Patton's Iron Cavalry - The Impact of the Mechanized Cavalry on the U.S. Third Army Page: 48
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two miles. Considering that the same squadron that in August had covered a frontage of over 70
miles mounted, could effectively attack on a frontage of two miles says a great deal about the
limitations of the cavalry when dismounted. Additionally, as the squadron had attacked in
column of troops, the entire dismounted weight of the unit had been committed to this one point
of attack. Thus, the mechanized cavalry could succeed in a direct infantry-style assault without
reinforcement, but only in extremely controlled situations.
Following a brief period of reorganization and defensive patrolling, the XII Corps
initiated another offensive on 8 November. The 2nd Group, still working with the 26th ID on the
southern flank of the corps, performed two roles in this attack. At the onset of the fighting, the
Dragoons moved about a kilometer forward of the 26th ID's positions in order to protect the
infantry as they moved from their defensive positions into the attack. After passing the 26th ID's
soldiers forward of their position, the Dragoons maintained a screen protecting the southern flank
of the 26th Infantry Division and XII Corps as they advanced to the northeast.98 This screen was
doubly important due to the fact that the southern flank of XII Corps was not only the southern
boundary of Third Army, but also of the 12th Army Group. Although the XV Corps to the south
was conducting its own assault, such higher level boundaries are often the scene of missed
communications, gaps in defenses, and enemy counterattacks. Therefore, the Dragoons
performed a vital mission in ensuring that the flanks of the 26th ID, XII Corps, Third Army, and
the 12th Army Group were secure, allowing combat power to mass forward without need for
worry about a German strike behind their spearheads. A tremendous example of the cavalry's
impact on the larger battle can be seen on 16 November, when elements of the Dragoons relieved
an entire infantry regiment (the 101st) of the 26th ID that had been holding the shoulder of the
98 "2nd Cavalry Group After Action Report, November 1944" record CAVG2, entry 427, RG 407, National
Archives II, 8 November.
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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/m1/54/: accessed October 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .