Patton's Iron Cavalry - The Impact of the Mechanized Cavalry on the U.S. Third Army Page: 68
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seized, and the cavalry were withdrawn from the front to allow the line divisions to conduct a
deliberate assault over the river.148 The failures of the cavalry from 4 to 6 September
demonstrate the weaknesses of the mechanized cavalry in high intensity combat, especially
against an enemy in positions that cannot be bypassed. The lightly armed and armored cavalry
simply did not have the firepower to bludgeon their way forward. The loss of the group
commander during this critical operation did not help either. Of course, it is also notable that the
divisions that followed also struggled to achieve success as well. The corps commander
gambled on the cavalry being able to seize a crossing before resistance had hardened, but the
Wehrmaht had had ample warning of his advance due to the nearly weeklong delay caused by
the Third Army's fuel shortages to prepare their defenses. Against a well entrenched enemy
equipped with heavy guns and tanks, the cavalry, unreinforced, stood no chance.
From 7 to 14 September the Brave Rifles moved to the flanks of the corps, the 43rd to the
north to maintain contact with the V Corps of First Army, the 3rd to the South to establish
contact with XII Corps. The 3rd Squadron was further detached from the group and attached to
the 5th ID. The 43rd Squadron faced a difficult fight in closing the gap between First and Third
Armies, but by 14 September, had made contact with the 5th AD at Flaxweiler in Luxembourg.149
The group was further aided in their efforts by the appointment of a new commander, COL
James H. Polk, a personal selection by General George S. Patton. After establishing contact with
the First Army, the 43rd received orders from XX Corps to patrol from Wormeldange,
Luxembourg to Garche, France, along the Moselle River, a frontage of over 23 miles. The
squadron would hold this front from 14 to 19 September, during which time the 23rd
Headquarters ' Special Troops', 12th Army Group established a fake armored division in the area
148 Ibid., 52.
149 Ibid., 52-53.
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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/m1/74/: accessed December 13, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .