Patton's Iron Cavalry - The Impact of the Mechanized Cavalry on the U.S. Third Army Page: 41
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September and used it as a security force around the corps headquarters as the remainder of the
corps closed on the Nancy battlefield.78
While the drama of the 2nd Squadron and the 80th ID unfolded to the north, the 42nd
Squadron continued to probe to the east across the Madon River, while maintaining a screen to
the south, protecting the corps' flank against German forces arriving from Southern France (See
Map 2).79 Faced with both tasks, the squadron maintained a generally defensive posture, though
it kept actively patrolling to its front and flank. To aid in this task, XII Corps attached the 696th
Armored Field Artillery Battalion to the rump 2nd MCG in order to provide immediate indirect
fires. The first part of September would severely challenge the 42nd Squadron as large
formations of Wehrmacht made their way north into Lorraine. Despite the light nature of their
equipment, the Dragoons used the terrain to their advantage. Establishing observation points on
several commanding heights, the cavalrymen called down extremely accurate fire upon several
German columns during this period forcing their withdrawal. Perhaps one of the most notable
occasions came on 4 September, when B/42nd Squadron, reinforced with light some tanks from
F/42nd Squadron, defeated a column of over 1,000 German soldiers through a combination of
artillery and direct fire, forcing their withdrawal, while preventing their penetration of the corps'
flank.80 This achievement is extremely impressive considering that even under the best of
manning situations, the Dragoons were outnumbered at least 5:1 in this battle.81 However, for
perspective, it must be remembered that once again, the Germans were retreating, under
continuous air attack, and more interested in escape to the north than in causing significant harm
to XII Corps.
78 ",2nd Cavalry Group After Action Report, September 1944," 7 September.
79 The Madon River is a small tributary of the Moselle running from south to north, intersecting the main
river four miles southwest of Nancy; "2nd Cavalry Group After Action Report, September 1944," September 4-10.
80 ",2nd Cavalry Group After Action Report, September 1944," 4 September.
81 A cavalry troop consisted of approximately 140 officers and men.
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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/m1/47/: accessed February 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .