Patton's Iron Cavalry - The Impact of the Mechanized Cavalry on the U.S. Third Army Page: 45
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but did not have the combat power to fight off the combined strength of two cavalry squadrons
working in concert.90
In the early morning of 18 September, elements of the 111th Panzer Brigade attacked the
42nd Squadron then occupying Lun6ville. The cavalry estimated this initial attack as "six
[Panther] tanks and two companies of infantry."91 The group attempted to ambush the this force
with the 42nd Squadron's assault gun troop, but their 75mm low velocity guns were insufficient
to penetrate the armor of the German tanks, and the Dragoon's defense crumbled in the face of
tanks that they could not kill. Half (three guns) of the assault gun troop were destroyed in the
initial encounter. The squadron conducted a delaying action, having more success against the
German infantry than their armor. The difficulties of their infantry kept the Germans at bay until
approximately 1100 that morning. This time allowed the remainder of the group to withdraw as
well as provided time for reinforcements from Combat Command Reserve (CCR) of the 4th AD,
CCA 4th AD, CCB 6th AD, and the 603rd TD battalion to arrive. These reinforcements forced the
Germans to break off their attack. Although the attack had not inflicted much damage on the
American main body elements, the 2nd Group, and the 42nd Squadron in particular, had taken
serious losses including its commanding officer, COL Reed, who was badly wounded in the
90 "XII Corps Report of Operations 1 September 1944 - 30 September 1944," 16.
91 The number of tanks present in the attack varies from the number quoted here (6 tanks) in the unit AAR
to over 40 in the Group's official history. Additional confusion over the numbers of enemy is also created by the
unit only identifying the full force of the leading edge of the attack, and not the full assault. Furthermore, the
group's history (not the AAR) reports the tanks as Tigers. However, later scholarship has challenged this
assumption, as most German tanks were called Tigers regardless of the actual type. The determination that these
were panther tanks comes from Cole, United States Army in World War II. European Theater of Operations. The
Lorraine Campaign, 221. A cavalry instructor might admonish the troopers of the 42nd that day for inaccurate
reporting, a cardinal sin for reconnaissance soldiers. Still, perhaps the troopers might be forgiven for exaggerations
in what was surely a traumatic day. "2nd Cavalry Group After Action Report, September 1944," 18 September.
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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/m1/51/: accessed April 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .