THE SEILLE RIVER CAMPAIGN
The squadron (-) moved out on September 17 and arrived in its area 11 miles west of Lorris, a distance of 312 miles, the following day. On September 20-21 the command marched 210 miles to an area five miles north of Colombey Les Belies.
Meanwhile, the 86th elements at Brest continued their assignments with the 29th Infantry Division and 2nd Ranger Battalion, Capt. Eickhoff returning from the hospital to reassume command of Troop A on September 6. On September 10 the 86th troops were released from attachment and on September 13 they left to rejoin the squadron, marching 627 miles before closing at Colombey Les Belles on September 20.
Now the squadron was intact except for the Company F elements left at Lorient and the stage was set for the Seille River campaign.
On September 22 the 86th reconnoitered all routes into the division assembly area and secured and held outpost lines with its bivouac area two miles east of Jallaucourt. Troops A, C and D performed reconnaissance missions north and east of the area.
The squadron moved to the vicinity of Lemoncourt on September 23 to Saulxures Les Nancy on September 26 and into Bosserville Monastery , five kilometers southeast of Nancy, on September 27 to refit and prepare for future operations.
Troop A was attached to CCA and Company F (-) was still with the 94th Infantry Division, but all of the rest of the squadron was together in the monastery. The troops lived in cells formerly occupied by monks and for the first time since arriving in France enjoyed the luxury of a kitchen. A ration of beef from captured German supplies added to the occasion and a real highlight of the stay was a showing of the film "Going My Way".
To most troopers, however, the real kick was a pass to Nancy, the biggest city they had seen since crossing the channel. The wine was plentiful, the young ladies friendly and all was right with the world as this relatively blissful situation prevailed through October 31.
Even so, it wasn't all fun for all people at all times. There was hardly a time when at least one troop wasn't attached to a combat command. Troop A was on a mission with CCA and Troop B was attached to CCB as October rolled around, and on October 2 Troop D relieved Troop A but remained on alert status in billets. Troops A and B returned to billets the next day, although Troop B remained under CCB control.
Troop C got a new CO on October 3 when Capt. Daniel C. Moore was evacuated and replaced by 1st Lt. Clarence S. Browning, who earlier had served a stint as CO of Troop B in the temporary absence of Capt. Tillemans.
The squadron, minus Troops B and D, was placed under control of Reserve Command on October 5 and two days later regained Troops B and D. However, Troop C, plus two assault gun platoons from Troop E and a light tank platoon from Company F, moved out to act as a roadblock and covering force in the vicinity of Moncel.
On October 8, S/Sgt. Peter W. Hounshell and a driver from Troop A were detailed as a guard of honor to XII Corps for the visit of Generals George C. Marshall, Dwight D. Eisenhower and George S. Patton Jr., an honor Sgt. Hounshell never forgot.
The same day Troop C was relieved from its roadblock assignment and the two platoons from Troop E and platoon from Company F carried on in the Moncel area and Troop B, with an assault gun platoon from Troop E, was attached to CCB.
And so it went as the missions in the vicinity of Moncel were shared by the various troops, who also served as bridge guards.
The last outstanding elements of the squadron returned to the fold on Oct. 20 when Company F's headquarters section and first platoon completed a march of 506 miles from Lorient after being released by the 94th Infantry Division.
Capt. Harold L. Hughes, Company F's CO, recalls that trip:
"Our support mission with the 94th Infantry Division, after three engagements during the first two weeks, was dull duty and we were happy when we finally got orders to rejoin the division. We had one major problem though. The division was more than 500 miles away and we didn't have enough rubber left on our tracks to go 100 miles. Through means legal and illegal, we assembled at the rear of the 94 and had truckloads of track blocks and tools delivered to us there. Each crew then changed its own tracks. While this was going on we obtained Third Army permission to use the Red Ball supply route, perhaps the first combat unit to do so. We then took off to rejoin the division. We kept peeps ahead of the column arranging for fuel and food, and except for stops for that purpose we traveled non-stop to Nancy and arrived with all vehicles, equipment and personnel present and accounted for".
In his summary for the period, Maj. Brindle noted that although the squadron as a whole did not take part in actual combat action, Troops A and B did participate in limited actions and all organizations of the 86th did maintain roadblocks and perform guard duty on bridges--16 of them.
The troops were rotated on onerous tasks in order that each unit would have an opportunity to rest, go on pass, refit and resupply for future operations.
Billets for both officers and enlisted men were comfortable and adequate religious services of all faiths were provided, as well as movies and USO shows.
The morale of all was excellent during this period, Maj. Brindle concluded.
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