Patton's Iron Cavalry - The Impact of the Mechanized Cavalry on the U.S. Third Army Page: 34
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MCG was never truly tested in this role of area security, their performance of such a mission
allowed General Omar Bradley to commit more combat power forward while not having to
worry about the security of his rear areas.
On 31 July ADSEC released the 2nd Cavalry to the Third Army, which promptly attached
them to General Troy Middleton' s VIII Corps, then in the process of conducting and exploiting
Operation COBRA. This corps was leading the entire Third Army in the breakout from the
Normandy beachhead, and had the mission of isolating and seizing the Brittany Peninsula with
its vital ports of Brest and Saint Nazaire. Middleton had originally planned on using the 2nd
MCG as part of a special purpose combined arms task force (Task Force "A") with the mission
of seizing key rail junctions in the Brittany Peninsula. However, the rapid success of the 4th
Armored Division (AD) in its drive to the south to isolate the Brittany Peninsula prompted a re-
tasking of the Dragoons, in which Middleton attached them to that division for use as flank
security as the following infantry divisions were too slow to keep pace with the armor. Thus,
rather than participate in Task Force "A's" charge west into Brittany, the group raced south in an
attempt to link up with its new senior command.60
By the evening of 2 August, the group had made contact with the 4th AD and were
ordered to conduct a reconnaissance and screening mission to the south east of the division to
protect its flank. While the 8th Infantry Division (ID) contained the city of Rennes, the 4th AD
continued the attack south along a broad front from St. Nazaire to Lorient. The Second Cavalry
conducted a squadron sized (the 42nd) screen along the eastern flank of the division and corps for
approximately a week, allowing the main effort (the 4th AD) to concentrate all available forces
for the drive south to isolate the Brittany Peninsula. The remaining squadron (the 2nd) conducted
60 2nd Cavalry Association, The Ghosts of Patton's Third Army- A History of the Second U.S. Cavalry
(Munich, Germany: Mtinchner Graphische, 1946), 91.
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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/m1/40/: accessed April 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .