Patton's Iron Cavalry - The Impact of the Mechanized Cavalry on the U.S. Third Army Page: 52
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The cavalry's ability to cover so much ground allowed the XII Corps to mass its combat
power in the drive against the southern shoulder of the Bulge (see Map 3). The highly mobile
nature of the cavalry, especially in comparison to the generally dismounted infantry, allowed the
group to cover this ground more effectively than a similarly sized infantry formation. Without
the presence of such a unit as the Dragoons, the corps commander would have been forced to
detail more troops to protect the flank in order to achieve the same degree of protection offered
by TF Reed. Moreover, that infantry was put to much better use in the heavy fighting to the
north for which the lightly protected and numerically inferior cavalrymen were unsuited.
The month of January found TF Reed still in position along the Moselle River guarding
the flank of XII Corps. The period was characterized by active patrolling and small attacks to
gain key ground. One such attack involved the use of one troop(C/ 2nd Squadron) to seize the
small town of Machtum held by German forces amounting to an under strength platoon. The
attack proved highly successful with only three cavalrymen wounded in the entire affair, while
killing nine Germans and capturing fourteen.107 However, the town was very small, mostly
consisting of a single street a third of a mile long.08 Additionally, the dragoons were heavily
supported by artillery, and attacked with a better than 3:1 ratio of troops. While taking nothing
away from the bravery and skill of the cavalrymen of C troop, the attack on Machtum serves to
highlight the limitations of the mechanized cavalry in direct combat.
Towards the end of the month, four newly arrived battalions of combat engineers (284th
285th, 1252nd, 1258th) were attached to the Task Force to replace the two general support
Engineer regiments that were currently working with the cavalry.109 This seemed to follow the
107 ",2nd Cavalry Group After Action Report, January 1945" record CAVG2, entry 427, RG 407, National
Archives II, 11 January.
108 This information gathered from Google Earth.
109 ,,2nd Cavalry Group After Action Report, January 1945," 20 January.
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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/m1/58/: accessed June 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .