Patton's Iron Cavalry - The Impact of the Mechanized Cavalry on the U.S. Third Army Page: 33
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THE SECOND CAVALRY GROUP "DRAGOONS"
On the night of 19 July 1944, the Second Mechanized Cavalry Group (MCG),
"Dragoons", disembarked at Utah Beach. The oldest active cavalry regiment in the U.S. Army,
and the only American cavalry formation to possess named battle streamers for the First World
War, had returned to France. However, this time, instead of riding into battle on horses armed
with 1903 Springfield rifles, these modern cavalrymen rolled ashore in quarter-ton jeeps
("peeps" in cavalry parlance), 6-wheeled armored cars, and light tanks, while packing a variety
of ordnance including Ml carbines and Thompson submachine guns.
Although American commanders eventually planned on placing the 2nd MCG in the Third
Army, in late July that Army was still forming and had no use for cavalry formations. Thus, the
Dragoons were assigned to Headquarters, Advanced Section Communications Zone (ADSEC).
This unit maintained responsibility for the rear areas of the Allied forces, providing order to the
chaos involved in feeding two full field armies in combat as two more arrived over the same
beaches needed for resupply of those elements already in contact. ADSEC ordered the 2nd MCG
along with its sister formation, the 15th MCG, to secure the rear areas of the First Army in order
to prevent any remaining German forces or commandos from disrupting the orderly flow of men
and supplies to the front line.59 Though the cavalrymen may have wished for a more active first
assignment, rear area security has long been a vital cavalry mission. Moreover, the positional
fighting in Normandy precluded the Dragoons from using their mobility to conduct
reconnaissance or security operations, and their equipment was generally too light to provide
effective protection in the confined battle space of the hedgerow country. Although the 2nd
59 "2nd Cavalry Group After Action Report, July 1944" record CAVG2, entry 427, RG 407, National
Archives II, 22 July.
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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/m1/39/: accessed January 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .