By Arnold Blumberg Scouts for the U.S. Third Army on foot and in armored vehicles cautiously approached the town of Luneville on the east side of the Moselle River in the rolling hills of north- eastern France on September 15, 1944. As the lead M8 armored car of C Troop, 42nd Cavalry Squadron reached the outskirts of the fog-shrouded town, a shell fired from a German 88mm gun slammed into it. The startled Americans quickly fled the area. Although no one knew it at the time, the shot heralded the beginning of the Battle of Arracourt, an 11-day armored fight between U.S. Lt. Gen. George S. Patton’s Third Army and German General of Panzer Troops Hasso von Manteuffel’s Fifth Panzer Army. Over the next four days, the 4th Armored Division of Maj. Gen. Manton Eddy’s XII Corps fought against Generalleutnant Eberhard Rodt’s 15th Panzergrenadier Division for control of Luneville. On September 16, the Americans vigorously attacked the town from the south, fiercely opposed by panzergrenadiers who had been reinforced a day earlier by six tanks and an equal number of antitank guns. The Germans were forced from the town, and the Americans formed a defensive cordon around the city. On September 17, the Germans made a concerted effort to reclaim Luneville. Their efforts were thwarted by the cavalry troops and tanks and armored infantry from Combat Command R, U.S. 4th Armored Division. The fight for the town heated up on September 18 as two battle groups from Colonel Heinrich von B


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