Patton's Iron Cavalry - The Impact of the Mechanized Cavalry on the U.S. Third Army Page: 39
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The corps' offensive began on the 30 August with two divisions abreast, the 80th ID to
the north, and the 4th AD to the south. The Dragoons led the assault, with a squadron in front of
each leading division (the 2nd Squadron preceding the 80th ID, and the 42nd Squadron conducting
reconnaissance for the 4th AD)71 The group met little resistance as it drove to the Moselle River.
By the 2 September, elements of the 2nd Squadron had reached the river at Toul, approximately
eleven miles due west of the major city of Nancy, and conducted reconnaissance to find likely
The next two days saw the group conduct a series of patrols in order to ascertain enemy
strength defending the river. To the north, the 2nd Squadron required an additional day to close
with the main path of the river due to its natural curve to the west, of which Toul was the apex.
On 3 September patrols of the squadron encountered a large number of German forces
withdrawing across the Moselle River to the village of Mousson on the east bank. Additionally,
the squadron identified a German headquarters with three anti-air guns in the vicinity of
Marbache seven miles to the south of Mousson. Finally, at least a company of German Army
were identified in the town of Villey-Saint Etienne, approximately seven miles to the southwest
of Marbache.73 The villages of Mousson and Marbache were extremely significant as these
comprised two of three planned crossing sites for the 80th ID, the chosen main effort for the river
crossing.74 The division's attack occurred on the evening of 4 September, meeting fierce
71 Ibid., 30 August.
72 cc2nd Cavalry Group After Action Report, September 1944" record CAVG2, entry 427, RG 407, National
Archives II, 2 September.
73 "XII Corps Report of Operations 1 September 1944 - 30 September 1944," record 212, entry 427, RG
407, Nation Archives II, 7.
74 Hugh M. Cole, United States Army in World War II. European Theater of Operations. The
Lorraine Campaign (Washington D.C.: Historical Division of the Army, 1965), 58-60. The other crossing point
was the town of Toul.
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Nance, William Stuart. Patton's Iron Cavalry - The Impact of the Mechanized Cavalry on the U.S. Third Army, thesis, May 2011; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc68023/m1/45/: accessed September 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .