Patton's Iron Cavalry - The Impact of the Mechanized Cavalry on the U.S. Third Army Page: 8
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more focused study of the effects of mechanized cavalry will only strengthen the foundations of
this growing school of thought.
There were three types of cavalry formation s fighting in Europe from 1944 to 1945. The
smallest of these, Cavalry reconnaissance troops, were assigned one to each infantry division to
serve as the divisional commander's personal reconnaissance formation. Progressing in size,
armored reconnaissance battalions (ARB) (later renamed squadrons) performed much the same
role in the armored divisions, but possessed greater capabilities due to their increased size as well
as supporting elements including light tanks and assault guns. Finally, the mechanized cavalry
groups were regimental sized formations, generally consisting of two squadrons similarly
equipped to the ARB, assigned to corps or armies to provide operational level reconnaissance.
These groups will be the focus of this study. The cavalry reconnaissance troops and the armored
reconnaissance battalions performed admirably, but their contributions were generally limited to
the tactical level. The mechanized cavalry groups however, contributed to the operational
success of the U.S. Army in the European Theater of Operations (ETO).
The American Army deployed thirteen mechanized cavalry groups to the ETO. A study
of all of these formations would become prohibitive in length for a work of this type. Moreover,
the four field armies to which the groups were attached used their cavalry in similar ways and for
similar missions. Additionally, several groups spent significant times with multiple armies, with
the 106th Group being an extreme example, having served with the First, Third, and Seventh
Armies. Thus, a study of the mechanized cavalry of one field army provides a basic
understanding of how cavalry impacted the larger war effort. The Third Army is the most useful
organization for this analysis, as it possessed, at various times, six of the thirteen groups in the
theater. Moreover, this army participated in every major action of the theater, except for the
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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/m1/14/: accessed December 13, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .