Patton's Iron Cavalry - The Impact of the Mechanized Cavalry on the U.S. Third Army Page: 2
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Here is [Napoleon's magnificent definition of genius in full]. He says,
"Genius is the ability to utilize all the means at hand for the
accomplishment of the end sought."
The thought applies equally to weapons. We must use them all. To us
it seems that those persons who would scrap the old and rely only on the
new are on a mental parity with the poor man who pawns his shirt and
trousers to buy an overcoat, only to find that it is burdensome in summer
and not wholly satisfying even in January. Wars are fought with men, not
weapons. It is the spirit of the men who fight, and the spirit ofthe men
who lead, which gains the victory. In biblical times this spirit was
ascribed, probably rightly, to the Lord. It was the Spirit of the Lord,
courage, which came mightily upon Samson at Lehi that gained the
victory. It was not the jawbone of an ass.
In the nation's first high intensity mechanized war, World War Two, the American
military rode into combat without robust cavalry formations dedicated to the twin missions of
reconnaissance and security, despite having observed the conflict from the sidelines for over two
years. Even more startling was that the American military possessed the doctrine for just such an
organization a mere two years prior to the entry of the United States into the war. However,
organizational changes within the army due to the creation of the new armored force crippled the
nation's cavalry formations with an inadequate doctrine and organization by the early 1940s.
Interestingly, the reconnaissance-only doctrine espoused then is remarkably similar to that being
proposed for today's modern cavalry formations. Thus, the battlefield utility and experiences of
the American cavalry of the Second World War is a remarkably timely and relevant subject.
Cavalry has long been misunderstood by historians and military thinkers alike. At the
heart of the issue is confusion between the two basic missions of cavalry, reconnaissance and
security. Cavalry can, and has, performed other roles throughout history, but these two missions
have always remained. The two are very similar in how they are conducted, but security
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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/m1/8/: accessed December 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .