Patton's Iron Cavalry - The Impact of the Mechanized Cavalry on the U.S. Third Army Page: 57
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little loss in the assault.122 This attack stands as a great example of the power of combined arms
in cavalry action. With the exception of the tank destroyers, the rest of the support came from
organic cavalry assets. Though the light tanks and assault guns were not a match for heavier
German positions, they sufficed to dig enemy infantry out of fortified houses and other hasty
By 12 March, the group's zone, along with the 76th ID's, had become pinched out by the
closing of the XX Corps to the south and the movement of the 89th ID to the north. XII Corps
relieved the 2nd MCG of attachment to the 76th ID and moved it to the north of the corps sector.
There, the group conducted a screen along the Rhine River, protecting the north flank of the
corps as it attacked east towards the Mainz-Weisbaden region.123 The cavalrymen allowed the
corps to mass combat power forward by preventing enemy forces on the right (or northeast) bank
of the Rhine from conducting spoiling attacks into the lightly defended rear. The group used
artillery and massed fires from its assault guns and light tanks to break up concentrations of
German forces on the right bank as well as harassing any visible enemy movement. This
protection allowed the lead divisions of XII Corps to increase their speed without having to
worry about providing for their own flank or rear security. The corps did not reinforce the
Dragoons at this point, as the German army was too fragmented to conduct the effective massed
combined-arms counterattacks that were the worst enemy of the cavalry by this stage in the war.
The 2nd Group maintained their positions along the left (western) bank of the Rhine until
25 March, when elements of the newly arrived 16th MCG took over their positions.124 By this
time, the XII Corps had succeeded in crossing the Rhine south of Mainz and was attacking
122 ,,42nd Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron After Action Report, March 1945" record CAVS42, entry 427,
RG 407, National Archives II, 11.
123 2nd Cavalry Association, The Ghosts of Patton's Third Army- A History of the Second U.S. Cavalry,
124 ,,42nd Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron After Action Report, March 1945," 15.
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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/m1/63/: accessed June 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .