George Arnstein on February 7, 2003 copied this excerpt from the National Archives II in College Park, Maryland. Source records Group 94,376 - Cav -0,1 Box number 11515.

76th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop (Mechanized) Troop History

[Omitted is the domestic history of the Troop, including Camp McCoy, Wisconsin.

... indicates omissions. [Brackets] indicate my additions or clarifications. -ga]

The Troop was activated 15 June 1942 at Fort Meade, MD. 1st Lt. (later Captain) Thomas C. Stone assumed command on 11 Sep 1942.

...sailed on 10 December 1944 from Boston POE, arrived Southampton ] at 1430 21 September 1944... debarked....

"11 Jan Troop left Bournemoth, England by motor convoy for Weymouth, England. Troop embarked on LST [Landing Ship Tank] at 1400 and set sail at 1700, 11 January 1945. Arriving at Le Harve [sic], France at 12 January and debarked at 1510. Troop moved by motor convoy from LaHarve [sic], France to Totes, France, arriving at 2100 12 January 1945. From 13 January to 16 January Troop remained in vicinity of Totes, France preparing men and vehicles for combat.

"Left Totes, France 0600 17 January by motor convoy, arriving at Sousons [Soissons] France at 1400 17 January where the Troop bivouacked for the night. Left Sousons, France 0730 18 January and arrived in Selles, France at 1100 where the Troop was billeted. 19 January Troop drew basic load of ammunition, and prepared for movement.

"20 January departed from Selles, France at 0930 and arrived Barriere de Champlon, Belgium 1700 and billeted for the night. 76th Infantry Division was committed to action this date as reserve division of VIII Corps. 21 January Troop moved to Baconfoi, Belgium, about five miles south of Champlon. 22-23 January the Troop remained at Baconfoi checking and maintaining vehicles and armament. 24 January Troop moved from Baconfoi, Belgium at 1630 arriving in Mersch, Luxembourg at 2330 and billeted for the night. 25 January left Mersch at 1400 arriving Vic[inity] Eschweiler, Lexembourgh [sic] 1730 and relieved the 87th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop in defensive position. Troop CP set up in Fermes Weidig with Platoons billeted in nearby towns. Troops mission  protecting Division Rear from possible airborne attacks. 25 January -

23 February Troop protected Division Rear from airborne attacks by daily mounted patrolling and maintaining nightly listening posts. During this period several dismounted patrols were sent out to reconnoiter enemy locations and dispositions along the Sauer River. 6 February 1 st. Lt Frederick W. Ausan was assigned and joined the Troop from30th Reinforcement Depot."

[Personal addition: Wayne Stone and I had met Lt. Ausan at Ft. Riley and thought him a superior officer. When we heard that we were getting a new officer, I recall how Wayne and I speculated that we could be lucky if we were to get somebody like Lt. Ausan. And then our speculation came true. Lt. Ausan died in 1992.]

"On the 24th of February 1945, the 76th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop while attached to the 304th Infantry Regiment, made its crossing of the Souer [sic] River at Echternach, Luxembourg and pushed over roads jammed with vehicles, and made hazardous by snow and ice, to Ferschweiler, Germany where its mission was to provide liaison between the 5th Infantry Division and the 76th Infantry Division. This liaison was aptly accomplished by the use of OPs and mounted patrols and virtually all communications were by radio. The missions were gradually stepped up in tempo until the 3rd of March when the Troop was not only providing liaison for the Division but was also patrolling both forward and rear areas of the Division, at the same time checking bridges and reconnoitering for possible bridge sites over the Kyll River.

"After a brief maintenance period of two days, the Unit moved, on the 5th of March, to initiate a mounted crossing of the Kyll River. The mission: to reconnoiter routes to the front and flanks of the Division which was the back bone of Task Force ONAWAY. The Troop then advanced to Speicher, Germany where the men spent a sleepless night made warm, in spite of the snow, by Jerries artillery. It was at Speicher the same night, where the Recon men cooperated with the2nd Battalion of the 304th Infantry Regiment in the repulsing of an enemy counterattack for which the [illegible about 4 words on my copy] had been supplying the prelude. Two days later it was their chance to make Jerry hustle a bit when they supported and provided flank security for the attacking infantry at Bellingen, Germany. [Beilingen is a bit NE of Speicher, toward Wittlich which looms large in my memory but is not mentioned in the present "History." We need to keep in mind that different platoons often had different assignments and went to divergent places.]

"Its mission with the Task Force completed; the Recon Troop reverted to Division control and went out again on Division liaison, this time with the 5th Infantry Division on the left and the 2nd Cavalry Group on the right.

"After five days on Division reserve at Salmrohr, Germany, during which time all hands were busy getting their vehicles and armament in proper condition, the Troop took up screening missions along the North Bank of the Moselle between Urzig and Traben, Germany. It was at this time when they had their first taste of Military Government problems.

[Comment: My memory is very clear on this. Urzig is in the middle of a famous wine region, between Traben-Trarbach downstream, and Bernkastel upstream. Problems, if any, were possible fraternization.]

"Again the mission changed and they were assigned a series of liaison jobs with the 87th and 89th Infantry Divisions. A few days later, on the 30th of March they were working with units o f the 20th Corps and continuing this mission they moved to Seeleberg, Germany, where they were also assigned the task of screening the right flank of C [ombat] T [eam] 417.

"After assembling at Heftrich, Germany, for a few hours, the Troop left at 1930 on the 2nd of April en route for Homberg, Germany. After an all night drive made miserable by torrents of rain and by intermittent hail storms the Troop pulled into Holshausen, Germany, a small town near Homberg, and received the job of guarding the Division CP by means of mounted patrols.

"From the 4th of April to the 10th, the Troop was assigned to various liaison missions between the 80th and the 76th Infantry Divisions until the former was relieved by the 69th Infantry Division.

[The history is a bit skimpy. It does not mention the crossing of the Rhine. From Homberg, S of Kassel, it jumped to the following:]

"On the1t0th of April the Second Platoon while assigned to the 304th Infantry Regiment for forward reconnaissance, basked in the green light of envy radiated from the eyes of other Recon Troops who had learned, doubtless from members of this platoon, that it was farther East into the Reich than any other [western] Allied elements. At the same time the remainder of the Troop was busy maintaining liaison between the First and Third Armies.

"After two busy days of clearing the Heinies from various rear areas where they were causing no little consternation to lightly armed supply outfits, the Troop again was called upon for liaison mission: this time between the 76th Infantry Division (at the time it was the left flank of the Third Army) and the 9th Armored Division which was the right flank of the First Army. In addition to liaison, nearly every vehicle in the entire unit was busily engaged in patrolling the gap between the two Armies."

[Personal note: the account has significant omissions here]

"On the 19th of April the Troop proceeded to Jena, Germany where it was assigned to maintain law and order. In order to perform this task efficiently it was found necessary to keep every member of the Troop busy at all times.

"From Jena the Troop then moved by motor convoy to Limbach, Germany, where it launched a vigorous training schedule. In Limbach at 1000 Thursday, the 10th of May, the entire Reconnaissance Troop was chosen, along with one platoon of the 76th Signal Company and the Division Security Platoon, to represent the Division at a formation held for the raising of the American flag over conquered territory.

"... on the 11th of May the Third Platoon was alerted for mission to the East - destination unknown, duration unknown. After receiving a generous allotment of American flags this Platoon, as forward element for the 691st Tank Destroyer Battalion, led the march to Dresden [and then to Fortress Koenigstein] to repatriate a large group of allied War Prisoners.

[Comment: This seems incomplete. Troopers were issued laissez-passer papers in English and Russian. Samples have survived, e.g. Ernest Snelling and Hurley Shaw. Picture above hangs in the Nat Gallery, Washington, DC. It is Fortress Koenigstein by Bellotto ]

"On the 12th of May the Troop was attached to the 385th Infantry Regiment to aid in patrolling the American-Russian forward lines. The Troop CP moved to a Hitler Youth School just east of Glauchau. This mission of patrolling the American-Russian line lasted until 1200 the 26th of May, at which time the Troop reverted to Division control and was placed in Division reserve to be prepared to move on short notice in case of riot or disorder. The Troop immediately conducted an intensive training program for possible redeployment to the Pacific Theater.

"As the Russian Forces moved forward to occupy the assigned territory it was necessary to vacate the Troops present location. On 12 June the Troop moved by motor convoy to Werdau, Germany and continued its training program.

[Again, why no mention of Crimmitschau? I recall a visit to Zwickau but I dont think we spent a night there. Why no mention of the "gold Convoy?"]

"The 76th Infantry Division was classified as a Category IV Unit and as such began transferring low point men to the 30th Infantry Division and receiving high point men from the 30th Infantry Division. As of 1 July 1945 two officers and 60 EM were sent to the 30th Division. At this same time two officers and approximately 20 EM were received from the 30th Division.

[Points? Repatriation required points, earned at rate of one per month of active duty, one more for every month overseas, plus five for wounded in action -Purple Heart. My recollection is that the transfers mentioned above, began only after Saalfeld]

"On 29 June the Troop moved by motor convoy to Saalfeld, Germany. On 1 July the Troop ,moved by motor convoy to Hof, Germany [Bavaria] with the mission of relieving elements of the 9th Armored Division of security mission in Hof, Germany. Relieved of security mission on 3 July by 304th Infantry Cannon Company.

"From 3 July to 3 August the Troop was called on from time to time to transfer men to different organizations with the receipt of no replacements. Vehicles and equipment were being turned in as of 1 August 1945. Consequently as of 3 August 1945 the Troop, having a strength of five officers and 39 EM closed its kitchen and moved to a new location in Hof to mess with the 76th Quartermaster Company.

"On 10 August another 36 EM were transferred out of the Troop, leaving five officers and four enlisted men. Waiting for the date to be set for deactivation.

"The 76th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop (Mechanized) was deactivated on 31 August 1945 at Hof, Germany.

[signed] Thomas C. Stone, Captain, Cavalry, Commanding.

[Attached was a list of those awarded Purple Hearts (six posthumously), and other decorations.]

 

 

 

George Arnstein, 2510 Virginia Ave NW

Washington, DC 20037-1904

F 202-965-1664 garnstein@calalum.org

7 Feb 2003

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