Patton's Iron Cavalry - The Impact of the Mechanized Cavalry on the U.S. Third Army Page: 73
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to move to positions where they could effectively engage the Wehrmacht positions and put them
out of action with direct cannon fire. This suppressive fire, and the use of the tanks as cover,
allowed the dismounted cavalry the opportunity to close with the remaining Germans and force
them out of the village. The use of armor, combined with engineers and artillery, in this attack
shows the true power of combined arms in the cavalry. Unfortunately, the most decisive
elements of the action- the artillery that devastated the German hilltop position, the tank
destroyers who suppressed German reinforcements, and the engineers who cleared the way for
the tanks- were not organic elements of the cavalry and had to be provided from other sources.
Furthermore, the success at Berg should be acknowledged as a victory against a lightly equipped
formation that could not match the cavalry's weaponry. The casualties were bad enough against
the forces that were there. The outcome would have been much different if the Germans had
possessed either anti-tank guns or armor.
Regardless of the quality of the German defenders, the Brave Rifles had provided a major
service to the 90th ID's assault by removing the threat to the potential bridgehead that Berg had
posed. Additionally, the cavalry's screen along the Moselle prevented the Wehrmacht from
identifying the build-up of the 90th ID in the Cattenom area. This was no small feat as the
infantry had massed two full infantry regiments for the assault. According to later prisoner
reports and captured documents, TF Polk had been so successful in their efforts that the attack at
Koenigsmacker came as a complete surprise.163 This role of providing a security zone to allow
friendly forces to mass for an assault is one of the oldest missions in the mounted lexicon, and is
still practiced to this day. The cavalry impose a 'fog of war' for the enemy, while creating as
clear a picture as possible for their own forces. The Brave Rifles executed this mission nearly
perfectly in early November 1944, though it is interesting to note that the entire mission was well
163 Ibid., 71; "XX Corps After Action Report, 1 November 1944 - 30 November 1944," 5.
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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/m1/79/: accessed November 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .