Patton's Iron Cavalry - The Impact of the Mechanized Cavalry on the U.S. Third Army Page: 35
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route security along the division's supply lines.61 This period saw minor contact for the group,
with the majority of the Wehrmacht in this particular region in a state of disarray. However, the
Germans still possessed the ability to interdict lightly defended supply columns along the
American's wide open flanks. Momentum in combat can be easily lost if the main effort is
constantly distracted by threats to its flanks and rear, thus making the Dragoons' mission
essential to allowing VIII Corps to maintain its drive to the south. There were several short,
sharp engagements between the group and scattered German resistance around the towns of Vitre
and Segre, but they were generally resolved with little effort by the individual troops involved in
these actions.62 Through these actions, the 2nd MCG performed a traditional cavalry security
mission, despite their published reconnaissance-only doctrine.
By the middle of August, the Group moved in front of the 4th AD, conducting
reconnaissance of German positions guarding the city of Nantes. Once again, despite the official
doctrine of stealth reconnaissance, the group used its armor and firepower to aggressively
discover the leading edge of the Wehrmacht's defenses, though heavy German fire from
prepared positions prevented the lightly equipped cavalry from decisively closing with the
enemy. In one particularly notable example, A troop of the 42nd Squadron used assault guns to
destroy a roadblock halting forward progress. However, despite initial success the troop found
itself unable to advance past the roadblock due to concentrated enemy fire, including massed
small arms and artillery so intense that the small reconnaissance force withdrew. 63 These
actions are extremely typical cavalry operations in an offensive screen, though the 2nd MCG may
have been handicapped in this particular case due to the extremely light nature of their
61 2nd Cavalry Group After Action Report, August 1944," 3-7 August.
62 2nd Cavalry Association, The Ghosts of Patton's Third Army- A History of the Second U.S. Cavalry, 93-
63 Ibid., 103.
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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/m1/41/: accessed March 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .