Patton's Iron Cavalry - The Impact of the Mechanized Cavalry on the U.S. Third Army Page: 5
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to consider fighting for information, and allowing for the reinforcement of the cavalry groups by
outside combat multipliers such as tank and tank destroyer battalions.
The combat history of the cavalry groups is uniformly impressive. The cavalry
performed a number of different roles for which they were neither organized, equipped, or
trained. However, an old cavalryman of the 1930s would have been perfectly at home with
them. Cavalry led the breakout during Operation Cobra and conducted offensive guards for
their parent organizations across France. Cavalry conducted economy of force missions, security
missions, prisoner of war (POW) rescue missions, and by the end of the war, had even
participated in a daring rescue of the Lipizzaner breeding herd. In short, the cavalry was ordered
to perform, and executed, traditional cavalry missions without regard to official doctrine. There
were some notable exceptions to the cavalry's success, with the battle of the Losheim Gap, and
the subsequent loss of two regimental combat teams of the 106th Infantry Division being
especially memorable. Despite such occasional disasters, overall, the American cavalry
accomplished their missions with skill and elan.
Studies of the American cavalry in the Second World War are few and far between. In
fact, for a number of years, there was no significant scholarship on the topic at all. Even the
United States Army green book series barely recorded the achievements of the mechanized
cavalry. All that remained to remember the cavalry's accomplishments were a small number of
histories published at the close of the war by those groups' veterans.
In the mid 1990s, a small group of army officers (specifically cavalrymen and tankers)
began to address this oversight. John Tully conducted perhaps the first study of this new
renaissance in his very personal master's thesis recounting the deeds of the 4th Cavalry Group,
commanded by Tully's grandfather. Dean A. Nowowiejski followed shortly thereafter with a
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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/m1/11/: accessed June 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .