Patton's Iron Cavalry - The Impact of the Mechanized Cavalry on the U.S. Third Army Page: 22
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Spanish Civil War also suggested that mechanized forces were not as effective as theorized.
Even a highly influential mechanized cavalrymen, Brigadier General Van Voorhis, described the
failings of mechanization in that war, acknowledging mechanical unreliability played a large part
in these failures.36 Cavalry Branch also appreciated that the increased lethality of the modern
battlefield made the man on a horse a tremendous target, and thus insisted upon cooperation
between horse and mechanized formations which included combat cars. Thus, the mechanized
cavalry would serve to suppress the enemy with its greater firepower, while the horse cavalry
would seize and hold terrain.
In May 1940 the US Third Army conducted a series of exercises to test the various
mobile elements of the Army in the first ever army level exercises in the history of the Army of
the United States.37 The horse-mounted 1st Cavalry Division, the mixed mechanized and horse
corps reconnaissance 6th Cavalry Regiment, the 7th Cavalry Brigade (mechanized), and a
provisional tank brigade comprised of Infantry tank battalions were all to participate in the
exercise. The 7th Cavalry Brigade and the provisional tank brigade performed well and
stimulated more intense interest in forming a tank board separate from the infantry.38 Moreover,
the ad hoc arrangement of the two brigades into a mechanized division proved to be a powerful
force. This provisional division still had serious flaws, most notably the lack of a coherent staff
organization and the lack of dedicated infantry or artillery support. Unfortunately for proponents
of the horse cavalry, the performance of both their pure and mixed horse formations proved
At the completion of the exercise, BG Frank Andrews, the Army G3 (operations),
conducted an after action review (AAR) with the members of the 7th Cavalry Brigade. His
36 Hofman, Through Mobility We Conquer, 235.
37 Cameron, 238.
38 Morton, 70.
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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/m1/28/: accessed February 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .