Patton's Iron Cavalry - The Impact of the Mechanized Cavalry on the U.S. Third Army Page: 65
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seize a bridgehead and then continue operations eastward.141 The extensive reconnaissance of
the Brave Rifles allowed the corps to rapidly reach the river, and then conduct assault crossings
on the 23rd. The group's participation in this assault was limited to shielding the 7th AD's flank
at it seized the city of Melun. However, its earlier efforts greatly increased the odds of success
for XX Corps as it breached the German defenses along the Seine.
The group crossed the Seine on the 25th of August at Tilly, a small town approximately
four miles west of Melun, and one of the 7th AD's bridgeheads. Once across the river, the Brave
Rifles continued their attack to the east, leading the 7th Armored Division in its drive to the
Marne River. Here the cavalry truly 'earned their pay' discovering multiple road blocks and
ambushes in front of the division. Lacking the combat power to fight through these positions
themselves, the cavalrymen passed on the locations and compositions of the enemy to the 7th
AD, who, armed with this information made short work of these attempts at delaying actions.142
Interestingly, this action is a textbook example of the kind of reconnaissance-only mission that
was envisioned for the mechanized cavalry in 1942. Unfortunately, such an open battlefield as
was presented south of Paris turned out to be more of an anomaly than the norm for combat in
western and central Europe.
The 26th of August saw the return of the 3rd Squadron from XII Corps, who linked up
with the main body of the 3rd MCG at Nogent sur Seine, 29 miles to the northwest of Troyes.143
The 3rd Squadron then moved out in a zone reconnaissance to the Marne River as it screened the
141 Ibid., 50.
142 The XX Corps. Its History and Service in World War II, 91.
143 The 3rd Squadron had been relieved by the 2nd Cavalry Group, who had been released from their mission
along the Nantes-Angers region. Incidentally, the records of the XII Corps show this unit to be the 43rd Squadron, at
least for a while, but the records of the 3rd Group, the 3rd Squadron, and XX Corps show the detached unit to have
been the 3rd. There seems to be no explanation for this discrepancy other than an error in the XII Corps record.
Also of interest, the 3rd Group AAR records the 3rd Squadron as being attached to XXX Corps, an obvious error.;
"Patton's Ghost Troops" - After Action Report 9 August 1944 - 9 May 1945, 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/m1/71/: accessed September 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .