Patton's Iron Cavalry - The Impact of the Mechanized Cavalry on the U.S. Third Army Page: 12
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Before an assessment can be made about the utility of mechanized cavalry groups to the
U.S. Third Army, a basic understanding of the background of these units is essential. The
history of the creation of the mechanized cavalry groups and their accompanying doctrine shed a
great deal of light onto how Second World War American commanders used these formations,
and why some of them encountered serious impediments to mission success.
A common truism in the modern United States Cavalry is "the mission- not the
platform." In essence, the modern cavalry argues that it must retain the ability to accomplish its
doctrinal missions regardless of the vehicles or weapons systems provided to the organization.
All that matters to the cavalry is mission success, not the vehicle used to provide that success.
Thus, American cavalry formations can be found in Strykers, High Mobility Multi-Purpose
Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV), and even Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles all
performing the same core doctrinal missions of reconnaissance and security that have been the
cornerstone of American cavalry doctrine since the Civil War.
However, this same devotion to mission regardless of platform has not always been the
hallmark of the United States Cavalry. From the end of the First World War to 1943, Cavalry
Branch would undergo a wrenching doctrinal debate over how to modernize and mechanize its
forces. This struggle would see advocates of horse cavalry stubbornly resisting calls for the
introduction of motorized and mechanized vehicles to the branch. At the heart of the issue was a
belief by the more traditionalist portions of the branch that the horse could still serve with
success on the modern battlefield. However, this stubborn adherence to a single 'platform'
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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/m1/18/: accessed March 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .