Patton's Iron Cavalry - The Impact of the Mechanized Cavalry on the U.S. Third Army Page: 25
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In 1942, responding to the increasingly bitter debates between the branch chiefs, General
Marshall abolished the entire branch chief system, placing all ground forces under the newly
organized Army Ground Forces commanded by McNair in an attempt to streamline the creation
of a modern military force.44 This move led to the loss of the cavalry's chief advocate at a time
of doctrinal debate and confusion. In 1943, at the direction of McNair, the 1st Cavalry Division
was sent to the Pacific as an infantry division, and the corps cavalry regiments were all
transitioned to mechanized formations. However, cavalry doctrine was now placed in a
quandary. There had been little thought of how to conduct the traditional cavalry missions with
just mechanized forces outside of the 7th Cavalry Brigade, which was now in the new Armor
Force. Additionally, the latest doctrine coming from Army Ground Forces seemed to imply that
divisions and corps could provide their own operational level security, thereby requiring the
Corps cavalry regiments to only provide operational reconnaissance. Finally, as part of the
overall modularization of the American Army under McNair, the cavalry regiments were re-
designated as cavalry groups. Although the actual organization changed very little, this move
allowed for the rapid attachment and detachment of various combat enablers. Thus, although
McNair may have not seen the need for cavalry to fight on the battlefield, he created a
headquarters that would be capable of handling augmentation to allow them to do just that.
Training Circular 107, published in September 1943, specified that mechanized cavalry
units "are organized, equipped, and trained to perform reconnaissance missions employing
infiltration tactics, fire, and maneuver. They engage in combat only to the extent necessary to
accomplish the assigned missions."45 Moreover, the mechanized cavalry units were trained to
44 Hofman, Through Mobility We Conquer, 287.
45 War Department, Training Circular 107, Employment of Mechanized Cavalry Units, (Washington, D.C.:
GPO, 23 September, 1943), 1.
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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/m1/31/: accessed July 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .