Arnold E. Harjehausen

MEMOIRS OF .................


with the 125th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron (Mecz) in World War II




Shortly after the arrival of the 1800 man 113th, we were ordered to reorganize into a Cavalry Group. The regiment consisted of a Regimental Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, Service Troop, Medical Detachment, Band, Headquarters 1st Squadron with Troops A, B, and C, and Headquarters 2nd Squadron with Troops D, E, and F.  The 113th Cavalry Group consisted of 70 officers and men. The 113th and 125th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron (Mecz) each consisted of 818 officers and men. Each of the new Squadrons were organized into seven units, a Headquarters, Headquarters & Service Troop; a Medical Detachment; three Reconnaissance Troops A, B, & C; a 75mm assault gun Troop E; and a light tank Company F.  


The regiment had been mobilized on 13 January 1941, and trained in three Louisiana maneuvers. They were initially school troops for the Tank Destroyer Command at Camp Hood, Texas. Why the War Department waited until 6 February 1944 to reorganize, six months before it was to enter into combat, is hard to understand. The advantages of this reorganization were to provide the ability to detach a Squadron and attach it to some other major force.


The regiment arrived in England without its equipment. After the men had been assigned to their new units, they started training in their new assignment. The supply people were busily engaged in drawing equipment for the Group and Squadrons.


Headquarters, IX Tactical Air Command (TAC), a sub unit of the Ninth Air Force, was located at Middle Wallop Airport, about eight miles from us. It was commanded by a 37-year-old Major General Elwood A. "Pete" Quesada, who had the very high frequency (VHF) radios installed in the lead tanks of armored columns just before the invasion. The tankers and pilots could talk to each other. The success of the technique, in August, was to exceed all expectations. General Quesada really liked to drive tanks. When he found out we had them, he, of course, wanted to drive on them. He came to our camp a couple of times to drive the tanks and each time joined us for supper. We were all amazed at how young he looked.


General Bradley's Headquarters, First United States Army, decided that they needed a security force when they landed on Normandy. They selected Troop B, 125th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron (Mecz) for this assignment. It was a great honor to be selected for this duty, but it created a major problem for the 125th because they were short a reconnaissance troop.  Each Infantry Division had a reconnaissance troop. When the 125th was attached to the 30th Infantry Division, the Division Commander attached his Recon Troop to fill out the 125th.


As part of the preparation for the invasion, we had to prepare a plan to load all of our vehicles and men on ships. I had the pleasure of taking this plan to Number 10 Downing Street in London. This gave me the opportunity to see some of London. We also, had to furnish personnel for three Movement Control Detachments to move the troops off of the beach into their assigned areas. Troop B, 125th was to land on D-Day and secure an area for Headquarters, First United States Army. We were not told the exact day of the invasion, but we did know when it started. On the night of 5/6 June, there was one continuous flight of aircraft, so we knew the invasion was on. 


The 125th was moved to the marshalling area at South Hampton, England, on the 25th of June 1944. They loaded our equipment onto victory ships for shipment to Omaha Beach, Normandy, France. while they were loading one 6x6 the net, on the backset of duels, slipped off and we thought that the truck was going to fall to the bottom of the ship. The second set of nets held and the truck was lowered without any trouble. The troops were the last to load on the ships. We ate with the ships crew and had excellent food. We departed on board the THOMAS SCOTT at 02:30 hours, 2 July 1944. We arrived at Omaha Beach, Section F, Area R about 20:30 hours, 3 July.  We traveled 94 miles and the weather was fair.    


Chapter 4



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