Patton's Iron Cavalry - The Impact of the Mechanized Cavalry on the U.S. Third Army Page: 63
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than to any inherent superiority in organization or equipment. Moreover, due to the extremely
confused nature of the fighting in western France, the cavalry could take advantage of loosely
defined front lines to infiltrate German positions or bypass strong-points where necessary.
On the 15th of August, XX Corps shifted its direction of attack from the northeast to due
east in order to prevent closing out XV Corps. The corps objective became the city of Chartres
as well as seizing crossing points over the Seine River. Third Army detached the 3rd Squadron,
sending them to assist XII Corps in flank security at this time, leaving the 3rd MCG with only
one squadron. The 43rd Squadron led the Corps in its movement to the Chartres region, having
patrols already near the area as a result of the previous lunge across France. The cavalry moved
slower on this assault as German resistance began to stiffen along the approaches to the Seine
River. Although the cavalry could still bypass pockets of resistance, the small nature of most
cavalry patrols combined with their light armor made patrolling inherently more dangerous as
enemy opposition began to solidify. While a chance encounter with an anti-tank gun supported
by a platoon of infantry could be a bad day for a tank or infantry company, it had the potential
for disaster for a small cavalry patrol that typically consisted of an armored car and two jeeps.
Thus, as the enemy began to appear more often, the cavalry had to proceed in a more deliberate
fashion for survival. 137
On 17 August, Wehrmacht defenses outside of the city of Etampes, approximately 30
miles east of Chartres, stopped the cavalry in their tracks, defeating every effort to penetrate,
infiltrate, or bypass.138 Seizure oflEtampes by the cavalry would have helped isolate Chartres by
the capture of one of the only major road junctions to that city outside of Paris still in German
hands. The 7th Armored Division (AD) had fought its way into the city on 15 August, but fierce
137 "Patton's Ghost Troops" - After Action Report 9 August 1944- 9 May 1945, 49-50.
138 Ibid., 49-50.
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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/m1/69/: accessed September 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .