Stories of cavalry charging tanks are common from the early years of the war. Very few are true, and France has its own story.
All very inspiring stuff, however as usual reality is somewhat different, but it is still a remarkable story of resistance. It starts with the opening German attack on France. 3rd Spahi Brigade was deployed to occupy positions at the Mouzaive bridge. However the brigade’s lead elements were beaten to it by minutes by the Germans. The Germans held off the attempts of the 3rd Spahi Brigade to retake the position. The 3rd Spahi's fell back to positions further back, and the Germans drove a wedge between two French armies. At 0330 on the morning of the 12th of May the 3rd Spahi's commander ordered his unit to withdraw, after hard fighting, without consulting his superiors. This let the Germans pour through the opening and the French line collapsed. After a few days fighting the 3rd Spahi found themselves at the village of La Hornge.
The 3rd Spahi's were a colonial cavalry unit, consisting of two regiments of cavalry, one from Morocco and one from Algeria. After five days fighting they were exhausted and had lost most of their heavy weapons. The brigade was under 50% manpower and only had two AT guns.
Realising their mistake of the 12th the 3rd Spahi's decided to try and atone. After being informed that reinforcements were due early in the afternoon of the 15th the 3rd Spahi's fortified the town of La Horgne. Knowing that they would hold, even the HQ squadron was dug in on the line. The brigade had obtained three broken down FT17 tanks, and used them to block the roads leading into the village.
Despite this they had no mines or wire to further reinforce their position. The HQ squadron barricaded itself in the church, along with a 37mm Mle1916 TR infantry gun.

The battle opened after 0700 on the 15th when Luftwaffe fighters strafed the position. At 0800 the first German ground forces moved in. Two battalions of infantry from 1st Panzer Division launched an attack, the attack was met with a wave of gunfire. After a sharp engagement the Germans fell back. The Germans then re-grouped and brought up four 105mm howitzers, IlG-18 infantry guns and PAK-36 anti-tank guns. After plastering the village the Germans launched an assault mounted in Skdfz 251 half-tracks. The Saphi's held out all morning against the Germans overwhelming fire-power.

About lunch time the Germans called for the surrender of the Spahi's over a loudspeaker, and even sent a delegation under a flag of truce to call for their surrender. The Spahi's refused. At 1300 the Germans began to attack, only this time instead of trying to push the Spahi's out of La Horgne, they started to encircle the village, pushing through the positions the Spahi's had set up on the ridge line. The Germans put even more artillery into the attack, bombarding the back of the village and the ridge line.
With only the brigades remaining HMG's and some infantry holding the ridge, the Germans managed to encircle the village.

About 1530, in the woods above La Horgne there was a squadron led by Lieutenant MacCarthy. The squadron was ordered to launch an attack to break the encirclement. Lt MacCarthy decided that moving as fast as possible was the best idea, so he ordered his squadron to mount up and advance.
With a thunder of hooves the squadron burst from the tree line and raced forward towards La Horgne which was about a kilometre distant. As the horses pounded forward, German tanks appeared and started hammering at the Cavalry. Taking heavy casualties the squadron was forced to break off its attack.
Inside the village the Germans had managed to force their way into the first houses. With the village encircled the Germans attempted to crush the knot of resistance. A company of twelve Panzer III's with support from eight Panzer IV's and along with lighter tanks was formed up.

At the church Warrant Fievee was in charge of the 37mm gun, with Spahi Saidi Atallah and one other. They had made a hole in the church wall for his anti-tank gun. As he swung his weapon towards some German tanks the enemy infantry spotted the movement and started to attack his position. A grenade landed in the doorway near by and the shrapnel from it caught Warrant Fievee in the hand. Warrant Fievee refused to leave his position and a few heartbeats later one of the assistant gunners was wounded in the arm and thigh.
The storm of fire the Germans laid on the position forced the crew to retreat from their gun. When they reoccupied their position an officer, Captain Combourieu, ordered them to shift the gun to the left to engage a German column consisting of six tanks and two motorcycles with sidecars that was halted at one of the FT17 barricades.

The two remaining crew moved the gun to the new position. Warrant Fievee aimed and hit the last tank in the column to prevent them from withdrawing. Warrant Fievee then took out the lead tank, and began to hammer the column of vehicles, using up all his ammunition. The German survivors then broke and fled into a tree line to the right of the road.

With the village engulfed in flames, the infantry were almost out of ammunition for every weapon in the brigade. Above them German reconnaissance aircraft were directing their artillery fire onto strong points.
LA Horgne after the battle
About 1600, Colonel Burnol the commander of the Algerians, refused to surrender. So he located fifty troops, and handed out the last case of grenades. He led those fifty men in a breakout attempt. The Spahi's had almost made it when they ran into the Germans. One Spahi had his carbine shot out of his hands as the Germans opened fire. Armed with only a bayonet Col Burnol charged at the Germans, where he was killed in action.

Several other breakout attempts were attempted. One led by Colonel Marc, the Commander of the 3rd Spahi's was contained and the colonel sustained injuries. Col. Marc made it back to his command post in the devastated village. At 1800 with no ammunition remaining for any weapon, Col. Marc had no other option but to order a ceasefire. When the few Spahi's that were left struggled out of the ruins of La Horgne the Germans presented arms in salute to the 10 hours of fierce resistance. The commander of the German forces later said:
"I fought against all foes in both wars and I was always in the thick of it. Rarely did anyone fight as outstandingly as the 3d Spahi brigade. [...] The Brigade had ceased to exist. It had sacrificed itself for France."
In total the Germans lost 16 tanks. The German 1st Infantry Regiment suffered the heaviest casualties of any unit in the French campaign. The Spahi's took about 660 casualties both wounded and killed. A few of the survivors that had broken out continued to fight until the armistice.