COMBAT - INTRODUCTION
This resume of the combat actions of the 86th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron Mechanized is intended as an introduction to the combat phase of the history of our unit being prepared by Charles W. Barbour.
First, I would like to recognize the outstanding leadership of my predecessors, Maj. Gen. James B. Quill and Col. Albert E. Harris, who did an exceptional job in training and preparing the squadron for its responsibilities in the European Theater of Operations in World War II.
Second, there is no hesitation in expressing my great admiration for the Staff, Troop and Company commanders, especially for their ability to lead and command their men. The platoon leaders, the noncommissioned officers and the troopers and tankers have my highest praise and respect.
It is my firm conviction that any commander would be most fortunate to have men of the caliber of those who served in the 86th, and who were so recognized.
I quote Maj. Gen. Robert W. Grow, 6th Armored Division commander, when he visited the squadron at Kahla, Germany, just prior to the unit leaving for the port of embarkation to return to our beloved United States and deactivation.
"Harry, it's a shame to deactivate this unit," Gen. Grow said. "I have never seen a finer group of men. You should be very proud."
I will mention only a few of the combat actions in which men of the 86th took part. Some are written in more detail in this volume and in the Combat Record of the 6th Armored Division.
The Brittany Campaign (July 27 - Sept. 17, 1944)
Normandy (July 27 - July 31): The baptism of the squadron in combat.
Brest (Aug. 1 - Aug. 12): The drive to Brest was a pure Cavalry mission.
Lorient Area (Aug. 13 - Sept. 17): A containing mission of reconnaissance and skirmishes.
The Seille River Campaign (Sept. 17 - Nov. 7, 1944)
This was a period of reconnaissance and containment. Contact was made with elements of the Seventh Army and the 4th Armored Division. Replaced elements of the 35th Infantry Division facing the Cote de Delme in addition to reconnoitering in the Luneville area.
The Saar Campaign (Nov. 8 - Dec. 24, 1944)
Again an action involving reconnaissance and containment over the approaches to Saarbrucken from the west, northwest and southwest.
The Ardennes Campaign (Dec. 25, 1944 - Jan. 26. 1945)
The move from the vicinity of Metz, France, to the vicinity of Bastogne, Belgium, and the Battle of the Bulge. Action in the Bastogne area included fights at Bizory, Marvie, Magaret and Bentonchamps.
The Dasburg-Prum River Campaign (Jan. 27 - Mar. 8, 1945)
Actions in the vicinity of Clervaux, Oper and Heinerscheid to include the crossing of the Our River, the pass through the Siegfried Line to the Prum River. At this time the squadron was under command of Maj. William U. Kennon.
The Germany Campaign (Mar. 9 - May 8, 1945)
This period included the return to the Cote de Delme area and the Seille River valley.
The drive to the Rhine River, which was crossed at Oppenheim, Germany. The squadron moved on Frankfurt and crossed the Main River southeast of Frankfurt on March 28.
The liberation of a large prisoner labor camp at Wabern and the capture of the only bridge intact over the Eder River by Troop D.
The crossing of the Fulda River. Passage over a partially destroyed railroad bridge, the only undestroyed bridge over the river, north of Malsfeld, where the squadron reorganized to screen the division's north flank.
Active operations in the ETO ceased at 0001 on May 9, 1945.
In closing, I would like to say that it was a rare occasion when some element of the squadron was not involved in combat action during the period July 27, 1944 to May 9, 1945.
The combat record of the 86th closed with "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED."
HARRY C. BRINDLE
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