27 – 28 – 29th of December while the enemy continued to throw in occasional artillery fire.
 
At 1400 hours on 29 December 1944, the troop was relieved by “L” Company of the 291st Infantry Regiment, 75th Infantry Division.  Captain Lindsey moved his men back about 1000 yards where they remained in regimental reserve for the 291st Infantry until 1400 hours on 29 December 1944.  From the 291st Infantry, the cavalrymen were released to the 87th Reconnaissance Squadron, who, in turn, released them to the 14th Group at 0700 hours on 30 December 1944.  The Group was withdrawn from the front on 1 January 1945, and went to the positions near Liege where these interviews were made.
___________________________
Source:Documents N.A.R.A. dated January 7, 1945
Lt Jack SHEA

2nd Info & Service

HQ, 1st Army

Campaigns

Battle of the Bulge,

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